Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sorrow and Sadness

I know that I've been in blog silence for a few days--and the last two posts were really a series of YouTube clips that I found, for your edification and enjoyment. It's a combination of things, really, keeping me from blogging about things I think are relevant to the theme of "Mixed Race America"--the end of the semester, final exams, a visit from a family member--but right now, what I want to share is that I'm incredibly sad because...

*A close family member has passed away recently from a long illness.

*A huge swatch of Santa Barbara is burning--and the fire started in the foothills, very near to where I used to live (on Cieneguitas, which is Spanish for "little swamp"). The devastation is incredible--hundred of homes burned and thousands of people evacuated, and the fire still isn't contained (click here for updates on

*A young woman about to graduate from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT was recently gunned down by her ex-boyfriend in a campus bookstore. Johanna Justin-Jinich would have graduated this year from Wesleyan. She had a summer internship lined up in Washington DC. She was passionate about women's issues and had volunteered at Planned Parenthood offices in both Colorado (where she was from) and Connecticut. When I read Tenured Radical's blog posts about her murder, especially this one, I literally had to hold back my tears (I am currently, as in right at this very moment, proctoring a final exam for my 20th C. American literature course. If students had looked up from their blue books about 15 minutes ago, they would have seen me with my hand over my mouth and tears in my eyes as I read about Johanna's murder).

All of which is to say, I feel very emotionally raw right now, and as much as I would like to comment on interesting topics, like whether Cinco de Mayo is a "real" holiday or simply a gringo's excuse to drink under the guise of a Mexican holiday, how I feel about that new Tiger Woods Gatorade commercial, where he is a cartoon boy version of himself, and Extreme Makeover Home Edition (so MUCH to say about that!). But for now, I think I'm just going to try to keep it together so I can collect the last of my student final exams, grade their papers, and hope that nothing tragic happens to them (or to me/my family/my loved ones) in the next few days.


Julia said...

So sorry you're having a tough time. It sound like you're in one of those places in life where everything looks bleak. Go easy on yourself.

When you feel up to it, I'd love to hear your thought on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It's the show I love to hate...

Hang in there.

Genepool said...

I don't even watch the news much any more. Its like they WANT us to be sad and scared.

Watch this. Its incredibly stupid, but cheers me up for some reason.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for your kind words--I have been trying to be gentle to myself this past week--part of that was indulging in films (I just posted a review of SEVEN POUNDS and I caught the opening weekend release of STAR TREK because I AM a Trekkie at heart). And I PROMISE to post on Extreme Makeover because there is SO MUCH to say (much of it, for me, highly conflicted).

Thanks for the youtube link--it DID cheer me up! As always, you slay me!

Iimay said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your family member and about the murder of Johanna Justin-Jinich. It's such a terrible loss. I wonder how many more women have to die violent deaths before we start taking men's violence against women seriously.

I hope you're feeling better and more at peace. I'd be interested to see what you thought of Star Trek - I watched it over opening weekend as well and really enjoyed it (even though I know nothing about the Star Trek universe). I wonder if Star Trek represents a mixed race world (universe?) if white guys still seem to have the most power and prestige.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for your comment/note/condolence. I feel better--one thing I can say about having large family that is fairly close, we do band together. It just sort've sucks that most everyone is either in Toronto or California, so I tend to feel cut off, but modern technology (cheap phone rates and cell phones) help.

As for Johanna, I think it was a combination of feeling emotionally raw/vulnerable, seeing my students literally taking their own final exams in front of me, half of whom are graduating seniors, and realizing that this could have easily been a Southern U. student. For all I know, there are women on this campus being stalked and harassed and abused as I speak. And that just makes me SO SAD.

Actually, I think the way people at Wesleyan felt about Johanna was the way people at Southern U. felt about Eve Carson.

Finally, I am a Trekkie so I LOVED the Trek film, but you have raised a provocative/interesting question that I will explore in a future blog post!