Oddly, last night, one of my students asked me the other day whether I’d chosen to teach the book and movie V for Vendetta in our Media English class because I wanted to preach anarchism to the students, or for some other reason. She was surprised when I responded that believing unquestioningly in anything that has an -ism or -ian at the end is dangerous, and that mostly I’d chosen it because it seemed like an interesting book and one that had been recently adapted to film format. She said she got the impression from me that anarchism is something I’m urging students to believe in. Amusingly, nobody seemed to get the impression I was for totalitarian state-authority when I taught the class about the comic book hero Superman, even though we discussed the very interesting process whereby Superman moved from being for the underdog to being a kind of deputized crimefighter and maintainer of the status quo.
Anyway, during that same discussion, we talked about teaching, about learning how to teach in a healthier way than our teachers have taught us in the past, about definitions of “society” and “power” and “control” and how what Alan Moore had to say in V for Vendetta complexifies all of those words and ideas in potentially useful ways.
I would love, seriously love, to teach a semester on Frantz Fanon’s works. Too bad he wasn’t writing in English. After reading Black Skin, White Masks, I thought he was a genius, if a bit given to exaggerations and generalizations. But I recently read The Wretched of the Earth and found the book a revelation. Though Fanon was describing African postcolonial struggles and mentality, I find a number of ways in which his theses map onto Korean postcolonial society in interesting ways — seemingly following patterns he suggests, and differing in ways that seem to match the historical differences from the processes he describes. Anyway, more on that later.
Last wonderful discovery: I finally received Alexis Kienlen’s She Dreams in Red. (Here’s Alexis’ own site about the book.) Alexis was a classmate of mine in Saskatoon: we studied with Tim Lilburn together. It’s great to have her book in my hand, and I’ll be getting to it soon, though a week of grading and (for my conversation class) final exams looms ahead.