There's been stuff going on that I haven't been talking about in this blog, just because of the sheer lack of anonymity that it provides and the potential embarassment that could result. This isn't a permanent condition; it's a process. That and a terse, obliquely-worded e-mail from my mom regarding some information found on my myspace profile. Evidently, it isn't okay to share the innermost thoughts of your mind with the world via the internet. Except me, I think that's exactly what the internet is for.

There was an interesting article in this past month's Discover magazine on the paradox that is our neverending demand for personal privacy at the governmental level and our seemingly universal desire to share the most mundane experiences of our lives with the world at large. The author, Douglas Rushkoff, argues that there are larger forces at work. The phrase "incipient group meta-being" from his article sticks in my mind, even though I read it several days ago and haven't gone back to it. Anyway, it's an interesting read, and I think he's onto something.

In my newfound freedom from academic life, I spent today on entirely cerebral pursuits. I went down to the U bookstore and picked up two books: the first, a seemingly thick tome containing the abbreviated biographies of the women who have won Nobel prizes in science. As a woman who aspires to the sciences, I figure it's essential reading to find out what my predecessors, my fore-mothers, have accomplished. There are some fascinating stories, and some over-reaching themes. "She was different. She seemed more like a boy than a girl at times." I'm not approaching that book in a linear fashion, I'm more flipping to a story and reading about a particular woman who changed the world. So far I've read about Irene Curie, Barbara McClintock, and Christiane Nusslein-Volhard. As I read more, these women become my heros. I will need to update my myspace profile accordingly.

The other book I picked up is a bit more radical... it's called Genderqueer, and it's basically about postgender theory. I wholeheartedly subscribe to this theory, and you'll probably be reading more about this as the ideas ferment in my brain. The overarching theme is that gender is an outdated concept, created to subjugate one sex and exalt the other, and that it is at its heart nothing more than an illusion, a construct to allow other people to be able to fit us into one category or the other. A truly enlightened person sees no gender, while still acknowledging that yes, we are a sexually reproducing species and any new life requires both egg and sperm, and while the vast majority of people have "plumbing" to fit into one of two categories, the reality of the fact is much more complex.

Anyway, that's just a random dump of the information floating around in my cerebral cortex today. And by publishing it to this blog, I give it to you, my friends, family, and random people who don't know me. These are my thoughts, and they are now projected into the digital realm, which may well outlive me.

So now there's just one question left: what is my place in all this, what will my biography in a future version of that book say, and what will my Nobel prize be for? (Hi, my name is megalomaniac.)


Anonymous said...

i have that book! i bought it at half-price books in bedford (TX) one time with joe halbouty (who thought it was awesome that i bought it). : )
that was years before i decided to focus on science in college and then do the phd thing.
-jamie fitz

kat said...

hehehe. awesomeness. see, this is my master plan: we both go about getting our degrees, doing research, and when we both have our own labs, we'll collaborate on a project that will change the face of science.

Mike said...

Dear Kat,

Please change the face of science to the face of the lead singer of DeVotchKa. Then science would be mad sexy.

- Mike