„The Pfannkuchen are too salty“, she remarked and he glanced up and answered: „You know they make comments about over-salting food“ He said and she quickly changed the subject. Yup, she knew and she knew he knew she was wondering if she was falling in love with someone who has just supposed to be an affair, nothing complicated.
Don’t get attached. Keep your focus, she thought. Nothing emotional, she told herself. No way, nobody needed that. Not him and not her.
„Sometimes I do think I might be slightly autistic, I mean I go on and on about this shit and stuff or sth...“ said H. „Hey, you really are not the first,“ Banality Girl heard her pussyvoice saying. And H. said: „Ok, good to hear that you know how to deal with that shit.“
I had such clarity after those three days of sex, she told FFF.
“All the stupid comma shit was gone.” FFF. laughed. “Because you know what I mean,” Banality Girl said. “I am working with two women on my level and there is all this competition, so one of them likes to point out my comma errors to the higher up, her personal BIG DADDY. It’s pretty obvious. I was quite proud of myself for sitting back and simply observing the last time that happened, not calling her out. I am trying to really focus on the fact that this specific BIG DADDY is not significant to me, I have one more year there and that is it. It is not my field but it is hers, and so she can and should by all means have his respect. But she has a tendency to small-minded perfectionism that is blocking her.
If I were to mentor her I would say just kick that out of your life. My sneaky suspicion though is in fact that he has an eye on me in the respect sense or maybe he is actually a pretty good boss...he showed me respect the other day and that made me, in turn, respect him. But I have too little experience working in a male dominated environment to really see through things. Although I did also work in a male dominated environment at the university, it is just that my direct superiors were all women.
Yeah, it does make me feel insecure and I have to remind myself that at that level it isn’t competence – it’s just power games. Most of the negotiating has zero to do with content, unfortunately. I am just so grateful you agreed to be part of the jury...it’s going to be tough but I got NTS in there she is another outspoken and cool woman.
Once you have 30 % women in a setting you can change the Old Boys’ Club dynamic, under 30% you are pretty much wasting my breath and your time. So let’s see what we can do.”
“Thank you,” FFF said. “I am glad you told me and also glad you told me we need 30%. I really hope you get to teach, you should be teaching, BG.”
“I know,” said Banality Girl.
FFF said, “But you are engaged, right? You do believe your art is important. I mean you are painting.”
“Sure,” said BG. “Actually I feel like I am dancing on my grave...do you remember that woman, what was her name? SFW?
That skinny fashionable woman doing that nineties style slightly Freudian photography thing from the point of view of an overindulged Westchester County teen, seriously thinking she was making art relevant to, I guess, women all over the world? Geez. With her silly Son-of-a-Convicted-Seventies-Terrorist boyfriend and his former philosopher lover who made herself out to be very interesting by stroking a pet rat she had with her.”
“OMG, yes,” said FFF. “That was just unbelievable, that hyped silly artist whom nobody speaks about any more, calling you a criminal for not being able to pay your student loans? Calling you a criminal at the dinner table among all those aging rich kids?” said Freedom Fighter Friend.
“I remember how that artist woman didn’t pay any attention to me except via typical condescension until she heard I had been in the soandso program and then she suddenly ‚saw’ me. Oh, the soandso program. Really? What a disgusting person.”
Freedom Fighter Friend said.
“I mean, I remember going to that program and all these rich white kids were speaking about labor and we could see from the window in SoHo over to the other building into, BG, literally INTO a sweatshop and these silly art students who had never actually had to use their bodies for labor speaking about art as labor...it seemed so incredibly ironic to me, when I had grown up seeing my immigrant parents come home from factory work with bruises...”
said Banality Girl.
“Like the ones that come to Berlin feeling like they belong to some sort of ENCLAVE OF FUTURE LEADERS paying a ton of money to be part of a US Kaderschmiede, kind of like a Club Med with a tad of intellectual powdered sugar dusting from some TOP DOG or another, also imported from abroad. Nothing TOO challenging, though, especially politically. None of them seem to speak anything but English, nor do they know or care to meet any locals and so I… I mean, you DO wonder why they are even here in Berlin? Because Berghain?"
She rolled her eyes.
"I mean, I grew up around people like that, Expats who would insist on buying fruit on the US Army Base in Morocco instead of going to a local fruit stand. Fear of contamination … or just plain cultural laziness, I guess.”
said Banality Girl.
“I never understood it. Or maybe I don’t want to. It’s all about class and privilege and not wanting to contaminate oneself with the banal precarities of life, local life, whatever that means. Still the same old shit, you are what you consume, or rather, how much money you can spend, and here you show how you can afford to consume ‘Berlin’. Locals are not consuming it in that sense and so they are gross. And you become gross if you become one of them. So you kind of sprinkle some of that hot shit, ‘labor’ or ‘Berlin” or whatever it currently is into your chatter pretending to be theory without really touching any of it.”
“Not everybody is like that” she felt a need to quickly qualify what she said, lest she appear xenophobic. Was she?? She tried looking into herself…2 weeks ago she had been really angry when asking for a coffee in German and being unkindly reprimanded: "English, please". In a local Café. Why was she so touchy about that? Was she, in the end, actually somewhat reactionary inside? She wondered how to think about or not think about this mess. We are what we consume. That is it and it is true. Renau knew that about US style capitalism way back then and he knew how to show it, too. She felt vaguely nauseated as she contemplated how they all tended to hide the financial precarities of their artistic lives. Nobody really was open about how dire some of their lives were, financially. At the same time, perfectly reasonable school teaching jobs with actual long term perspective were seen as embarrassing. She was constantly afraid of looking at her account.She knew she was not the only one.
"Well. actually, there is way more to it than that," FFF pointed out. "Locals can be pretty...uhm...xenophobic." And she looked at Banality Girl. Marginalization and precarity does not prevent the marginalized from marginalizing..."
"That's true," said Banality girl. "Yeah." And sighed.
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