General musings


in Daily updates, Oxford

Machinery in Bath

If anyone is familiar with Chichester, on the southern coast of England, perhaps they can help me out. I now have a ticket in hand to go there on the 18th of March in order to attend my friend Sarah Johnston’s wedding. My return ticket is for 3:00pm on the next day, and I need to find a decent, modestly priced place to spend the night. My investigations so far have not uncovered the existence of any hostels. If all else fails, I suppose I can wander the town all night in my suit, like some kind of spectre. I certainly would like to have a look at the sea, to which the town seems closely adjacent.

Perhaps I will be able to locate someone else who is similarly in need of lodging.

Even though it’s the second time a friend of mine is getting married, it still strikes me as a highly unusual occurrence. I suppose as my friends start drifting into their mid twenties, more such match-ups will begin to take place. It’s obviously a circumstance enormously beyond anywhere I’ve found myself, in terms of institutionalized commitment.

Five days after the wedding, my mother is coming to visit Oxford. I am fairly sure this is already the longest I have ever gone without seeing any member of my family. Communicating by means of Skype and email really isn’t an adequate alternative. I am excited about the trip to Malta – as I am in general about visiting previously unknown places – and you can be certain that a good number of photos from the expedition will show up here eventually.

The core seminar and academic ideology

Today’s core seminar was quite good. Unlike many of the previous classes, which became mired in narrow theoretical debates, this one seemed to have a bit more dynamism. Of course, that may be reflective of my general sympathy towards normative approaches. The degree to which international relations is properly thought of as a ‘science’ is certainly divisive within the program, though not always along the fault lines I expect. There is definitely an ideal that is satisfied by the possibility that we might understand international relations in an objective and rigorous way but, given the constructed nature of both the international system and our approach to understanding it, I think we need a more self-aware form of theory, as well as one which is more explicitly concerned with the mitigation of global injustice.

At the same time, I find my confidence about such a theoretical approach to be rather less comprehensive than that of some of my colleagues, who believe that a rigidly social science perspective, with similar ambitions to those of the natural sciences, is best placed to address the questions of international relations.

PS. My room in Library Court remains available to potential renters within the college.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

B March 2, 2006 at 8:27 pm

Today’s photo:

Documentary value: 3/7
Artistic value: 5/7

Anonymous April 11, 2006 at 11:12 pm

A Thousand Kisses Deep
Leonard Cohen

Don’t matter if the road is long
Don’t matter if it’s steep
Don’t matter if the moon is gone
And the darkness is complete
Don’t matter if we lose our way
It’s written that we’ll meet
At least, that’s what I heard you say
A thousand kisses deep

I loved you when you opened
Like a lily to the heat
You see, I’m just another snowman
Standing in the rain and sleet
Who loved you with his frozen love
His second hand physique
With all he is and all he was
A thousand kisses deep

I know you had to lie to me
I know you had to cheat
You learned it on your father’s knee
And at your mother’s feet
But did you have to fight your way
Across the burning street
When all our vital interests lay
A thousand kisses deep

I’m turning tricks
I’m getting fixed
I’m back on boogie street
I’d like to quit the business
But I’m in it, so to speak
The thought of you is peaceful
And the file on you complete
Except what I forgot to do
A thousand kisses deep

Don’t matter if you’re rich and strong
Don’t matter if you’re weak
Don’t matter if you write a song
The nightingales repeat
Don’t matter if it’s nine to five
Or timeless and unique
You ditch your life to stay alive
A thousand kisses deep

The ponies run
The girls are young
The odds are there to beat
You win a while, and then it’s done
Your little winning streak
And summon now to deal with your invincible defeat
You live your life as if it’s real
A thousand kisses deep

I hear their voices in the wine
That sometimes did me seek
The band is playing Auld Lang Syne
But the heart will not retreat
There’s no forsaking what you love
No existential leap
As witnessed here in time and blood
A thousand kisses deep

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