So today when I grow up, I wanna be an archivist. Which, I recognize, may not be an actual legit way for me to make a living....given the choices that have led me to the particular middle age where I find myself.
as a result, I've been trying to cultivate the archive of the Rudd Family Blog and catch our (massive!) audience up to the present moment.
In doing so I included this picture of me and my former-student / present-friend, Alyssa:
I stole this picture from Alyssa's Facebook album, but then.....excised us from the context where actually were, and instead inserted on this lawn at Harvard University.
I don't teach at Harvard University. Nor would I (in my honest-ist moments) ever want to.
But the real photo? Is just confusing:
It looks like some version of an amusement park inside a convention center hotel.
Which isn't far from the truth. It's the lobby of the local mega-church which my little University rents for graduation ceremonies. And honestly, the auditorium where the actual ritual takes place is much nicer than the big fieldhouses and football stadiums where many larger universities hold their ceremonies.
And the truth is that this second photo does refer quite accurately to the strange (and to me uneasy) relationship that my place-of-employment maintains with local evangelicals. Treehouses and coffeeshops in vast mall-like foyers *are* definitive of this brand of contemporary worship centers. BUT they didn't really make any sense in terms of the story I was telling with the other post.
So I quickly googled the words that I knew would register precisely the indexicality that I wanted the image to imbue. Harvard University. I did blur it out a bit, as a kind of statement of protest against our culture's adulation for a model of University Education that really reinforces all kinds of classist presuppositions.
But I felt guilty about the little lie, so I thought I'd write a quick justification over here on this blog....to balance my guilt with thoughtful intentionality. Telling stories with images always demands editing, staging and the manipulation of perspective.....
I've long suggested that tiny lies in stories are both inevitable and helpful. They are the very DNA of fiction....but my ambivalence for promotion-driven, image-obsessed gloss feels like a difficult counterweight to balance. And I recognize that my own disdain for the middle-class kitschy aesthetics that surround my suburban existence also motivates this particular pretension...
Ahh the neverending spirals of reflexive, narcissistic blogging....