Em oi! #435: The Consolations of Philosophers



It turns out that there are now Em oi-canonical ways to draw some philosophers, since they have appeared a few times in the comic:

Also it turns out I have drawn a lot of comics about anxiety. Hmm. This one will be filed under B808.63 L86 2018, for Philosophy  (General)–Modern (1450/1600-)–Special topics and schools of philosophy–Anxiety.  (If you’re just here for the philosophy, feel free to peace out here.)

As I was scanning this comic, I was wondering what I was going to write for my little essay here. The time between initially writing this and finishing it was so long that if I initially had any additional thoughts, they have now gone away. But in the meantime, it is young Hal’s birthday!

Isn’t he adorable?

Anyway, I have been trying to think of some things about having a kid that I wish I had known before he was born. Honestly, most of the things that are coming to mind are not necessarily things you can know beforehand. Like no matter how good you are at putting your baby to bed, you’ve only learned how to put your baby to bed–you can’t know ahead of time how to do it, because your baby has his own personality and likes and dislikes, and you can’t help anyone else, because all babies are pretty different. But here we go.

1. Be careful when sneezing after a c-section. I don’t know why, but although I started back to running about five weeks post-op and was fine, I pulled a muscle or something sneezing just before six weeks. That was weird. And uncomfortable. I also managed to pull a muscle in my trapezius muscle while lifting the baby, and that hurt on and off for weeks. And occasionally my wrist and thumb have been angry. So maybe I should say just be careful generally–lifting a tiny cannonball four hundred times a day turns out to do a number on you. It wasn’t until I stopped pumping that my body actually started to feel like it was totally normal again (and that lasted for a few days before I started training for a marathon, so, uh).

2. Convert distances from kilometers to miles before you sign up for a race and don’t sign up for a 10 miler eight weeks after your c-section. This goes without saying, I think. I think I did the actual signing up in early September (so two or three weeks post-op), meaning I was off any drugs…so we’ll blame this on sleep deprivation.

3. Emotional labor is for suckers. Emotional labor is the process of using your emotions in order to provoke or prevent a particular emotional response from people. And it’s just not worth it–you can’t tell someone news that will upset them in some perfect way so as not to upset them. You cannot hint at things you’d like people to do. Don’t say, “Um, do you think it’s time for the baby to take a nap?” Say, “I need to put him down for a nap now.” Don’t say, “Well, it was nice of you to come.” Say, “Get the fuck out of my house now, I’m tired.” (J/k, maybe don’t say that.)

4. You will become the expert on your baby. This is the best advice I got before Hal was born (it came from my sister-in-law and friend Claire Wahmanholm, doctor of poetry). So when you figure it out, feel free to (assertively, if need be) show the various grandparents/sitters how to put your baby down for a nap, feed him the way he likes, whatever. Do remember that over time, they will develop their own relationships with him and figure out what works for them in that context, but at the beginning they may need to be told.

5. As my mom put it, women don’t largely get to debrief after giving birth. I’m not a trauma theorist, but it doesn’t take a ton of psych to realize that when you go around talking to people about their kids and birth stories, you’ll sometimes get this sense that they are retelling their story in a way that is mean to make them feel better about whatever happened to them. Similarly, people get very insistent on the things they can control, like what they feed their infant or what kind of diapers they use, because it makes them feel better about all the millions of things they can’t control. This can lead to people saying things that sometimes come off as quite shirty about how their “thing” (exclusive breastfeeding for two years, cloth diapering, attachment parenting, whatever; not vaccinating is one of the more extreme and harmful examples of this) is so much better than whatever else. The best thing to do is not get involved.

6. The reason people fall into more sexist roles after having a baby is that the only people anyone has watched parent up close is their own parents, and thirty years ago it was a lot less typical for men to take on 50% of the parenting. If this works for you, fine. (It doesn’t work for me.) But at least be conscious about what you’re agreeing to.

7. Like most experiences, it’s hard to appreciate how amazing having a baby is until you’re not inside the experience anymore. Just smile as best you can at the old lady who corners you at the cafe. And when you see other people who are earlier in the process than you are, just reassure them that it gets better.

8. It is okay to buy some earplugs and wear them while you’re doing time holding a fussy/colicky infant. You’ll be more relaxed, and everyone will be happier because of that.

9. When in doubt, make art. Any type, doesn’t matter. It’ll make things better.

Em oi! #410: Ça suffit

em_410

Click to embiggen. I had already written this script before the attack on Paris last Friday, so I decided to just go with it.

I actually have been reading Being and Nothingness[1], and contrary to my expectations (and it’s reputation, I guess), it’s not a depressing book. At least in the part I’ve read so far, Sartre is mostly concerned with setting out his view of ontology, refuting most of the philosophers who preceded him (everyone from Descartes to Kant, anyway). I’ve done this drawing illustrating the history of philosophy to show you what I mean:
history of philosophy

I hope that clarifies things.

What I really love is the feeling that all the stuff I was dragged through as an undergrad–Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Spinoza, Kant, probably a few others I’m leaving out–seems to be summarized quite elegantly here and then rejected in favor of a philosophy that seems to better describe my intuitions about how my mind/reality work than, you know, Berkeley or anything. I am surprised courses on existentialism were not offered at my university. Or perhaps they were and I didn’t take any–in those days, my focus was more on epistemology (somewhat) and logic, so I read Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein, among others. The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus remains one of my favorite books I read during this period.[2] And of course, this was the time during which I discovered Foucault, but I came to him (and Derrida) through the English department rather than the philosophy department.

Here are a few other appearances of these philosophers:

  • Descartes
  • Derrida
  • All other philosophers (inclusive)
  • Bonus other comic with Camus:

    em_76

    We can file this comic under B2430.S34L86 2015, for Philosophy (General)–Modern (1450/1600-)–By region or country–France–By period–20th century–Individual philosophers, A-Z–Sartre, Jean-Paul, 1905-1980–Biography, autobiography, criticism, etc.–General works.

    In other announcements, if you’re out and about, please consider buying a copy of The Joy of Fishes at A Room of One’s Own (not signed, but we can arrange it) or Mystery to Me (pre-signed). They have been very nice to take a few copies on consignment, so perhaps we can help them move them–you’d be helping not just an indie author, but a local indie bookstore as well. Huzzah.


    [1] It’s not really a dreadmill book, so I’ve been reading Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle on the elliptical. I’m currently on book three. Each book is about 800 pages, and unfortunately they often seem to take about the first 100 to 150 to really get rolling. But if you’ve ever been interested in the enlightenment, it’s worth it. I don’t actually think he’s mis-characterizing enlightenment ideals or anything, for the most part. Maybe I’ll talk more about that when I do a review (in a million years when I actually finish it).

    [1] I also did a lot of ancient philosophers, especially Plato. Modern philosophers included Philippa Foot, Robert Nozick, and Peter Singer.