3:10 to Yuma and career crisis #48,534,853


This afternoon, Matt and I played hooky from all our responsibilities and caught a matinee of 3:10 to Yuma (funnily enough, it was 3:10 when we left the movie theatre). I thought, going into it, that it would be a movie about embattled masculinity, since in my dissertation co-chair’s film class we’ve been talking about … embattled masculinty in the Western (i.e., Brokeback Mountain). But it’s really not. Sure, all those tropes are there (first shot we see of Russell Crowe’s character has his saddlehorn in a tight closeup; the emasculated man who is struggling financially; the bad guy, stripped of his back hat, reveals his humanity), but this is really a bleak movie about the futility of doing the right thing. I don’t want to give too much away here, but the equation seems to be “do the right thing and hang tight to your morals and you end up just as screwed as the really crappy guy who has done unspeakable things to innocent people.” It’s pretty nihilistic, which isn’t surprising, considering it’s based on an Elmore Leonard short story, but it’s deeply enjoyable. I’ve been thinking about it all day.

And watch out for that amazing homoerotic climax between Russell Crowe and Ben Foster. It doesn’t get much more transgressive than that!

This is an overly simplified analysis of the film, one that really doesn’t do it justice, but I’m really tired and emotionally drained, so I’ll leave it at that.

After the movie, I bolted off to a meeting for the book I’m contributing to. My essay was being peer-reviewed, so I couldn’t really skip out on it. I knew that my essay was not great (and it wasn’t even finished because one of the people I’m interviewing specifically for this essay keeps rescheduling on me), but it’s hard to get your work peer reviewed and hear very little positive feedback. Like, next to none. (Someone did send me electronic feedback that was very positive, so that cheered me up a bit.) Whatever, I came out of the meeting with some good ideas for revision, ideas that will help me shape my essay into a more cohesive interrogation of the subject. But that’s not what was really eating at me by the time we all said goodbye.

What’s got me so freaked out (and a little depressed) is that I’m apparently supposed to transcribe an interview for this project, something I was told 2-3 weeks ago I didn’t have to do because we had an intern. We’re talking about an extra 4-5 hours worth of work sometime between now and mid-October. Now, that may not sound that awful on “paper,” but when you think about the fact that I’m either sitting in or teaching class for 12 hours a week, holding office hours for three, proctoring in the CWRL labs for 6, doing class prep, laboriously translating my Spanish reading, reading for my rhetorical theory class and Dr. P’s film class (admittedly, this is low-priority, as I’m just sitting in on this one, so the stakes are low, but it’s relevant to my dissertation project and therefore important), NOT TO MENTION parenting a toddler, exercising, schlepping, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, and trying to be a fully present member of my family — oh, and meet OTHER deadlines for OTHER projects — I’m not seeing where I’m going to be able to fit in another fucking thing. Notice I haven’t accounted for doing things like sleeping and oh, I don’t know, maybe having a life. I’m thinking I’m going to have to lay off of therapy and acupuncture for a while because those both take about four hours a month and I just don’t have the luxury of that kind of time.

(I realize that that last sentence makes me sound like a privileged, spoiled little brat, but acupuncture and therapy kept me out of the puzzle factory this summer — it’s been a while since I’ve been to either — maybe that’s why I’m feeling so unhinged right now.)

This camel’s back, it is pretty much at capacity. I call uncle. Something’s got to give, but I can find no quarter. Maybe I’ll start robbing stagecoaches and torturing Pinkertons.

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