Welcome to my world-such as it is.Who am I? Good question. The answer will slowly emerge on this blog-along with many,many other things. What is this blog going to be about? Well, it'll be about MANY things. That my opinions will be part of the fabric of this place is nothing new-any jackoff with access to a keyboard or touchpad has a blog these days where they rant about everything What makes it unique besides the place where the mathematical sciences live and breathe through my voice. My voice is that of a first year graduate student in pure mathematics-with many issues,ideas and peeves.I decided if the imbeciles who believe George Bush is The Voice Of God and that price of gas is a conspiracy by environmentalists to wean America off gas and take thier precious SUVs from them could have blogs,why not me?
Actually,there was more to it then that. I've never really been a big fan of blogs. Yeah,they're useful for whining in public when no one else gives a damn what you're saying,but they have a tendency to become self-serving and obsessive. So why the sudden 180?
Blame Fernando Q. Gouvêa.
For those who don't know,Dr.Fernando Gouvêa is a professor of mathematics at Colby College in Maine,probably best known for writing the standard introductory text on p-adic analysis. Much more relevant to me,as I've been a native New Yorker all my life and wouldn't know Colby if you dropped me from a chopper into its main walkway-he's the editor,among other things,of the Mathematical Association Of America's Mathematical Sciences Digital Library
webpage. I've been writing for Professor Gouvêa's book review section for almost a year now. Among the books I've reviewed 5 textbooks to date, including Walter Rudin's Principles Of Mathematical Analysis and David Watkin's Topics In Commutative Ring Theory. For the most part, these reviews have gone pretty smoothly, with the exception of the usual grammar (which I don't care about) and me screwing up my facts (which I DO care about,but I'm not above admitting a screw up). He and I didn't really have a major issue until I tried to submit a review about Dover's wonderful new reissue in cheap paperback of Kenneth Hoffman's Analysis In Euclidean Space. I thought such a review would be a wonderful place for me to rant about the criminal cost of scientific textbooks in academia. I submitted the review. A few days later, I got an email from Dr. Gouvêa basically telling me that my review was no place for such commentary and that it exposed the MAA to litigation from the insulted parties i.e. the book publishers. (He DID offer to publish my comments in another forum intended for such commentary,such as FOCUS.)
I was livid and made my displeasure felt in no uncertain terms. In retrospect, I feel somewhat guilty about it. Dr. Gouvea was just doing his job-which,like it or not, it partly to protect the website from legal retaliation over an opinion. But the fact that this was even a real concern is truly tragic in what is supposed to be the Land Of The Free. To make a long story short, after a brief but somewhat heated exchange between us,I revised the review,removed all the commentary and the "safe" version was posted at the website.
I don't blame Professor Gouvea for the incident-he was doing the responsible thing for the website. It's the fact that he felt he HAD to that burned me. In the Land Of King George, Creationist Science, the Patriot Act and the most corrupt administration in our generation's lifetime, freedoms are what they say it is. I remember going to a diner with my late father a few weeks after 9/11-the diner owner was a Middle Eastern immigrant. The guy was practically in terror of any American coming through-he had the place loaded with American flags and said "God bless America" with every other sentence. His eyes looked like he was begging people not to call the police-and meanwhile, people were looking him up and down like he was wearing a .45 Magnum. I remember an Afgani friend of mine running for his life from a group of students throwing rocks at him for 4 blocks in Manhattan at about the same time. I also remember shopping in my local grocery store and a report coming over the radio of them shutting down JFK and beating the crap out of some guy who looked-and I quote-"vaguely Arabic". The time of Red State Rule finally is showing real resistance in the form of the Obama Movement (not so much the man, but the ATTITUDE that's made him the Democratic nominee) . But in the face of all this,the fears of intellectuals voicing thier opinions is a real threat.
We are not free anymore. We Are Property Of The Wealthy. So I can't feel anger towards my editor. Like I said, it's his job to protect the MAA from the dictatorship and the ignorance of those who worship them. As I've said-there's a very real sense of anger-driven change in the air-driven by homeless middle class people who can't heat thier homes and keep burying thier children before thier 25th birthday in a senseless war about ego and power. But change will not come if those who rage against the dying of the light stay silent.
Hence this blog. All opinions here are entirely mine. There is no fact here except those I identify, only passion and opinion, without which there can be no freedom. A change is trying to come. Whether or not it will actualize depends on what Bill Maher so beautifully called The Moron Factor in America. The Moron Factor saddled us with 4 more years of rule this planet will be paying for for centuries. Whether it dooms the Earth with ANOTHER 4 years is a story that will play itself out in the next 5 months.
Hence, the Beginning. There will be more-much more-here in the coming months. Next time-I'll formally introduce myself in a little more detail-and hopefully get to matters mathematical.
And of course,please feel free to contribute to the blog anything you want. And I mean ANYTHING. (Well, not porno, but you get the idea.................)
Ciao,all. A propo, I close with a quote from Kevin Smith:
" Don't have a belief-have an IDEA........................"
We Interrupt The Misery Of Human Existence For This Insignificant Blog To Light Meaning In The Darkness Of Mere Being..............