Monday, November 12, 2007

Road Trip Part II: Oprah's Va-Jay-Jay

Upon arrival at the hotel in Cleveland, we registered and then went almost immediately to a panel discussion featuring 4 of my colleagues from EMU (Marty, Christine, Craig, & Joe). They were all fantastic & impressed everyone who was in attendance. Afterwards, while looking through the program, Christine came upon a group beginning a few minutes later which featured a paper called "The Fiction and Reality of Trolls in Medieval Icelandic Sagas." We all collectively wondered, "The reality of trolls? Is this dude gonna claim trolls are real?" Marty then said they were going to the Hall of Fame and wondered if I wanted to tag along, but int he interest of saving cash & seeing some more presentations, I declined. Christine (whom I think may have been punking us) then suggested we check out the troll guy & tell her how it went. SPOILER ALERT: IT SUCKED! The panel had something to do w/ The Real and the Sur-Real in the Middle Ages. The 1st speaker summarized Hamlet, Oedipus & "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" for 15 minutes before coming to his point which was basically that they are all caught between rocks & hard places... no shit. He was wearing a tweed coat, talking like Shatner, checking his pocket watch at obviously staged moments & being an all around ass-hat. Troll dude spoke second. His concern was two-fold.
A) What are the rules trolls follow throughout the multiple sagas?
B) Does the fact that they all conform to basically the same rules suggest that people in Medieval Iceland actually believed in trolls & can we tell for sure by looking @ the texts?
This guy explained the rules they follow... a. trolls live in rocky areas, b. trolls are larger than humans, & c. trolls either help, hurt, or have sex w/ humans. He followed this up w/ an aside: "Troll sexuality... there, I said it." As if it was too shocking to discuss. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting such shit. It's the MLA for Christ's sake! It's a really prestigious literary organization. Which back door these dip-shits snuck through, I don't know, but it should have been looked. He goes on to summarize troll sagas for the next 10 minutes before coming to his conclusion: "Although they probably didn't believe in trolls, we can't tell for sure what they believed solely based on the literature." He then ended w/ what could only be described as a punch-line: "100s of Millions of people around the world base their beliefs on the writings of a single book, so it's possible that they did believe." A 15 minute set-up to make fun of religious people? Come on. During the Q&A session, another douchebag reared his ugly head. A guy behind Emily & me said, "I understand your point, but I think you're misleading people about trolls." They proceeded to argue about where trolls live like 2 D&D high-schoolers arguing about the powers of their characters.
Afterwards, we were too late for the next panel, 1 that was probably really interesting about representations of Gay Culture in film, so we decided to get some food & then go to the free wine hour. Jenny & I went outside for a moment only to return to Emily freaking out over Kristen & Patrick's "Cyclopsing." This is where they put their noses together so as to appear to have only one eye, at which point they then sing "I Only Have Eye for You." It was something to behold. (I want to say, I'm not relating this syrupy, lovey-dovey stuff to make fun, but to relate the trip as I saw it. I'm happy for them & their ability to act that way. Maybe some day, in some fucked up alternate universe, I too will be able to act like that.) After a slice @ Sparro, we went for the free wine. Believe it or not, we drank a lot of it. There was a cash bar, & the bartender was surprised that people were only drinking the wine. It was FREE! Who is spending 5 bucks on a crappy class of Scotch when the crappy Merlot is free? While sitting there, a set of twin sisters, 6'8 & 350-400 pounds came in & I leaned to Jenny (I thought everyone else would be too justifiably offended) to suggest that trolls may in fact exist. This, of course, resulted in me getting punched for being an asshole. W/ a belly full of wine (Patrick drank Coke because he was driving) we set off for home, but before we even got on I 90, Jenny mentioned The Soup & the segment about "Oprah's Va-Jay-Jay." We found it possible to then talk about Oprah's pussy for the next 2 1/2 hours. So in the end, maybe the troll guy wasn't the only one to get more than his fair share of mileage out of a rather stupid idea.

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