Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trois Lettres (3 Letters)

To all my loyal readers,

I would begin with apologies for the six-and-a-halfish week hiatus from blogging but I am not sorry. Apologizing for not blogging would be like apologizing for partying or living. Or apologizing when the two overlap. Not going to happen. I have, however, been virtually proving my existence fairly regularly via facebook and twitter so you could always satisfy your [TBA] withdrawal through those venues. I did, however, deem it necessary for each of the three of us to update you on our current goings on.

I have to start by saying that it is good to be back on the blog – even if the three of us are still struggling to coalesce into a normally-functioning human being (though it is arguable whether any first semester PhD student should be expected to function as a normal human being). I have been attempting to dissuade American Tommy from drinking beer and watching TV shows like “Jersey Shore” and movies like “Leprechaun 5: In Da Hood” and the amount of time he wastes on Fantasy Football is depressing. However, with “Beavis and Butthead” returning to the airwaves tonight, I am about to throw in the towel and assume that I’m fighting a losing battle. American Tommy will not be completely broken of his Americanness. That being said, I am equally concerned that French Tommy is academically overexerting himself. In the past 8 weeks he has read approximately 15 books in their entirety and constantly fails to grasp the concept of “skimming for content.” He has spent far too much time trying to figure out how to type in Arabic on his computer and learn the requisite vocab and still has ~50 pages to write and more to read in the second half of the semester than the first. I guess that, while I’m worrying and trying to reign in the unhelpful tendencies of French Tommy and American Tommy that they are both doing quite well, as you will see from their letters below.

Thanks for reading,

Florida Tommy

To Readers of this Blog;




I don’t know that we have been formally introduced but I am the Tommy who was cultivated in the rich cultural context of Paris, France while pursuing an MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies at the American University of Paris. I abhor American reality television and am annoyed with American Tommy’s incessant preoccupation with the goings on of Pauly D, Vinny, Snooki, et al. I would prefer a night at the museum or reading a good work of fiction to subjecting myself to such rubbish but, alas, sometimes I have little to no say in the matter. And rap music. I don’t get it but American Tommy loves it. But this is besides the point. The past few months have been quite productive in terms of scholarly activity. I have read through some thought-provoking primary source material in the field of Muslim Philosophy, written a paper on the political implications of taxonomic reasoning and 'Religion' as a floating signifier, learned the Arabic alphabet as well as some introductory conversational vocabulary, and led a week’s worth of lectures on the topic of Capital Punishment in a course on Religious Ethics. I have also been informed that I will be the teaching assistant in a course called “Islam in the Modern World” which I am quite happy about. The coming weeks should prove to be quite fruitful in terms of reading, writing, and research followed by a winter break of preparing for the spring semester.

Thank you all for reading,
French Tommy


My fantasy football teams, Dick Butkus, Team TandA, and TommyWantWingy are excellent, mediocre, and bad, respectively (though the latter two have injuries as excuses – they couldn’t possibly be losing due to poor team management). Florida has been fun – the rewards card at the liquor store on the corner has proved to be worth its weight in bourbon and nearly every bar runs buy-one-get-one drink specials regularly. Pauly D is stepping his game up and has become the most entertaining cast member of Jersey Shore and Beavis and Butthead is coming back on the air. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a gift from the gods but I am thankful. I’ve had to work out less than I’d like because Frenchy reads too much (or his professors make him read too much or he reads too slow, I try to stay away from all that). French Tommy has definitely been taking up too much of life lately, but I’m currently leading one fantasy football league (Dick Butkus in PlayforPride II – having Wes Welker and Calvin Johnson helps) and sitting in fourth place in another (Team TandA in the Mercke Football League – Kenny Britt, Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates, LeGarrette Blount, Julio Jones, Trent Cole,, Danieal Manning, and now Darren McFadden are all key injuries that TeamTandA has managed to somewhat overcome). The third (TommyWantWingy in VCU Biostat League) is somewhat of a lost cause at this point, but I’m atleast staying sort of competitive…at least I’m not Mercer who is a terrible human being with questionable hygiene who spends his free time kicking puppy dogs. In the coming semester I’m hoping to keep up with the current season of South Park, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which has been on. point. so far this season) as well as Jersey Shore and Beavis and Butthead. I’m also looking forward to a trip to Virginia this weekend where Frenchy gets to read on the plane and in airports but that’s it. I’ll try to blog more regularly, but won’t be sorry if I don’t and Frenchy will probably try to ruin that joyful part of my life as well.

Thanks for reading,

American Tommy