Really? Really? Seen Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen earlier and it’s quite astonishing. It’s dismissive of difference in such a strong way, it’s such a strong statement of old discursive hierarchies, that it is often baffling. Ebert has called this movie “the end of an era” (link) but in many worrying ways it seems to be not just a sign of the times but an indicator of the future. Short- not longterm future, hopefully, but still. Today, we Germans were reminded again of the sagacity of having a representative rather than a direct democracy as the Swiss decided to ban the construction of minarets in their country; for a country where a total of four minarets exist, and no significant problems with immigrants, this is kind of a great illustration of what the term ‘Islamophobia’ actually means. Antisemitism of the very virulent kind is rising again, becoming plain and unapologetic. Postfeminism, and plain misogyny have gained prominence again, as well as a kind of resentment against the public representation, the presence of homosexuality. Resentment is the perfect word actually. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is celebratory, but the loud, crass, widescreen mode of this screams defiance. We’re here, we’re not queer, cope with it. Mel Gibson’s work (link to an older review of mine) is hateful, but it’s also passionate, it’s a defense of the tenets and beliefs that underlie his world-view, while Michael Bay’s artistic project is just a stating of that world-view, a clear and lucid depiction of it, but not an actual defense, which make it much worse. The glaring lights and sounds, the epic length of many of his recent movies, all this at best expresses an irritation of not being given his due, of society moving in a way that is not in accord of what he expects to be his. It is this resentment that made the Swiss initiative succeed, it is this resentment that fuels the hate of some British journalists I know, and it is the same resentment that can make Bay’s movies such a sick fun to watch, although they work best the more you share his ideological premises. Just how funny are two robots, depicted in an almost offensively racist way, with black slang (linguistically, I think, partly channeled through Chappelle’s Show, it’s a pop-culturally mediated understanding of deviant language), gold teeth, who “don’t do much readin’”. This is not about racial hate, it’s a cultural indignation, a description of what’s right and what should be right. Bay is reveling in images of scantly clad women, of airplanes, of heroic shots of military men. The dialogue is just the icing on the cake. Words, eh. Bay doesn’t do much reading, but he does understand his world well and in every frame of this movie of his he presents it to us, loud and in color; this understanding is not something he wants to transmit to us, unlike Gibson. He wants us to celebrate this. He wants, no he needs us to take this at face value and applaud it. Its the only way the movie works, when it works at all. And as I said, this is everywhere.
Archive for the 'Rant' Category
In the case of the Roma, we have a lot of anti-Roma feeling in the UK – to the extent that some people seem to consider it an acceptable form of prejudice. But simply dismissing it as racist – even reminding people that the Roma were amongst the Nazis’ victims – does not tackle the issues, and does alienate people. (…) if one ignores the criminality of, say, Roma, then one is actually going to help the development of racism. Saying it’s ‘cultural’ just won’t do and doesn’t work. And igoring such things as Roma women being sent out to aggressively beg becuase one’s scared of being labelled ‘racist’ does absolutely nothing to deal with the central issues.
And you won’t be surprised to discover the old bigot’s straw man, the fear of being labeled racist. Hilarious. But then again, as I look at my country, maybe not so hilarious.
I’m German and I live in Germany and read German newspapers and German book reviews. I wish I didn’t. Reading reviews can be so much fun, like a silent conversation with vaguely like-minded people about books we like or even love. German reviews, however, are something else. Oh, German critics in action, what a sad spectacle. I’m not sure who allowed them to write and publish reviews and who pays these fools money hand over fist, but someone did and they should be punished. Generally speaking, German reviewers have no taste. None. And you can point to all sorts of evidence for this. You can point to truly atrocious writers like Pascal Mercier, whose day job is to be a mediocre Swiss philosopher who goes by the name of Peter Bieri. Mercier writes terribly sentimental books about Important issues and Big emotions and he does that with the language of a tired teenager. But his books never fail to garner praise in the German press. Or take Ingo Schulze, that curly haired hack. Ah, but we’ll return to Schulze.
Let me point out first that this sort of tastelessness is not just an unpleasant fact of German culture. There are a few unpleasant facts, why get all hot and bothered about this one? Well, it can be harmful. One instance are translations. Writers like Philip Roth who, like him or not, wield a deft and elegant pen, are translated into a German that Mercier would be embarrassed to use. Clunky, full of Americanisms and cheap idioms, the German Roth nary resembles the original. Complaints from the reviewers? Au contraire. They tend to praise all kinds of questionable decisions. Like Inés Koebel, who is probably the most celebrated German translator at the moment; she is currently translating the complete works, it seems, of Fernando Pessoa. I don’t speak Portuguese, but apparently, she takes great liberties in rendering his poetry. German reviewers recognized it and heaped praise on her for that, especially for clearing up passages that were obscure in the original. Am deutschen Wesen soll die Welt genesen! The German reviewer tells his readers that a translator has to produce a good text, clearly, he need not care much about the source text. German reviewers could do much to amend the sorry state of German translations but they won’t. Instead they praise a German translation of and English translation of a Bengal novel, because, apparently, it is a much better and lighter read than the original. There are countless examples like that. Nobody who has read a decent amount of books in translation can deny that in Germany, you can tell from the goddamn language what the original language was. Give me a page, purged of names, and I can tell you with 80% accuracy from which language it was translated. German translations resemble sloppy interlinear translations more than anything else. Unless critics are deaf and blind, they have noticed this. And this will never change. Unless reviewers, who have a certain clout, step up and complain about crap, nothing will change. Because the reading public sure as hell doesn’t care. The crap they buy, the crap that’s flying off the shelves, it’s beyond comprehension.
So, yes, on the negative side, reviewers could use their influence to clean up the mess that German translations (with a few notable exceptions!) are, but they don’t. On the other hand, they could use positive pushes to promote good literature. In Germany there are many literary prizes and some, like the Döblinpreis and the Büchnerpreis keep being awarded to worthy writers and exceptional books, maybe because the reviewers’ influence is not as strong as in other important prizes. One of those is the newly established Deutscher Buchpreis, an award which has consistently shown itself to be a joke. Julia Franck wins in the year that Köhlmeier, Menasse and Düffel are nominated? Really? Marcel Beyer may be one of the five most brilliant German novelists, but Schulze is a scourge. His language and characters are consistently flat and clichéd; he attempts by turn to be hip and pensive, he fails on both accounts. Schulze is awful in so many ways – but he’s a darling of German book sections. Why? Because German critics don’t care how a book is written: if they can empathize with it, it’s good. If it sounds Important, it’s good.
This was never as clear as when the other major prize was decided this year: the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. This one is awarded for short prose, either short stories or excerpts from novels; the nominees read their submissions publicly, not just before an audience but the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize is televised, as well, and all the texts can be read online here; is remarkable in that not just the texts are public, but that the jury debates the text in question in public, too. We hear them discuss the merits and demerits of the text, and can see on what their final decision will be based, even though the final deliberations are not public. And it is revealing every time. When I heard this year’s winner, Jens Petersen, read his text, an excerpt from an upcoming novel, a Swiss, 33 year old writer who has already published a novel, Die Haushälterin, in 2005 (longlisted for the deutscher Buchpreis), I groaned. His text (read it here) is written solely for effect, he attempts to squeeze the utmost sentimental feeling from his material, bashing the reader over the head with faux-archaic vocabulary, overused, overly symbolic images, but without the verbal staying power that is needed to make these set pieces work as part of a larger whole, as part of a text that works as a text and not as a statement of intention. The text is about someone dying, and embeds its characters and events in a dire wasteland that makes McCarthy seem subtle. The protagonist’s voice was fittingly, predictably disaffected and jaded.
The jurors immediately praised the text, declared that it had lots of symbols and a landscape that expressed the inner landscape of the protagonist. They pointed out that the author was a doctor and surmised that he must have come into contact with lots of people in dire straits. One single critic resisted, Paul Jandl. He said that all this was well and good, but the actual writing was terrible, the actual writing was “kitschig”, i.e. cheesy, chintzy, corny, but his voice was drowned out by all the other critics who were so very moved by what evidently was a harsh life and a difficult situation. All of those fools could have been talking about a movie or a picture, even. These are the people our newspapers pay to review books. And when I heard, the next day, that Petersen won, I didn’t even get mad. It was just as expected, really. Business as usual. German critics in action.
racebending.com complained about the whitening of the characters of the movie version of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
On December 9th 2008, the lead roles were cast for M Night Shyamalan’s upcoming film The Last Airbender and all of them were originally cast as white actors.
The Nickelodeon show “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” on which this film is based, featured Asian characters in a fantasy setting inspired and informed by a variety of Asian cultures. The characters fight with East Asian martial arts, have Asian features, dress in clothing from Asian cultures, and write with Chinese characters. The cast and setting were a refreshing departure from predominantly white American media, and were a large part of the show’s appeal as well as an inspiration to many Asian American children.
They also (hum) opened a shop at zazzle.com where they reiterated their complaint
Based on the Asian-influenced animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, the movie has now cast three white actors to play lead, heroic Asian or Inuit characters. The fourth white actor cast as the lead, antagonist role had been hastily recast, thereby effectively contrasting three white heroes – existing in an Asian-based fantasy world – fighting an (overall) evil brown nation. The production made a choice. That choice sent a clear message:
“American Children of Color: You are not good enough to play the hero, even if that hero shares your ethnicity.”
and offered for sale protest t-shirts, that had, for example, the words: “The Last Airbender: Putting the Cauc back in Asian”, which they had to take down due to copyright violations (see account of that here and a few more motifs). I don’t really think that glockgal (?) has reason to complain, it’s quite transparently a trademark issue, and she’s selling shirts, FFS. But the bigger issue, which is well illustrated by looking at who was whitewashed and who not (see link above or picture here) is troubling, especially since it demonstrates how little, as a culture, we’ve learned, how little we’ve internalized instead of just paying lip service to humane thinking. It is quite frustrating that so many discussions on important issues are structurally (and partly also on the level of actual phrases and formulations) identical with discussions that we had 40, 60, 100 or 200 years ago. And, sometimes, as with amazonfail, a public manifestation of the encrusted hate proves to be the last straw.(via boingboing)
Vor ein paar Wochen haben wir uns ja allesamt über das hier gefreut, schöne große antisemitische Massenkundgebungen. Ich hätte ja verschiedene Bezeichnungen gefunden dafür, nicht aber “bürgerliche Demonstrationen gegen Krieg und Gewalt”. Ich wurde aber eines besseren belehrt, als ich folgende Frage samt Antwort in einem Interview fand, das der NRW-Verfassungsschutz-Chef Hartwig Möller den Ruhrnachrichten gab:
Muss Deutschland die eindeutige Instrumentalisierung von Demonstrationen gegen Krieg und Gewalt hinnehmen?
Möller: Extremisten freuen sich über die Aufmerksamkeit, die sie erzielen, wenn sie sich bei bürgerlichen Demonstranten einklinken. Rechte, Linke oder beide gleichzeitig versuchen immer wieder, bürgerliche Demonstrationen für ihre Zwecke zu nutzen. In einer offenen Gesellschaft darf eben jeder demonstrieren, auch Extremisten, solange sie sich an die Spielregeln der Gesetze halten.
Daß es sich bei besagten Extremisten keineswegs um Islamisten oder andere Freunde des gepflegten Judenhasses handelt, wird klar wenn wir sehen, daß es in dem kompletten, wirklich lesenswert-bekloppten Interview ausschließlich um die Antideutschen geht,
eine eindeutig linksextreme, antifaschistische und antiimperialistische Bewegung, die allerdings in der linken Szene eine Minderheit darstellt.
Mir schien die Tatsache, daß diese ‘Szene’, soweit ich sie aus der blogwelt mitbekomme, sehr zersplittert ist, immer ein interessanter Fakt zu sein, sowas weist ja oft darauf hin, daß die Dichte an einigermaßen selbstdenkenden Menschen besonders hoch ist. Da habe ich mich allerdings getäuscht, denn
es gehört zum Selbstverständnis der gesamten linksextremen autonomen Szene, jegliche Strukturbildung zu vermeiden, die man dann verbieten könnte.
So einfach ist das. Ich kenne mich natürlich nicht so gut aus, weder kenne ich besonders viele Antideutsche noch bin ich der NRW-Chef des Verfassungsschutzes, aber mir persönlich kommt es vor, als ob da jemand von sich, i.e. seiner eigenen Denke, auf andere schließt. Aufklärung ist mir hier willkommen (Herr Kulla vielleicht?).
Persönlich möchte ich schließen mit meinem Neid auf den Interviewer, dessen Gemütsruhe ich gerne hätte. Wieso kann ich mich nicht darüber freuen, daß die “israelische Reaktion [...] vergleichsweise moderat [war]” und hoffen, daß diese Schädlinge am Volkskörper “erst einmal” wieder “verschwinden” jetzt wo die aktuelle Gazakrise vorbei ist. Fritsch, der das Interview führte, ist ein guter Deutscher. In einem kurzen Artikel darüber, wie Frau Sommer, die NRW Erziehungsministerin, das Erziehungsziel “Ehrfurcht vor Gott” erreichen will, stellt er klar, daß das morgendliche Gebet, dessen Verbot in einer Klasse in Neuss vernünftigerweise gerichtlich durchgesetzt wurde, nicht irgendein Gebet ist, sondern es ist
ein einzigartiges historisches Dokument christlichen Trostes und christlicher Zuversicht aus der Feder des seinerzeit inhaftierten evangelischen Theologen und NS-Gegners Dietrich Bonhoeffer handelt, der kurz vor Kriegsende 1945 hingerichtet wurde.
Someone declares the death of canons again.
The idea of a “canon” is in tatters. A canon needs an established cultural authority, and there is no guiding authority in culture anymore. There are no real gatekeepers. [...] So, with the collapse of the canon we’re a little bit lost, drifting amidst a sea of cultural troubles. But we’re also freer. The entire cultural landscape gets freshened up. We get to look at things anew and decide if we really do like them, and why. We step out from under the thumb of an authority that, for all its usefulness, often seemed arbitrary and authoritative merely for authority’s sake. There was power — too much power maybe — lurking inside the canon, with its terrible weapon of exclusion. That power has faded away. We’re alone again, confronting the world like children, barbarian children with only a few tattered and mutually contradictory maps to assist us.
Someone apparently hopes that this was true, which it’s patently not, but the death of canons (yes there’s an ‘s’) has been declared for several decades as the end of art has been declared for two centuries (Geulen’s treatise is helpful reading on that). In this case it’s accompanied by a severe case of political naivete, which is not less political for being about ‘culture’. People who think they are in an ideology-free zone, with fully emancipated individuals are sometimes cute, but mostly annoying. It tends to given even the nice and smart ones free reign to condone atrociously racist behaviour. Tiresome. Annoying. I’m out.
Something occurred to me in respect to this.
Funny thing. Much of this is written in a rebellious spirit, practically ‘against’ academia, to show ‘em. Fuck yeah. Rogue surfer dude is as good as the fucking academics.
But the thing is, by extracting that guy from academia, defining an academic not by conpetence or even occupation, inasmuch as the man studied, did his phd, attended fucking professional conferences and spoke there. They concur with the worst idiots in academia that it has to be your career, you have to make money (and thereby hangs a tale) off of it in order for it to count. So these poor deluded people are doing exactly the opposite of what they set out to do. Instead of being ‘unruly’ they reproduce the exact power structures that the people they oppose represent, they copy the rules, word by word. Instead of shaking anything up or thinking outside the box, they sit squat in the middle of said box, staring at the walls, thinking about the walls, writing about the walls.
It happens to us all, happened to me too. When (not if) it becomes a habit to me, too, please please shoot me before I make more of a fool of myself as I’m making anyway.
(yes, I know, this was obvious and I should have said it before but I’m kinda slow and somewhat drunk)
I recently remarked on identity politics on this blog. This is another case.
Apparently, it’s fine to headline an article Has A Surfer/Snowboarder Who Lives In A Van Rewritten Physics?, or “SURFER DUDE STUNS PHYSICISTS WITH THEORY OF EVERYTHING” or “COULD THE NEXT EINSTEIN BE A SURFER DUDE?” or surf’s theory of everything, even if you talk about a guy who is “40 years old and possess[es] a Ph.D. in theoretical physics”, who “posted an academic paper called “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything” to arxiv.org, a site for scientists that’s maintained by Cornell University” and who “began presenting his theory at conferences last year, and many well-regarded physicists found it interesting, even plausible”.
But nooo. He’s a surfer dude.
Let me tell you something. If I continue working odd jobs as I do now, never find my way into an academic career, but work on complex theories of literary criticism daily, for 15 years, attend professional conferences and publish my results in an academic paper, and you call me a “surfer dude” (or something like it), I will bloody your nose.
That said, the article linked above is an engrossing read and highly recommended.
Interessante Wortwahl bei Casula
Was lernen wir also aus diesem faulen Handel? Dass Israel gut daran täte, bei nächster sich bietender Gelegenheit die heute hämisch grinsende Visage Nasrallahs in den Staub zu drücken – und die seiner Horden gleich mit. Und in Gaza genauso verfahren muss, wenn Gilad Shalit etwas zustößt: den Augiasstall komplett ausmisten.
Ich gebs ja zu. Ich mag Slipknot auch.
Oh, well done, folks, well done. The James Merrill Writer-in-Residence Program apparently offered the job to a Mr. Pjotr Gwiazda, whose book I called “exasperatingly bad” (we will not even mention his poetry). Good thing then, that the man who, according to McClatchy, insisted on his biography being written not by a homosexual, is now commemorated by a fool who wrote a whole damn book about Merrill’s homosexuality, basing his whole flimsy argument on that fact, practically wiping his arse with the man’s poems in the process. Whatever he’s going to do in that quaint house, he’s not going to “complete a project of literary or academic merit”, going by his past ‘accomplishments’. Oh, James.
I have been talking about these issues several times now, but still, I find it astonishing when smart people read a clearly aggressively xenophobic article like this one and find themselves nodding in time to the beat which is so obviously wrong in so many respects. The first sentence should ring several alarm bells
It seems too lunatic to be true. But here a hair salon boss reveals how she was driven to the brink of ruin – and forced to pay £4,000 for ‘hurt feelings’ – after refusing to hire a Muslim stylist who wouldn’t show her hair at work
It hits all the right buttons for its clientele. How the hairdresser is introduced, how the issue is both played up and played down, in all the right ways. It’s nauseating, right there.
And the smart people all readily jump to the flimsy excuse put forward by the woman, the rag that calls itself the Daily Mail and the BNP: of course, a hairdresser can’t cover her head. Bah. Has a person who agrees with this article never asked him- or herself, whether the scarf is just a marker of something alien and is not accepted because it represents, in a way, The Other? I know many, many bald hairdressers. I wonder if a white, plainly ‘British’ person, who wanted to wear a scarf for whatever cooky reason, would have similar problems? But the ugliness resides deeper.
Funny that even that hateful article cannot hide what, in many countries, is part of an ugly truth:
But, speaking last year, she admitted she had attended 25 interviews for hairdressing jobs without success.
But Sarah, she told the tribunal, had upset her the most.
She said: ‘I felt so down and got so depressed. I thought: “If I am not going to defend myself, who is?” Hairdressing has been what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was at high school.
No deconstructive reading necessary here, just openness, really. A certain anglocentric mindset might overlook it, but the situation described here is a common problem for Muslims and colored immigrants all over Europe. They have a tough time getting jobs. The job market has become selective, weeding out non-whites, people living in the wrong neighborhoods, ‘wrong’ unfailingly meaning an identification with an unwanted ethnic group. It’s become difficult to get a credit with a mainstream bank, CV’s are often rejected just because of the photograph. In France this situation has lead to the uprisings in the banlieues of Paris in 2005.
In other countries, too, Muslims are driven to the margins, to create their own networks to support those who are not supported elsewhere. These networks, then, appear to alienate a good portion of, for instance, the British electorate, making the situation worse and the networks more necessary. It’s a horrible situation and by making arrogant “ah what’s she complaining aboot” comments about it, comments that smack heavily of cynicism, no-one’s helping anyone.
So what is she complaining about? This hairdresser-in-the-making has had many rejections, and, as this article in the Guardian correctly points out, the reason why the poor white woman was sued, has had more to do with her honesty than with her being an exceptionally racist person. Probably more than 70% of those rejecting the girl share the hairdresser’s opinion, as I explained above.
Is that a reason not to sue? They’re all bastards, sue all or none? That’s daft, no? But, read the article again, the constant discrimination may have weakened the girl’s resolve, but being explicitly rejected because of her belief (and let’s not mince words here, please) has humiliated her. Would the hairdresser have been sued if she’d lied? Probably not. Should she have been sued? Yes. So why is it any argument to persist in saying that all this case ‘teaches’ us is to be dishonest? Do I hear a trace of a scornful Republican hizz “zzzzz it’s all that political correctness mumbo jumbo” here? Why would someone smart say that? I don’t know. It’s too lunatic to be true.
I am so sick of all these dumb people “defending the West” against some phantom horde of turks or something, all these people who extol the virtues of ‘The West’ (what an irrelevant description of a place on a round planet!) and demand, yes demand, of immigrants (and they always, always mean Muslim immigrants) that they adhere to the high standards of tolerance espoused by ‘the West’. Yes, YOU, dirty Muslim, if you want to live here, YOU will have to accept and embrace our tolerance for all religions and minorities such as gays, for instance.
Apparently these staunch defenders don’t know their own countries. For example, people in ‘The West’ don’t like gays all that much. The most challenged book in the US is, once again, And Tango Makes Three:
A children’s story about a family of penguins with two fathers once again tops the list of library books the American public objects to the most.
And Tango Makes Three, released in 2005 and co-written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, was the most “challenged” book in U.S. public schools and libraries for the second straight year, according to the American Library Association.
“The complaints are that young children will believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle that is acceptable. The people complaining, of course, don’t agree with that,” Judith Krug, director of the association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said in an interview yesterday.
Neither, judging from voices in West Virginia, do they like blacks very much. Or, still the primary, women. But we’re not as bad as them rag heads, right? I hear them proclaim behind their beer hump. Yes there is a difference, even a fairly large one. But it’s a difference in degree, not a difference in kind. And it’s utterly despicable, and dishonest, that so-called cultural differences are played up as if they, in fact were differences in kind, to justify treatment that is unwarranted, racist and entirely unacceptable.
Man kann es nicht einmal mehr Appeasement nennen, was die promovierte Koranexegetin betreibt – es ist eine Form von Kollaboration.
Denn wenn man schon nicht die gleiche, wie selbstverständlich RICHTIGE, Meinung vertritt wie Liza, hat man nicht einfach unrecht, nein, im Grunde arbeitet man dem FEIND zu. Subtilitäten sind da reine Korinthenkackerei, nuschelt sie einem ins Ohr, zumindest bei diesem Thema. Man möchte es nochmals unterstreichen. FEIND. Daß das klar ist. Der Feind ist der Feind und der muß WEG! *hust* So einfach kann die Welt gleich sein. Ach ist das lustig. Ein paar Scheiben Jingoismus, eine Messerspitze Rassismus und ein gehäufter Löffel Sexismus, fertig ist die Pampe. Na, Appetit?
Liza schließt mit einem bedauernden (und bedauernswerten) Nachsatz
Leider ist das hierzulande nicht strafbar
In ganz verzweifelten Momenten denk ich das zugegebenermaßen auch. Frau Amirpur meine ich damit aber nicht.
From Lance Nathan’s blog
An Open Letter
Dear [□ Sir / □ Madam / □ Representative / □ Journalist / □ Idiot],
I know you believe you know a great deal about
[□ linguistics / □ children's literature / □ law / □ psychology / □ other (please specify)]
simply because you
[□ use language / □ read Harry Potter and Goodnight Moon / □ watch Law & Order / □ have a mind],
or because you’ve read a newspaper article about
[□ the lack of numbers in Pirahã / □ Dumbledore being gay / □ some Supreme Court decision / □ Prozac].
But please understand that the issues in this field are far more complicated than you realize. For instance, the field isn’t all about
[□ proper grammar / □ writing children's books / □ litigation / □ schizophrenia];
those of us practicing in the field spend much of our time reading articles, synthesizing facts, and seeking a deeper understanding of [□ language / □ literature / □ law / □ the mind]. I’m not saying that you can’t have an opinion until you’ve
[□ understood an article by Chomsky / □ read every Caldecott and Newbery Medal winner / □ argued a case before the Supreme Court / □ spent three years running rodents through mazes]
—in fact, most of the people in our field have never done that. But we’d appreciate it if you either consult an expert, or educate yourself a little more by
[□ taking a course or two / □ taking a course or two / □ taking a course or two / □ taking a course or two]
via Language Log