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19 April 2007 @ 11:40 pm
Simone's Debut! (Simone & John Starre)  
Who: Simone de Beauvoir and John Starre
When: Today, first block
Where: CALM, and then the library
What: Simone and John start talking in class, then come up with an excuse to go to the library so they can talk more. Philosophy is argued, reading lists are given, and they generally brain at each other.
Rated: PG-13, if anything, for language.

It is with an irritated flick of her wrist that Simone drops her CALM homework on the teacher's desk and drops herself into a seat. As luck would have it, other students have switched 'round today to gossip about the cancelling of the prom; she flickers a sharp blue-eyed gaze over them and glances to her right. A voice now only lightly inflected with her French accent, given that she's been here almost an entire school semester. "It is an overreaction, certainly, but what woman who was assured of herself would even go?" She would have said this to anyone. John happens to be in the firing line.

Starre is slouched in his seat towards the back of the class, his shoulders hunched, his head tilted forward. It doesn't even occur to him that the question is aimed his way. Not at first. It takes a steady silence where no second voice offers answer for the matter to sink in fully. And then his head tilts upwards and he glances aside at Simone hesitantly, "Must one be uncertain of oneself to attend a prom?" His brow furrows in thought. "It hadn't occurred to me."

"Think of it. It is an event which clearly delineates the woman as Other, the last remnants of the cotillion outside of the American South. The woman is a thing, a prize, an object to be won. And then there are the assumptions of deflowering -- what a wretched phrase -- which make the whole event all the more crass." Simone shakes her head slightly. "A man need not be. But a woman, to take part in such an event, must be either unaware or uncertain of herself. Sadly, so many are both." Without skipping a beat, she goes on, "I detest this class. Did you find the homework only slightly mind-numbing, or a sort of cerebral novocaine?"

And he does think of it. Clearly. He holds perfectly still, his eyes glaze over and lose their focus, and he just... thinks about it. Eventually he lets out a small puff of a sigh and his shoulders sink under the weight of understanding. Clearly, this is another misery to be borne. "I think you'll find that most events in our culture classify women as the other. Sports, the military, business, education. I hadn't considered Prom, though." Probably because he hadn't considered Prom. If you follow. "Vous etes Francais? N'est-ce pas?"

"The more I think on it, the more I find it to be so," Simone sighs, shaking her head slightly. His question has her light blue eyes sparking sharply, and she laughs, a small, bright sound. "Oui, je suis français. Et vous?" She slips over into French entirely, then, adding, "You do not sound French, but your accent is passable."
"Meilleur! Je suis Californian." John's grin appears briefly-- very briefly --then retreats back intto his usual frown of thought. "I learned French at a young age. My family used to summer in Pas-de-Lyons, before my father entered politics." John makes a face, rather as though he'd just smelled some bad fish. "My name is John Starre." This last bit is in English. The other kids had begun to stare. Possibly because the two were speaking French. Possibly because John was speaking at all.

"Ah! California. I hear there is no winter there, only fog, and they have orange all the time. My family is from Paris, and... " Simone tilts her head slightly to the side as John makes that face. It is then that she turns around and looks around the room. She takes in their stares, returns them blandly in kind, and continues on in French. "Je m'appelle Simone de Beauvoir." Her small hand is offered to him. "I've heard you in Philosophy class. You should speak more often."

"We get winter. Sort of." John doesn't so much defend his home state as clarify its weather. In an entirely vague manner, rendering the clarification useless. "Je connais Philosophie," John notes quietly in an aside to Simone, "mais la vie? Je ne comprends pas. Donc, je dite seulement en Philosophie." John taps his temple twice, because he's smart. He then shakes her hand awkwardly. "Paris is nice."

"We get winter. Sort of." John doesn't so much defend his home state as clarify its weather. In an entirely vague manner, rendering the clarification useless. "Je connais Philosophie," John notes quietly in an aside to Simone, "mais la vie? Je ne comprends pas. Donc, je dite seulement en Philosophie." John taps his temple twice, because he's smart. He then shakes her hand awkwardly. "Paris is nice."

"But if you know Philosophy, then you must know life," Simone replies with an arching of her eyebrows. She shakes her head slightly. "How can one 'sort of' have winter?" She shakes her head again, as if dismissing it. "Paris is beautiful," she agrees with a little smile. "I miss it sometimes; Emilie -- my sister -- writes me letters and tells me how lovely such and such a thing is. I think she is rubbing it in, because she is jealous that I am here." Beat. "But why are you here, John Starre?"

"Knowing what others have to say about life's purpose does not commute that knowledge to me. Philosophers have debated for millenia the nature of being, the purpose of life. They are no closer to putting their ideas to practice than a blind man is to describing the color green." John scratches at his cheek for a long moment, then frowns down at his hands in his lap. "I am here because my father lost his seat in our Congress during the last set of elections. He now works for Kelogg Brown and Root and petitions members of our government on behalf of the company. They live in Virginia, outside of Washington D.C. And so they send me here, where I won't be in the way."

She considers that for a moment, and then replies, "Perhaps. But perhaps more they are describing what precise shade of green it is, and what the green means. Or perhaps they are debating whether or not the cones and rods in your eyes perceive the waves of light in exactly the same way, and so on. But obviously they must see the green to even describe it at all." Simone raises her eyebrows again, and as the teacher enters and shuffles his papers, she glances at him, then looks back to John. "So this is a punishment for you? An exile?" It seems she's incredulous of this; she actually seems to like the place.

"An... exile of sorts, yes. I'd prefer to be back in California with my friends. Or at least with my familiar surroundings. This place is new, the people are new. And they're all geniuses. So I've been sent to a school of hyper-intelligent teenagers away from my home because my parents are ashamed of me. It's great." John looks up from his hands, ticks his eyebrow, and begins pulling books from his bag in order to look like he's actually doing something school related. "Name me one Philosopher who died happy, fulfilled, content with their lot. I'll take it all back."

"Ah, yes. But you are surrounded by hyperintelligent peers, no? So it is a thing that in which I rejoice. It is unfortunate that you do not feel it is the same." She considers this for a good long time, and then she answers, "Siddhartha Gautama." Simone leans back slightly. "We should pretend we are doing something important. What can we research and go to the library?"

"Siddhartha Gautama? I'm not sure I'd call him a philosopher. Anymore than I'd call Jesus of Nazareth a philosopher." John tilts his head in consideration, then shakes his head in dismissal of his thoughts. "I suppose I was meaning western philosophy. But it's little matter. I don't know what we should go research in the library. It doesn't really matter, does it? 'We need to research something at the library for our homework' should do as an excuse." John adds as a sidenote, "I don't lie well, really."
"What else would you call Jesus of Nazareth?" Simone answers, wrinkling her forehead slightly. "If you set aside the argument that he is, in fact, the son of God -- and that is why I say Siddhartha Gautama, who is not a god, but an enlightened person, and what is it that philosophers seek but true enlightenment? -- he can be nothing but a philosopher." A little nod of her head, and she rises from her seat, smiling aside at him. "Excuse me? Yes. I should like to look at the tax codes for my report on filing the reports for a small business? John will help me." She smiles so confidently as to be waved off; in a sort of nod to Alfric's Nazi regime, she's given a pass to the library and instructed to turn it in.

"His people called him a teacher. Those that bought into his teachings called him a prophet at first. His teachings, however, were not based in reason. They were based in religion alone. In what he knew of God." John shrugs his shoulders at his rebuttal of the matter. "Siddhartha Gautama, perhaps counts. I confess I don't know him well." John watches Simone rise and acquire permission. Really? It's that easy? His eyebrows lift appreciatively, and he collects his books back into their bag and rises from his seat to skulk out of the room in Simone's shadow. "Impressive."

"Sir Thomas More is not a philosopher, then? Thomas Aquinas? Francis of Assisi? Religious philosophy is not philosophy, says John Starre," Simone answers him over her shoulder, and then looks back at the male teacher, shrugs, and sighs. It seems the ease of the maneuver almost depresses her.
"Religious opinion unfounded by reason is not Philosophy," John rejoins with a touch of pique in his voice. She's annoying him now, it seems. "Saint Anshelm argued an ontology for God. But he /argued/ an Ontology for God. Jesus did no such thing. He said be nice to each other and stop moneychanging in the temple already. These may be laudable things, but they are not philosophical arguments." John ducks out of the room with that said. HA!

Simone rolls her eyes slightly as he ducks out of the room, and bolts after him. In the hallway, she answers, "Jesus argued the laws with the Pharisees," following after him and catching up to him a moment later. "We know this. He argued the laws, the... the ethics of Hebrew society, and of course, as we are taught, ethics being the study of principles governing right and wrong conduct, what did he do under the trees and in the fields when the Pharisees chased him about but argue laws, speak of semantics? Jesus of Nazareth argued laws; the arguments he gave were so precise and so true that we repeat them today as worthless aphorisms, divorcing them of the context of the rigorous philosophical debate surrounding them."

"Speaking of semantics, we seem to be arguing them now," John replies with that subtle edge of annoyance, "because by this token, any lawyer may consider himself a Philosopher. Arguing the laws of the land as allegedly dictated by God based on what God Himself has allegedly told you seems a very poor basis for a codex of law, and hardly seems to raise him to the level of Philosopher. But you may suit yourself in whatever clothes, Simone, and think yourself a sea captain if you like." John's hands stuff themselves into his pockets. He's a grumbly little fellow, he is.

"So argue whatever you feel to be right, and as long as you don't tack God on it, you've got a nice, rational argument, and that makes it Philosophy." Oh my, does Simone have a talent for pronouncing capital letters. She folds her arms around her books, leads him out into the cold and the slush; she bumps the door open with her hip and holds it for him so before following after. "Well, I could be a sea captain, if I thought it to be so, as long as I do not say God made me a sea captain; it invalidates the whole thing."

"You're just putting words in my mouth," John replies, having lost a good deal of his desire to continue on with the conversation, "and you don't appear to be listening. Saint Anshelm wrote of God a very great deal. In fact, it consumed the whole of his work. Descartes as well. Many, many Philosophers over time have written about God. But what they have not done is written about God where God and all that has been attributed to him is assumed to be true in the first, and therefore may be used as a foundation for the argument itself. Any argument made from a blind faith in God is not Philosophy. In much the same way creationism isn't a scientific theory. I never said God had no place in Philosophy. I simply said Jesus was not a Philosopher. Jesus could raise the dead, heal the cripples, and turn wine into water. Must he also be able to refute Kant to be your precious Christ?"

She smiles at him. Simone has a way with that. "I would beg to differ on that point; a great many people who are counted as Philosophers -- and whose work influenced those of which you speak -- wrote on the foundation of God, and on the foundation of the Church, moreover." Simone shakes her head slightly. "I am an atheist at worst, an agnostic humanist at best. Christ is no more precious to me than Siddhartha Gautama."

"Philosophy is a study based in reason, Simone. One could, I suppose, begin every essay with the statement 'granting that there is a God who is infallible in all things' and go from there, but that is a rather monumental height to argue from, and a foundation easily crumbled. One may write on the foundation of what God says, and one may perhaps write on the foundation of what God is said to have created, but one cannot write upon the foundation of something /his very books/ admonish us to take on faith." John will have none of it, it seems. Hands in his pockets, head down, he is a defiant little mouse. But his voice and words make up for what his stature and bearing lack. "If that is the case, don't wish upon him more than he wished upon himself. And having said that, I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree. Because I'm an atheist at best and at worst."

Her head tilts slightly to the side, and she raises a hand to tuck a curl of short black hair behind her ear. "I see. That rules out a great many of the philosophers who are largely regarded as being the foundation of our modern discussions as even being philosophers. How do you reconcile that, John Starre? Or do you not?" The door to the library, opened by Simone, is held open for him. "You do not allow for even the possibility of a sentient being larger than we are, who has knowledge so much more infinite than ourselves and whose existence encompasses all things we can know or perceive?"

"I allow for it. I don't presume it or use it as a basis for my arguments. Theology and Philosophy are different words, you know. Anshelm was a Theologian who became a Philosopher when he attempted to argue, in his Proslogium, that he can conceive of something so great that you cannot conceive of a greater thing, and that a greater thing than the conception of a thing is the thing itself, therefore there is a God. That is an argument based upon reason. It is not moral philosophy to say 'One shouldn't be a homosexual because homosexuality is wrong because sex with the same gender is an abomination and an abomination is a sin because it says so in the Bible'. Those who use God and the Bible to 'refute' science, to lambast social change, to erode public good? Those who base their arguments on 'because God says so in his bible'? Are not philosophers. One can be both a Theologian and a Philosopher. But a Theologian is not, necessarily, also a Philosopher. And Jesus, whatever he may be? Was not a Philosopher. He was a teacher, of his own self-definition. And a Prophet. You continue to put words into my mouth that I am not saying, Simone." John walks through the door without batting an eye. He does manage to murmur a quiet, "Thank you."

"No, I seek to clarify, because a person who denies the existence of deities is an atheist, and a person who allows for it or believes the question is unknowable but does not themselves ascribe to any religious beliefs is an agnostic, John," answers Simone, looking puzzled at this. "If I am going to continue to discuss with you, I should like to know the terms on which I am speaking. Atheist or agnostic. And so you see."

"Allowing for it and believing in it are two different things. A philosopher allows for all arguments, Simone. I don't believe that there is a God. I can give you a very many arguments as to why I believe this to be the case. But it's rather pointless, investing so much time into proving something doesn't exist. Largely because you can't. So I am an atheist to the extent that I do not believe that there is a God. I am not uncertain in this, and I am not unconvinced, and I am not questioning the matter. It's... all rather moot, if you ask me." John glances up from the floor to inspect the library's occupants, its layout, and his likely ability to pick a table away from the other occupants. He veers off to a table out of the way, in the reference section. That will do. "I deny the existence of deities. I will allow you to make arguments to try to convince me otherwise."

She shakes her head again, looking even more puzzled, and replies, "That implies that I am interested in doing so." Simone puts her books down on the table that he's chosen, and lowers her voice to a properly library-like tone. "As I said, I was merely interested in establishing the terms on which we are having our discussion. You said you allow for the presence of God, or of gods, and I wished to clarify on what terms you wished to do this." Beat. "If, in fact, you wish to continue having this conversation."

"Not this conversation, no. Another one," John replies as he flops down into his seat, "any other one." He pulls his heels up onto his chair, wraps his arms around his legs, and perches his nose between his knees, observing Simone through his mop of hair. It takes him several moments to figure out just what to do next, and once he's figured it out, it takes him several more seconds to act upon it. "So what are you doing instead of prom? That's a good conversation. Or at least not a bad one."

Both of her eyebrows rise at that, and Simone seems as if she might pursue the question of why not this conversation, but she doesn't. There's a direct question, she can answer it. Very well! "Instead of prom, I thought I might... go to the lake, perhaps. Or read a book. Eat some pizza. So on, so forth. What do you plan to do?"

"I hadn't planned to do anything. When first I heard that Prom had been cancelled, I felt a brief tingle of schadenfreude at the notion of all of the other kids with their little fantasies about a Senior Prom. I wasn't going to go anyway-- who'd go to prom with me? Nobody. So I wasn't going to go anyway. Now... I dunno. Now I feel like I've got that day on the calendar back somehow. Like it's a reprieve. I should do -something-, but I don't know what." John's shoulders hunch up in a shrug. "Blow up Alfric's rental, maybe?" Hah.

"Schaaaaadenfreude!" sings Simone quietly, and then she assesses Starre for a moment. "Perhaps you do not know these things because you do not ask." She props her chin on a hand, and laughs softly at the idea of someone blowing up Alfric's rental. "Well, then do something with it. Go fishing."

"I don't fish," John protests, "and what's the fun in sitting around a lake by yourself pretending to know how to fish? Never saw the attraction. Maybe I'll drive to Boston." John begins to unfold from his tuck bit by bit, relaxing into the idea that Simone isn't here to throw things at him or do something equally mean-spirited. "Maybe I'll rent out a room and throw a dance all my own. Like an anti-prom. I dunno."

"You could learn to fish," offers Simone, apparently entirely seriously, too. "Besides, it is a beautiful time of year. Any excuse to sit by a lake should be a good one. And I think fishing is a thing you do with people, unless you wish to be alone." She shrugs a little at him, keeps watching him. "Will you play Billy Idol?"

"It is my sacred duty to play Billy Idol at a Highschool function. They make you take an Oath when they hand you the turntables. 'I swear that I shall play Billy Idol at least once during all highschool dances.'" John is apparently serious, too. He's got an excellent deadpan. "How can I learn to fish, though, if I don't know how to fish and then I go fishing? It's not like I'll be able to show myself how. I suppose I could read a book about fishing, then go fishing, and attempt to put my reading into practice, but... I dunno. Maybe."

"I was making a 'dancing with yourself' joke," Simone answers, and winks at him. Her chin stays resting on her hand. "I don't know, you go and you take a fishing rod and you put the hook in the water, and then some sort of magic happens and you have fish." She's being facetious, perhaps? "You should go to Boston. Boston sounds like a good idea." Beat. "You should take me with you. I do not have a car, and so cannot go to Boston."

"You barely know me," John points out, "I could be a butt-toucher." In John's world, this is perhaps the gravest of inhumanities if one were to judge by the tone of his voice. "I'm not. A butt-toucher. I mean. I've touched butt before-- not, like, involuntarily. I don't mean, like, my hand wasn't possessed, I mean it w--" John squints his eyes shut for a long moment, then attempts to gather the shards of his sensibility. "You don't know me. I don't really even know you. And you want to go to Boston with me?"

She watches John with his spade, digging himself in, and just blinks at him. "Very well, we will not go, then. You shall have to tell me how Boston was, as I have not been in over a year." Simone smiles mildly at John. "You could be, but I do not think you are. My observations of you in our numerous shared classes tends to suggest otherwise. Besides, I am sadly by dint of possessing a particular set of genes required to know how to defend myself."

"I'm not," John reiterates, "but. Yes." John falls silent again, considering his hands for several long moments, then his fingernails. He makes a show of cleaning underneath one for a moment or two, then speaks up again, "We'll go, I guess. If you like. I'm not sure what we'll do or anything, but we can go. I just wanted to give you the polite out, I suppose." John scratches at the back of his head for a long moment then asks, "Do you ever get tired of the 'then buy a gun' closing retort? Since you know how to defend yourself, and all?"

"I get extremely tired of it, because it puts the presumption of behavior modification on myself, and not on the penis-toting people. It assumes all men to be rapists and murderers, incapable of controlling their own behavior, and puts the onus on me, as female and therefore keeper of the behavioral modifications also known as 'the mothering part of society' to keep those bad, bad boys out of my panties," sighs Simone, shaking her head. "Personal responsibility -- and the assumption that one must exercise it at all times -- is a bomb thrown in the faces of the underprivileged by the privileged. Women must be responsible for their actions, for men are forces of nature, and they simply cannot help themselves. Present a man with breasts, our society supposes, and he loses all rational thought."'

"Well, I think my first thought would be 'my God, what have you done with the rest of her!'." John makes this joke with a straight face, manages to keep the straight face for about three seconds, then cracks a small grin. It fades away slowly, as his brow creases in thought. "I see your point. I always thought it was more of a dismissive gesture. You know. And largely impractical besides. Since most rape is acquaintance rape, and most of /that/ rape is date rape, it's not exactly likely that you've got your sidearm on you, regardless. Nevermind what people would say if a woman actually -did- pull a sidearm and fire on a man who wouldn't take no for an answer. She'd be the one on trial. She, her wardrobe, and her previous sexual relationships..." John trails away into quiet, then silence. "But you know all this. Anyhow. I just hadn't taken that particular look at that particular thing. The 'force of nature' thing."

She laughs at that, nodding a little. Clearly she approves of this joke, but she does go on. "What, indeed. That is the question of the century, John Starre. What has western culture done with the rest of woman? Reduce her to physical attributes, a scant handful of roles, and the best that so many people can come up with for her is to make her more a man, because that will make her equal." Simone sighs a little. "Exactly. Because no one's son ever rapes anyone. That is a thing another man does, some man divorced from society entirely. He is so unreal he might almost be a living shadow. All men want the rapist to be someone they can beat, someone against whom they can be victorious. To defend their women. They don't choose to challenge sexist behavior by their friends, or to examine their own behavior."

Again, John seems to give this idea some consideration. "Huh." John, being a highschool-aged teenaged boy hasn't really had much occasion to analyze his treatment of the females around him. He's been indoctrinated, sure. But this is no doubt one of the first times he's had that indoctrination shoved in his face. "I'm not sure that you can do much about that protection thing. Our desire to best the hypothetical rapist. Nor, I think, would you necessarily want to. I think you'd want to take that male-ego thing and channel it towards good conduct. I mean, if I'm dating a girl? I'd like for her not to be raped, you know? And if crazy shadow rapist leaps out and goes 'boo', I'd like to think I'd kick him square in the nuts. Because I don't want him to hurt my date. I get why that's an organ of sexism, but it's like... the appendix of sexism. You can remove it safely if you need to later. But it's not an immediate problem unless inflamed. You know?"

"No, I don't. Because it is inflamed. The need to have all rapes happen via a shadow rapist causes otherwise "decent men,"" and yes, Simone does finger quotes, "To start questioning what a woman says when one of their buddies gets accused of being a little "overenthusiastic" or having sex with a woman who is too drunk or drugged to do anything different other than lie there. I understand what you are saying, but if you wish to protect the women that you care about, the women you love, you will work to disassemble the patriarcial notions that cause her to be the one questioned as to how she behaved when she is the one attacked. Why she must watch her life questioned. Why she is a woman first and a person who achieves second."

"Huh." John has the sense not to argue the point. Instead, he slouches back in his seat and stares sullenly across the table at Simone in silence. "I suppose it's a straw man they can pull out-- forgive the euphemism --in the face of that sort of thing. Boys will be boys, etc. Yeah. The 'locker room mentality'. All of that." John pulls a pencil from his book bag and drums it against his knee lazily for a few moments. Nervous twitters abound. "That's a tall order, though. Just sayin'."

Simone looks him up and down for a long moment, then replies, "Taller than living up to the expectations that a woman must be smart, but not too smart, so she does not threaten her man, that she must keep a house perfectly and raise children and be fulfilled by it, but she must also have a job, or she's neglecting her full potential, but if she does work, she's neglecting her children, and she oughtn't ask her husband for assistance with the housework, because somehow, despite the fact that she should work a job, raise the children, and keep the house, he somehow manages to work harder than she does, and she shouldn't ask him for help, and she should be sexy, but not too sexy, because if she does, she's asking for it, and if she's not sexy enough, she's not trying hard enough for her man?" A roll of her shoulders, and she smiles at John.

"No. About as tall, I'd say. Taking sides against the patriarchy and staying on that side of the fight, that's... you know. That's pretty much the same tall order, really." John rubs under his nose for a moment, appearing subtly abashed at the turn of the conversation. "The difference is, of course, that a guy can just hop back over to the other side when it's convenient for him. The patriarchy doesn't care. Women don't have that luxury. Anyhow. It is a tall order to the extent that it takes constant vigilance to maintain."

"And now you have hit on the essence of privilege," answers Simone, nodding her head once. "I can ignore racism at my convenience. You can ignore sexism. We can both ignore bigotry against disabled persons, and so on." She folds her hands on the table. "It is a tall order. It is my belief that it is possible, and that people can well do it."
John falls silent at this summary of privilege, giving the matter further thought. Finally, he hits upon some sort of idea that sits well in his head, because his manner eases up considerably. "They say that it takes twenty days to form a habit. Twenty days of not smoking to stop. Twenty days of having coffee at breakfast to suddenly require coffee in the mornings. So on and so forth. I wonder if one can acquire the habit of dealing with sexism on a consistent basis. Not a bad habit to acquire."

She smiles at him then, folding her hands on top of her books. "An essential habit, in my opinion," Simone replies, watching John intently. "There are books to read, of course, if you wish to do it properly. There's an entire discipline. Have you read much on feminism?"

"Only as it pertains to Philosophy, and only in that context. Refutations to Kant's 'the fairer sex' and so on. Assuming the role of Devil's advocate, however, there is the issue that-- as with most movements of this sort --there are frequently contradictory notions of how one must act and what one must do and so forth. I'd very much wager there is no definitive list. No twelve step program, as it were." John pulls a notebook from his backpack and flips it open, "I'll take down some titles, though, if you've got some."

"Only as it pertains to Philosophy, and only in that context. Refutations to Kant's 'the fairer sex' and so on. Assuming the role of Devil's advocate, however, there is the issue that-- as with most movements of this sort --there are frequently contradictory notions of how one must act and what one must do and so forth. I'd very much wager there is no definitive list. No twelve step program, as it were." John pulls a notebook from his backpack and flips it open, "I'll take down some titles, though, if you've got some."
"Mmm. Well, yes. Would you prefer to see the movement from its beginnings and understand how it has evolved, or would you prefer an introduction to modern feminism?" asks Simone. Her bright blue eyes glitter sharply.

"Modern, I think. Since modern will no doubt reference back to the origins, I'm certain I'll acquire a reading list from reading modern authors on the subject. And, in any event, a modern list would be the most applicable to my current exercise. I doubt I can acquire a deep historical context in twenty days." John keeps his pencil poised over the paper, eyes watching Simone patiently.

A little nod of agreement. Simone's eyes continue to sparkle, perhaps with amusement, perhaps with fanaticism. It is difficult to tell in this light. "Alice Echols, Daring to be Bad, pretty much anything by Andrea Dworkin or bell hooks... oh, there's one that came out. Um. It's called 'Virgin.' Not exactly a feminist manifesto, but I just finished it; you can't help but come out without your mind changed. Bitch magazine's another good one. Just read your way through the archives."

Starre makes a few notations in his notebook as Simone lists names and titles, though he furrows his brow at the 'read through the archives' bit. That's hardly an exercise for twenty days. Still, the list is taken and he notes, "I'll check online, too, when I get back to my room." The notebook is folded closed and set back atop his bookbag. "So you're a strongly opinionated French girl full of uncompromising ideas." He cracks a small grin. "You've got a deck stacked against you. Americans make frowny faces at french people these days." A quick glance at the wall clock has him frowning almost in demonstration. "Shoot. We should get back to class."

"Americans have forgotten the debt of General Lafayette. And besides which, french fries? Who eats a thing like that in France? So let them call them freedom fries, if it makes them feel better." In her accent, there's a certain almost Marie Antoinette quality to the statement. Let them call them freedom fries, let them eat cake. Simone sighs heavily at the clock. "The deck is stacked against me, as you say. But I will still play. I cannot help but do so." She frowns at the clock, too. "At least it is not CALM, no? All my other classes are much more interesting than the one which we escaped."

"The poppies in Flanders fields and the graves at Normandy beg to differ, Simone. America and the French have a longstanding relationship. A fraternity and fidelity of liberty and of blood. It's a shame that America, at present, so willingly forgets our historical and mutual causes. But that's true on both sides of the ocean these days." John shakes his head and collects his things, swinging his backpack up onto his shoulder as he rises from his seat. "Yeah. CALM sucks. Really, school sucks. Can't wait to be out of here."

The corners of Simone's mouth curl up slowly. He knows what she's talking about, and he has a response that means something. Her eyes spark sharp. "Perhaps that is so," Simone answers nodding her head slightly. "Yes. Are you going to college?" she asks, pushing herself up out of her seat and gathering her books.

"I am," John replies in the vaguest manner possible, "intending to go to college, yes." He sends her a brief smile in aside, then ducks his head back down and trudges forward. "Anyway. We can talk more tomorrow, yeah? I'll do some reading tonight."

Her eyebrows rise slightly at his words and actions. "I will see you in our classes later today, John," Simone reminds him, adding, "but we can talk tomorrow. I will meet you for lunch?" She tilts her head slightly to one side, watching John as she opens the door leading out of the library.

"Yeah," John agrees, "you will." The question of lunch causes him to pause in his step and think the matter through once more. His head nods in agreement, "Yeah. We can do lunch. I usually eat in my room or go off campus for food. You can join me, though." He fishes his headphones out from his backpack and gets them into place, "See ya, Simone." With that he flips up his hoodie and disappears into the crowd now spilling through the halls, jostled and shouldered around like a pinball.

Simone watches John bounce off through the crowd, wrinkling up her brow. "What a strange little man," she murmurs to herself in French, and heads off in another direction.