I went to bed very late last night, or early this morning, really. I was up late trying to do stuff, then I crashed emotionally and wanted to cry. I feel so confused about so many things. I know I still have to write up my notes from my holiday, but suffice to say that I saw E. a lot and enjoyed being with her, but that’s just left me more confused about where we are, wanting to be with her, but scared it could never work out. I’m also worried about my idea of doing a PhD in cultural studies or communication studies: is it the right degree for me, a question I pose for many reasons, and is my thesis idea sensible or crazy. Yesterday it seemed the former, today absolutely the latter.
That said, my mind has continued working this morning and has moved from Jewish imagery in Doctor Who (or the lack thereof) to Jewish identity in popular culture/television as a whole, embracing a whole slew of TV shows and films, many of which I know only second-hand, but which might support my thesis that unless produced by or for Orthodox or formerly Orthodox Jews, popular culture never represents Judaism in a substantial manner, but simply as a vague set of ethical values that are essentially compatible with the tenets of secular liberalism, rather than anything more challenging. Doctor Who might not even make it into this thesis, or maybe as a chapter noting that Judaism is presented in such a slight manner that an atheist alien Time Lord can feasibly be presented as “the most Jewish character on British television.” (The Doctor is almost as Jewish as Josh and Toby in The West Wing.)
Of course, it now becomes a question whether this is a media/cultural studies question or a Jewish Studies question (or inter-disciplinary). I feel the Jewish Studies department would be more sympathetic to explorations of Jewishness, the Cultural Studies department towards the use of film and TV as source material. At any rate, SOAS’s Jewish Studies department seems to focus on the Arab-Israeli Conflict, UCL’s seems to requires better Hebrew language skills than I actually have (or probably need for this topic) and I had a bad experience with them when applying for my MA (they weren’t sympathetic to my mental health, which was why I ended up doing my MA in a not very good university). I’m not sure that any other London universities actually offer a PhD in Jewish Studies. I’m not sure how to resolve this, or whether I’m going too far from my area of expertise (such as it is).
I don’t know who to talk to about these things. My parents are supportive, but not expert on higher education (neither went to university), my rabbi mentor and my therapist are both on holiday and in any case I was strongly thinking of changing therapist and therapy style. I might email my friend who is a professional historian and has written cultural studies stuff about Doctor Who about my thesis idea, but I’m worried he’ll say that he isn’t qualified to pass judgement. I could leave things for a week or two and see if the idea matures further, I suppose, but I really don’t know what to do or even who to talk to for advice.