Schneewittchen

Schneewittchen was the supervisor for my bachelor thesis at the New Bulgarian University. At first, I didn’t want Schneewittchen to be my supervisor because there was something off-putting about him. A lot of people thought  he was gay, but I thought that’s none of my concern. Still, a lot of things bothered me.

I had a presentation on the Late Bronze Age metal hoards in Bulgaria, and I guess I was moving my slides too fast when Schneewittchen was talking about them, so he snapped back at me. I thought okay, Schneewittchen doesn’t like to be interrupted or absentmindedness, so I modified my behaviour as much as I could. After that, we had more lectures and during one, I made a very courteous comment, without interrupting him  that he has missed an important point on the subject. Schneewittchen was furious saying “Yes, Martin and why is that?!” with a loud tone and an angry stare. That’s when I knew the problem wasn’t in me.

Later on, he would still snap back whenever his intellectual prowess is being called into question (although that wasn’t anyone’s purpose). I let the snapping back slide hoping (maybe?) that it will disappear with time.  Or maybe it was like the relationship that a man and a woman develop when a man beats his wife, and with time both assume that beating and being beaten is normal.

Summer came, and of course,  it was time go on excavations at Bresto. I wasn’t overly exuberant to go because the last year’s excavations had been a total disaster, still I had many friends (or at least, some) there, so I decided to go. Last year’s nastiest workers (“workers”) were missing, so for the first time on the excavations I didn’t have a problem with anybody (or so I thought).

There was a small break during the excavation, on which we were bound to visit of Bulgaria’s most interesting archaeological sites. During the break, when we were at the museum of Stara Zagora  Schneewittchen called me to speak with me privately, and he told me this, and I do quote: “Don’t stray away from the others because that way you look smarter than the others. You are definitely not smarter than the other students. You are ill-mannered. You can only watch and marvel at the others.” What Schneewittchen said was actually a little bit longer, but it gets uglier further on, so I decided to shorten it a bit. His “logic” was funny, though, when your professor (he isn’t a professor, or a “fossil” yet) tells you’re stupid and ill-mannered up front, he’s supposed to be smart and well-behaved? I also found it strange because I would’ve expected what he said to come more out of a vein woman than a man.I have noticed that his actions and arguments are not of the most reasoned type before, but I guess I chose to ignore it to some extent. When Katya asked Schneewittchen why was he paying the restorators – two girls that were mostly drawing childish pictures during  their stay at the excavations, while the most of us were working our asses off (not me, of course), he answered “You know, they have Master’s degree and so forth,” which was in no way explaining why he paid them. I later found that one of the restorators was the daughter of an archaeologist and a close friend of Schneewittchen’s. Well, what do you know! I discovered warm water. But I shouldn’t have been surprised because these things were common practice in Bulgaria. As for his arguments, the most recent I can recall was when he tried to explain to me what sections in archaeological drawings are by using the Vitruvian man as an example. The Vitruvian man had nothing to do with sections (Leonardo da Vinci drew a lot of sections of human corpses by the way), but it must’ve seen like a section to his unconditioned mind. The funniest thing about it was that one of the restorators was standing by him and didn’t seem to care about the badly used example – surely it must have bothered her, considering her education in The National Academy of Arts?  I guess that’s what they call “groupthink”. Schneewittchen also liked to string a bunch of arguments that had no logical connection between them to come to a conclusion.

I have noticed that his actions and arguments are not of the most reasoned type before, but I guess  I chose to ignore them to some extent. When Katya asked Schneewittchen why was he paying the restorators – two girls that were mostly drawing childish pictures during  their stay at the excavations, while the most of us were working our asses off (not me, of course), he answered “You know, they have Master’s degree and so forth,” which was in no way explaining why he paid them. I later found that one of the restorators was the daughter of an archaeologist and a close friend of Schneewittchen’s. Well, what do you know! I discovered warm water. But I shouldn’t have been surprised because these things were common practice in Bulgaria. As for his arguments, the most recent I can recall was when he tried to explain to me what sections in archaeological drawings are by using the Vitruvian man as an example. The Vitruvian man had nothing to do with sections (Leonardo da Vinci drew a lot of sections of human corpses by the way), but it must’ve looked like a section to his unconditioned mind. The funniest thing about it was that one of the restorators was standing by him and didn’t seem to care about the badly used example – surely it must have bothered her, considering her education in The National Academy of Arts?  I guess that’s what they call “groupthink”. Schneewittchen also liked to string a bunch of arguments that had no logical connection between them to come to a conclusion. Actually, he had developed the perfect system to prove that he’s a “genius” – whenever someone tried to explain to him why he is wrong he would either stop listening or get angry at the other person for disproving his “ingenious” ideas.

The most annoying thing about Schneewittchen was how he would talk ill about every person he had come across, even the ones that have sacrificed the most to be part of the team: “Stoyan is this, Nedka is that, Martin is not serious enough…”. Before long I found out that he said those things only to feel better about himself, which was logically quite amusing. I signed up for an MA in archaeology at the New Bulgarian University only on his word, “that I will one day be given references and may work at the university after I finish my PhD”, but I guess I wasn’t  “serious enough”, although I think the offering of work was just a mantra for everyone who doubted his “honest intentions”.  Further on, he didn’t support his words with actions in any way, quite the contrary, his actions dismantled what he said, but not in ways that were immediately obvious, not at first at least.

Anyway, after what Schneewittchen told me at the museum, I had the feeling as if someone (guess who) has tried to smudge shit all over me and didn’t want to have anything to do with that person. So I left the excavations without notice, and I really didn’t feel like I should be giving one.

After that, I met Schneewittchen at the New Bulgarian University and he told me that he was suspending my rights over the excavations “so that people won’t, in the future, think he’s crazy for trusting in me, but I can rest assured because no one is going to beat me because I left the excavations without notice”.  Referring to the something that might, or might not happen in the future is  a logical fallacy, but Schneewittchen dispensed these with ease.  Assuring me that there would be no “physical vengeance” as a consequence was also quite odd because I have in no way implied such fears.

In the end, I would like to conclude, using the same type of logical reasoning, that Schneewittchen can at best be described as what they call “niúbī” in Mandarin Chinese or a word that starts with the letter “p” in the Bulgarian language.

 

 

 

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