I forgot how much I love his comics. Check out his site immediately...the Internetz might be pointless, but his comics definitely aren't (or they are, but they're life changing also, so who cares!)
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I censor myself when I blog.
Nina and I had a long conversation about blogging, how we both have blogs, what we post, what is appropriate to post, where the line should be drawn, and what the difference is between the blogs we write now and the stuff we used to post on Livejournal during high school. Ultimately, I think we both agreed that the main difference between a blog and a Livejournal is the anticipated audience. When I wrote in my Livejournal, I had a very clear idea about who was reading it. I was writing for a very specific group of people, but at the same time it felt very private. So I was apt to over-share, and also to reference specific things I thought would interest my assumed readership. With my blog, I sort of write with the mindset that literally any person could find and read this. Both my bosses at my current internship have stumbled upon it, and I actually voluntarily gave the link to a woman who interviewed me for an internship I really wanted--and one week later, I was offered the position!
Because of the assumption that anyone could be reading, I find myself being more...cautious (?) with what I write. I feel more responsibility for my words. While I admire my friends who write very personal things, I think for now I will continue to abstain.
It's funny because I actually started writing this last night, but I got too tired to finish it properly. Then this afternoon, both Jess and Josh wrote about blogging and what it means and the havoc it can wreck on your personal "IRL" self and what happens to a blog when one decides to abandon it and who do our words belong to once they hit the internet and all this good stuff. That was an awful run on sentence but whatever, like always, J&J is good shit and you should go read it right now. My point is, this post doesn't touch on any of that, because I don't think I blog the same way they do. I have never been 100% open or 100% candid on this blog, and while at times I wish I could be more honest in this writing, I think for my own sanity and protection I need to keep doing things the way I do them.
Even at this level of thought to the potential audience (and, if we're being truthful, the relative lack of audience), I still occasionally have anxiety attacks about the existence of this blog. Am I saying too much? Have I said something offensive? Alienated someone? Overall made my life more stressful and dramatic than it needs to be? Etc etc etc. For the most part, I think for me, the answer is no. But it's a slippery slope and it's hard to use the internet responsibly. I don't really think anyone does. I'll just continue to try and use it more responsibly than my 9th-grade-Livejournal-abusing-self did.
One of the most annoying conversational cliches is when one person is complaining about something, so the other person says, "I'm sorry," because what else is one supposed to say, and then the original complainer says, "Well it's not your fault." Duh, I know! But what else are you supposed to say?! (Sometimes I am the complainer, but I only pull the "It's not your fault" line if I am purposely trying to be annoying. It happens.)
I have been pondering a lot over the past 24 hours: why did I get so excited when I found out Keith Gessen* attended Newton South High School and was an editor for Denebola, the very paper I was in charge of my senior year?
To be very blunt, it doesn't matter. Who cares, right? Keith is older than the oldest person I know from South, and even if he was somehow within the realm of friend-of-a-friend, what would that do to my life? I think it would be cool to chat with him, find out what he thought about this place and if he thinks attending Newton South affected the way he viewed the world, but only because I think these are interesting questions to ask any Newton South alum. And in our age of internet, I can definitely just shoot him an email and probably accomplish the same thing, if he chose to answer me.
So why, when Nina pointed out that Mr. Gessen attended the glorious institute where I received four years of education, did I get so excited? So enthralled? I always love a good Google challenge, but aside from that, what was so awesome about the situation?
Ultimately, here's what I think it is: it is very cool and reassuring to know that people who came from the same place I do (I mean that more figuratively than literally, even though in this case its literal as well) have succeeded. What is success? They are doing what they want to be doing. It's like Eli Roth, B.J. Novack, and John Krasinski. What do these names actually mean in my life? Nothing. What does the idea of them mean? I am going to be okay. I can handle life. I can succeed and do what I love. Everything is going to be fine.
Also, of course there's the celeb aspect. You read about someone constantly on Gawker, you read their book (and for me, a writer is a far more worthy "celeb crush" than say, Penn Badgley--even if he is beautiful...), of course it's exciting to realize suddenly that you have something in common. I've said it before and I will continue to say it unashamedly: despite the misogynist tone, I really enjoyed Gessen's book.
And finally, I think the #1 reason I'm so intrigued that Gessen is from Newton is because he is so secretive about it! As Sam pointed out in my last post, the "Keith" character in All The Sad Young Literary Men is from Maryland, not Newton, while Nina said the "Sam" character is actually from Newton! I didn't catch that the first time I read it, so I'm not sure. And while some authors make their hometowns very clear in all their interviews, stories, book jacket bios, etc., Gessen is quite elusive. Maybe for no reason, but even if it's a non-issue, everyone knows as soon as you make something the least bit mysterious it is terribly exciting!
So that's why I'm psyched Keith Gessen attended Newton South High School. I don't have bad yearbook photos of him, I have no embarrassing or hilarious stories from friends-of-friends (seeing as there aren't any in existence, as far as I know), and it's basically a non-gossip item (although it scored this blog a lot of traffic--probably thanks to the link on Jess & Josh, thanks girlfriend).
But I'm still psyched, and I will still probably write Mr. Gessen an email, even if only to inquire what he thought of George Abbott White* back in the day.
*Sometimes when I write about people by full-name in my blog, they Google themselves and find the entry. If this is the case right now: Hi Keith! Hi Mr. White!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
No analyzing tonight, just the screenshots-as-evidence. Details, ruminations, and general analysis will occur tomorrow. Credit to Nina for writing the wallpost that spurred my frantic Googling quest for Mr. Gessen. Credit to myself for being an excellent internet stalker. Just kidding, don't arrest me please.
Also: it would figure that the king of the Sad, Young, Literary Men is from my town. I have no idea why I'm surprised.
"Everything turns out." - S. Chait
It's a good one--note the word choice carefully. Not everything works out. Just, everything turns out. You know, one way or the other, it's going to turn out. So maybe we should just not worry about it too much, because there's nothing that can be done...it's all just going to turn out.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I've been holding off posting about NEW FACEBOOK OMG OMG until I properly decided if I like it or not. Well, the verdict is in: I do. I do I do I do I do I do (sorry I still have Mamma Mia! fever.)
So don't send me any of those bullshit "I HATE NEW FACEBOOK PLEASE CHANGE IT BACK ASAP" groups. Because then I will be forced to change the (admittedly somewhat creepy) large "What are you doing right now?" section of my new Facebook page to "COMMITTING HOMICIDE." Which is not something I feel like dealing with in my gloriously free month of August. Oh my god August 1st is so soon. I love everything. Including New Facebook.
Today marks the birth of Samuel Zients, and seeing as he is the person who got me into blogging in the first place (plus the fact that he's just all around awesome), it's only appropriate that I write a post wishing him the very best.
Sam is a fantastic friend. He is one of those people where you don't have to be in contact every single day (Jesus I hate that) but when you do get to catch up, it's great. He is loyal and kind and passionate and smart and funny and dependable and fun to drink wine with and share life stories and waddle up stairs with when you get really bad chafing on your thighs (you implying me, because Sam also has stellar physique and is thinner than I could hope to be in my wildest Olsen-inspired fantasties) and is basically an all around great guy. I am lucky to know him, and hopefully I will be seeing much more of him as soon as I get back to the city.
Sam, Happy Birthday. I admire you a lot and I wish you the happiest day and a great year and many amazing years to come, because you truly deserve it.
Also, please don't kill me because of the picture. I had to. I love you!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I saw Mamma Mia! tonight for the second time in a week (saw it last Friday night, too), and I don't care how cheesy or ridiculous anyone says it is, or how much anyone hates on ABBA, I'm absolutely obsessed with it. My mom was like, "I could easily go see that again next Friday night!" and hello, obviously I feel the same way, seeing as that's exactly what I did.
Meryl Streep has been a long time girl crush for me, starting with Music of the Heart, moving onto The Hours, then Angels in America, and of course The Devil Wears Prada, and now, Mamma Mia. Girlfriend is almost 60 and she is way hotter than I've ever been, impressively agile (see below), her acting rocks, she is never a "type," she's so low-key yet pulled together...okay maybe girl crush was an understatement. Girl love? I guess I just feel like, well, I love watching train wrecks just as much as the next Gen-Internet-Tabloid kid, but sometimes it's just really nice to see a classy lady doing her thang.
My other new love is Amanda Seyfried. I'd really only ever seen her in Mean Girls, although apparently she's fantastic on Big Love, too. Her role in Mean Girls was definitely necessary; I mean, where would the movie be without Karen the "slut" and her boobs that magically can tell when it's raining. Still, she's not exactly the stand-out performance of that film. She really steals the show in Mamma Mia! looking happy and healthy, singing and dancing impressively, and making a gorgeous bride to boot. Oh, and I almost sobbed during her duet with Streep. Not only because my mom was next to me also crying. Well actually, maybe because of that. Side note: I love my mom.
To conclude, the movie was an amazing dance-party-sing-along-mix-up. It literally sparkles, from the sunlight on the ocean to the disco lights during the hen party to the candles and lanterns at the wedding, it was one big feel good fest. And I loved it, even if I am bitter that no one will ever sing to me about those happy days that seem so hard to find...because if anyone deserved the SOS at the end, it's my girl Meryl. I would live vicariously through her and any character she chooses to play, any day.
Hey friends. You might notice that things are changing around here, ever so slightly. I'm not doing any serious moves or anything, because for my purposes I'm quite pleased with Blogger and see no need to change up a good thing. I'm simply...renovating.
Basically, when this blog started out it was all Haiku, all the time. That become unfeasible and somewhat boring, so I revamped it to be my summer project, A Summer (Un)Wasting. It's going well and I'm really enjoying myself, so in an effort to keep things current and not so one-dimensional in terms of the season, I'm making some small changes. Title, bio, etc etc.
If you are kind enough to have me linked, I would love if you could update the title on your blog. Just because I'm obsessive like that.
Other than that, there shouldn't be much work involved for any of you...I just wanted to explain why it might be looking a little messy and unfinished around here for a couple of days. It's mostly just so I can really enjoy coming to these pages (seeing as I'm pretty sure I'm here more than anyone), and an excuse for me to scan and post the adorable photobooth strip I took at Diesel Cafe last week. So here's to getting ready for fall, winter, and the whole year coming up ahead...it's going to be a good one, and I hope my blog reflects that.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Boobs are a topic that are always on my mind. Probably because I have big ones. I know that a lot of girls are very self-conscious about their chests, whether they are big or small or anything in between, but mine has always been something I am fairly okay with.
I got boobs really, really early. Like, 5th grade early. That wasn't fun. Especially when Chloe Zackai (I have no idea how you spell that, I just think it's really interesting how every single person I know remembers the first and last name of people who were mean to them in elementary school--the mind stores such useful things, right?) came up to me on a school field trip, pointed at my budding chest, and said loudly, "Why do you have boobs? We're 10. It's so weird." I was wearing a green Calvin Klein t-shirt that my cool aunt from America (remember kiddies, I'm Canadian) had bought me and I had felt so confident that morning when I headed into school...and in a matter of moments, Chloe managed to rip that to shreds. I think I mumbled something about not eating enough vegetables and maybe that was why (what?!) and then I ran to the bathroom and cried.
Since then though, I have been pretty okay with my rack. In fact, I won't lie, I like it. There, I said it: I have big boobs and I like them. Oh my god, I am mildly confident and comfortable with an aspect of my body. Alert the media.
But here's something that has always baffled me: because I have big boobs, people think it's okay to talk about how I have big boobs. Boys point them out to me. Girls ask what size I am. They were always referenced in cabin songs at the end of the summer, where we picked out a quirk about each girl and gently (or harshly, depending on the age) teased one another. Random people I don't know ask me if they hurt. I am constantly asked if I am considering getting a reduction. And, my personal favorite: The Chest Grab.
I was hanging out with my friend Katy a few nights ago, another lady who is fortunate enough to be blessed with a large chest. Somehow the topic of our boobs came up (doesn't it always?) and Katy pointed out how for some reason, girls with no boobs think it is okay to touch her boobs. As soon as she verbalized it, I realized I've been victim to this too! And we weren't just talking about those old granny ladies in bra stores that seem to delight in grabbing the tape measure and poking and prodding and eventually informing you that you're actually about 8 sizes bigger than you ever thought you were...nope, we were talking about regular people.
So maybe I'm missing something. Dear regular people who do not have big boobs, why do you feel like it's okay to grab at mine? You know what I mean. I'm wearing a low cut tank top and you grab a strap, or worse, the front of the garment, and you yank it up. Ohhhh, were you trying to cover up my cleavage for me? OMG THANKS I DIDN'T NOTICE IT WAS THERE! MY B! Or when I'm wearing an empire waist dress and you feel the need to yank it down, way lower than I had it, because "the lines aren't in the right place." Hellooooo. My boobs are big! The lines of an empire waisted garment will never be in the right place. I am trying to not have an indecent amount of cleavage, though probably if I'd had the garment on "right" you'd be yanking it up anyway, right? What the fuck?!?! Seriously, Katy was like, "I don't go around feeling up flat people and saying, Oh my god, you're sooo small, what's that like, how is that shirt fitting, you're just sooo small." This is a really good rant to witness live because Katy's hand motions were really fabulous and I feel like I'm not capturing them well in this text, but maybe you get the jist of what I'm saying.
All it really boils down to is this: WHY HAVE I GROWN UP ASSUMING PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT TO TALK ABOUT MY BODY? Simply answered: because I've never known any different.
I remember writing a diary entry when I was younger that essentially went along the lines of: If I didn't have big boobs I think I would have fewer friends, because nobody would have anything to say to me. This has been a fairly funny post up until now, but yo, that is tragic. I wasn't even that little when I wrote it, I think maybe sophomore or junior year? But the thing is, maybe if I had grown up flat, I wouldn't think it was acceptable for people to discuss my body, because there wouldn't have been anything to say. Or maybe people still would have found something to say, because let's be honest we've all been brought up assuming it's fine to tear a women's body apart, just because we can.
Why can we?
How can we make this stop?
And why am I okay with perfect strangers reaching across my personal space boundary and pulling up my shirt for me, all the while whispering soothingly "That's some serious cleavage you've got there!" Like I don't know. Like I need a stranger to tell me.
I still love my boobs. It's just, I'm learning to love the rest of me, too. I guess I wish everyone else would follow my lead.
I can't help it, sometimes I get really worried that I have never been "in love." I'd like an exact definition of what that means, but seeing as "when you know, you'll know" seems to be the general consensus, that seems unlikely. I tried to suggest to Jackie today that I think I have been in love, but it was really not mutual, so I don't know if I should count that because maybe being in unrequited true love is more embarrassing and depressing than never being in love at all, and she agreed. "That was really depressing, V," she said. "Don't say that again."
I guess the number one concern, and please, don't laugh or mock me, is that at around age 25 I'd like to think I might be engaged. Or at least on track to getting married. And hey, maybe this is unrealistic with the divorce rate, but I'd like to think that love will play a role in said marriage. So I guess in my mind, it's just concerning that I'm going to want to have experienced a long-term loving relationship within the next six years, one that will ultimately lead to marriage, and I have yet to have any real experience with the feeling. Or at least, any mutual, meaningful experience. It's like saying I want to apply to med school in 6 years but admitting to never getting an A in a science class! Or something like that. It's just something that's been on my mind a lot, been occupying my thoughts a lot...even if my analogies don't reflect that.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I'm home sick from work today and feeling terribly uninspired and altogether very sorry for myself. So I figured what better way to cure my blues than reading some old haikus from this very blog? Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some of my favorites:
I fell down last night,
started sobbing, went home. Self:
Try to be less lame.
Thought I lost my keys.
PANIC ATTACK! (They were in
my bag the whole time.)
Moon Boots and long jeans
in a torrential downpour?
A poor outfit choice.
A homeless woman
approached me just now. She said:
"You look like a slut."
Some people don't know
that there are two seders for
Passover. There are.
The Tom Cruise Sofa
Moment was '05?! I have
no concept of time.
I don't write haikus
anymore. I don't really
know why. Adios.
Monday, July 21, 2008
This weekend I discovered Coney Island. Even after living in New York for two years, I'd never ventured all the way to the end of the N train. I was seriously missing out! This past Saturday I got to spend a good portion of the day there for Siren, and not only did I meet and greet with (not enough) old friends and find a new favorite band (listen!), but I rediscovered my desire to explore, take pictures, and write poems.
The act of writing is not one I write about often, because it seems unnecessary, or maybe simply boring. Writers write. Etc etc. But the truth is some days I find it difficult to contribute anything to my title of "writer." It's an interesting one, because unlike "doctor" or "accountant", the moment one declares oneself a writer, it is true. It's one of those things that can be truly self-declared. I mean whether or not you are a published writer, a good writer, an influential writer...those things are not guaranteed. But the fact of the matter is, once I say "I am a writer!", it is true. So long as I keep writing.
And that's the trick. Once one stops writing, is one still allowed to say "I am a writer!"? How long does a lapse have to be before the statement is no longer true? If one starts writing again is the title automatically regained? Does it matter what genre? For example, I was writing poems like a mad person last semester. It started out as assignments for my workshop and continued into the only thing that really kept me sane throughout the semester, if we can deem what I was last semester as "sane." But after Israel things kind of petered off. I can't tell if I stopped being inspired, or if I got too happy to have anything meaningful to say (you know how that is--somehow the happy times don't seem as worthy of paper as the mopey depressing times), or if I simply got bored. My writing teacher told us at the end of the semester that it would be extremely improbable that any of us would be still writing poetry in six months. I was so sure I would prove him wrong. I have written 3 bad poems in the course of the past 3 months.
I wonder. Am I still a writer because in my head I think I am one? Does this blog count as enough to qualify me? I still write in my journal, but not enough. I write at work. Does a press release make me a writer? I don't know.
Despite my general feeling that as long as I'm putting words out there in some way, shape, or form (okay, maybe press releases don't count), I am doing okay, I still want to have some concrete work to show at the end of the summer. I do not want to regress. I do not want my current chapbook to be the only one that ever comes into true existence. I am determined to keep writing. Whether I end up writing for magazines, newspapers, websites, or even just in the margins of the papers I may end up grading if I become a teacher, I want to know that I am a writer. That's all I've ever really known about myself. I remember one night at a bar I met a man who was considerably older than me, and I hung out with him because he kept buying me drinks. He did some sort of finance job which obviously sounded completely boring to me but he seemed pleased enough, and eventually he got around to asking what I wanted to be "when I grew up." Cute. "A writer." He was curious: "Oh, like for magazines? Newspapers?" And I was tipsy. So I answered honestly: "NO!" I yelled. "LIKE ERNEST HEMINGWAY!" Drunk words, sober thoughts, kiddies. Although it's probably best to only yell those true ambitions into dark bars while sitting with older men. A drunk guy hitting on you is way less likely to laugh at that type of ridiculous dream than any other person you will ever meet. He'll probably even tell you it's not ridiculous. And you'll believe him, because you want to.
Like most posts, I started somewhere and ended somewhere else. And this was long. And I have work in the morning, and it is almost 3am. Goodnight New York...thanks for inspiring me, just like you're supposed to. You keep doing your job, and hopefully I can keep doing mine.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
At the nail place today, the 60 year old woman getting a pedicure next to me held a tiny white dog with a pink bow in its "hair" on her lap during the entire thing. She pet it from time to time and whispered I don't know what in her (?) ear. When her pedicure was done she pranced out of salon promising to "see everyone tomorrow for my manicure!"
Just incase anyone was wondering what kind of suburb I live in.
(Subtext: Visiting NYC tomorrow and I couldn't be more ready...)
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I've been told I'm an angry person. Especially when it comes to feminist issues. "Vanessa, calm down," I am told, often accompanied by a pitying stare or a patronizing lecture. "It doesn't matter if Obama doesn't win the election...Roe v. Wade is never going to be overturned. That's ridiculous." Hello? Are we being serious here? I'm not sure if it's ignorance or optimism or delusion that makes people so damn sure that my body is safe from the claws of the government, but I have a big news flash for everyone: IT IS NOT.
Edit: Senior year I wrote columns about how terrifying it was that South Dakota lawmakers were attempting to pass a bill that would ban all abortions, even in the case of rape or incest. For some reason I remember stuff being published at the time about women in South Dakota having to leave the state to obtain abortions, but Kelsey pointed out I'm misinformed. Still, I think it's fair to point out that many states in America do not exactly make abortion easy, which is particularly unfair because the very nature of choosing to get an abortion is not easy to begin with.
Just a few weeks ago I read a horrifying blog post by a 15 year old girl from New Jersey who tried to help her friend buy a pregnancy test at CVS and was almost denied, simply because the woman working behind the counter felt like it wasn't appropriate. We are not even talking about government officials here...we're talking about Random McRandom conservative older woman using her own personal beliefs to not only interfere with proper work ethic, but to potentially prevent a younger woman from getting important information about her own body.
And now this:
You can imagine my terror at finding this in the Boston Globe this morning, via The Washington Post:
"A proposal to define a fertilized human egg as a person will land on Colorado's ballot this November, marking the first time that the question of when life begins will go before voters anywhere in the nation.
The Human Life Amendment, also known as the personhood amendment, says the words "person" or "persons" in the state constitution should "include any human being from the moment of fertilization." If voters agreed, legal experts say, it would give fertilized eggs the same legal rights and protections to which people are entitled."
I don't even know what to say. I mean, it truly baffles me that any logical human being can say they truly believe that as soon as an egg is fertilized, it becomes a "person." What does that even mean?! The spokesperson from Colorado for Equal Rights, the grassroots group that spurred the initiative, explains that the law would be instated as a way to make changes in other laws that will serve the same purpose (you know, protecting the lives of unformed undeveloped unborn NON-babies) but insists that it's not a set-up to ban abortion. My response? Like hell it's not.
I'm sorry, I must have missed all the other laws that discriminate and endanger all those other non-babies struggling out there. There must be so many injustices performed against non-babies every day. There care and equality should definitely come first, definitely before considerations such as, oh, I don't know...the living breathing mother's health. Yes, physical or mental, depending on the circumstances. And definitely if the mother miscarries, and is you know, traumatized by the fact that she has already suffered a significant tragedy if she indeed wanted the baby, she should definitely be put on trial as a murderer...you know, incase it turns out she did something that caused the miscarriage, because then it's 100% her fault and bitch needs to go to jail ASAP.
This is so obviously a ploy to ban abortion that it's actually almost laughable to see people protesting otherwise. The whole thing reeks of ridiculousness to me, but of course it's a genuine concern that there are people out there who seem to truly believe this bullshit, and the greater concern looms that there might be enough of these people in Colorado to actually make the law pass. I mean I pray to God it's just a bunch of loonies, but I have no idea of knowing.
An aside that doesn't piss me off as the rest of the article but I do find intriguing: no where is the man and his sperm mentioned. Like, the article talks about the legislative changes that would have to occur if this law passed, and how a woman would be held responsible for the "child" as though it were a "person" from the very get-go, even going so far as to suggest that if a mother needed a specific medical procedure for her health she would have to forgo it for the sake of this "person" child...but the dude totally gets off the hook. It's like, go on, release your sperm, let your children ('cuz you know, once we're naming a bunch of cells inside a woman a child, why not just throw the label on all things that make up the eventual baby) run free...and peace out. I didn't read anything about how the guy could be held responsible for anything that happened to this NOT ACTUAL BABY growing inside the woman's belly. Maybe it's because the woman is providing room and board to this non-baby that she gets stuck with the responsibilities, too.
I don't really mind as much about the man/responsibility aspect because I think if you gave the creators of this rule long enough, they could probably find ways to throw men on the stand for murder of "babies" as well. That's how crazy they are.
But I mean, this hurts. It literally hurts to read. I'm seeing red. I've been steaming for hours, trying to wait until I'd calmed down to write this post, but I don't think any calm is coming. This is the ultimate blow in terms of taking a woman's rights to her own body away from her, and I feel like I haven't even scratched the surface of all that is wrong with this law. It's enough to make me vomit.
I'll keep brooding on this and probably write more tomorrow. For now I guess I'm going to sleep angry. Apologies to all the patronizing tones out there who are maybe still trying to convince me Roe v. Wade can never be overturned in this wonderfully fair democracy of ours...I know you want me to just smile and agree with you. But I'm sorry, I can't. I just don't fucking believe it. And that is why I get so angry.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Went to Tanglewood with my parents this weekend and drove us home, via Mass Pike! Anyone who knew me around the time of the Traumatic Accidental Wrong Turn Onto 128 knows that I never properly learned to drive on real highways, mostly because I wasn't allowed to back when I was getting my license. So the drive home was a Very Big Deal. Almost as big a deal as the fact that they were selling individually packed mini servings of Nutella at one of the general stores in Stockholm.
We saw some great performances over the course of the weekend, including a very impressive dance series at Jacob's Pillow by an Israeli choreographer who is apparently quite new to the scene named Hofesh Shechter. His dances combine this really raw sexual energy with an undertone of violence, to the point where it almost seems the two become one and the same. Specifically there is a point in the one dance (all male) where the men are standing in a circle facing in, and they are just breathing very heavily, when one man hits the other and they go around in a circle repeating the motion, until the very last guy combines the light shoulder punch with a direct slap in the face, which transforms into an all out slap fight reminiscent of Union Square Hipster Fight Club, but then the slapping dies down and the emotion left on stage can only be described as erotic. There was a lot of contact and removal, a lot of anger resolved or combatted with sexuality, and a lot of extreme emotion.
And it occurs to me, this was so compelling to watch because what is life if not a series of strong emotions, moving from one end of the spectrum to the other, with the polar opposites in this case being Anger and Sex. And if you change the spectrum from a linear device to a circular one, it brings Anger and Sex together and attaches them as the same point.
Now I'm not advocating that anger equals good sex, though I'm not not advocating it either if you know what I mean. I'm just saying, you know how it's often said that hating someone is just as strenuous as loving someone because they both take equal amount of energy (and I would go so far as to say that hating someone actually takes more energy than loving someone because hate is just so damn all-consuming)? So I guess I'm saying that if you have so much anger inside of you, that is a whole lot of emotion, and all that pent up emotion can sometimes translate itself in a very orgasmic way. Or you know, you can go blow up a bank or something. Which is bad, and probably won't yield an orgasm but will allow you to spend the night chained up in a cold hard cell. Though if you're into that kind of thing, maybe it could yield an orgasm, too.
I might be getting somewhere real with this or I might just be making myself horny...it's probably a good time to end this post. Suffice it to say, strong emotions emitted by incredibly handsome men are always a turn-on, whether they're looking to fight one another to the death or engage in a group orgy. Or you know, just put on an unbelievable dance show.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
1. I'm thoroughly enjoying All The Sad Young Literary Men. Sue me.
2. The AIM Waiting Game is true torture. You know the one. Crush/boyfriend/exboyfriend/any guy who makes your heart do that weird extra hard beating thing that you wish it would stop fucking doing signs on. You stare at his screen name waiting for him to IM you. Maybe he does, in which case the torture ends. But if he doesn't...I don't know about anyone else, but this is the part where I start trying to remember who-IMed-who-first the last time we spoke. Then I try to will myself not to IM him. Then I keep staring at his screen name. Eventually I put up an away message or I sign off...either way I'm not happy. Probably if we had actually spoken I wouldn't really be happy either. Fuck.
3. My boss read my blog. He said it was cute. Hm?
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
1. It's so crazy how smell brings you back to a place. I hung out with Jon tonight for the first time in so long and I think I kind of weirded him out because I just kept saying "It's so weird to be in your house," and he was like "Uhhhh, sorry?" But I really just meant it's so crazy because I mean that boy has been so many things to me, and I don't feel weird throwing that up here because he knows it and would be unsurprised to hear me describe our relationship in that way. He's literally been my crush, my best friend, my most hated boy, my support, my sort of hook up buddy, my biggest disappointment, my friend, my biggest disappointment again, and now, after all that and more...my friend again? I hope so. Anyway it was just strange because he and his house have this very specific scent and the moment I stepped in there today I felt like I was back to junior year of high school. And well, it's very strange that a certain smell is all it takes to transport oneself back to four years ago, When It All Began. (PS: Yes, that is a photo of Jon and I from my junior year, right around the time we started becoming really close. Yes, we both look like we MIGHT be 5, maybe.)
2. I worry that my desire to have a huge white wedding directly clashes with all my feminist beliefs, and I worry there is no way to reconcile the two ideologies. I mean, one of the interns at work today said she would be a-okay just going down to city hall and getting a marriage license, but I know that whenever my wedding goes down, that will so not fly for me. Just like I never wanted to just have a Torah ceremony with no party for my Bat Mitzvah. Does this make me a superficial materialistic follower? Probably. I'll have to give this more thought. So many things I want to do seem to clash in my head. Having my father walk me down the aisle to "give me away" vs. believing I am my own property and belong to no one but myself. Being confused in general about things like teen pregnancy, teen sex, sex as a whole, debacles like the Jezebel one, etc. I think this can just be added to the list of CONFUSION I have going on in my head. To be continued.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
I tend to say "sorry" when I really think the other person should be saying sorry. You know, as a way to fill in the empty space in the conversation where they should be apologizing. So I...apologize for them? Apologize for myself? Let them off the fucking hook.
I need to stop doing that.
I haven't posted all weekend and I have far too much to say and far too little energy to write it.
I am in an awful mood.
I enjoyed the fireworks. I enjoyed being sober at an event where everyone else was shit-faced drunk (no sarcasm, I actually had a really great time.) I enjoyed shopping with my mom. I enjoyed a few other things that I'm not comfortable blogging about yet, no matter how much I embrace the Overshare Culture of 2008. But that's pretty much where my enjoyment levels end. Today was shit shit shit. This will be as coherent as I can attempt to make it. Then I'm going to continue indulging in my day of Eat As Many Calories As You Want And Don't Go To The Gym Today Because Wallowing In Obesity Is A Fabulous Way To Counteract Moping In Your Bed With Your Laptop.
I had dinner last night with a guy who I consider to be smart and liberal. He believes in gay rights, wonders about the legitimacy of the oil war, and enjoys drunkenly arguing with people who support McCain. So imagine my surprise when I casually mention that being a feminist has always been pretty natural to me and it kills me when people of our generation equate feminism with stupid girls who make a big deal out of nothing and hate men and his response is: Really? That's not what feminists are?
We sat over sushi and I tried to explain to him why saying you hate Hilary Clinton because "she's a bitch" is inappropriate. Even less appropriate is to expound on this by saying, "But people don't say mean things about Obama because he's nice." I tried to explain that I was pretty sure in our liberal suburb, even if Obama was presenting himself as a total asshole, describing him with racial slurs would not fly. I think the thing that fascinates me about feminism and the need for more equality between the sexes than currently exists, is peoples' ignorance towards it. I am in now way saying that racism does not still exist, even as we hope it is dying out. And I have no idea what life/ideas are like in places that are not the East coast of America. But what I am saying is that here, in my little suburb of the world, kids are brought up to know that racism is not okay. Racists comments are not okay. I have no doubt people still have racism embedded in them, and
still might think racist thoughts, but by and large it is understood that you cannot verbalize or act on them. And that's a step. Somehow, equality for women in this same liberal little suburb doesn't seem to exist. No one ever got expelled in middle school for calling girls "bitches" or "sluts." People don't even recognize feminism as a legit cause! The guy I was with last night didn't know what the word misogyny meant, tried to argue that the reason men get paid more is because "statistically there are more men in the sciences, and those jobs just pay more money than other industries," even though I tried to explain that actually the wage discrepancy happens to people of different genders doing the same jobs in the same industries, and aside from calling Hilary a bitch also used my favorite anti-woman complaint about the lady and told me her problem was she "nags too much." OH, and he was intensely skeptical that any male in the world would ever identify with the word "feminist." Fuck, me.
So I just don't know. I respect a few points he made. There are feminists out there who make me crazy over their nit-pickiness, and I do believe that a lot of the "fight" is over and what we are working on now is more kinks and nuances, not so much a full on war. Just get the fucking coffee, lady! It's not because you're a woman...it's because you're an assistant! Hello, I work unpaid for 30 hours a week because that's how the media industry rolls...but I also understand that for some women out there, that case is a huge deal, and then I start thinking well who am I to tell them that's a case of being nit-picky and "making a big deal out of nothing," when for me the Dairy Queen ad, the Facebook group "Man Law", and victim shaming are really big deals. Feminism is so...fluid(?) these days. I don't know if that's the right word. Maybe it's more splintered, or divided. I don't know. Jess writes all these really intense posts about what she thinks about feminism, and I read Feministing and Jezebel on a daily basis, and I try to keep reading books like Full Frontal Feminism and The Story of Jane, and I basically just try to keep learning and learning and learning because I'm 19 and god knows I have so much more to learn, but it just seems so defeating when one of the most accepting and progressive dudes I know tells me being a feminist is a load of bullshit. Unnecessary. Over-dramatic. Oh and don't forget the man hating part of it!
It gets me even more when girls my age scoff, mock, or scorn feminism. It just truly baffles me how a woman cannot identify with a movement that strives to create real true equality for all people across the board.
I guess conversations like the one I was forced to engage in last night will keep me learning, keep me motivated to make changes, keep me evolving my ideas and the ways in which I can get them across to people who disagree with me. It's very easy to enter into safe spaces with people who totally get where I'm coming from and agree that feminism is both necessary and effective, but it's a very different experience to engage in real discussions with people who disagree with those beliefs.
So I think the conclusion I can come to this evening is that the only option is to keep talking, keep acting, keep writing. I want to do more, but I also think writing is effective. Something that made me mad last night was the accusatory tone the guy in question took on when I went off on how important this all is to me. "Why don't you do something about it then?" he asked. I wanted to yell, "I am doing something! I'm trying to talk some sense into you, for a start!" I know what he means. He means why aren't I majoring in politics so I can get my ass out there talking about issues. He means why aren't I writing the next great thesis about all the things that mean the world to me. Maybe he means, why aren't I in a third world country where things are even worse for women as opposed to debating him in some sushi restaurant in upper middle class suburbia.
Those are all fair points. I do want to do more. I want to volunteer at abortion clinics, I want to tutor young girls so they learn from an early age that they can take on the world, I want to speak out and make a difference. But I don't think my writing or my genuine conversations are that different from any of those tangible actions. I hear so many times that the internet has made our generation lazy, that we make Facebook groups and attend meaningless protests instead of actually doing things. But I've always believed that having the ability to speak out and use my voice is one of the strongest and most effective ways to be heard, literally and figuratively, and so I will continue to do so. Actions, words, ideas...they all hold weight. The goal is to reach as many people as possible with the message of equality. So however one chooses to do that, I say it's an effective step in the right direction. Maybe my frustrating conversation last night was just a small step for this human being, but if I changed that dude's mind about anything he previously believed, or even just educated him about misogyny and its very real existence...well then maybe it was a giant leap for humankind.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Took three rolls of film and numerous Polaroids tonight. I'm hoping for a speedy recovery from this six-month-long bout of artist's block. Thank you Pippa for being a gorgeous and cooperative model!
Today I followed this story, and it sickens me. I literally felt physically sick as my mom described it to me this morning. Essentially it seems that a 22 year old man made a sarcastic remark to (around? near?) a group of policemen, and they chose to respond with force. So much force that the man, David Woodman, died. Or at least that is the story my mom outlined.
Upon researching it further in the Globe, it seems that the police force are standing by a story that police brutality is not in fact what killed Woodman, who had a heart condition to begin with. The commissioner, Edward F. Davis, is sure that officers didn't use excessive force.
The only flaw with this argument is a pretty large one: how do we know that?
Yvonne Abraham wrote a really excellent piece called "Jumping to conclusions" that basically deals with that question in a more in depth fashion. The major points are, as I see it, newsroom worthy things aside, this:
1. Someone's child is unnecessarily dead.
2. Even if it turns out "excess brutality" was not used, why was any amount of brutality allowed to be a standard way to deal with what was essentially a smart-ass remark and a cup of beer?
Really, even with all my daily frustrations with the suburban police, I have never had real reason to hate them. Yeah, it's annoying that we can't all just smoke and drink in public all the time. Also extremely annoying when you're just trying to drive past Whole Foods and there's a policeman there attempting to direct traffic but really just making things worse. And my dad's yelps of "POLICE! POLICE!" every time we drive by one are no fun either. But those goes above the point of annoyance and moves me to the point of repulsion and disbelief.
How can this "crime" have deserved such action? And if these are the kinds of things that prompt police to throw a man against a fence and then to the ground before arresting him, how do they treat actual criminals? I am not arguing that police are unnecessary, or that certain crimes deserve harsh punishment...it just seems that this particular crime did not fit the police action that followed, and the resulting death should be enough to encourage the police force to carefully examine the incident, learn from it, and potentially change their standards of dealing with things.
It does not seem appropriate to respond to this death by confidently assuring the public that "officers did not use excess force" because "no [pepper] spray or batons were used..." Especially not before the investigation is over. That does not seem like the best way to move forward from this incident--it seems like bullshit.