- Considerations of "Modern life"
- Creative writing
- Joie de vivre
- New York City
- The law
Last night, between writing a draft of my 25 page final paper for China Intellectual Property and browsing Cyber Monday deals, I uncovered this piece of gem on Daily Intel: Yale is offering a seminar class on night life in NYC.
I took my fair share of culture studies, namely just the freshman intro to rhetoric, the syllabus for which was built around relevant pop culture and media, you know, so as to appeal to the sleepy freshman brains who are in class at 8:30am in Binghamton where the sun don’t shine. And, yeah, I did write papers discussing the reciprocal/symbiotic influences between Hip Hop music and fashion, analyzing the seemingly divergent female narratives on the deterioration of a relationship in a Kelly Price R&B jam and a Eve rap hit. But this was in my first semester of college, I was 18 and I never thought for a second that this would be permissible topic of study as a thesis to a 4 year program that is supposed to be the build up of my 21 years on this earth. I assumed dedicating 4 years of education would add a new facet to my life, and that I should at least acquire new knowledge. College, in short, was not supposed to be an extension of my life before or out of college, because if that were a legitimate topic of study, then why would I even need to be in college? Even after composing a thesis on the cultural nuances I witnessed between living in Shanghai, New York and Paris, I always assumed that this intellectual curiosity is a natural by-product of, oh say, living a life. It was not until much later, after having worked for a year, did I realize that there are people out there who take on pop culture and lifestyles as a course of study and then as a overarching theme to a CAREER. People are making a living out of simply synthesizing fragments of everyday life through verbal articulation.
My ninjas, that is bullshit.
I get it. There are implications upon implications in every trend ever in society. But the implication of this particular phenomenon seems to be: this is a generation of people who is so existential so 24/7 that they find enough relevance in these trivialities to not only dissect but to create a whole discourse out of as if such extrapolations can have even a de minimis worth to the society beyond themselves. Not only that, but that the few who are “elevated” as studied in these issues, means that there is a whole generation of people who are interested but are capable of even less.
I am all about reading the casual blog post on fringe social issues that come thru in the movies, ads, or songs on some inadvertent philosopher business, but a seminar class? What do you suppose is the pre-requisite for the class? What are the accompanying texts? Perspectives on the gaze? Feminist response to the male gaze?
A quick google search of the instructor turned up his catalog of works on the Thought Catalog, after which I read a few more random posts on the site, which are desultory, if anything. These are published. When Charlie sent me a NYT post by Edith Zimmerman 2 weeks ago, she was critical of the casual style and generally lax standard of writing. I lamented that it is a new norm, that this is apt as blogs are increasingly legitimized as a medium of expression.
But these jawns are making me weep. I never considered pursuing writing, because I hold the discipline with esteem, and didn’t think that I had the requisite skills. Apparently, those skills? Not such a requisite! These writings make a mockery out of the craft by simply existing beyond a private realm. I mean, I just CANNOT.
I was making a Spotify playlist and updating facebook when I realized I have a blog, so here is another one of my infamous sudden overflow of entries.
Another post toward building my rep as a type A or someone who expects common courtesy:
What is the typical email reply time frame? A day? 2 days? How busy do you have to be to neglect emails? Otherwise, what’s the excuse? You’re rude? I have heard that people can just forget to respond or forget that they’re in correspondence with people, but I mean, is that acceptable? With the ubiquity of Smartphones which is attached to most bodies and or checked at intervals of no more than 5 hours, you’re really going to tell me, it just escaped your mind that there are messages which bear replying to even though they probably glare back at you as soon as you check your messages box? I’m not talking about the game of let me wait 10 hours before I text back in the beginning of a relationship; I’m talking about friends, and even worse – professional colleagues. A prompt response is not only necessary for clients, but a courtesy for all. There is little to no excuse for email – all the technical glitches are a weak attempt to justify it. It takes about 2 minutes tops for most emails, especially for friends. I understand professional emails require some time for drafting.
This is not like the whole I am so above all modern day technology and regular communications and the internet. This isn’t television. Remove the medium from it, it’s an issue of courtesy. Maybe I am too personally invested in this, because I routinely send out emails that get no replies. You’re not hiking the Himalayans, you’re not curing malaria in some obscure country, if I send you an email, especially one with a question? I am waiting for or expecting a response; otherwise I would’ve kept it to myself. Much like, if I didn’t want people to nodd furiously in agreement with my rant, I would’ve ruminated this rant and filed it away. What? Do I have to wish on a shooting star every time I send out an email? A reply too much to ask for? Because you’re so much busier than me? Or you just could care less than a poorly constructed/less than thoughtful response to my concerns/questions? And just because other people do it, doesn’t mean you’re excused. What are we, children? We do things because other people do it? If that were a justification, so many other things would be different – slavery would still be ok, no? Because other people do it?
It boggles my mind that people don’t see it as a problem and will shrug as if not answering emails is a character trait, like not having a sense of direction is a character trait (which one of my friends says all the time in a way that suggests that I should find it endearing). We can have a chuckle about it the first time you’re lost in Chinatown, but the fourth time you call to ask for directions while I’m at work or school? No, you’re lazy and inconsiderate.
The only kind of message that doesn’t deserve a reply? Random solicitation for sex from trifling dudes who have even less courtesy.
Sometimes I hate the nature of social media and its effect on social etiquette. I mean, I love it sometimes. But sometimes, like right now, when I want to write about certain friends of mine who are triflin’, self-unaware, hypocritical dickwads, I can’t maintain enough anonymity to adequately have cathartic release. This is the real malaise of the 21st century adult who still maintains the lines of old fashioned 20th century propriety ascribed to certain behavior that others no longer subscribe to. I can’t even send some subliminal cryptic message, because that is not my style. It’s the catch-22 of blogging, you want your audience, but the growth of your audience sometimes limits your content. Or should I not give a fuck, blog about it and come off as passive aggressive? Because it’s not an issue worthy of person to person confrontation and I really just want to rant.
This plus the exposure Twitter is providing on the wretched personality and pitiful stupidity of others that makes me want to scream STFU everytime Ubersocial’s mute function expires on a particular “friend”.
I’ve spoken on the international calamity that is fashion blogging worldwide before, but today, it was only a few moments ago, I’ve realized why in such succinct terms. Bloggers have singlehandedly eviscerated that essential element of fashion: fantasy. I’m not talking about the aspirational aspect of fashion fandom (or the pursuit of any lifestyle above our own). Beyond that is a realm to which I’ve previously relegated fairy tales, Alexander McQueen and the one off type situations Hussein Chalayan sometimes show that should really be on a runway. Then, it began with Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness and trickled down, in perfect copycat fashion, to 19-25 year old twigs all over the world. The consequent commercial reponse to all these deplorable, tasteless, amateur interpretation of design is inevitably an object that just leaps over ugly and lands on the side of, what the fuckery, i have no wordsry:
When I first started Yelping, I had no idea of its associations or whatever with douchey yuppie foodies. I just liked it as a medium for musings more inane than those I’d post here. That and I wanted to impose my superior tastes on the rest of the community. This urgent agenda was especially so considering Yelp was responsible for the terrible setting of what was at the time a very important first date. The build up and subsequent let down of the meal were, in
many ways a way, symbolic of the ensuing liaison.
After which, I was like, hell the fuck nah, a first date already has enough stacked up against itself, do not let a woman sit through a bad meal on top of it, too. Because, we are each individually (not as a group) deserving of all the gems life has to offer. I took on the honorable role of a vigilante facilitater of oral pleasures. pause.
Since then, I’ve heard many iterations of Yelp bashing, the most prevalent being: Yelp is the new Asian Avenue.
Y’all, as much as the Asian supremacist in me would like to believe that Asian taste buds are superior, they just aren’t. Some of us were meant for greater things in life and some are just supposed to be happy with white rice and soy sauce.
Now, don’t think I actually read the article, I’m completely going by presumptions. But focusing on the appeal of Yelp for Asian girls and their perverse fans is completely missing the point. There is an issue far too sinister to leave unaddressed. Aside from the vanilla ass language that rival the restaurants they critique, my major gripe with Yelp is people who feign to be well-versed and cultured when they’re simply bumpkins. I, too, worship at the alter of Epicureanism, but too many Yelpers have false idols. It’s the disease of our generation that everyone wants a voice in the ugly cacophony of nothingness. Aspiring designers, bloggers, tastemakers, photographers, political pundits and yelp reviewers are all plagued with the same narcissistic illness of needing the world to witness and acknowledge their soggy and affected point of view. Also, proof that democracy and libertarianism can only work in a society of people with functioning brains, a minimum level of self-awareness, adequate level of truthful self-assessment and a healthy dose of shame. Plurality of shitty uniformity aside, they serve to mislead people to venues of subpar quality and waste money they don’t have. Yelp’s 3 to 4 stars reviews contain a dangerous curve – going to a three starred and sometimes even four starred restaurant is a gamble as risky as playing Russian Roulette. There’s got to be a better system. It also begs the question why. I stated why I began Yelping, but for the rest of you common reviewers of run of the mill taste buds, I have to wonder what you’re trying to achieve by upsetting the curve so. Can I eat? Can I live?
To be fair, my severe standards are genetic – my grandmother thinks 95% of NewYork restaurants serve unrefined, peasant food that deserve a place no higher than the dishwasher’s dinner plate. I’ve been eating snakes and razor clams since I was 7, you chumps are only now catching on. Please.
Well, guess what mami, I heard the same:
I’m on refinery29 today; this is the obligatory vain blogger post.
So, the Sartorialist is in Seoul?
This woman encapsulates everything about Korean fashion. Good fit, looks good overall – you can’t complain about their lack of effort though it usually looks casual and sans effort. But at the same time, none of it is really artful. I mean, an orange belt with a gaudy gold logo with an all black outfit which covers about 6 different trends at the same time. You know she was affecting something.
On the other hand, the Tory Burch is almost unexpected in this context thanks to her 1) not caring about the usual association we’ve come to have about TB 2) not knowing about them. A “fashionista” in the US who would concoct that all black outfit would shun Tory Burch for those associations, ya know? I don’t know how much of a pro it is, but I mean, down with the rules right?
It could also just be that unique Korean inclination to wear as much “luxury” items as possible. Koreans are not shy about their love for logos, maybe only second to Chinese people who go back to the motherland for vacation. I wonder if her Fendi bag is real, but that’s a spiteful speculation at best.
He makes me feel like I’m pandering to the camp.
Last night, a friend asked me why I blog and if I really want people to read my thoughts and then comment — rather I think said friend meant why people, in general, make public that which seems so privy. I couldn’t answer the question with much thought as I was at a poetry slam, but I’ve been giving it some thought.
Last month, I attended a seminar on the French writer, philosopher, man of general awesomeness, Denis Diderot. The last segment of the conference broached and delved into the idea of the private/public and their intersection in the work of Diderot and really in philosophy at large. In one of the entries contributed by Diderot, there was a footnote that while addressing the asterik also had a separate intention which eluded the public, or most of his readers. This footnote had a hidden layer of address to Jean Jacques Rousseau, with whom Diderot supposedly had beef. In another entry, Diderot addressed the blindly faithful religieux of his epoque, but it was later discovered that the entry closely resembles a letter to Diderot’s own brother, an abbey. In this way, Diderot conflates the public and the private in a clever and crafted way. Even in putting such private matters in such a public medium, he retains this element of privacy as the second layer of meaning would only be interpreted by the person to whom it is addressed. Or you know, centuries later, by obsessed Diderot experts.
Then minutes after she posed the question, I became privy to extremely personal and vulnerable details of complete strangers through their performances, the inflections of their voices, highs and lows of life resonating in the highs and lows of their voices, expressions, metaphors, words and poetry.
Why put that out there? Why share these anecdotes with a room full of strangers you’ve never known and may never see again?
With all of the means of communication that we have now, why and how do we make any choice of which way to communicate what? Why do I sometimes see Twitter or Facebook Statuses that are so obviously addressed to a specific person? Why do I choose to have extended conversations through a series of text messages rather than a phone call? Why are there so many privacy settings on Facebook? How do we keep information to ourselves and maintain privacy in a sphere of such public accessibility?
At the end of the night, after almost twenty stories of personal consequence in slam poetry form, I found myself wondering how much of that frustration, shared with so many tonight, has been addressed with the source. How much after so much is spoken, is still left unspoken. And then, in our daily exchanges, behind the facade of jest, snark, sarcastic banterings, and sideways remarks, how much is still left unspoken. How do we choose what to share publicly and what to keep in “private”?
Obviously, blogs are very public; theoretically, this or any other existing blog can be read by anyone, anywhere in the world. But at the same time, with its anonymity, blogging can be private. I have no idea who reads my blog [except for the friends that message me about certain entries. Is this a circle of trust? or a circle of lovveeeee. lol], and save for my friends, people may read the blog, but they have no idea who I am, even if they come to learn about my life and thoughts.
In some of my entries, there is the same tactic of mixing the private and public. Even in this entry, in talking about generalities, I am projecting some of my own frustrations with communication. It’s all very passive aggressive, because in those instances of layered private messages, it is still left unresolved even as the person reads it. It doesn’t become a dialogue, it becomes some encrypted message that leaves everyone trying to decode it including the person you’re trying to reach. How many of these entries have you read or written? I read and wrote madddaaadem [mad of them]. But for the most part, my entries are more self-indulgent than anything else.
Obviously, many blogs are much less calculated. There is always an element of narcisissm and ego whenever someone starts a blog; you assume that people want to read it or that you contribute something that has yet been formulated by someone else or simply for the fact that your perspective is so legit [too legit to quittt] that it has to be heard. So then, what’s really the problem with a little ego and giving the little narcissist in you a wink of acknowledgment? Shit, my narcissist, being a reflection of me, is hot.
Cue: This is Why I’m hot.
I don’t know how it got obnox, I meant to be just a pinch positive, but then…whatever, you love it.
Or should I say, you know you love me. xoxo gossip girl [returns in a week!!]