Saturday, March 12, 2011

East Village

Living in New York city is to be in a state of searching anxiety.

Upper West Side - around the 100s, where I lived, was a mix at the vestige of wealth. At the 110s the roads were no longer lined with the picturesque brownstones. They were soaring facades of beautiful grey and brown stones, curved and lined with sculptures of laughing/melancholy jesters. Or, gargoyles - the guardians of ancient Europe and the church - with sharp angular cuts in stone - the contemporary grasp of the rich to be embedded in aristocratic history. Faded away, and now a place for good bagels.

Or take the adjacent street off Broadway and walk through the bustling Dominican enclave. Their pop music doesn't change much. Look more closely again and find the groups of the Columbia grad students and their ideals - counseling in community clinics, teaching english, music and diving into the intricacies of health care policy. Dealing with the ills of society they are so removed from. Far better people than me.

Now East Village, the new stake out.

An enclave of aspiring bohemians, yuppy hipsters and professionals all searching for vying for an authenticity in life.

Or of style - love the slim cut pea cut, distressed leather boots, caressed denim and wonderfully dark, large and round shades. From the distance but not to the fined tuned eye - its glamor. It's pure fucking fresh. Then take the L train - see the now kitschy flannel and cardigan - the tussled locks - the fedoras - the Dracula cape. Lists, lists, lists.

And the stirrings of search come once again.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Computer B!ue

First off, sorry for the hiatus in posts. I recently started working and I decided to channel the energy that had no where to go into work. Looks like that desire to do stuff is alive and well.

Speaking of which - check out this very dope album from my boy Doss the Artist:

Story coming soon!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

America! quick style quips!

I think this blog needs more focus. As a chronicle of cultural misdirection I need some constraint form. Limit begets creativity so in lacking one now I'll need the other.

In the meantime some quips:

Sometimes on the subway to somewhere I'll ruminate all the ways life sucks. Like rationalizing why people who don't have shit get shit on the most. Then, all of a sudden I'll catch a flash of leg, or glimpse a pretty face, and all of a sudden I think, 'life's not too bad.' Then my thoughts turn to happy things, like power and dominating empires.

I wonder if any one of Descartes' students would ask, 'sir, why do my thoughts change when I give worship to Aphrodite? Is it the Gods?' Like, seriously, my penis directs thought.

I'm glad the US healthcare bill was signed. There were some fair faults of cost leveled to it, however the social arguments against it were plain retarded. Like giving handouts and death panels and such. I wonder if those tea party old shouters realize someone like me will listen to that retarded shit,

and may think:

'in 20 years when I get some influence I'm going to spend my time and energy getting medicare cut so I don't give money to support unproductive old fucks.

'About time we get government out of our lives - besides, then they'll realize we can't cover their stupid surgeries (that'll lower costs). We go back to private business.'

I think slightly ironic.

Despite it's history of advertising glory (Mad Men!) the US still has incredibly dumb ads from very big corporations:

McDonalds - 'No Fillers, No Extenders. Just 100% pure beef cooked fresh on the grill.'

Okay so there's turkey and pork burgers. Maybe with peppers, maybe cheese (mmm...). But holy shit. When I get a McDonalds 'burger,' I (reasonably) assume its got a simple motherfucking beef patty. Beef thats not 95% or 93% beef. What would that other 5% be?

I guess I feel reassured I'm not eating crap. It also makes me lose my appetite thinking of 'extenders,' -tiny patties made less tiny without meat... something only McDonalds could do.

Skippy's 'Reduced Fat' creamy peanut butter

Peanuts? Who the fuck got fat eating a bunch of nuts? How did all that fat get there- then taken out? Reduced fat vegetable. Non-fat nut. (ok... chemically the same as animal fat). How much fat can you really cut in your diet from peanuts!

It's been around for awhile so I assume it has fans. Ugh, lame.

To be honest, I had some good ol' McDonalds and bought some low fat peanut butter the other day. So overall, still A+ to American advertising.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Intellectual Masturbation

So I'm sure someone else has 'coined' this term as well, but here's how I understand it:
A usually simple exercise of logic on a hypothetical or observed situation. Often done in pleasure (of thinking), though basic and quick - as much an exercise of one's intellect as, well-masturbation is to one's love life. Aside from self-love that is.

In light of this - sometimes I'll run into a group of people all energetically discussing a social issue - such as, the idea of evil food corporations. 'it's ridiculous how unhealthy fast food is.' 'yeah and here lower income people have really poor diets' 'oh yeah...I read a study of how corporations purposely target bad food to poor people,' and so on, until - it ends with the consensus of some pithy conviction ('need to raise the standard of food!'), where everyone is feeling little smug with the rush of righteousness that gently strokes that sense of moral superiority.

When I try and describe this self-indulgent righteousness all I can think about is a circle of guys holding each others dicks standing there feeling quite pleased with themselves.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

This generation's 'problem'

God this video makes me so angry -

Watch below Ron Alsop explain why this generation are 'leaders, not followers.'

Fuck this loser: complaining about kids youtube style in a pink frilly looking room. And get this: he has a son. Either his wife gives him the whip or he's a pansy. Oh wait, same thing.

There's no need to wear a blue work shirt buddy- it's not fooling anybody. It's clear all your accomplishments amounts to that shitty suburban house you live in.

I'm sorry I don't mean to judge. It just pisses me off that Ron Alsop decides to characterize tendencies of my generation as faults. And talks as if he is the authority on the qualities young people should have.

Here's a brief rundown of what he sees as the 'problem of this generation'

This generation seems to have be raised in such a way to rely on other people for direction and feedback, almost constantly. In this economy you have to be self-motivated and independent thinking.

It takes a lot to get into good schools now. Stress and pressure makes them feel like they can't make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. Because they fear to make mistakes to get to their goal, they're often frozen, or rely on team members for consensus too much.

How condescending. Throughout 16 years of school the message of teachers, guidance counselors and parents was simple. Study hard -> Good grades -> Good college -> Success

If you don't follow that principle, then you 1) get kicked out of school and 2) have a shitty job.

Well Ron, unlike your dumb-fuck generation we LISTENED.

To succeed in this system - to be graded well - feedback was needed. So yes, this generation likes feedback because we did what we were told to do and were rewarded for it.

Now after 16 years of being told to think this way - all of sudden it's a fault?

And you wonder why we feel like we can't make mistakes?

Um, maybe it's because in this society (apparently) grade records matter more than anything else in determining a student's future prospects.

As for lack of independent thinking and self-motivation? Ron, you're a tool. Silicon valley tech start-ups. Social entrepreneurship. Lifestyle design. Transnational activism. All emerged from the independent thinkers of my generation. The tech industry is one of the more vibrant sectors in this economy. And it's not filled with old fucks like you.

I worry about how good they will be as leaders this generation. Will take a lot of work on the part of business schools and employers to help wean them from this reliance on so much feedback and checklists of exactly what to do to get the job done.

What I see teachers spell out exactly what they want on every project and every paper... Absurd to me the level of direction they're giving - doesn't allow for the analysis and struggle this generation needs to actually get into the workplace.

HAH - now this one is funny. I actually agree with most of your criticisms. It just takes a while to un-learn all the bullshit your generation taught us in school. Your 'solution' - more school? That is so absurd.

And to think that your generation has leaders?

Let's recap all the ways your generation fucked up. War over ideology and all the grief as your generation duked out liberalism vs communism vs fascism. Systematic racial discrimination. (Here's a video idea for you Ron 'The ghetto: lacking leadership"). The environment.

And in these times - we just can't escape from the laughably stupid, simple ideas of your generation.

-The plan to remove Saddam Hussein. We'll just take him out really quickly. Once gone, Iraqis will rejoice and a spontaneous democratic order will emerge. How fucking stupid can you get?
-Praise the private sector. Deregulation and low tax is the key to economic success. Great fucking plan - 'someone else will figure it out'. Outstanding analysis.

And the most recent: 'free market' experiment in efficient market hypothesis for the finance industry. Great, now we all have to pay for these shitty loan securities at Citi and derivative contacts at AIG.

You know what? This generation is perhaps the most sensible generation of our times. We listened, did what we were told and readily prepared ourselves to join the world.

To face a shitty job market. Sovereign debt concerns. Global warming. Transnational terrorism. And you know what? Succeeding in this game is more competitive than ever, yet we put our heads down and keep at it.

Do we try to upheave society? Make others pay for it? Riot?

No. We're civic minded. We're working together. We embrace technology.

We don't complain that your old ass is bankrupting the government (social security, medicare). helping enriching bankers (pension funds) and hogging jobs (academia anyone).

So shut the fuck up, Ron Alsop. This generation is still figuring out leadership because the lack of it in yours.

Fuck you and YOUR generation.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mindset Change

Whew! What a difference countless hours of free-time makes. (Aside from the odd-jobs peppered to stem the outward decline of parent bailout fund).

A complete cognitive reversal: I used to spend time thinking back to how awesome I was. How lucky the seemingly random sequence of events and dialectic changes (world and self) worked itself out. I relished the experience of now - plotting and daydreaming schemes to take over the world. The past was a spring board to an ever expanding network of possibilities.

Now I use my analytic to break down all the ways I fucked up. Savoring the different feelings of shame, embarrassment, and regret of past decisions that shape the way I'm situated in the world now. The present is bleak - for the future is now shaped by the past (or more specifically, the possible future is now denied or rationalized away when aspirations attempt to take form).

How much of our values, thinking and understanding is merely situated within our individual context? Yet how far we go to justify its shape - and impose its reality on others.

(Funny enough, it can also all change with a single touch.)

So it's (almost) understandable that in a time of revolutionary communication technology - Senator Bayh decides to resign because, well - politicians don't talk with each other anymore.

I may be presumptuous in my own thinking. I can't define my identity or values, but I've settled on the label of third culture kid (i.e. doesn't know where the hell he or she is from).

But it seems clear to me that politicians are too mind-fucked in their own reality to understand the world. In the US healthcare debate:

Liberals think money comes out thin air - to create a bill that essentially subsidizes private insurers. Where the savings in healthcare costs will eventually be more than, um, the subsidy that pays for the costs. (The numbers are predicated on presumed increased economic growth rates). I don't think lowered healthcare costs paid through increased tax results in increased overall productivity.

Conservatives took Econ 101 and stopped thinking - to propose a single price system, reward cost cutters, and competitive exchanges, as the 'market' solution. Okay geniuses - the 'market' is your solution to a system where healthcare providers have no incentive to lower the cost of treatment and insurers have no incentive to pay for it. Let's just reframe every complex social issue into a simplified economic framework (and public/private ideology) - that'll solve the problem.

Anyway enough about healthcare (I'm no expert, I don't even have insurance).

And really, what do I know?

I'm too mind-fucked myself to even consider a possible future.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Change My Ways

A quick reflection on the smoking media messages to influence

White (American) people and the annoying advocacy groups:

They appeal to personal will and responsibility: 'hey! why are you smoking?'

One anti-smoking group played an ad with an office lady in a pink dress and flowered hat taking a laborious effort to make some daiquiri for the brilliant point of,

'you don't drink every time you smoke, so why smoke every time you drink?'

(philosopher note: serious analytic logic. you don't have coffee every time with milk, so why have milk every time with coffee?).

The messages mostly preach simplistic reason. Tobacco companies are evil! Imagine if kids stuffed themselves with nicotine laced broccoli! 'it's ridiculous you smoke!'

Amongst Chinese people- well to my experience, the very serious Hong Kong government:

A message of authority and collective responsibility. 'Hey, don't smoke!'

One government public reminder (among many) ad has a two guys alone enjoying little boys play soccer on an outdoor park. A fatass middle aged office worker in glasses on break, offering a cigg to this cool looking young fit guy in jeans and T, totally rockin' the backward baseball cap. Young guy looks at the kids and gives the office guy a disappointed look of judgment. Shame on you!

(physics note: second hand smoke travels far in the video - they sit two rows up on bencher's. watching little boys side by side.)

Usually relying on authority or face in some absurd fashion (ads of cops 'busting' indoor smokers, girls giving dirty looks to a smoker) the message is: "look, you should not smoke!'


In my experience I find they're best targeted at people who will never smoke to not smoke. Or to provide ammo for obnoxious comments questioning your stupidity.

Like, 'you know you're killing yourself right?' to which I usually respond in earnest-I try to be humble here-, 'ooh, I didn't know that! thanks.'

Well, to wrap up I hope this proves resourceful for your future cultural endeavor!