Thursday, January 31, 2008
Dear J.J. Abrams,
I like your show. I really, really do. I started watching it only a year ago, sitting at my desk in front of my computer, watching the episodes streaming from a website that hosted them. I watched one by one, and you kept me coming back for more each time. So many people, flashbacks, questions! And every time I sat down in front of my screen, I thought, this will be the time I get some answers.
But the answers never came, J.J. You just set me up with more questions. How come the island cures diseases and makes paralyzed men walk? What was that noise that sounded like a dinosaur? Really, what the hell was that black smoke that killed Mr.Eko? And why would Jack ever grow such a disgusting beard?
We’ve been loyal fans, J.J. We come back each week, and I’m sure that all the sitting at my desk will contribute to the osteoporosis I will inevitable develop in my old age. But that’s alright, because I keep having faith. Haven’t we deserved some answers by now? Sitting through the episodes each week, devoting one or two hours of our time to be with you and watch the lives of the survivors and the Others unfold, isn’t it time for you to give something back? Being exposed to too many commercials, whose entire point is to get us into more debt buying shit that we don’t need, haven’t we suffered enough? We’ve bought your DVDs, wrote your fanzines, and started websites, now it’s your turn. This relationship has been way too one sided, and frankly, I’m getting a little sick of it.
I enjoy most of the characters, specifically Jack, of course. And I get what you’re trying to do with the Sawyer-Jack-Kate triangle, and how they are all conflicted and emotional and just all torn up inside, as if worrying about survival isn’t enough- let’s throw some romance in. I get what you’re trying to do with Sawyer, the bad-ass-but-really-is-all-mushy-wushy-on-the-inside (here’s a little factoid: men like that don’t exist in real life). I get that Jack needs to fix everything and everyone in his life, and I understand that everyone on this island is basically fucked up beyond repair. But please, for God’s sakes, just answer some of the damn questions. For one, how come Kate is always wearing just a hint of makeup? Who cut Claire’s hair so nicely, giving her those evenly cut bangs? How come Hurley still, after months, weights 300 pounds? And where’s Michael and Walt? They left in season 2 and that’s it? And seriously, man, what the hell was with the polar bear?
You keep leading me on, and yet I keep coming back for more. With the new season starting tonight, I keep thinking, oh this time will be different, this time we will finally be appreciated! We will finally get what we’ve been waiting for! But deep down I know that tonight will start all new questions. I know that I’ll never get my fill, but I know I’ll keep coming back for my fix. You’ve got me wrapped around your finger, J.J, and I know that you are well aware of it. But if you just do one thing for me, let it be this: get Jack a damn razor.
Friday, January 25, 2008
I'm disappointed, but not at all surprised. Although, they don't seem too excited about it. In fact, they may be talking about Obama more than Hillary. They also give her some advice:
As strongly as we back her candidacy, we urge Mrs. Clinton to take the lead in changing the tone of the campaign. It is not good for the country, the Democratic Party or for Mrs. Clinton, who is often tagged as divisive, in part because of bitter feeling about her husband’s administration and the so-called permanent campaign. (Indeed, Bill Clinton’s overheated comments are feeding those resentments, and could do long-term damage to her candidacy if he continues this way.)
They also are endorsing McCain, which is also not surprising because he's the most liberal Republican. They seem to be giving their endorsement through gritted teeth.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The other night, Colbert showed a video of a hospital strike back in 1969. The black nurses aides weren't getting paid as much as the white nurses aides, so they went on strike. Andrew Young, one of Martin Luther King Jr's "inner circle" helped coordinate resolutions with the hospital administration, which included Stephen Colbert's father. I thought it was really interesting. If you have a few minutes, watch the video of the strike here:
And Colbert's interview with Andrew Young, discussing the current writers strike and working with Stephen's father, here:
Monday, January 21, 2008
Think that the experience factor really matters that much? Kristof examines that here.
Andrew Sullivan posted the sermon that Obama gave at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sunday. I read the whole thing, and it gave me goosebumps.
In response to my Hilary v Obama post, a reader writes:
Why would you not like Hilary Clinton because she didn't leave her husband? First of all, that is a private matter between her and Bill. Second, in a day and age when so many marriages end in divorce, I think it showed great strength of character for Hilary Clinton to not leave her husband and try to work out the marriage. And third, if you are not married you can't understand what it is like to have to decide between staying with or divorcing your husband. That is a very difficult and personal decision every troubled couple must come to on their own. And nobody else should judge them for their decision, no matter which one it is. I like your blog very much and tend to agree with many things you write, but on this matter I find it very rude and arrogant for a young single woman to so harshly criticize a married woman for deciding to continue her marriage.
I appreciate the comment, and it is in fact one of the only well written dissents I have received. To express my views more clearly:
I do understand that marriage is a private matter. However, with such a public couple that is not the case. With both Hillary and Bill taking on public, political lives, they knew that every part of their lives would be dissected and scrutinized, and this includes their marriage. I do think that working on a marriage does take great strength, but cheating was and always will be a personal deal breaker for me, as I think it should be for everyone that enters a long term commitment like marriage. When someone cheats, they lose the trust of their partner, and without trust, well, what do you really even have?
I still think that it signifies that theirs was a marriage of convenience, but more importantly it only counteracts so much of what Hillary is trying to portray about herself. She wants to be the first strong, female leader of this country, and most people would consider her a feminist. She is becoming a role model for millions of young women not only nationally, but internationally as well. What is she saying to these young girls? That they should work hard and take on the world- but that it’s ok if their husband cheats on them? That it is alright for someone who is supposed to be their first and foremost support system to humiliate you publicly? If she would have left Bill, it would have shown more strength and gained her more respect in my eyes than what staying with him did.
No, I am not married, so I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be faced with the decision of either staying with or leaving your husband after you find out that he cheats. But I know that if, God forbid, I am presented with that decision, I know which choice I would make. It would be the harder one, but the one that would leave me with the most self-respect.
Thank you though, for the comment. I always appreciate comments, even if we may disagree.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Two summers ago I read Are Men Necessary? by Maureen Dowd. She ends with, yes, they are necessary, but for most of the book she makes a pretty good case that they aren’t. She even goes as far as to interview experts that say that the Y chromosome is weakening, and that in tens of thousands of years, it will actually be extinct. After I read this book I read a lot of the reviews on it, and a lot of people criticized Dowd on a personal level, saying she is just bitter because she's pushing 50 and isn't married. She uses a lot of examples of very successful women friends of hers who just can't get a date. Pulitizer Prize winners, successful business women and journalists- and men don't seem to want to date them.
I don't really believe the theory that she wrote this book out of bitterness. For God's sake, she's Maureen Dowd, she's got better things to do with her time than write a book to blame the male gender for the fact that she doesn't have a boyfriend. But she makes the argument that men are intimidated by successful women very well. I thought, well, maybe it's just her generation.
Recently, however, there was a study done on what types of women men would prefer in a speed dating situation. Mr. Fisman, the Columbia economics professors who conducted the study, recaps:
We found that men did put significantly more weight on their assessment of a partner's beauty, when choosing, than women did. We also found that women got more dates when they won high marks for looks.
By contrast, intelligence ratings were more than twice as important in predicting women's choices as men's. It isn't exactly that smarts were a complete turnoff for men: They preferred women whom they rated as smarter — but only up to a point ... It turns out that men avoided women whom they perceived to be smarter than themselves. The same held true for measures of career ambition — a woman could be ambitious, just not more ambitious than the man considering her for a date.
He then said, "I guess I hoped that they had evolved past this."
Mr. Fisman compared this experience to an episode of Sex and the City where Miranda tries out speed dating. When she tells the men she's a lawyer, they are immediately turned off. When she says she's a flight attendant, they are interested.
There was a New York Times article called Putting Money on the Table, in which the journalist, Alex Williams, interviewed women in New York City who were in their early 20's and had high paying jobs. Their major gripe? The guys they dated didn't make as much money as them, and this ended up making them too uncomfortable to continue a relationship.
Williams writes, "The shift is playing out in new, unanticipated ways on the dating front. Women are encountering forms of hostility they weren't prepared to meet, and are trying to figure out how to balance pride in their accomplishments against their perceived need to bolster the egos of the men they date."
The women themselves said it was a tough adjustment, because they had it ingrained in them that they are supposed to be successful in life, but that men should be the primary breadwinners. So they had to find a balance of being proud of their accomplishments but not talking about them too much to not upset the men they dated that made less than them. One woman said when she paid for an expensive dinner for her and her date she was at first annoyed that he didn't offer to pay, but then realized her own contradictions. She wants people to think she's a strong and independent woman, but the traditional roles she grew up with say the man is supposed to pay.
So are men really uncomfortable around smart, successful women? And are women uncomfortable around men who aren’t as successful as them? I believe it, and it’s not due to the fault of either one. Men and women face “traditional” gender roles everyday, and more and more recently have been facing those not-so-traditional. There has been a rise in companies granting paternity leave and giving men with families more benefits and flexibility in their schedules. I have even read about some companies allowing women to bring their babies to work (I think this is ridiculous, but we can save that for another time). More and more men are staying home after babies are born and the wives go back to work. So the lines that once divided work and home, men and work, women and work, and men and women are all blurring. I don’t blame men or women if they are uncomfortable being with someone who makes more/less than they do. This is something new to our generation. With more women getting degrees and getting higher paying jobs than men, this is pretty new territory for us. We spend so much time educating ourselves, taking care of ourselves, and making bank- but when the bill comes at that expensive restaurant, what makes us feel that the man should pay?
I’m reminded of a professor I had in college. She taught journalism, and she was maybe in her late 50’s/ early 60’s. She had spent time as an editor at a major newspaper and was the first woman there to cover the crime beat. She had fought against sexual discrimination in the workplace, including taking her employer to court. She was by all means a successful, educated woman. One day she was telling us about how she wanted to be treated as an equal at work but “when I get home, I want my husband to treat me like a sex object.” I wondered then, as I do now, how anyone could live with such duality. How not only the women can live with it, but that they expect the men to treat them with it. I think that’s a lot to ask of men- to treat their colleagues as equals, but their girlfriends as sex objects? That’s just too confusing.
I’d like to believe that we will all find our middle ground when it comes to our relationships with those of the opposite sex. That men will date a more successful woman without qualms, that women won’t mind treating their boyfriend to dinner once in awhile, and they can take turns making dinner. I like to hope that those women interviewed in New York City who are making serious money don’t all have to turn to dating much older men to feel that they are in an equal relationship. There may not be an appropriate outlet to place blame for this situation, but we can be the ones that make those uncomfortable situations a little more comfortable.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Apparently there is a Tom Cruise Scientology Indoctrination video that that Scientologists don't want you to see. If Scientology will make me anything like Tom Cruise, I will be sure to avoid it.
My favorite quote:
I wish the world was a different place, I like to go on vacation, romp and play and just do that, you know what I mean? I mean, that’s what I want to do, theres times I’d like to do that, but, but I can’t, because I know. I know. So. You know, once you know, you just, I have to do something about it. It’s not. You know you think you wish it as different, and then you look at it and it’s like….
Really, that's just the beginning of the philosophical journey that Cruise begins in this video, along with rip-your-ears-from-your-own-head-annoying Mission Impossible music played on continuous loop for eight minutes.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Oh, Dave Barry, you never let me down:
Among the unanswered questions on the Republican side are: Is John McCain, at 117, too old and cranky to be president? Like, during the White House Easter Egg Roll, would he come outside in his bathrobe and yell, "You kids get off my lawn!" Does Mitt Romney contain any human DNA whatsoever? Does he, for example, burp? Can he emit bodily aromas? And is there any TV show that Mike Huckabee will NOT appear on? Are we going to see him one of these nights on "Deal or No Deal"? Why does anybody, aside from Howie Mandel's immediate family, watch that show?
But now they are not only making up the facts in a story, they are making up entire stories, it seems.
They "reported" that two of CNN's employee's who previously worked on Bill Clintons campaign would be leaving in order to work for Hilary Clinton's campaign. This was not true. They were no rumors about it, no meetings about it, and no reason for specluation on it. And now that Rupert Murdoch, Fox's owner, has recently bought The Wall Street Journal, who's to say how long before he turns it into another Daily Post? Really, the man should be ashamed of himself.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I do not like Hilary Clinton. My initial reason for not liking her started years and years ago, when she didn’t leave her husband after he cheated on her. It became obvious then that her marriage was one of convenience; that she used and would continue to use her husband’s status as a device to secure her own successes. I also don’t want to see her get the nomination because having 20 years of Bush Clinton Bush, another Clinton sounds a little too much like a dynasty to me. We really need a change around here, and before Hilary stole Obama’s “change” phrases, Obama was the first to really talk about it. I’ve read both of Obama’s books, and I’ve read a lot about this upcoming election for the past year. He is my first choice. I wouldn’t classify myself as either a Republican or Democrat, for several reasons. One, I think that both parties take stands on issues that I agree with. Two, being that Bush has been the Republican of my most formative years, I don’t think his views are those which I should associate with being a Republican. Even Republicans disagree with him on a lot of issues. I like that Obama understands that people don’t have to be vehemently on either the left or right, and that by diminishing that divide we can get more done. I agree.
I don’t like the way Bill Clinton speaks on Hilary’s behalf and attacks Obama. He’s one of the most talented politicians in your party, man. Show some class. Then Hilary flipping out at the debate before Iowa makes me think she feels she is owed this nomination. And then she almost cried before N.H. Cried? Come on. What is going to happen when she has to go up against the tough-guy world leaders like Mahmoud “There are no gays in Iran” Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Il?
I watched the New Hampshire primary for a long time Tuesday night. The longer I saw Hilary ahead of Obama I got more and more frustrated. I didn’t understand what was happening. He was predicted to beat her- until her emotional speech. I’m sure that speech affected a lot of people who thought Hilary was some emotionless robot.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. But I will end with this quote from Salon today:
I plan to vote for Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary because he is a rational, centered personality who speaks the language of idealism and national unity. Obama has served longer as an elected official than Hillary. He has had experience as a grass-roots activist, and he is also a highly educated lawyer who will be a quick learner in office. His international parentage and childhood, as well as his knowledge of both Christianity and Islam, would make him the right leader at the right time. And his wife Michelle is a powerhouse.
The Obamas represent the future, not the past.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Monday, January 07, 2008
So Paris Hilton's grandfather, Barron Hilton, will be giving away 97% of his fortune when he passes away (about $2.3 billion), leaving Paris and Nikki just $5 million each. Ouch. If they don't invest that money carefully, they might have to get jobs someday.
Jerry Oppenheimer, who profiled the Hilton family in his 2006 book "House of Hilton," has said Barron Hilton is embarrassed by the behavior of his socialite granddaughter Paris and believes it has sullied the family name.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Two things on the feminist front to think about today…
The first is Judith Warners column about “womb renting.” Surrogacy in India is a $445 million a year industry, with many women going there to find surrogate mothers. The women get paid $6,000-$10,000 for the pregnancy, which for some is equal to over ten years of work. Is this empowering for the women, who afterwards can own property, pay for quality medical care, and get an education? Warner says this “feels like a step towards” Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale. I disagree, as these women choose this option when no other economic options are available to them. Also, the Handmaid’s were captured and forced to perform the “rituals,” without having any freedoms or receiving pay in return for giving birth. But the literature minor in me digresses. Can these surrogacy’s really be considered just a business transaction? Is this really empowering women if it’s one of their few choices to escape poverty?
You can also read about it here.
The other, which may not be really considered a feminist issue but just an…issue, are the growing number of men having relationships with life-size silicone dolls.
$6,500 for 100-pound, “realistic” dolls complete with orifices (three) that men consider their girlfriends. They sleep with them, have sex with them, and sit next to them while playing video games, apparently. I don’t really know if this is sick or sad.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
I've heard that my generation- Generation Y, under the age of 29- has different expectations for entering the workforce than generations before us. We expect higher pay, more responsibilities, more rewards and praise. I think this is very true. Personally, I'm not in love with my job. It's not a bad job at all, a good start at a good pr firm in Manhattan. But the commute is long, and I believe I could have started with much more responsibilities. I expect more because in college, I was taught to expect more. Our generation ran clubs and events and had real responsibilities at college, so why shouldn't we have them in the real world?
When I was interviewing for jobs, I had one interview where whenever I told the CEO all the things I accomplished in college, he shot it down with, "Yes, but that's just college. It's very different from real world experience." I do agree somewhat with that, but shouldn't it count for something? Especially considering that many of us have to hold at least one internship (usually unpaid) in college these days, so we not only have a college education but some office experience. I understand that one internship does not equal a year of “real world” experience, but for me (and a lot of people I know) it doesn’t seem to count for anything.
Most days sitting at my desk, I think, is this it? This is what I've worked so hard for? I clip news articles and calculate ad values, pitch vacation packages to newspapers and see my co workers get stressed over things that I see no reason to worry about. So what if Fox 5 doesn't cover the pumpkin carving event? These things don't really matter. There are so many more important things going on in the world.
I know that a lot of this has to do with the industry I chose, but I know if I had more responsibilities I’d like it more. I expected more responsibilities because my whole life I’ve had plenty of responsibilities and I know I can do more. Just like our generation knows they are capable of more.
This need for responsibility isn’t just so that we feel important, it has a lot to do with our overall happiness with the job. Out of all the people I know working right out of college, only a few really love what they are doing. These people were given major responsibilities from the very beginning. Coincidence? Our whole lives we juggle so many things and now that the time that I have been preparing for is finally here, some of us may find ourselves doing work we could have done without even going to college.
I've heard that we've got to pay our dues- but why? Why do I have to be miserable for a year before I get to do what I want to do? We are not a generation that knows how to be patient. We grew up with high speed internet access, and not wanting to wait one minute for our Hot Pockets to be done in the microwave, and now these grown ups are telling me I have to wait a year or more to do anything that uses anything I’ve learned in college? And by then, will my education even be relevant anymore? Another thing that doesn’t make sense to me is that in most offices, the “higher ups” can leave when they are done with their work, even if it’s before normal closing time. Most days I’m done with my work for the day by about 4:45, but because I’m the one that has been there the shortest, I have to stay until 5:30. My work is done, I should be able to leave. All these years I’ve been able to juggle plenty of work and know how to pace myself while still getting it all done successfully. And me wasting my time online waiting for 5:30 isn’t helping anyone. If I was given this flexibility, I could leave earlier some days and get home before 7:30.
Flexibility is also another factor that our generation wants with their jobs. Some companies allow people to wear what they feel like, and come and go as they please- as long as the work gets done. This is a similar work environment we had in college. We had to juggle a lot of free time and work, and get it all done. If we had group projects we had to find the time to get together and finish them.
Some employers are adjusting policies for the next generation, instituting more rewards programs and flexibility. However, I think we’re going to have to wait until we are the higher ups to see any real change. Then we can get home early enough for dinner every night.