Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Monday, October 10, 2011
Let me start with a contextual preface, however.
Of late, I'd become of the mind that my opinion did not matter as much as my observation. When authoring a company blog was still considered bleeding edge, I liked offering an opinion. Blogging used to be a Dirty Sanchez on The Establishment, but if the web today is any indication, "blogging" is like crank-calling someone who still owns a land-line without Caller ID.
Frankly I didn't see how it helped my reputation to be ranting into the collective scream of all these herpetic permutations of "the blogosphere." Your Tumblr irony and your Facebook sensitivity made me obsolete. My blog was not waving, but drowning. Your Yelp was not drowning, but flipping the bird.
So. I actually thought I was going to Zucotti Park merely to observe...
I'm not sure yet if the shift in my tone was learned by osmosis, or is the result of having had it up to (note: my hand levered against my throat) here, but I'm about to say more than just two Canadian cents' worth.
Let me actually start with the advice, and work backward to the resolutions, so we end with some "si se puede"-style uplift and inspiration.
My first piece of advice goes directly to the white woman wearing the brand new backpack (I know my backpacks and yours had to cost around $120) holding up the sign "Member of the slave class." Be careful where you weild your S-word. Use it with the same care you'd use the N-word. Whenever someone uses the words "slave" or "rape" or "emprisonment" as metaphors, it diminishes the realities of a real lack of freedom suffered in the past and currently. Metaphors like this have the effect of hyperbole, but hyperbole has the effect of desensitization. Here, I'll give a much more mundane example of how metaphor can negatively affect a message.
Pussy. It used to be you could insult a man by calling him a boy (suggesting he's naive or inexperienced), or an old man (suggesting he's obsolete or not fit to move heavy objects unless you count bowel movements). In fact a lot of countries still prefer to insult men by calling them boys or geezers. Ours is the rare society that attacks women while insulting men. We don't realize this now because we take it for granted but well... suggesting a pussy is a coward and not a dope sex organ does in fact infiltrate our collective unconscious with chauvinism.
When a white woman wearing an expensive backpack calls herself a slave, it diminishes the slavery that resulted in the permanent displacement of black Americans. It diminishes the millions of people caged in sub-human experiments of low-overhead capitalism. Your $5000 debt to Citibank with .46 APR is not slavery. It sucks hairy donkey nuts, but it's not slavery. How about a new sign? One that says "Member of the Debt Class." Seriously. I doubt if most white Americans fear becoming slaves, but they will go into a dark room with a .38 if you remind them about their debt. Debt is scary enough as it is.
Now why am I so worried about the flippant use of the word "slave," you ask. This leads me to my observation:
Where have all the people of color gone??? Aren't we as dispossessed as the gutter punk who can't afford H or gluten-free snacks? Mind you I am purposely being simplistic in this matter. Of COURSE there are people of color in Zucotti Park. Of COURSE we're disenfranchised. My problem is that the collective bargaining taking place south of West 4th Street right now is not taken seriously, partly because the MSM chooses to interview 23 year old philosophy majors, and partly because there isn't enough antagonism. I tell you what: if the tens of thousands of existing non-White members of entitlement caucuses came down and joined the hippies, two things would happen:
1. MSM would have no choice but to interview a non-white non-college student, and
2. The 1% will be REALLY scared if they knew agitators didn't all look just like them.
Ethnic diversity is a prerequisite to revolution in America. This is a fact. This is also why the show will become a game-changer when the NYPD join (I'm positive this is just a matter of time). If you take a good look at The Blue, you'll find a lot of them are Black, Latino and Asian. I'm not kidding.
Finally, I want to address all the naysayers, most of whom are close personal friends. For once, I actually don't care what you think of my ineffective presence, my sense of entitlement, the contradiction posed by my simultaneously working for investors, the vapidity of fellow protestors (even the white girl calling herself a slave). I don't care if you think there is no message, or no unified message, or a poorly-phrased message. Here's what's going on in Lower Manhattan:
Tons of people are working together to make a cooperative living environment that communicates to the larger public. I have never seen so many people rally to provide services, protections, food/shelter/love to absolute strangers. It's like a dream come true. I can go into Zucotti Park right now and find a lawyer. Someone can find me and get their manga translated into English.... Maybe the reason it's so discouraging to everyone else that people are sort of just "being" altogether with no Watts/LA/Atlanta Riots-style violence is because we can't fathom the idea of everyone WORKING together, locally, communally. I went down there to observe but now I can't help but want to be a better neighbor. It's amazing that I haven't felt that yet, since I've been in NYC circa 9/11/01, circa 2005 Blackout, circa 2008 election, circa Brooklyn exodus. Even at its most divisive, the 99% want the rest of the 99% to know... well, that we're 99 motherfucking percent of the country. And that... is not a metaphor.
Monday, September 19, 2011
So if it please the court, follow me on Tumblr instead, or Twitter. Or Giant Robot, or at my office, where I'm funny AND non-caustic.
Or add this to your library: ill-iterate.com
Heartfuck. Coming soon.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
So I'll be honest... What makes New York City so special is a day like today:
I was able to walk from my apartment to a late afternoon lunch with renowned graphic designer Chip Kidd at an Italian restaurant that serves handmade pasta, just a few tables down from Fareed Zakaria.
This combination of elements isn't really possible anywhere else in the world.
p.s. We had so much fun catching up Chip emptied his wine carafe into his salad, mistaking it for his glass. Laughing at the clear signs of a midday drinking problem is also something that only happens in New York.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Magically, I said.
All ideas welcome. The magical ones get recompensed.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
I met him at the Toy Division listening party. Toy Division is my roommate Erin’s 8-bit Joy Division cover band. Erin and I were toasting the end of a long summer copy-editing Arthur magazine for nickels on the dollar to pay rent on our Southeast Williamsbushwick studio. This album was going to make us rich a little less poor.
While we got drunk on un-ironically chilled cans of ironic beer, news travelled from the bartender (what was his name again?) that a helicopter piloted by a Yankees pitcher had just crashed into the side of a building on the Upper East Side.
And I love moments like this; when news of a jerk dying outpaces the jerk turning in his proverbial grave. An Al Qaeda Steinbrenner joke was inevitable but sometimes it’s the simplest form of sarcasm that gets the biggest job done.
“I guess he really hated the Yankees.”
We said it at the same time. I looked up to see the face of my Romulus… or is it Castor? Anyway, I looked up. The bartender I’d taken for granted. My bartender…
You could hear an iPhone drop. Love was taking place.
Oh and his name is Victor.
Friday, May 20, 2011
It used to be all you needed to get published was rohypnol, a turkey baster and ten minutes with Sonny Mehta. Today, a book’s marketing gimmick is developed so far in advance of the actual book you can actually get a deal with just a mockup of its eventual hashtag.
So let me cut to the chase. I’m a writer. I want to get published. Here are the books I can write (most of them in less than a week). I guarantee publicity and sales. You don’t even need to tour me. My Skype account’s been upgraded. My LinkedIn account’s been updated. But look… if Microsoft and 5 billion Wall Street dollars fail us (which of course it won’t), I am not afraid to inject botox into a little girl’s face on Good Morning America. Fuck it. I will botox SEVERAL little girls if necessary. So in no particular order, some books that’ll make us all some mad coin.
1. A guide to tantric masturbation.
2. “What Pantone is your Parachute?”
3. The surefire Asian weight-loss diet no one’s talking about yet. (Hint: North Korea)
4. A series of romance novels about white+asian graphic designers.
5. A series of hardboiled crime novels starring an NYPD detective of Middle Eastern origins.
6. Dictionary of foreign neologisms used in American English, replete with a pronunciation guide (native, adopted), etymology, and graphics.
7. Reinterpretation of The Little Prince in which the prince is a junkie.
8. One of those Tiger Mom books laid out like one of those “Weird Japanese Inventions” books.
9. A book about flea markets that turns into a tote bag when you get pregnant.
10. The Bible in Asian pidgin.
Before I smolder in a lake of fire governed by zombie tigers, from whence I came there are:
1. Things to eat
2. Places to see
3. People to meet
4. Dares to execute
5. Truths to tell
6. Fears to overcome
7. Faults to admit
8. Something purely gluttonous and selfish
9. Any iteration of any of the seven sins (since I'm burning in hell anyway)
10. Any iteration of pure kindness.
Sidenote: why are there seven deadly sins but not seven fecund virtues in the Christian mythology? There are Seven Virtues in Buddhism, after all. Of course they're just a group of Buddhist Gods, but... If eternal salvation really depended on a bunch of fat Asian dudes I'd have organized a Groupon orgie for a barbecue lo mein combo at a casino, and tape cheap computer gadgets and pirated dvds all over my body a long time ago.
Michelle: Happy birthday lover!
Anne: I love it when you wish me happy birthday because that's one year closer to when i never have to hear from you again.
Michelle: I love it when you get one year older because I know that our life bonded together is that much closer to finally being over.
Anne: I love getting older because that's just more of your mistakes I get to mock derisively.
Michelle:I love being with you as you get older so I can watch your sharp mind turn into a dull baby spoon. Only good for eating man yogurt.
Anne: I love eating man yogurt because it reminds me of what you could never give me: joy.
Michelle: On your birthday I wish I could spread that joy all over your face, and maybe you would choke on it a little bit.
Anne: And then I would walk around Manhattan and people would point and laugh. That's my gift to you on your birthday: granting ++++ +++++'s wish.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
(It starts as a harlequin romance)
Afternoon sunlight poured into the bedroom like a syrup, casting amber light across the face of Fabio, pronouncing his roman features: alabaster skin toasted almond, deep penetrating eyes and aquiline jaw. His arms were taut with the strength of carpentry, and in the Tuscan sun, each tensile motion he made toward his obedient fawn was pronounced with muscular shadows. Annabella laid supine on a bed covered in soft cottons that smelled of Freesia and human desire. She would wait for him with her body, but beckon him with her eyes.
As Fabio approached Annabella, he pulled her chest up to his face, with one motion of the hand between her shoulder blades. She moaned with her head draped back, feeling his hot breath become cool against her skin. The downy hairs on her body invisible but to Fabio now bristled awake. She lifted her head to look deep into Fabio's eyes and confirm a ready eagerness to make love. Their eyes met inches apart...
(Then, suddenly, a change of tone)
Fabio narrowed his eyes as if to warn her of the thunderous effect of his affection. As if... He kept one hand between Annabella's shoulder blades and pursed his lips, perhaps preparing to make a statement. Perhaps... He exhaled once, seemingly preparing to dive in. Seemingly...
After staring at her through several breaths, he took his other hand and wiped gently at his nose. Then he did it again. He repeated this motion several times, each time less intent on wiping away whatever was bothering his face. It looked like nothing more than a gesture.
Annabella then slowly, stutteringly lifted her hand toward her own nose, paused just before her fingertips reached her nostrils, took one more good look at Fabio, whose eyes finally dilated, whose lips curved into an approving smile. She touched her left nostril and discovered... an interruption. A sticky obtrusion. A booger.
This is the dream I had. It started out as a boner fide wet dream set in Italy, only to quickly devolve into an episode of Seinfeld. (sigh)
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Dickhead=top. Asshole=bottom. I'm a bottom.
Let me continue by saying that only a dickhead wants to party like an asshole, but an asshole is the only one who can enjoy their own birthday party.
Dickheads throw frat keggers. They have sweet 16s at nightclubs intdended for salty 21 year olds. When they were 18, their parents rented a penthouse for graduation. They wear tiaras covered in tiny plastic dicks to their bachelorette parties, because they're dickheads. They invite DJs from London to celebrate objects because the British are dickheads. They get married on yachts they don't own. They coined the French acronym "rsvp."
Assholes host "marathons" for shitty TV shows. They celebrate adult birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese's. When they were 8, their parents made them spin around blindfolded swinging aluminum bats at pinatas and identically shaped children who were rapturously following the papier mache effigy, waiting for it to explode into cheap candy. Assholes hire karaoke DJs because assholes like to sing out loud. They get married in houses they own. They coined the American acronym "BYOB."
Another wholly anonymous breed of person chooses never to throw parties. I guess that person doesn't fit in the dick-butt dichotomy. Maybe they're pussies or twats. More on that later.
I've never felt badly about throwing my own birthday parties. If there was ever a day one was allowed to revel in their self, to be totally self-absorbed, I think it's the anniversary of my birth. But, and with full psychoanalytic disclosure, I admit that having birthday parties as an adult has everything to do with having been denied birthday parties as a child. You see, my dad was a twat. Big time. No birthday parties. No Christmas presents. When the phone rang, he'd pick up the receiver and drop it back on the phone. One time he told me he'd take me to a friend's house to hang out, and instead drove me with him to work. Said later that he wanted to use the carpool lane during rush hour later. He was a real winner.
My parents were separating/divorcing as I turned 16. It was a tough time, not because I wanted my parents to stay together but because my mom was so fucking miserable contemplating how she'd fare as a single mother. Note: after a couple years in a one bedroom apartment and no car, she bootstrapped herself into the family business and sent me off to college. By all counts I think she did swell.
Meanwhile back at sweet sixteen... I was so bitter at all the kids with their quincenieras and adult-mimicry that by the time my birthday reared around I was hell bent on out-enjoying myself by spending the evening after a field show competition, with my loyal marching band mates, at Denny's eating beef barley vegetable soup and french fries. Just as we'd do after all our competitions.
That night, one by one, each of my friends defected. "Sorry man, I gotta go home tonight." "Hey, maybe next week we can go to Burger King. I'll buy you a Whopper." "Oh man, it's your birthday? Sorry, I can't hang. I'm gonna see Jennifer." I was so dejected and sad. I really thought long and hard about the meaning of friendship and life concluding only that I may as well resign to being a twat, just like my dad. Fuck parties. Fuck celebration.
Mike Martinez offered to drive me home that night, on his way to pick up a girl. He just needed to stop by his house to change clothes. And I'll never forget these details, because my truly, sincerely, epically bummed-out depressed ass was like an etch-board to the world. Not even Mike, my asshole best friend, was going to let me third wheel for the sake of my own self.
We got out of his car and headed toward the house when Bruce Watanabe happened to drive by in his rice rocket and said "hey, is this where Anne's party's at?" Mike gave him a clear zipper across the mouth gesture, eyes wide open. I looked in shock at Bruce, who said "oh hey. I guess it's already started. Happy birthday!"
Mike walked into the house ahead of me and screamed "Bruce fucked it all up!" and I heard the loudest collective moan ever. When I got into the house I saw dozens of friends' faces, and my mom in the back laughing hysterically. I hadn't seen her laugh in years.
Mike explained to me that my mom had been organizing this surprise birthday party for me with him for weeks. I don't know how else to depict the joy I experienced on that night, except to say that I vowed never not to have a birthday party after that. I guess that doesn't make me so much an asshole as a sucker, but depending on who you ask, it might be the same difference.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Last week I happened to recount all my tales of Mongolia to a family from Le Vigan, France (it's closest metropole is Montpellier and the area is appropriately comparable to Vermont, politically et cetera). The family was riveted by my stories about horseback philosophy and the meditative silence in a daily ritual of napping, leagues away from plumbing, electricity and mundane stress. But halfway through my above average French retelling of the Asian outback, Fabienne (mother of the family), says to me:
By the way, in France we call them Mongolians, not Mongols. Mongols are what we call people with downs syndrome.
First, I'd like to point out that I inferred she was talking about downs syndrome without actually knowing that "trysomanie" was the french term for it. I inferred because Americans use the word "Mongoloid" derogatorily to refer to the same. I'm not sure why I assumed the French word for a mongolian was "Mongol" and not "Mongolian" or "mongolien" but I had actually been talking about that very vodka that felled me. So I had to ask:
Can't vodka be mongoloid?
Fabienne said no. "Nothing's Mongoloid unless you're trying to insult someone," she said. I'd argue the only people who'd understand the insult are dead... or Mongolian. I am trying to reappropriate the words to signify nothing more than that something/someone/anyone comes from the upper steppes region adjacent to Uzbekistan, Russia and the People's Republic of China. Easier known as Mongolia, Mongol, Mongoloid. For fucking Christ's sake Ghengis Khan fucked and killed more people than Ceasar and Charlemagne combined. What part of that is retarded?!
So I am officially pledging for reclamation of the grammatical fragment "Mongo-" and proudly calling myself a fucking Mongoloid.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
An epic accidental Valentine's Day gift from the most epic accidental Best Friend I made last year--Rie Yamamoto--including her email introduction to the gift. I so flattered.
How are you doing???
I am in Chiangmai, Thailand right now.
I just started exhibition from tonight.
AND gallery made poster for this exhibition to put entrance of the
gallery. The owner loved the one you are in, so they use the photo!
Hope you like it too :)
I love you too, still now!
("I love you too, still now!" is a reference to a phone conversation we overheard in the Lower East Side. A man repeating "I love you too" over and over. We joked he doesn't love the person on the other end of the line. He loves him/her... too. Big difference.)
I love you too, still now, Rie!