Friday, February 27, 2009
Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Sometimes, I think maybe it was the rat race that fired me up. Now, that Barack Obama embarks on the day to day work of being president, I can’t say I’m full of hope. It feels like politics for the next few years will just be about making the best from the worst of times. Now, when I read about politics, I’m not angered or riled up, I'm just sad. Sad, that the problems seem so pressing, but the solutions seem so far off.
We’re putting out stimulus after stimulus package, bailout after bailout, and the banks are still not lending out money; “dead men walking” according to some. Morale is down and every day you meet someone that has just lost a job. I read the news about new appointments and old feuds, and I feel that for all the changes, and Barack Obama is doing a lot, probably more in his first couple weeks then Bush did for months, there’s not that much to cling to. Every day there is a new setback, a new burden. One day Barack Obama puts out a statement to the Middle East. Hope. Within weeks, we have to send more troops into Afghanistan and Iran further develops their nuclear program. Reality.
The problems don’t end. The problems don’t even mitigate, and the pace of progress is a crawl. And a crawl is almost painful to watch, after the elation of change in theory. I’m still watching, still reading, but I’m only registering a whimper about it all.
Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill - People a lot richer than me
And here’s some of my favorites from Brooklyn:
Red Hook: Can I stay at your place?
Boerum Hill: not on a hill at all.
Windsor Terrace : Old White Trash , New White Yuppies
Brooklyn Heights: Why is everyone so old?
Park Slope: It's midnight, Whitey it's your stop.
pk slope: babies, babies, babies, babies, babies, babies
Bushwick: Hipster who like to get mugged!
Williamsburg: hipsters + yuppies = time to move on
Prospect Heights: Gentrifiers hardly notice the occasional gunshot.
Crown Heights: Jew, Black, Jew, Black, Jew, Black
Sheepshead Bay: El Greco in my Maxima, son
You can see more here, including some for you nonbrooklynites.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
She Farted And Created The World from Scott Coello on Vimeo.
Strange but delightful animated video, the whole thing is made from recycled paper: old bank statements, spam, bills and scraps from the street all put to quirky use.
So the New York tabloids are up in a tizzy, claiming that Countless LuAnn of Real Housewives of New York is off being "disCountess" all over town.
" LuAnn, who was there with her husband, Alexandre Count de Lessups, was trying to make out with women and married men,” -cityfile
"And with that, de Lesseps, who's married to Alexandre Count de Lesseps but has been caught in clinches with other men this year, announced, "There are no cute men worth my attention here," and left."- New York Post
How can LuAnn mess around on such a "doting" husband? And most importantly, how could she stand the thought of of putting her fancy title in jeopardy, dooming herself to a torturous existence where she is only referred to by the name LuAnn?
So, who is the Countess making her way around town with? Who could possibly replace Count de Lesseps in her bed and heart? I've narrowed it down to three eligible bachelors.
Anyone who watched last night's Real Housewives of Orange County reunion, was probably "shocked" when Tamra accused Gretchen Rossi of having a tumultuous affair with a hot number with a bad dialing habit. Apparently Jay Photoglu is that guy. His picture was recently revealed in the National Enquirer. According, to the Enquirer's renowned experts, after Jeff passed away Jay Photoglou - moved in to Gretchen's home . He then allegedly broke up with her because she went on a date with former cast member Slade Smiley, who was arrested at Gretchen's house last week. It seems like even more drama goes on off camera, then on camera.
Not toned enough?
What's a girl to do?
It's bad enough that a girl's face, legs,boobs,butt, thighs, and even abdomen need be deemed sexy, now the female arm is becoming fetishized as well. All thanks to Michelle Obama. Michelle's sculpted arms, have prompted a love-fest in the Irish Times, the New York Times, and a feisty discussion on the pages of Jezebel. Silly me, all this time, I thought my arms were solely for the purpose of lifting things (albeit not very heavy things, mostly forks.) I didn't realize that they were the new erogenous zone. Here I was, exposing my arms freely to anyone that would look. And now I have to go and ponder the hotness of my flabby arms. I'm hoping this fad passes quickly. But while it's here, enjoy some steamy quotes about Michelle Obama's perfect pair.
"Muscled, curvy, brown and – dare I say – sexy. Slick and subtly shining... strong, sleek, buff arms. The arms say: “I work." - Irish Times
"But arms? You can’t go wrong with well-toned arms. We all want them now. It’s a new arms race." - Irish Times
"Nancy Reagan wore spangled ballgowns. Barbara Bush had fake pearls. Michelle Obama wears her bare arms." - New York Times
"On the Vogue cover, the first lady wears little makeup, subtle jewelry, a simple sheath. It’s her arms that pop out, rippled and gleaming."- New York Times
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Maybe, we all feel that in these last moments of life, there's some higher understanding of what it all means, some discovery of what life is really about. Perhaps, that's why I look at the story of Lisa Connell and I can't help but be saddened by it. Lisa Conell's last wish is to die beautiful. In an attempt to fulfill this wish, the terminally ill, Lisa Connell is spending £40,000 on plastic surgery to look like Demi Moore. In the next couple of weeks, Lisa will undergo liposuction, a breast enhancement and eyebrow lift, plus work on her skin and teeth.
In her own words:
“I’ve always dreamed of looking like Demi Moore and I’m determined that when I die I will,” she said. She added: “People think I’m crazy for wanting to do this, but I know it will make my last months or years happier. I want to die beautiful. This is my way of getting the control back in my life.”
Lisa was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor at age 27. The tumor has caused her to lose sight in her left eye, an eye that is now starting to droop. While Lisa continues to do charitable work for cancer patients, even setting up a website to raise money for those afflicted with brain tumors,www.rentadate forcharity.com, where people can bid for dates with celebrities backing her cause, this work is not enough to fulfill her. As the news about her brain tumor became dire, Lisa began to feel that the only thing that will actually make her happy is plastic surgery.
It's not my place, to begrudge someone their dying wish. Lisa seems like a very kind person, one whose done some great things for others. I have no idea how I would feel if I was in her place, and I admit I'm projecting here, but I can't help being bothered by this story. Not for what it says about Lisa, but for what it says about the world we live in, a world where physical beauty is what determines worth.
What does it say about our society, when a woman's last wish is to die looking like somebody else? And what does it say when the celebrity that this women idolizes has gone through £250,000 worth of plastic surgery herself. Is it wrong to want to be beautiful, or to have to buy that beauty? We all try to buy beauty in small ways everyday. But there's something off-putting about an ideal so distanced from the reality of what real women look like, and what, in my opinion, real women should look like , that striving for it only makes the rest of us feel like failures. Lisa is a pretty woman, even more importantly, she seems like e a good person, who has so much to be confident about, so much that she's accomplished in her last days. But, she'll make headlines for this last wish to be Demi.
According to Lisa, surgery will give her confidence and a new lease on life, it will allow her to " die a happy women. happy and beautiful." For me, there's something very sad in the fact that one can't exist without the other. Either way, I hope she does find happiness.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I finally watched The Reader last night. I was initially reluctant to see the movie, after it was harshly condemned by Ron Rosenbaum over at slate. But I did end up watching it, and since then I can’t stop thinking about it. The movie is incredibly depressing. Yes, it is sad because it deals with the Holocaust. But, it is also sad because it shows how individual flaws and fears can be used for the most destructive of ends. And how the past, and the guilt it induces, is something we never escape. The movie is less about the holocaust, then it is about consequences of the Holocaust, and about morality as determined by the interlocking of individual demons and collective influence.
First off, I have to say that I don’t think an attempt to understand the perpetrator of a crime is an attempt to exonerate them. Many critics argued that by using Kate Winslet, particularly in the sexualized way she was used, the filmmaker was trying to make a Nazi character palpable , romanticizing her even. I disagree. I don't think the affair between Hanna and a young Michael Berg was a depiction of sweet first love. For me, it was an example of a highly sexualized relationship based on co-dependency and disturbing power relations. The affair with this young boy, is the initial indicator of Hanna’s emotionally stunted character. She chose him because he was impressionable enough to love her. She used her body because that was all she had to give. While Hanna tries to control the relationship sexually, she is always painfully aware that Michael is smarter than her. Hanna’s illiteracy and her poverty is a source of lifelong shame, a shame, in my opinion, that is only exacerbated by the presence of this young boy with all the potential in the world.
In the end of the movie, when Hanna was asked what she learned after all her years in prison, she replied I learned to read. Critics were angered that Hanna felt more shame at being illiterate than at sending hundreds of women to their deaths in the camps. And people should be angry, it made me very angry watching it. And that’s the point. This movie is not about the wonders of literacy. It is about the complexities of human relationships, with each other and with society as a whole. Michael never came to visit Hanna in prison, and never tried to convince her that hiding her secret was less important than lessening her punishment. Her whole life Hanna was taught to keep her illiteracy hidden. It was an insecurity that made her feel constantly excluded . In fact, after all her years in prison, she probably thought that by revealing her ability to read Michael, he might deem her worthy to love again.
Hanna was not a person predisposed to true cruelty. Yes, she could be calculating at times, even cold, but that is a part of all of our natures. Showing her kinder moments with her young lover was not intended to redeem her, nor was showing her learning to read redeeming, it just makes her a real person. And a real person who can commit such horrific deeds is far scarier than a heartless monster. When she became a Nazi, Hanna's instincts probably told her what she was doing was wrong, but the world she lived in told her she was right. In contrast, to her treatment as an outcast before, as a Nazi, Hanna was promoted, respected by her peers, and entrusted with a sense of responsibility to her job and to her country. At the trial, she seemed exasperated at the questioning, because in her simple mind, she did just what the others did.
The movie in no way denies the reality of events of the Holocaust, in fact Hanna’s role was openly revealed and condemned in her trial. The fact that her young lover still has affection for her, despite being disgusted by her actions, speaks not to her innocence, but to a sad truth, that before they were participants in the Holocaust Nazis were real people. And it is these same real people, capable of intimacy and affection, remorse and shame, that performed some of the most monstrous acts in history.
The movie made me think of that famous psychological experiment where a man in a lab coat instructs participants to shock people. The man in the lab coat encourages them, tells them its o.k., while the "shocked" person, hidden behind a wall, cries out in pain with each shock. The shocker hears them, but he is encourage further by the man in the lab coat, go on the man says, you can't stop the experiment now. Of course, the person can stop the experiment, they can just get up and walk away. In the testing groups, this case was always rarest.
Was Hannah different then these people? Is Hannah different then an executioner told to flip the switch by the state? Or a soldier told to kill in war time? Every solider is programmed to become numb to murder, trained to hate the enemy, and convinced that it is their responsibility to serve their commanders. Killing is not a source of shame, the real shame is in not doing what you're told. Many viewers were horrified upon learning Hanna had her victims read to her before sending them off to die, that she used them this way. But, perhaps for her, this was just a ritual, like the last meal. Maybe it was her way of normalizing what she did.
There are many degrees of cruelty. No one wants to think we have a Hannah in us. But throughout history, time and time again, people willingly take part in war, torture, genocide, and murder. More often we take part in even everyday forms of complacency; the factory worker that doesn't tell anyone about the poison peanut butter, the bystander that passes an injured man on the street, we all do it. Hanna is not meant for you to sympathize with, though in some ways you do. She's there to make you think about how normal people can do terrible things.
At one point a law student in Michael's class addresses the hypocrisy of putting the five women on trial, while the whole country was complacent, while the whole country deserved to be indicted. Hanna was merely one person in an entire country of people, who all contributed to mass-murder, who contributed both in their actions and in their passivity. I don't think this movie was revisionism. I think for the Holocaust to never happen again, movies like this are necessary.
Just saw this on PSFK. The FREE STORE exhibit runs through March 22nd at a temporary gallery space located at 99 Nassau Street (between Fulton & Ann Streets).
The exhibit opens today. Created by artists Athena Robles and Anna Stein, the space is a "cultural pop-up shop, functioning through bartering and exchange and allowing visitors to give something useful or get something useful. The store is the first Global Free Store and will accept and offer World Bills, a global currency, for everyday items brought in by the public, such as a map, clothing or a bag. The store will carry one or two stocked items that are produced in-house. Free Store will also feature special projects and events by curators Felicity Hogan, Edwin Ramoran, Julie Sengle and Herb Tam." Check it out if you're in the area.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
At first glance this was pretty. At second glance it was a doile.
I love Sophia Lauren but this remind me of a Ye Olde Saloon.
Heidi Klum wears the read carpet.
And Jessica Biel wears a handkerchief.
First there was google earth now there's a virtual earth created out of search. Sometimes I feel like the internet is becoming our very own version of matrix. This application, which fellow Mac users can download, allows users to navigate a virtual city created by people's search terms on NY-centric blogs, an architecture of intention, if you will. I think the most fascinating part is the keywords associated with individual neighborhoods.
All my surrounding neighborhoods were linked by the search term: baths. I have no explanation for this. Here's a fancier more formal description and some video.
Pastiche: A collective composition
"The city is a composite of impressions. Beyond the built environment, it is a constantly changing pastiche of associations and experiences—not just of of the people who inhabit it, but of the larger community. New York City, in particular, has two realities: the reality of the physical environment, and the reality of the idea—of what the city and its diverse neighborhoods signify. Inseparably interwined, these two realities constantly continue to inform eachother. Pastiche is a dynamic data visualization that maps keywords from blog articles to the New York neighborhoods they are written in reference to, geographically positioned in a navigable, spatial view. Keywords are assigned based on relevance and recency, surrounding their corresponding neighborhoods. The result is a dynamically changing description of the city, formed around individual experiences and perspectives."
You can download the application off the artist's, Christian Marcschmidt, site here.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Find more photos like this on Brooklyn Art Project
I covet the writing sculpture, the brain sculpture, frankly, I covet all of it. Frank Plant's work is amazing. And despite being a perpetrator of said advertising I also love this piece entitled,One Day You too Can Work In Advertising, Steel, Old Socks, 105cm x 94cm, 2008.