Friday, August 29, 2008

Riddle me this...

I forget, in political paper/rock/scissors, does a young black man and an older white man beat a much older white man and a MILF? Just curious.

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I totally just made this.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Melting Pot

Since its founding, if not before, America has been hailed as a melting pot. In few places does this apply now as much as NYC.

I'm not sure I buy it.

I think it's a great concept, and obviously one can't deny that there are major concentrations of different cultures in the five boroughs. But for the metaphor of a melting pot to apply, those cultures would have to mingle and integrate in such a way that a new culture emerges. This is where the process breaks down.

We've got Chinese immigrants in Chinatown, African-Americans in Harlem and Bed-Stuy, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in Washington Heights and Inwood, and Hasidic Jews in Borough Park. Oh, and stupid white kids in Williamsburg. Everyone speaking their language of origin, eating the food that fed them in the womb, listening to the music they're supposed to listen to. I don't see a lot of fusion of these groups (tostones sashimi? klezmer mariachi funk?) or any new languages emerging.

Please understand this isn't coming from some weird right-wing xenophobia. I have no problem with all these different groups being here, and I think it's absolutely ridiculous to try to legally assign an official language to everyone here. Everybody's going to figure it out. If we have to speak Pig Latin to communicate, then we'll all learn Pig Latin. We'll be fine. So what's my point? Excellent question. I guess I'm trying to understand human nature, as always, and also appreciating some irony which I will explain in a bit.

I think it all shows that we love familiarity and tend to stick to our own (unless our parents tell us to). If anything I think being in a situation like this makes us identify even more strongly with where we came from. I'm from the South, and damned if I don't like a country accent and some good biscuits from time to time. I absolutely hated country music growing up, and while I certainly can't say I'm a wholesale fan now, after I moved here I started to appreciate it more and even have a few albums.

And now, the irony. Follow my logic, if you will. America is very often identified as a melting pot. This is often done in a benevolent light. Who most vocally sings the praises of this country? Conservatives. Who most vocally would love for non-white, non-English-speaking people to no longer live here? Conservatives. For a more succinct explanation, just imagine Ann Coulter living in a fifth-floor walkup in Washington Heights.

You're welcome.

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Child Prodigies

I don't much like child prodigies. It doesn't have anything to do with them personally (for the most part (I think)), but moreso just the effect of their existence. Any endeavor you want to pursue, any hobby you want to take up or anything you think you're good at, there's some adorable little prepubescent kid somewhere that's already better at that thing than you can ever hope to be before you die. Trying to learn guitar? You can't even get an F-major chord to sound anything remotely like music, but that little kid in Japan can shred like van Halen (and I don't think he even knows who that is).

When I was a student I was always in advanced or gifted classes. Calm down, I'm not bragging, I'm just providing some perspective. I was particularly good with words and stuff. I always read ahead of my grade level, and pretty quickly just left the grade levels and read at an adult level (thanks to Mom's library and the awesomeness that is Stephen King). I won a lot of spelling bees. What good was that when there was always some Indian kid that still wore Velcro shoes, but knew how to spell triskaidekaphobia? In junior high I was in PASS (Program for Academically Superior Students--how Aryan does that sound?), but what did that matter when other kids my age were starting their freshman year at Cal Tech? I would use the mental balm of telling myself that I had more friends and knew how to have more fun than those kids, but let's be honest. No one enjoys the years from 13-19, and everyone feels like some kind of freak with fingers for eyebrows. So why not feel that way while pursuing a Ph.D. in Sanskrit?

Alright, fine, I admit it. I'm jealous of prodigies. I'm jealous. Is that better? Before I was aware of them I was one of the smartest kids I knew. Then I was just above average. Then began the systematic destruction of my standards. In junior high I dropped out of PASS. In high school I slept through my AP Latin exam. In college I downshifted from a Physics major to Communications, and then finally to Theatre. Now I'm temping.

Thanks Doogie. You asshole.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Genius or Madman?

Today at the 53rd and 5th subway station, a homeless man loudly announced to no one in particular that "They don't get HIV because they don't spread their legs. HIV looks bigger in the mirror."

I thought that only applied to anorexics.

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