"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Sunday, December 31, 2006

let's give peace a chance!

if you're reading this, you are probably sitting in the comfort of your home, having just eaten a warm meal with your loved ones, might have just finished watching a movie, might even be well on your way to getting completely drunk to welcome the new year.

outside, there's probably fireworks and people screaming and cheering. somewhere near you people are dancing, having fun, forgetting that somewhere else in the world, there is complete darkness, save for the flash of bombs and missile fire.

it is so easy for us to forget, in our nests of warmth and comfort, that there are other people dying from disease, starvation, cold, heat, neglect, melancholy. have we forgotten them? just because we cannot see them, does not mean we cannot feel their sadness creeping up to us when we become still in the night.

have we forgotten to love our fellow man/woman/child? were we really put on this earth to hate one another and destroy our precious environment?

giving your old unwanted clothes during the Christmas season is not enough to keep the billions of homeless people in the world warm, and eating organic will not change the fact that many millions of other people will never even see a piece of your unwanted food that day. buying RED is not going to change the fact that america remains the most wasteful nation in the world, and corporate social responsibility still remains the exceptionality, when it should be the rule.

indeed, as RED reminds us, we have the POWER to make a difference. (by buying their product...?) but do we, as they want us to believe, have a choice?

surely not. otherwise, why would millions of children and elderly be dying of malnutrition all over the world? why else would the millions in Africa in dire need of AIDS medication require US consumers to buy additional amounts of Gap jeans they don't need, while giving them false cause to pat themselves on the back for their consumer-based philanthropy?

if we really wanted to make a difference, surely we would find the resources and energy and good will to do it? (after all, we are spending so much money on an admittedly useless war, one that is costing the lives of thousands of innocent civilians' and American soldiers' lives.

and as the RED ad reminds us, "we don't want them to die."

do we really believe that? if we were really so kind-hearted, would we allow this to happen? take a look at the things we are easily allowing ourselves to accept.

then tell me this does not make you sick:

and what are your expensive designer tees gonna do to change that?


as you sip your champagne tonight and then crawl into your warm bed, try to remember that all over the world there are countless untracked landmines, children who will never live to early adolescence because of disease and lack of food, young men and women (merely children themselves) in the military, generations of people who will never know a world of peace, who will be the victims of ceaseless, unnecessary war -- and for what?! because we can close our eyes, turn away, can slip into our material comforts and forsake the suffering of those we've never met. how easily we forget our brethren on the other side of the world. how easily we forget!


we can do better. now let's actually try.

to a better 2007. (may this be the beginning of the future...)

how you can help:
donate to UNICEF.
tell George to Save Darfur.
help The Global Fund directly, rather than buy from RED.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

while you were reminiscing, the future was passing you by

goodbye 2006. hello, 2007!

reflecting on the past year, i can't say i've been horribly disappointed by or regretful of anything. i think i made the best out of most difficult situations, managed to laugh and cry enough to understand the significance of both, loved and lost enough to appreciate my family and friends more, and risked enough to say i lived.

i'm not spectacularly happy, but i'm not depressed any more either.

i'm another year older, and as my dad would say, that's enough cause for celebration.

but not just yet. there's much to be done, so much to change, so much to spend my idle moments thinking about.

i'm not one for resolutions, never saw much point in making false promises to myself. and i hope that i am constantly reflecting, constantly reforming, that i don't require some silly end-of-year ritual to remind me to self-improve. if something bothers me enough, i shld have the resolve to change it in that instant. "bah to inertia," that's what i say. i'm all about gaining momentous momentums until i'm travelling faster than time itself, until i've met the future and shaken its hand.

so let's have 2007 be the year for reVolutions! rather than expend my renewed energies devising self-involved methods for change, why not think at the global level? how am i going to change the world? what can i do to make the world we share a better place for everyone, and not just myself?

i'll get back to you on this. and you do the same. there is much to be mulled, much to be ruminated.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

i want a puppy! (but not that one...)

thank u to all the kind readers and friends who wished me such warm happy birthdays yesterday. my 21st was a blast, but do not worry and do not be alarmed: self-control and dignity were not lost (which is more than can be said for some ppl.) i merely ordered my first drink, a rum ri martini and sipped it modestly at dinner with my family. we ate cake and sang songs and i opened presents. (my family surprised me at the last minute with very kind and thoughtful presents, giving me a stack of DVDs i'd been pining for all year, including MEMENTO, HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG, EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN, and AMERICAN BEAUTY (my other favorite movie).

in all, it was one of the best birthdays i've ever had. thank you. :-)


speaking of gifts, i've always wanted a puppy and have asked for one for christmas ever since i was old enuf to know i had needs and wants for things (5 was the age i think). well, i didn't get a puppy this year (surprise surprise), but when i went to the new york times website (my homepage), i saw this:now, let's take a closer look, shall we?
hmm. the cute and (read:) iNBRED dog. (read more here.)

apparently, the NYT thot this worthy online frontpage material. makes me wonder if i shld revert to the BBC (whose editors, despite their ostensibly british readership still found Gerald Ford's death and efforts toward peace in Somalia of primary interest. funny, where did we go wrong?)


in other dog-related news, i've been enjoying this satirical view of the long-befuddling comic Marmaduke.

and i thot i was the only one spending my sunday mornings endlessly frustrated by the seemingly guileless and unamusing shenanigans of an overgrown terrorist canine, but apparently Joe Mathlete is providing some necessary and not-easily-divined answers. yay for satire and comic relief!

ruff woof,

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

it's a giant among cliches

"...sing me Happy Birthday
sing it like it's going to be your last day
like its hallelujah
don't just let it pass on through ya
it's a giant among cliches
and that's why I want you to sing it anyway..."

-andrew bird

"Oh happy birthday, happy birthday.
Little Lisa, today is your day.
Sing hallelujah, you know they blew ya'.
There are too many, candles in your cake.
But don't you worry, there's no hurry.
The Jehovas are standing by your door.
And they're offering, eternal suffering.
Eternal life, but you say no.
Turn on the radio, clean the windows.
Do it in slow-mo, as the day unfolds.
Oh how the sun shines inside you, just like I do.
These days are gold.
The nights are silver, they make you shiver.
Tomorrow the Jehovas will come by.
And they will ask you of and excuse.
Not to accept eternal life.

But I love you, yes I love you.
But I would never kiss your lips.
'Cause there's a friendship, a lovely kinship.
Here's a tulip to match your eyes.
Oh drinking cheap wine to bosanova.
You're a supernova in the sky.
The Jehovas, in their pull-overs.
Are no Casanovas, like you and I.
Oh happy birthday, happy birthday.
Happy birthday to you.
Oh happy birthday, happy birthday.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Oh happy birthday, little Lisa.
Happy birthday to you."

-jens lekman


i'm 21 at last!

and i have the best parents ever. they stormed my room at one minute past, and drug me to the kitchen to have a celebratory glass of wine with them.

my favorite thing about my birthday: my dad says "congratulations" every time i turn one year older, like it's a huge achievement to have survived the last 365 days. which sometimes, it is.

and here is how it feels to be 21:

it feels GREAT.


Monday, December 25, 2006

on the brink of my 21st birthday (or, how to interpret a myspace-esque self-portrait)

less than one hour until the apocalypse known as my 21st birthday, and i want to remember how i feel in this very moment (for i will never be on the brink of 21 again).

what i was obviously thinking in the fractioned second it took to take this picture:

the 21st year of my life shall mark the beginning of the era henceforth known as 'the emo years' (woe, indeed...)

the holy daze hath blanched my complexion...

feeling more self-conscious than usual about my facial proportions, i decided to crop half my visage from the picture, only to provide the Beatles poster as a frame of reference, to which one might remark, 'hark! what a prodigious forehead!' foiled again! blast!

i'm looking somewhat bloodshot and dry.

progressively creepy, and increasingly close.

this is your face on aderol.

i've replaced Paul in the resurrected Beatles. and i'm grateful (if not a little stunned) for the honour.

i'm just as shocked and crestfallen as you should be to learn that Sufjan is gay.

"i am the most great female hypnotist of the world!"

in summary: i am only slightly more indifferent than usual.

seesons greatings.

Friday, December 22, 2006

sing me happy birthday

it's my birfday in 4 days. my 21st birfday.

i don't think i can bring myself to get out to a bar. i can't even make myself get dressed up to go out.

it's too depressing, since it's the day after christmas and all. i don't want to be sitting at the bar and buying drinks for all the sad souls without family or friends or better places to go who are just hanging out at a bar on the 26th. and i certainly don't want to be one of those people.

so give me a call. write me an email. or better yet, send me a letter and hide a gift inside for me.

wish me a happy birthday, won't you? (and kwanzaa and boxing day and new year while yr at it...) sing me cheers.

until then, i'm gonna pretend this was a special gift to me from my friend jens (and now my gift to you).


Thursday, December 21, 2006


...maniacal contentment.

i was so proud of myself for having gotten great gifts for all my loved ones while managing to spend as little time as possible in the mall, that i treated myself to the movies i knew no one was going to get me.

i am now the delighted owner of: CAPOTE, MEMENTO (my favorite movie), SE7EN, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, and EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN.

yay for cinephilia.

consumerism- 1. stephanie's will power- 0.

c'est la vie.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

oh the irony...

when i heard that first lady Laura Bush has skin cancer, my first impulse was to kinda laugh obnoxiously at what i perceived as a burning case of irony:

the wife of our unequaled president, George Bush --whose environmental policies have proven exceedingly and increasingly laughable and ignorant, delusional, noncomittal, ineffective, and damningly negligent-- is apparently suffering one of the symptoms indicative of the impending apocalypse: squamous cell carcinoma, the 2nd most common form of skin cancer.

the skin cancer is one of many manifest risks of depleting ozone, a direct result of our government's inability to acknowledge harmful and PREVENTABLE pollution as a cause of environmental problems, and its inability to prioritize environmental protection (rather than big oil).

you'd think this personal event would make the deteriorating ozone more salient to our boy George (especially since his recent trip to the doc to get 4 sun-induced lesions removed from his face).

but sadly, the administration's wind-up monkey marches on...

hey, at least we can enjoy 50+ degree weather in december...?

p.s. for fun, watch this (below). my favorite part comes at 3:05. "go home and die." wow.

Bush Speech (Edited)

Monday, December 18, 2006

my eyes are tired

i woke up the other day and couldn't see. my eyes were so blurry and tired that they refused to open. upset by the thought i might never see again, i lamented the loss of my film-going abilities, and started crying.

that was apparently just what my eyes needed. they cleared up soon after.

but my eyes have been worsening lately. either painfully dry or constantly tearing, light-sensitive and heavily weary, it's made looking at a glowing laptop screen increasingly difficult. i blame finals for exhausting my thresholds, and for exposing my retinas to inordinant amounts of radioactive laptop light.

anyway, in lieu of spending longer periods of time on my laptop than needed to write posts, i will be posting pictures. at least, until the tearing stops.

besides, some pictures just speak for themselves.

and i love a self-sufficient picture.

pray for my eyes,

Sunday, December 17, 2006

mew = me: wow=ew

words can't do some images justice.

so why try?

p.s. i'm trying to decide whether to switch to the new blogger beta. it makes formatting and layout much easier. i played around with it to reformat the avocado couch, with somewhat pleasing results. but i kinda enjoy fumbling around with html. i've been passably decent at it so far (i think). but is the new blogger worth it? help me decide...

EDIT (1.4.07): i updated to the new Blogger and it ended up screwing me over, including changing my profile. i'm too scared to upgrade the template, b/c i've worked forever on the html and don't want to lose it now. i'm updating labels now... hope it pays off somehow...

Saturday, December 16, 2006


i began my new life today. my new life is boring.

but not to fear. yours will never have to be, with the knowledge that these are indeed real albums that were at one time or another made for wide consumption and distribution.

oh the horrors our species wreaks on itself...

merry shatmas,

Thursday, December 14, 2006

mission accomplished!

I'M DONE!!!!!!!!!!!

time to play and have fun again!
(and rest my computer-weary eyes... oy)

thumbs up and high five!

hah. blogger activism wins again.

an update on the facebook ludicrous i posted on earlier.

it was only a matter of time before the scum were shut down and (hopefully) kicked off facebook for life. a small punishment for bigotry and violent prejudice, but a good step in the right direction.

there is also a reactionary group that formed to call attn to the ignorance of the prior group, regrettably called "the group 'laws women will abide by' makes me want to cry" (i was hoping for something a little stronger, but whatever.)

funnily enough, if you do a search on facebook now for the group, a feminist group shows up in its place:

the only "law women will abide by" now?

1. Doing as they please as the equals of men.

now how's that for justice?

my work here is done,

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

this makes me lose all hope

UPDATE: as of 10:35 EST on wednesday, december 13, the group was taken down. yes!!

[note: this post contains some objectionable and deeply upsetting content. proceed forewarned...]

[DISCLAIMER: i DO NOT, and do not desire to, have a facebook account. i borrowed a friend's to do the necessary research for this post.]

i saw this today while i was taking a break from finals: an article about a facebook group called "laws women will abide by"

it's ostensibly the most sexist, racist, disgusting piece of college frat boy manifest mentality i have ever read. i spent an hour sifting thru the chauvinistic garbage these boys are peddling as good fun and humor at the expense of women's rights, and wanted to either vomit in my mouth and drown in it from sadness, or hunt each and every one of them down with a blunted rusty spoon and gouge their eyes out before cutting their balls off and feeding it to them with it (apologies for the violent language, but when you read on you will understand...)

understand, i already hate facebook on firm philosophical grounds (i don't believe an online network of creeps will help keep me closer to my friends. if they're my friends, i should hope we can maintain our friendships via more substantial means. moreover, it's from the guy who brought us wonders such as Hot or Not, a website that made superficiality into a sporting event, at the expense of personal privacy rights, damaged self-esteems, and real human interactions.)

but when i found out that this group was permitted to exist on the facebook, allowing mysoginists and women-batterers and racists to convene and encourage eachother's narrow-minded beliefs and behaviors, indeed, even invoking violent attitudes towards women and minorities, that was enough to spark a personal vendetta against the facebook for life.

here's a taste of the things being said on this group's "discussion board" (the script to my personal hell, the mental/theoretical equivalent to 50 drunk frat boys physically violating me):

the only thing your good for is to be someones cum receptacle.
i want to kick these girls in the face with a steel-toed boot on new years morning to start the year off on the right foot

there they go again rambling about some college and grammar. ill be sure to tip you when you finish with my sandwich.

shell never be a good wife cuz she cant make a sandwich just wonton soup and her uncle tsos chicken

I heard Frank tried killing meredith...you know why? He caught her trying to cook one of his dogs

its probably a dykey korean thing

yea your right.. your slanty ass eyes would confuse me too much.. i would never know if you were awake or not.. plus chinese food gets old. and im sure thats all u can cook.. learn to make a sandwich then talk to me.
chainsaw or a blow torch. her choice

im going to finger your mom with a chainsaw

meredith could be my first gook

come on guys we probably should stop making jokes about lesbians, seriously. because if i have to keep on seeing who wrote the last comment from wellesley i might turn gay from the way they look!

here's a sampling of the heinous "laws"* the group proposes:

Law 1. Never...Fuckin ever...will women be permitted to wear leggings under a skirt. Leggings wll be permitted by themselves if the female in question is under 130 pounds.
Law 3. Women will always consider stilettos as the primary footwear option.
Law 4. Women will only drive if there are no men present. However, if the only male present is blind or fully retarded, the woman can drive. If the male is only partially retarded, he will be given driving privileges over the woman.

Law 8. Women over 150 pounds will always wear pants...ALWAYS.

Law 9. Women who have a cup size of AAA, AA, or A will refrain from wearing low cut shirts.
Law 10. Any woman caught wearing a belly shirt while having any type of fat or skin hangin over their pants will be killed...they have the choice between the electric chair and the gas chamber.
Law 11. Women will clean whatever men ask them to clean.

Law 12. Women will cook for men.

Law 13. Women will wash clothing for men.

Law 15. Women will only speak when spoken to.
Law 17. Women will no longer go the bathroom in groups. It gives the impression that dyke type activity is occurring inside the bathroom.
Law 19. Women will not request a particular drink from a male. They will accept whatever a man offers them. A complaint about a free drink is punishable by a donkey punch at a later point in time.

ugh. that's all i can stand to post. i feel so deeply upset now that i don't know how i can finish my work. what's the point? if there are people like this, COLLEGE-EDUCATED PEOPLE who are still thinking like this, who do not see the obvious wrong in this kind of thinking, then what hope is there for positive social change?

i'd say that until the facebook forcibly removes the group and bans these users from the service for the rest of their pathetic lives, everyone i know and all their friends too should boycott (screw that, GIRLcott) the facebook until it's willing to recognize that it's enabling and condoning violent racist and sexist behaviors.

i want an apology from mark fucking zuckerburg, to women and minorities of all kinds, and to humanity in general, by the end of the year.

ugh. and ugh again.
then vomit to clean your palate of the taste.

*according to the group's site: "This is a compilation of laws made by men and women that are to be enforced on women. It is not meant to be sexist in any way, shape, or form. It is intended to guide women in finding their true place in the world and to inform them of what they should truly be." o yum. nothing i love more than patriarchal standards applied and enforced on my way of life and my perception of purpose. hand me a fucking shovel, someone please. so i may beat their heads to a pulp then bury them with it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

meaningful moments

this is the last stretch before the semester ends, and as i was scrambling away and chipping away at various tasks, i remembered that i had multiple posts that i'd been trying to write over the course of the year that i'd neglected under a pile of other obligations.

i thot i'd resurrect them now, in incomplete forms. but i think the intent in their conception is plain to see and certainly makes them no less real, so let them be. perhaps later i will find time to fill in the holes. until then, allow them to be the living non-dead.


[from Nov 18, a Saturday]
i have had the most productive day, in the most unproductive way.
i have developed a habit of doing little to no work on weekends, piddling my days away at parties, and in aimless wandering. i've been on a 20 year search for meaning in my life, and with little to no feelings of success.

dreams aren't enough to grow meaning from, and they only float for so long. when you try to cover your holes with feathers, they only get swept away. i've been learning to pack the feathers tight, and building them into wings...
i've learned to actually enjoy my life for the first time. i've quit frittering toward meaningless ends, and have found pleasurable meaning in my own self-determined ways. while i used to feel accomplished because i did well in the university and formal educational system, now i realize the value of an external education. and i firmly believe that more can be learned in brief transitory exchanges with strangers than can be read from the pages of a textbook.

and forging a lasting friendship out of a meeting with a stranger can be the best tutorship one will ever receive. for instance, i have two professors this semester whom i owe a great deal of thanks to, especially my Satiric Film professor. the wonderfulness of this individual is beyond my descriptive abilities, but let me explain what is truly remarkable: our educational system teaches us to value professors as authority figures. this immediately calls into existence a relationship of power, which holds the student in the receptive role. there's no room for interaction in this relationship. in fact, it's not a relationship at all, but a very limited manufacture of knowledge. it's a mechanical view of human value and exchange:
IN: prof's knowledge/experience, student's attention
OUT: knowledge/experience
the products of this exchange are limited and not very profitable. from a capitalist standpoint, this would be a shit-poor business. there's no profit, no gain, the amount you put in is the same as what you get back. there's no room for growth or development, no progress, just a stagnation. it conceptualizes education as a producer of intellectual capital and pretends that capital is all we need.

call me a hedonist, i think i am one.

but for the first time in my life, i feel at ease with the uneasiness, comfortable with the discomfort. which isn't to say that i've become complacent or that i've resolved to accept things the way they are. surely not. but i've found pleasurable ways to deal with them. rather than agitate myself, rather than try to limit

i slept for 11 hours for the first time in years last
night, and it was amazing. i woke up and felt like 20
years had passed me by. the sun was shining off the
dew on the grass outside and lighting up the dark
little corner in my room where i rest my head at
night. i wanted to take a picture of it, but i just
put my head back down and fell asleep again.

luckily i have a mind camera and i wasn't too sleepy
to use it.

i've been seeing everything in vivid cinema lately.
that is, i've been lucky enough to pause and watch
things, and they're somehow fitting together in this
on-going screenplay i have in my head. hard to
explain, but maybe when i see you again it will all be

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

hand me a fork! i'm done!

just got back from the very last business class of my life. and this is exactly how i feel --->

o what a glorious feeling! i can sleep and dream awake again!

forever yours, and now finally free...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

they're zombies!!! aaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!

<--- a typical day on a Miami street...

oh, it's that time of year again...

miami kids are experiencing the first flush of finals week anxiety, and you can already notice it in their empty stares.

nothing i like more than knowing half the people i see on the street probably don't see me. it creates an invisibility that could be really powerful, if one makes use of it in the right way. when no one sees you, you can play all sorts of non sequitur tricks on them, like intentionally standing in their way on the sidewalk, or faking a seizure mid-stride en route to class. or, if i feel the need to wake some people up: grabbing my bullhorn and reciting the pounding monologue from NETWORK from the steps of an academic building, or on the ledge of a bell tower. tho, on second thought, probably not a good idea. i hear it's bad to wake up a sleepwalker... i wonder if that also applies to the living dead?

anyway, i have several papers, exams, and group presentations to do these next few days. but it's all looking bright because as of tomorrow evening (Wednesday) at 10 pm EST, i will officially be done forever with social entrepreneurship and will never ever step foot in another business class again! no more thoughts of Bono haunting my darkest mind, and no more insipid business papers to write! i will be done and will immediately move on to more invigorating projects. i'll probably spend the whole of that evening celebrating and re-fortifying and replenishing my soul and spirit. (so call/email/write/telegraph/telepath a congratulatory note on Wednesday! remind me of those dreams i once had and spur me on to enjoy my life again!!)

finally, my Satiric Film professor is leaving Miami after this week and i am deeply upset, because she is the most brilliant person i've ever met at Miami. how do i know this? because she's the only one with enough grit to quit this place and leave to pursue real goals. as someone with a shared sense of heterotopian longing, i really admire the ability to abandon safety nets in the interest of pursuing an ethereal dream.

in a semester of worthless droning classes, her class sparked that fire i used to have burning in me, that passion that made me happy to learn and write and do things. it's funny, because i took her class on a lark, thinking i'd fill my schedule with something fun. not only did it prove to be deeply enjoyable, it opened my eyes to a way of enjoying my work again, and loosened me up to the possibility of dreams.

it's not so much a class as a way of reinterpreting my approach to classes and to schoolwork in general. it's made me active in a way no other class has, because i am not only engaging with the course material and the texts and ideas in a purely theoretical way, but i am wanting to put these passions into practice. and isn't that what school should be about? taking education beyond a thinking level to a doing.

so while i should be freaking out about this business paper i haven't started yet, i'm relishing the small revolution my apathy is taking.

and while all my peers are studying furiously for their meaningless finals, writing papers that don't matter to them, i'm smiling sideways at them, imagining the stress the SHAUN OF THE DEAD final must be giving them (which is ironic, since i bet Joanne gets such giggle kicks from having such fun playing with people's expectations and student habits. SHAUN is a satire of consumerism, and our silly bourgeois habits. Joanne's class is a satire of the school system and formal education, and those rote student behaviors we learn in school. people may get the satire in SHAUN, but i bet they still fall into the zombie-like steps when it comes to school. so hahahahaha)


Friday, December 01, 2006

it's december!

i am shocked in disbelief.

p.s. notice the creepy portrait hovering above my left shoulder... that's my boss's security device, the (post)modern panopticon:


be afraid.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Google fame

you know, sometimes i wonder if i only do this for the possibility of Google fame...

yes, that rising from ordinary obscurity to a sort of slight internet celebrity, where, should someone enter my name into a search engine, they would get my website, because i am the most credible/interesting/prolific/important/self-righteous/right-on "stephanie lee" they are ever going to find and will ever need to know. forget the others; i'm the only "stephanie lee" that matters.

sadly, that is not true, nor do i really want it to be. i've thankfully managed to remain sufficiently under the surface, a faint echo or whisper of a ghost in the ripples.

there are many a "stephanie lee" out there, and what variety! writers, ceramics artists, healers and therapists, visual effects coordinators, and a vigilante musician! oh my, how can i possibly compete with that??!

strangers only find me from amidst the murk of possible searches, including searches for "miami v. tom brinkman" or, recently, "everybody look at me song" (see this). there's also the occasional wanderer who finds my site b/c they were searching for a comparison of THE DEPARTED and INFERNAL AFFAIRS (a more in-depth one to come...). and then there's the random ones, my favorites, such as "infinity tunnel making" and "righting t shirts." then there's some depressing searches, ones i'm sad ppl found my sight for, such as "do kittens cry with tears" or "sophomore slump symptoms." then there's those who find my sight b/c they were searching for spam, and i tend to post "spam poetry."

and then there are the searches i'm ashamed for, such as this recent surprise: "John Devenanzio nude." i wasn't even aware that i had written anything about this john devnaniaziosdfsdsas fellow until i went back thru my archives and realized it was a satirical post. that ppl were searching for him nude is kinda funny in a way then, but no less disappointing.

so anyway, i guess what i am saying is that all this google stuff is kinda funny. and one really must be careful what they write about, for one never knows when one will show up in some random searching and dredging of the internet's murky deeps.

but, thankfully, none of this matters to me, since i don't do it to be published, nor for the fame, tho it seemed that way when i began this post. really, i just enjoy the talking and sharing with strangers all over.

and of course, the endless humor.

yours in cyber space,
"stephanie lee"

p.s. none of this matters anyway, since i've REALLY been doing all these fine things under the psuedonym of "stephanie lee." my real name is marlboro galveston (yes, that's right), and i take many shapes and guises. the ones listed above are just the first layer of this elaborate web of deceit i've crafted to fool you! it's all a part of my plan to make the internet completely dominated by a force known as "stephanie lee." so mwahahahahaha....!!! !!! !1 !! !! !!

p.p.s. another facet of the deception. didn't you know "i" was into taxidermy? well, it's true.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

simple gifts

it came in a green shiny plastic folder, a preparation my father no doubt had prepared and slipped for me under my door while i was getting ready for bed.

when i opened it, i immediately understood what it was, and could do nothing more than pick it up and read it right where i stood, standing in my room, surrounded by books and remnants of childhood, feverishly reading these papers from beginning to end.

it was my brother's application essay.

this was the essay i had spent an hour talking to him on the phone about, the longest i had ever spoken to my brother in at least ten years. it was for his application to Stanford, the college of his dreams, and the proverbial basket for all of his hopes and future chickens.

the prompt asked him to recount something a person he knew had said to him that changed his life or inspired him, and why.

and my brother, with his endless knowledge of historical figures and speeches, had written about me.

when i recall the night of our hour-long conversation, i remember thinking that he could write about me, but i never dared suggest it. never even entertained a hope that this kind of suggestion would fly, that he would even consider it, that he didn't have a million other people to talk about. furthermore, i never wanted to assume a role of authority in my brother's life, he got enough of that from my parents. no, i opted for a hands-off approach, and encouraged him to do whatever made him happy. sure, that might have undermined my parents' authority (and i did occasionally take the flak for that), but i was happy to be the voice of dissension when it came to my little brother. as the older sibling, wasn't it my job to understand both my parents and my brother, to reflect on my childhood and the role my parents played in it, to yearn for a happier time without all the nagging, and to be the parent and unconditional love my brother always wanted? i was the one that was supposed to go through the worst of my parents' experiments; my brother was supposed to get the improved and streamlined versions.

i grew up with my life planned for me, with every potential glorified and encouraged, my every misstep serving as a lesson for improvement. i was raised to be a superstar, an academic over-achiever, an all A's student and a scholar, a leader, a trophy child. i was to be the bragging right of both my parents.

but since i refused to attend an ivy league college, essentially dashing the hopes set out for me since childhood, i have felt endlessly disappointing to both my parents and myself. when everyone has such lofty expectations for you, you begin to believe your own hype, and then lose yourself when you lose sight of the potentials people imagined for you.

i ended up a nervous wreck, a misguided kid who mistook grades for achievement. now, i'm a sufferer of stress and sleepless nights because i argue with professors for every point on an exam, a perfectionist who considers a 94 an unacceptable step down from my usual 100's. i can never succeed, because my own standards set me up for failure. i'm never happy with my schoolwork, despite the fact that people tell me i'm brilliant. "Really?" i ask, dumbfounded by their blind disregard for that B i got in Intro to Comm my freshman year. i remind them: "Intro to Comm! It was an introduction to communications class!" with so much potential, and so many high hopes, you're bound to fall short of one of them eventually. and with all the running about and the lack of stopping for breaths, it's a wonder i didn't burn out sooner.

but my brother, in the cool kid way he's always done, saw through all that and wrote about me. he understood the pressure we were under as kids to succeed. he wrote about it as "an unofficial war" we waged "since we were children," a war for the attention and approval of our parents. i think we both knew what was going on, and what child doesn't understand the subtle ways in which parents can pit their own children against each other, forcing them to compete and better themselves through comparison? over time, this kind of competition can destroy you, can tear you apart, driving siblings away. it happened with my brother and me: we never talked any more, because school had become our lives, and you don't reveal your strategies and secrets to the enemy.

i guess enough time and distance has come between us that we can reach out to one another now. he's applying to colleges, and i've been despising mine for so long now that i consider myself a specialist in what to avoid in an institution of higher learning. i was also kind of a wiz at the admissions process, having applied to schools for fun or something when i was his age four years ago (i'm not even kidding, i remember sending off a total of FOURTEEN (14) separate applications by the time December 1st hit).

but as much as i consider myself a hot shot, it was truly humbling to see that the simplest gesture had made a profound impact on my brother (or, at the very least, important enough to inspire a college essay): he wrote about my first holiday home from college, and how i had simply uttered these simple words: "You're a great student, I'm sure you'll do fine." so simple, i bet i said them on auto-polite [sic]. but they meant enough to him. my brother has also kept post-its i've left on his door the nights before big exams, like the one on his door now, which reads "Good luck today, Cal! (Not that you'll need it) -Steph"

despite my own misguided flailings [sic] in the educational system and my increasing desire to drop out, it was jarring to see that when i thought no one cared any more, there was one person who is still watching.

and it makes my heart so warm and glad to think that of all the things i have accomplished and of all the things i dreamt about doing with my life, the one that brings me to tears from laughter and gladness is an essay by my brother, an essay that is surely going to land him a place in Stanford, which i don't even think deserves him.

thankfully home for a happy thanksgiving,

p.s. if i get enough requests i will post the essay my brother wrote. it's really a brilliant work, because it's honest and quirky. no where else will you find such open and personable writing with HISTORICAL ANALOGIES so masterfully interlaced and interchanged! the kid's a prince. a real prince. an example, in speaking of our sibling rivalry: "like the intense American-Soviet deadlock of the past half century, my sister and i each did all we could to overcome the other and finally win this long struggle." who wouldn't want a kid who knows his history well enough to make an ANALOGY out of it?! fools! only fools!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

independent television is chock-full of satire

especially when you get creative scottish types, such as these:

"Thank you Bono, for completely confusing all of the issues and saying we are helping Africa by privatizing it! Thank you Bono!!"

-at the 2005 G8 summit protest in Edinborough, Scotland.

bark n run,

p.s. this clip is from a chicago indymedia episode of their independent TV program, which i worked on this past summer. it's pretty much the sweetest thing i've ever done in front of a camera...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

everybody look at me, me!

so i got bored in-between classes today and thought i would mess around with my audio editing software. i really liked the beat on this song ["Maneater" by Nelly Furtado], and thought it was really funny how happy it made me.

and my friends were asking me to change the message on my phone for such a long time now, i thought i would give em what they wanted.

and this is what they're getting:

ho ho haha, they're gonna wish they never ever met me at all.
-stephanie ;-)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


don't even try to give me that bullshit about how your vote doesn't count... that's the kind of attitude and stubborn apathetic boringness that keeps the revolution from kicking ass!

so do it! cause it's fun!
coz it's the right thing to do!
cus it's empowering!
koz they give you a sticker!
cos it's the easiest way to rock the revolution!
cuz we live in a democracy!
kus it's sexy.

do it do it!

p.s. a nice little note: the sticker says: "Change our world: Vote your Conscience" (which of course means: VOTE DEMOCRAT!!!! just kidding... but seriously... is there any other option?)

Monday, November 06, 2006

fiery furnaces concert review (11.4.06)

so, i journeyed afar this weekend to see the fiery furnaces play a show in columbus, ohio. the set was fantastic, bursting with high energy and momentous beats... eleanor was a brilliant stage presence, despite her maladie, a little throat trouble she preferred to call "Mr. Froggy McRibbit."

for those who appreciate something more than ordinary, you should consider giving albums Blueberry Boat and their newest, Bitter Tea, a listen. it's slightly obscure indie rock with a twist of lemon and bumpy gravel... gravel collected from travelled roads in jungles and ancient forests, wedged into tire treads and gathered in shoes... gravel made from fruity pebbles cereal.

in short, they're fantastic, and that's why i was willing to travel the distance to see them live. i knew they would put on a wild show, and indeed it was everything i expected.

give their music a try. it's certainly a "bitter tea," a bit of a difficult brew to swallow at first, but so smooth and warming to the heart once you finally get it down, you'll wonder why you never thought to try it before...


Friday, November 03, 2006


yes, that's Borat with a !!

as in, the film's official title is actually "BORAT!"! (...well, actually, the official title is "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"... "BORAT!" for short)

so every time i have spoken or written about Borat in the past, i should have used 2 !'s!

it gets confusing, doesn't it?!

enough talkie talkie, just go see it!

p.s. necessary viewing before you see the film: his reprotings! [sic] it's good stuff ;-)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

is bono trying to tell us something??!?

so my social entrepreneurship class is working with mrs. bono (as in, the wife of irish "rockstar"/u2 frontman bono) to promote and expand their existing "socially conscious" clothing line, EDUN.

EDUN aims to help the people of lesotho, africa (yes, the lesotho of recent diamond fame) by creating living wage jobs in the garment industry. every process in the production of the clothes for EDUN are done by african laborers (for a living wage) and then shipped back here for sale in the US (at a hefty price of upwards from $45 for a t-shirt).

i only have a few qualms about this:

first, at $45+ for a t-shirt, even if it is made by a well-fed african laborer, do they think their business is going to make enough sales to dramatically impact the lives of all the workers? and how many workers are actually working at these factories? enough to change life in lesotho for everyone? and what about the rest of africa?

even though EDUN aspires to help the citizens of lesotho, africa by creating living wage jobs in the manufacturing of factory-made t-shirts, i don't necessarily think industrialization is appropriate for sustainable growth. this may help the few ppl actually working the jobs, and maybe their families, but what are the odds this will actually help their place in the global economy?

also, industrialization has a history of destroying cultures and communities in the name of economic growth.

further, having workers in africa make t-shirts for sale in the US requires shipment of supplies and products across seas, and takes away from the possibility of growing local business. products made are shipped out, with no immediate local impact, besides the fact of the wages themselves, which, though they are living wages, still doesn't take away from the fact that they are wages in the place of one's labor.

even though lesotho citizens are getting living wages at these jobs, the fact is that they are still working to produce objects of consumption, products which they don't themselves consume. as any marx scholar would be able to tell you, this is alienation as a result of the capitalist system at its best. and speaking of capitalism...

rather then helping to eliminate the source of the problem (: CAPITALISM), this model perpetuates the very source of strife in our modern world. think about it: if capitalism didn't exist, everything we did would not revolve around this abstract and arbitrary numerical monetary value we place on it, but would only depend on its use value. thus, the things we produce wouldn't be cheap in quality because that makes it cheaper to produce, and things would last longer, and would be of more use to us as people.

AND, rather than have our lives consumed by the act of consumption, we could live to produce meaningful labor. that is, rather than working to earn the money we need to buy the products of someone else's reluctant labor, we could work together to produce things of value to us, rather than laboring and spending our energies on empty $'s.

thus, materialism is not the way. and capitalism only serves to maintain the status quo and continue to imprison our fellow human beings. for, as long as capitalism exists along with a system of production and consumption, we remain slaves to the $, limited in our potential by the hope of material advancement.

and of course, as long as capitalism exists, the lower working classes will always exist to make the upper elite feel special. and that goes against the very idea of democracy.

and finally:
EDUN = NUDE backwards.



but don't get me wrong. i mean, i think bono's idea is great. and though a little flawed, it's at least a step in the right direction. but what we really need, i mean really REALLY need, is systemic change.

and the annihalation of capitalism. :-)

but hey, it's a start.

groveling before the shrine of bono,

p.s. i stayed up all night for the second night in a row working on a paper for this class.
and i feel like my spine is melting.

i dislike business class. it makes my heart stop beating.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


UPDATE(2.26.07): comparative analysis done! find it here. -stephan!e

Hey there, Martin Scorsese! I LOVED your new film, but I gotta say -- and I say this not out of spite or bitterness or frustration, but because I love you and want you to get an Oscar for your fine work: you might have pissed a lot of fine people off.

And I don't just mean the Chinese...

Hello, readers!
I hope you're having a good weekend. I am, because I saw THE DEPARTED and though I loved it, I soon found out it was a remake/ inspired by (depending on who you ask) a Hong Kong film trilogy, INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002).

I am considering a research project now in which I will watch both TD and IA and compare them (especially since the bad guys in THE DEPARTED were, surprise surprise, Chinese! I thought this ironic, especially after I learned it was preceded by a strikingly similar Chinese film!) I thought it would also be interesting to compare INFERNAL AFFAIRS to other Chinese action films, to hopefully discover some nuances in genre that might explain the overwhelming popularity of this film in particular.

Let me know what you think.

P.S. Don't get me wrong, I think Scorsese deserves an Oscar. And I think THE DEPARTED was BRILLIANT. I want it to get an Oscar... but then again, it seems too far off from an original work to deserve one. Which is unfortunate, because the acting, cinematography, use of music, and direction were so intelligent and phenomenally done, it is a huge disappointment to see that this film might get some critical flak for seeming too much like theft of intellectual property.

P.P.S. And don't get me wrong, if this film doesn't get critically acclaimed or recognized, it would be for this very reason alone (and, I think, a well-deserved critique at that). Yes, THE DEPARTED was brilliant. BUT, so was INFERNAL AFFAIRS. And, as the predecessor/ the inspiration/ the original/ what-have-you, deserves some more credit than what Scorsese is willing to give (Says director Scorsese: "'Infernal Affairs' is a very good example of why I love the Hong Kong Cinema, but 'The Departed' is not a remake of that film. Our film was inspired by 'Infernal Affairs,' because of the nature of the story. However, the world Monahan created is very different from the Hong Kong film. -source) That's all I want, just an admission of attribution.

p.p.s. also read:

Hong Kong Handover

By Brian Hu

Not surprisingly, Martin Scorsese's awaited remake of Hong Kong's beloved Infernal Affairs is a high-octane blast of pure cinema. The surprise is that the guns are pointed at China.

In Martin Scorsese's The Departed, Frank Costello, the maniacal mob boss played by Jack Nicholson, is about to deal sensitive weapons to some shady mainland Chinese agents who bring uncommonly large guns to the secret meeting. "Bringing automatic weapons doesn't add inches to your dick size!" he responds. With his trademark smirk, Nicholson starts to spew that machine-gunfire barrage of lunatic insults we've come to expect from him. In his best Chinaman accent, he snickers, "No tickee, no laundry," an insult I must confess to not understanding. Meanwhile, the Chinese agents silently take the verbal abuse, conceding their defeat.

The crowd -- comprised by a good number of film critics -- roared in laughter. Looking around online, it seems that this has been the general consensus among mainstream American viewers. That crazy Jack Nicholson! Those silly Asians!

On the other hand, I found it a bit harder to laugh. Yes, the scene was indeed funny even though I recognized that at the heart of the humor was not Nicholson's charisma, but decades-old stereotypes about sinister Chinese people or mysterious Chinatown (visually rendered with the same attention to grime and sleaze -- complete with porn theater -- as in Taxi Driver). But the bad accents and the laundry references weren't what bothered me; like many Chinese Americans, I've learned to expect this sort of juvenile racism from Hollywood.

No, what angers me to no end is that this film is a remake of the Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, one of the most beloved Chinese-language films of the past ten years and a source of pride for Chinese-speaking audiences who lament the death of their own national cinemas to Hollywood domination. Like many fans of the film, I had mixed feelings about the proposed Hollywood remake, although I was willing to hold out hope since a revered director like Martin Scorsese was announced to direct it.

As I've argued before, there's nothing inherently wrong with Hollywood remakes of Asian films; as with the case of The Grudge, the cross-cultural contact opens new thematic possibilities. In fact, I was looking forward to seeing how the very-Hong Kong theme of good gangster, bad cop is transported to Boston. The evil of the Hollywood remake isn't in the plagiarism, it's in the strategic erasure of its Asian antecedent. We're not supposed to know that The Lake House is based on Il Mare or that The Departed is based on Infernal Affairs. This differs from, for example, the Bollywood remake of Fight Club, which is billed as 'our' version of Fight Club to be held up next to the original, and not a direct replacement of it.

The makers of The Departed have worked hard to disassociate themselves from the original. Jack Nicholson has publicly stated his refusal to watch the original because he wanted to be true to his own instincts. In the press kit, the screenwriter William Monathan similarly defends his decision not to watch the original (even though he worked from an English translation of the original script). In the same notes, Scorsese maintains that The Departed is "not a remake."

But as most fans of Infernal Affairs have observed, The Departed is indeed very similar to the original. It's not a re-imagining of the story as much as a direct translation, with certain items added to appeal to American sensibilities (sexuality, psychological motivation, sarcastic dialogue, etc.). By denying the influence of Infernal Affairs, The Departed denies its non-American roots and cultural hybridity, while it offends the fans (Asian and non-Asian) of the original.

Given this disrespect, the negative stereotypes of Chinese characters only compound the offense. Don't the filmmakers realize that when you steal somebody else's culture, they'll be carefully watching what you do with it? Don't they realize that there are audiences of The Departed who will be watching very carefully, sensitive to every deviation from their beloved original? Do these minority subjectivities even matter to Hollywood?

Sure, the scenes involving the mainland Chinese comprise only a small portion of the film, and sure the characters in the film also insult women, gays, blacks, Italians, and countless other groups. But this remake is supposed to be a tribute to Hong Kong cinema. Perhaps Scorsese's denial that this is in fact a remake exonerates him from having to pay respect to the originating culture. Hollywood doesn't need to be politically correct; it needs to be culturally honest.

I'm shocked that this issue hasn't been more prevalent in critical discourse. Fans are debating it in various blogs and message boards, but critics are absolutely silent. J. Hoberman of the Village Voice and Manohla Dargis of the New York Times correctly note that Hong Kong cinema has long been indebted to Martin Scorsese, but this only justifies Hollywood's attempt to erase its own indebtedness to Hong Kong.

Thinking that Chinese fans would express their dissatisfaction with the portrayal of Chinese people, I turned to the Chinese language media. The Taiwanese press has indeed expressed some concerns, although for a different reason: as part of his verbal humiliation of Chinese people, Nicholson's character taunts the mainlanders to "nuke Taiwan." Meanwhile, Hong Kong audiences are laughing at the poor Cantonese accents, as well why mainland agents are speaking Cantonese to begin with. Mainland China, not surprisingly, is not allowing the film to be shown in theaters.

Very few of these negative reactions are from people who disliked the film. I too, found The Departed an exhilarating film, and I'll be the first to admit that while I found Infernal Affairs a more emotional experience (with a better ending), Martin Scorsese is a hell of a better all-round filmmaker than the directing team of Andrew Lau and Alan Mak. I'll also be the first to acknowledge that Infernal Affairs too wasn't without objectionable representations; the Chinese trafficking scene in The Departed corresponds to the original's Thai drug deal scene, which itself is based on stereotypes of Thai criminals. But then again, Infernal Affairs wasn't a remake of a Thai film. So, what I object to about The Departed isn't the filmmaking or even the Asian pot-shots, but the haughty attitude the film and its makers project in the name of Oscar-worthy "art." Thanks, Hollywood, you've uncovered a new way to simultaneously congratulate yourself while offending the basis of your success.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

the departed

i just got back from seeing THE DEPARTED and i just...


i haven't seen a movie in so long that hit all the right spots. i mean... i came out of this movie feeling totally satisfied. and it was nice!

two and a half hours, and i wanted more. can you believe it?

i'm going again next week. anyone care to join me?

there's gotta be something critical and pompous i can say now, but why spoil the moment?

just go see it if you haven't yet. o wow...

p.s. on a totally different note, BORAT comes out in just one week!! now who wants to see that, eh?? o, you know i'm a gonna be in the front of the line for that one!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

speaking of satire...

(old post i've been saving for a week now, enjoy!)

wow, you could not ask for more serendipitous circumstances in terms of real-life satire.

i mean, there's nothing to say here. this takes care of itself...

By Joe Giordano

Staff Writer

Thursday, October 12, 2006

An MTV reality TV star (<- this is what got me. "reality TV star." haha, too funny.) was a victim of road rage after a retired Miami University administrator pointed a handgun at him Wednesday morning at an Oxford residence.

Police say a man in his 70s aimed a small handgun at 24-year-old John DeVenanzio, a cast member of MTV's "The Real World: Key West." A traffic violation appears to have sparked the armed confrontation.

According to police, DeVenanzio's girlfriend crossed a double yellow line to pass a Cadillac crawling southbound on McGuffey Avenue at approximately 10 a.m. The Cadillac then tailed the former Real World star and his girlfriend, who is a Miami student, a few blocks until they reached a Quail Ridge Drive residence.

As DeVenanzio's girlfriend pulled her Dodge Neon into the driveway, the Cadillac followed behind blocking the Neon. When DeVenanzio approached the car, he told police the elderly man reached into his glove compartment and pointed a handgun at him. The reality TV star then retreated to his girlfriend's vehicle and called 911. DeVenanzio was able to get the car's license plate, which led officers the an elderly man's residence.

When police questioned the man at his home, the former MU administrator said he flashed the gun for his safety.

"The driver stated DeVenanzio approached his vehicle in a threatening manner, and he pulled out the gun for his protection," Oxford police Sgt. Jim Squance said.

Police found the gun, which they describe as a Derringer. The elderly man possessed a permit for the handgun, which he says was not loaded during the confrontation. Police have not filed any charges against the former MU administrator. A university spokesperson said he retired in 1984.

Authorities are not releasing the man's name until the investigation is complete. Squance said they are currently speaking with the Butler County prosecutor about the case.

"We're going to complete the investigation and present it to the Butler County prosecutor," Squance said.

Police believe the next course of action will be sometime next week.

Contact this reporter at (513) 523-4139 or jgiordano@coxohio.com.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


come to Students for Staff's public event!

who: Workers, Faculty Members, and Public Officials
what: Speak out about wage disparities on our Miami University campus.
when: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25th @ 6pm
why: Because poverty is a growing problem in our local community, and this is just one small step toward absolving the issue.

come, bring your friends and family, and meet some fantastic open-minded people, and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

having fun with stereotypes and prejudice

Q: so what happens when you put a gang of progressive liberal hippies and a gaggle of rich conservative republicans together with their internet access and email capabilities?

A: you get the western listserv.


Q: and what happens when you get this already ridiculous situation and you throw into the mix "serious" conversations about stereotypes and prejudice?

A: oh ho ho. a fucking riot.

b/c no one likes to be called a racist. especially not liberal-minded folk or their conservative counterparts who are particularly aware of their own demographic stereotype.

but, as i thoroughly enjoyed pointing out in one of my rare contributions to listserv chatter this week, everyone is just a little bit prejudiced. and yes, everyone uses stereotypes. even liberals. (in fact, especially liberals. studies have shown that those who strongly believe they are NOT prejudiced are actually the ones who are most aware of stereotypes.)

but, that doesn't mean we shouldn't all be aware of what we say, right?

oh indeed. ;-)

what follows is a taste of the recent jabbering on the western listserv (clogging student, faculty, staff and alum inboxes since its inception). what you can't tell is that this used to be a discussion about the upcoming elections in ohio. (as i said, things got/get out of hand). what began as an earnest effort to get people to vote, soon devolved into name-calling, agitation, and good old taking-things-too-seriously.

so enjoy the best of the worst, and read the full discussion on the online archive (click, then follow discussion by clicking 'next in topic.')

love and splendor (and a stereotype-free evening),

p.s. i blame this uncharacteristic burst of sarcasm on my film class, in which i am happily learning to take things less seriously, to laugh a little, and to look at things more critically, with an eye for humorous opportunities. oh professor yeck, you've ruined me... ;-)

NOTE: names have been removed to protect the innocent

--- person 2 wrote:

> I remember in CCI learning about stereotypes and how
> harmful and misguiding
> they can be. Does anybody out there want to argue
> and say that stereotypes
> are good? I just don't think it would fly...
> In the past WEEK, I have THREE TIMES in the past
> week heard blatant negative
> stereotypes of "rich" people, all by peers I thought
> I respected. In the
> class I take to be a CLA, a fellow student
> characterized the College
> Republicans as "rich, stuck-up, and ignorant". I
> know for a fact that this
> kid went through 10 weeks of training, most of which
> concerned diversity and
> tolerance, and in the last class he says this???
> Here, on our very own supposedly diversity-loving,
> liberal-minded, open to
> all people Western Listserv, again rich people are
> assaulted. Since when
> are all politicians "Lizard Rulers"? And why must
> you be rich to be one?
> And how does being rich automatically make you
> eligible to be a lizard ruler
> too??
> Believe it or not, there are good rich people. Being
> rich does not make you
> a bad person. Being rich does not make you ignorant
> or uncharitable. Being
> rich does not make you a Lizard ruler or bankrupt of
> moral values. One of
> the biggest stereotypes is that rich people vote for
> Republicans. Yes, 53%
> of adults making over $50,000 a year voted
> Republican in 2000. But 46% of
> that income group voted Democratic in that election;
> in fact, 43% of adults
> making over $100,000 voted for a Democratic
> President in 2000.
> I'm puzzled at this: we all know that it is not OK
> to stereotype poor
> people, at least we would never do that over the
> public listserv. You
> wouldn't say "If any of you welfare bums would get
> off your asses, get a
> job, and stop being lazy, then you could have a
> decent life." NO - that is
> not OK. Why? Because we know that not all poor
> people are lazy, or on
> welfare, or unemployed. Indeed many poor people are
> the hardest working most
> ambitious and honest people you would ever meet.
> Then why is it OK to stereotype rich people as being
> next-of-kin to the
> "lizards"? Don't call a poor person ignorant or
> immoral, and don't call a
> rich person ignorant or immoral either.
> An anonymous quote: "Stereotypes are devices for
> saving a biased person the
> trouble of learning." Saying all politicians are
> rich and corrupt (and thus
> being rich makes you a good candidate to be a
> corrupt politician) is not an
> opinion, but a stereotype, a bias, a prejudice.
> -person 2


i agree. we SHOULD put an end to stereotypes. they're
not fun for anyone.

while we're pointing out ones we don't agree with, i'd
just like to add that i was frustrated by the lizard
stereotype. why are lizards getting such a bad rap,

i'm upset to see all this unjustified implicit
prejudice against the lizard population. just as we
wouldn't assume a poor person is lazy/ irresponsible,
or that a rich politician is arrogant/ selfish/
ignorant/etc., we should not assume that all lizards
are bad. i mean sure, they might be cold-blooded, but
they can also be quite loving animals, and make
excellent companions. i don't know for sure myself,
but i'm sure this is true since the lizardous pet
industry is just burgeoning these days.

so why the comparisons to politicians? i'd say corrupt
politicians have done more harm than lizards (the No
Child Left Behind debate last night is excellent
evidence of this). and what's so good about human
beings anyway that we can assume superiority over
lizards? that's not only specious, it's specist.

so before we continue this discussion, let's just
pause and consider our own stereotypes and opt to take
more care and consideration in what we say.


Monday, October 16, 2006



can anyone out there in the wild blue yonder tell me how i might be able to post podcast files here? or how i might be able to avoid that altogether and still do a podcast thru itunes or something?

i've got this fantastic audio files program i've been meaning to play with and it's high time i got back to radio (but since i don't own a radio frequency, will have to settle for an ethereal one over the internet... too bad too since it's funder week at WMUB, where i work, and have noticed dropping pledge rates.)

SO, if you're near a computer, please help me figure out this podcast situation.

and donate to NPR!!! public radio is the only public service medium left!!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

exposing the human animal: a review of BEST IN SHOW (2000)

so, it's midterm week, and i definitely stayed up ALL NIGHT writing three papers, two of them being film reviews.

here's one of those labors of love now...


BEST IN SHOW (dir. Christopher Guest, 2000)

Christopher Guest’s film BEST IN SHOW (2000) delivers provocative caricatures of several different subcultures, inspiring critical reexamination of their follies, as any successful satire should. The film’s “mockumentary” style is particularly effective, as it allows the actors’ endearingly quirky exaggerations to be interpreted as near-truths. The artistic direction and photography mimic the aesthetic of film documentaries, making the audience feel that what they are seeing is merely a version of the truth. And indeed, it is. The film’s characters and situations are exaggerations, but these slightly hyperbolic depictions reveal underlying truths about the absurdity of human nature.
As the film tackles the conventions of professional dog shows, it highlights our assumptions and stereotypes of the people who participate in them. While we may initially laugh at the comedy and irony at the surface, deeper down, BEST IN SHOW works at exposing our assumptions and stereotypes of the crazed pet owner, and reveals a deeper understanding of the tragedy of middle-class America and a criticism of consumer culture.
Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock evocatively portray the foibles of the yuppie subculture in their roles as contestants Meg and Hamilton Swan, respectively. We are first introduced to the Swans in the middle of what appears to be a family therapy session, where the Swans are discussing what we assume to be their misbehaving child. However, as the camera angle slowly changes to reveal, we are witnessing a puppy therapy session, and the patient, the focus of the characters’ (as well as our own) attention is actually the Swans’ dog, Beatrice. We are immediately struck with the absurdity of the situation: We know that therapy is expensive, even ineffective. Therapy for dogs, then, would just be a waste of money and time. But no matter, here are the Swans, talking about every awkward moment of their private intimate lives with a therapist, while their precious Beatrice reclines in human fashion on her own couch, listlessly falling asleep despite their goading.
The Swans don’t necessarily need to take Beatrice to a therapist. Certainly the money being spent on her therapy sessions could be better used to buy toys or kibble. But this kind of reasoning would not work on yuppies such as the Swans. After all, these are people who consider themselves lucky to have “grown up on catalogs,” who spend their free time poring over J. Crew magazines and sifting through the newest additions to the L.L. Bean collection. The Swans are people whose romance began when their eyes met across the street from different Starbucks, who met for the first time while sipping soy lattes and working on their “Macs.” They are the discontented wealthy, the delusional consumers, the disconnected people who put their trust and faith in brand loyalties and seek happiness and comfort in expensive purchases. They revel in the joy of catalog shopping because “you don’t have to talk to anyone.” Even with each other, they communicate more in their conspicuous consumer choices than they do in actual conversation.
And as the film suggests, these are people who are tragically boring and unhappy. Their neutral-toned clothes, save for the occasional splash of “merlot,” suggest they have very in the way of personality. They lack excitement, and we can’t help but feel their sex lives are equally dull (as Meg says early on in the film, “[they] got a book, The Kama Sutra…” Only a haplessly out-of-love couple would need a book to teach them to love one another). Indeed, we see them as a nonsexual couple, and Beatrice as their surrogate child.
And as such, Beatrice falls subject to their crazed “stage parent” antics. The Swans’ manic behavior comes to a peak in the moments before Beatrice takes to the stage. Upon finding that Beatrice’s toy “Busy Bee” (a character almost in its own right) is missing during the ritualistic pre-show preparation, Meg storms off searching for a new one. “Raised on catalogs,” with apparently minimal experience or skill in face-to-face human interaction, Meg struggles to communicate with the store manager, only to give up and return with the “wrong” toy. Posey’s performance is particularly derisive, and exposes the absurdity of our consumer culture: such is the state of society that anything we could possibly want is available for us to buy. Even toys for our dogs are available in multiple varieties and colors, and still, it’s never enough, and we are never satisfied.
When Beatrice eventually buckles under the extreme pressure of the Swans’ ceaseless “freak-outs,” they discard her (perhaps put her down?) in favor of a new dog, Kipper, who they gush about at another one of their therapy sessions. Again, the Swans are depicted here as falsely believing they can control their lives with the things they buy. If the dog doesn’t work, get a new one. If the clothes don’t fit, get a new wardrobe. Fittingly, the Swans are shown in their epilogue wearing a rainbow of bright and pastel colors, reflecting their re-energized spirit and enthusiasm for their new pet.
When Meg and Hamilton are frantically trimming Beatrice’s whiskers, brushing her coat, and giving her pep talks, like the other contestant couples around them, we see the human condition with all its follies on display. These are people who probably pay exorbitant fees to send their dogs to pet spas, who just might buy ridiculous outfits for their dogs so that they can more easily pretend they’re people.
The film is humorous and effectively satiric, because it reminds us that these are dogs, and that their misguided owners are human. Prolonged shots of the owners with their dogs show the dogs looking indifferent and unaware. As was probably the case in filming, so it is with dogs in shows: they may “sense the tension,” as the commentator suggets, but they are no more cognizant of the importance of the show to their owners than their owners are willing to acknowledge the dogs’ indifference.
The film reminds us that the contestants and their animals are participating in a dog show, a sadistic competition created by pet owners to take their extreme abuse of their canine companions to an obscene level. Dogs are animals, and naturally have no need for plush insect toys or trimmed whiskers. Yet who comes out looking more rabid, the humans or the dogs? In the end, the human characters are understood to be the irrational ones.