Posts tagged Thoughts from us

What do we gain when we institutionalize? And of course, what do we lose? Does being paid for art give us freedom to concentrate whole heartedly on said art or does it shackle us further to diverging interests? Can something similar be said for activism as a job v. a labor of love?
posted by Molly

aph sic

posted by Emily

vital letters were rent

to speech pat_o_ogy

a bald tooth gap dark

too discern

 

we could make a pate

of all the neglected letters,

and spread them

 

thick

 

over the naked lapses

of our daily fictions

and eat them

 

Creeping on the PDA couple sitting just outside the window

posted by Emily

 

this couple nibbling

on their fat pile of

yogurt and dithering

affront

this thin-silled-false-slip-a- erasure,

Cracks,

accosted by

realization.

HI.

Going off pattern

posted by Molly

Why do I like patterns? They give form to my thoughts. This saves me time (sometimes). They place me in a larger tradition of art. This gives me a wider range of meaning to pull meanings from (to some readers at least).

But most of all, when I work in a framework, I think harder. Having a set of limitations forces me to choose words more carefully because they need to fit within the rules and convey my message. This definitely makes it more frustrating.

Someone said something once like “You’re not breaking the rules until you know they’re there.”

On Editing

posted by Molly

In regards to academic papers, I’ve never been one of those students who performs under pressure, one of the lucky students who proclaim I’ve got a paper due in 12 hours, I guess it’s time to get started. So it was a definite ego bump to talk to a friend this week and have her declare “No one can write a paper in 12 hours and leave it unedited. We professors can tell when a paper’s been edited. The professors who write ‘good job!’ at the end of a paper like that didn’t bother reading it themselves.”

The same goes for creative writing. In poetry, especially, each word added or subtracted, each line broken, changes the meaning of the poem. Editing is part of the process refining the poem, discovering what you want to say and how you want to say it.

Babel

posted by Anthony

This weekend marks the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park. It will be (or already is as it has been for so long) a bastion of celebration for lovers of folk music everywhere. But in mentioning folk music, I cannot help but in the same breath highlight this year’s biggest album debut — “Babel,” the second offering from Mumford & Sons.

For the past year and a half, their first album “Sigh No More” has been my driving accompaniment of choice. Between Marcus’ crooning and that banjo, I have had many an occasion to sift through a myriad of thoughts whilst upon long stretches of road. With “Sigh No More,” their lyrics were thoughtful (even spiritual) and tempered perfectly by their instrumental work. For the most part, “Babel” continues that tradition though I am probably predisposed to favor their first album because I’ve heard it so many times.

This does not mean “Babel” is not without its gems. “I Will Wait" has been making its rounds on the internet for some time now and is indubitably catchy. My current favorite however is the more methodical "Ghosts That We Knew.” There is much for lovers of folk to embrace and space for those who are not to adapt.

For some other highlights on individual album tracks, refer to Billboard’s review.

posted by Hatty

Mainstream music – and I use the broadest, most general definition possible here for “mainstream” – is quite influential. It’s a multi-billion dollars industry, it shapes popular culture that bleeds into politics, education, science, business, religion, you name it. And we can say a lot of shit about how the faces of mainstream music, the bands, the singer-songwriters, the dancers, the musicians (though whether they actually make the music they present is another story). We can talk about their promotion of narcissism, lack of authenticity in today’s music, and even mainstream’s definition of authenticity that has become co-opted, commodified, commercialized. We can also praise a lot of their contributions to the society: Michael Jackson, rock stars speaking up against gay bashing and bullying, jazz giants calling for divestment during apartheid, Michael Jackson.

I don’t always believe in the power of music itself though. More specifically, music set to words, songs. Do you? Was there ever a time when people listened to a piece of music and thought differently about something? Or believed that the lyrics to a popular song would influence some kind of decision-making process their leader? Fellow countrymen? The nation? I know of a few examples actually.

selfishness

posted by Hatty

I’ve been thinking about selfishness lately: the complete and total preoccupation with my own desires and needs, far too many moments swinging from pity to grandiose beliefs, a lack of awareness and of will to care about anything that happens outside of my tiny circle. The sole drive of this self is what I believe to be days fleeting, resources scarce that I must, with all that’s within my power, secure. For survival, yes. Pleasure too. We encounter it all the time in phrases like carpe diem, ‘come with me home tonight,’ YOLO. It’s subtle, but I’m learning to recognize how well we’ve been trained by this orphan mentality — LivingSocial shows how many days, hours, and minutes are left for you to grab this exciting deal. Every morning lifestyle groups blast emails about where to be tonight for free beer or a new pop up restaurant or a contest for the #BestWeekendEver. No matter how redundant, concert goers nowadays have to take their own shots at live stage that scream ‘I was here!’ Because if we don’t do these things, we miss out on the one chance at life that will never come back. And no one’s going to get it for you except yourself.

What’s wrong with this lifestyle, you ask? Really, when you worked the hours and earned your salary, when you don’t cause anybody trouble and are on your way to a show with friends, when you’re young and free with no obligation? Why not spend your money and time to find yourself and be yourself and enjoy yourself with good people, good food, good music? Why not? What else can life hold more than what we see here and now anyway?

posted by Molly
Sometimes, I pretend that non-Asian characters in stories are Asian, just so that I can imagine some diversity. Like this version of Snow White, from the Fables comic book series. Or when I was a little girl, and I wanted the Samantha American Girl because despite being a little white girl from turn of the century New York, I thought that she looked kind of like me. It must have been the dark hair.

posted by Molly

Sometimes, I pretend that non-Asian characters in stories are Asian, just so that I can imagine some diversity. Like this version of Snow White, from the Fables comic book series. Or when I was a little girl, and I wanted the Samantha American Girl because despite being a little white girl from turn of the century New York, I thought that she looked kind of like me. It must have been the dark hair.

30 years after Detroit

posted by Molly

This week marks the 30th anniversay of Vincent Chin’s death. On June 19 Ronald Ebens and his step-son Michael Nitz beat Chin with a baseball bat until he collapsed. They thought he was Japanese, and blamed him for the collapse of the Detroit auto industry. Chin was Chinese American. On June 23, he died from traumatic brain injuries.

The events that unfolded — the criminal trial where his attackers were sentences to three years of probation and civil rights trial that followed — are familiar to many Asian Americans. Two movies about him, Who Killed Vincent Chin (1987) and Vincent Who? (2009) are common educational films for Asian American Studies-ists and activists.

If the movies didn’t exist, how would we remember Vincent Chin? Do the movies make us remember him more often? Do they help us talk about other racially motivated murders? Do they make his murder better remembered than murder victims who do not have documentaries made about them? Or do we continue to watch the documentaries because of how egregious his murder and the subsequent trials were?