I’m still working on my stupid paper, so I offer you some links that have kept me entertained during my breaks.
This week’s Time is their annual “Person of the Year” issue. This year’s Person? You. The issue is all about how the internet brings people together to give everyone their proverbial fifteen minutes of fame, or something like it. Some of the people they feature who have made their mark on the web: (Time articles are linked by the individual’s name; the other link in each blurb is to their main web presence.)
Army Captain Lee Kelley, whose blog, Wordsmith at War [link broken], began as a way to keep his family posted while he was on duty in Iraq. (To find more military blogs, try Milblogging.com [appears to be defunct].)
Korean housewife and citizen journalist Kim Hye Won, who was honored last year for her stories for South Korean news site OhMyNews. OhMyNews began in 2000 as an alternative to the one-sided news stories coming out of the mainstream media in South Korea. One of Kim’s stories, “A Home Alone, and Lonely,” is a touching view of Korean home life you won’t find in other news sources!
French rapper Kamini, who comes from a small rural town where his is the only black family in a population of 432. Kamini’s rap is a far cry from the gangsta life depicted in a lot of American rap — he raps about the conditions of his own life in his town of Marly-Gomont. I want to get his album when it comes out.
Warren Murray and Leanne White, aka Waz and Lenny, whose cooking blog and podcast Crash Test Kitchen charmed Shra and me with how-tos on Australian teacake and Banoffee tart (banana-toffee-coffee). Watching their videos is like being in the kitchen with a friend who knows how to cook: they’re good at it, but they mess up occasionally and forget which cabinet the cinnamon is in, and yet they still produce something you want to eat.
I really enjoyed this issue of Time and urge you all to go buy and read it. I feel very strongly that there is truly intelligent and creative energy at work in individuals around the world, that is no less valid or interesting because it hasn’t been “discovered” by some large company or wealthy producer.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially in terms of comparing what I find important to what society places value on. Many people feel that if someone or something has made it into the mainstream, it is because that person’s work, or that idea, is better than the many others like it out there in the world. This holds true for many genres of artists — actors, writers, painters, and musicians — as well as for the things they create, like food (restaurants), lines of clothing, or beauty products. In other words, people tend to think, regarding what’s already well-known or mainstream: it is good, therefore it was discovered. People also tend to believe the corollary: therefore, if something has not been discovered, then it is because it is not good. This is why a lot of people prefer chain restaurants and stores, brand names, and Thomas Kinkade.
After a lot of thinking about this, I conclude that these equations are not as logical and natural as they seem. Now we all know that just because something is in the mainstream doesn’t make it good, and that just because someone hasn’t yet been discovered doesn’t mean he’s unworthy of recognition. But I used to be more convinced that if someone undiscovered was really talented, he or she would eventually be discovered. Now I’m not so sure. I think that we, as a society, tend to place a lot more weight on mainstream recognition as an arbiter of value than it deserves. The writer who gets a book published with one of the big houses isn’t necessarily a better writer than the one who’s just writing in his own blog. The published writer does have the advantage of many other good creative brains: his editors, his writing group, the person who designs his book jacket, etc; but the talent of the two writers is the same. In fact, the blogging writer has an advantage the published writer doesn’t: as an individual who is not working under the auspices of a major publishing house, conforming to their marketing structure, being influenced by their editors, he has the freedom to say things and think things that the published guy can’t.
I’m not saying this well, because these ideas are tied in to many others that I’ve had recently that I have yet to follow through. At bottom, though, what’s happened is a sort of breaking down of certain standards in my mind of what is valuable and what isn’t, and naturally, this (like everything else in my thoughts and values these days) is tied into all the things I’ve been thinking due to my school-related angst.
Enough of that. More links!
From the International Herald Tribune (by way of Sphi): old people in Beijing line up for free cabbage. This was cute, but also made me think how different our lives are from those of others around the world. “A few hours in line can provide entertainment for people inured to hardship and tedium by a few decades of communism,” the article said. ‘It doesn’t matter if I get a cabbage,’ said one man, who like several people declined to give his name. ‘It’s a nice day and I’ve got nothing to do.'” Can you imagine this happening in the US? Hardly!
Oeufs, oeufs, oeufs! Les français sont fous (is that right?), is all I can say. Ying sent me this (click to go to the story):
My new favorite Livejournal group is Cat Macros. They’re not all funny, but those that are have me cracking up in my chair. Cat geekery, for those of you who like this sort of humor:
Check the safety of your makeup or beauty products: Skin Deep has reports on many popular products.
This news is a couple of weeks old by now, but maybe you missed it: Silly String can save lives.
YouTubery (and Google Videos)
Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers features six percussionists making their way through an apartment, getting their rhythm on with household objects. Worth a look, even if, as Erik says, the sound is overdubbed. Thanks to Shra! [This also reminds me of a favorite scene from a favorite movie.]
Bitter, violent, and hilarious: Ah, L’Amour, and other animated shorts by Don Hertzfeldt.
Thanks to Bright for introducing me!
Nine seconds of hystericalness: hamster wheel gone wrong.
Oh and one more thing
I need to go buy a lottery ticket before the month is over. Why? Because it is my lucky month:
Saturday the 9th: won The Complete Dennis the Menace through the hourly raffle at Felt Club XL! It is awesomeness, and it is all thanks to Eurie, because if she hadn’t reminded me that I’d bought raffle tickets, I would have left before they called my name. (Yes, it was “must be present to win.”)
Tuesday the 12th (my birthday!): won one movie ticket from Fandango.com, through Blingo.
Tuesday the 19th: won a $100 gift certificate from Juvie (whose table I visited at Felt Club), because I joined their mailing list before Dec 15. Nice!!!
Am I right? Must buy lottery ticket!! Either that, or January is going to be really, really bad.
Okay this entry was soooo much longer than I thought it would be. I guess that’s what happens when I wait this long between entries.
[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com. Aha, so this is where I heard about Kamini! His Marly-Gomont song is the only thing I remembered from the Time group of links.]