Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Unhappy Anniversary

I know I’m a few weeks late, but I couldn’t let this monumental anniversary pass without being noticed and discussed.  I spent all morning at Firestone tires (I got a flat, it’s actually miraculous that this doesn’t happen more often seeing as many roads in Los Angeles have pot holes big enough to be portals to the Land of Narnia) listening to Democracy Now!  I know, it’s majorly leftist and biased, but guess what?  So am I.  And I know, Amy Goodman has NPR voice that reminds me of the Schwetty Balls skit from SNL with Molly Shannon and Alec Baldwin, but it’s putting out news that no one else is so I’m going to listen to it.  So I’m sitting in Firestone Tires on Highland and Sunset in the little makeshift lounge, surrounded by fake plants and tires.  I’m drinking my folgers coffee out of a small styrafoam cup, almost as if I’m waiting for my car to get out of the hospital.  The small T.V. in the corner is playing Regis and Kelly, who are fighting a yeti (that is not a joke, quality television right there), and I’m on the red vinyl couch tearing up as I listen to soldiers talking about the atrocities they have committed.

Yes, if you haven’t picked up on it I’m talking about the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq.  Coincidentally, it comes about a week before the 40th Anniversary of the My-Lai Massacre.  I’ve spent the whole weekend listening to American Idiot, the Green Day Album, and have been planning out a piece on how Green Day is actually the most important band of the last 15 years.  And I’ve been thinking about one of my roommates in college and how she wrote a paper on protest music that came out around two years after the war started and how that compared to Vietnam War protest music (if said friend reads this and still has that paper, I want to read it please).  So I’ve got all these conflicting and converging ideas and I’m going to try to reconcile them here because apparently that’s what I do.  
Five years in Iraq.  I know the comparison to Vietnam has been done, but it’s true.  Sure Vietnam went on for 16 years, but we’re degenerating into never ending war, into war where the occupied country that we’re supposedly liberating hates us for destroying any semblance of peace that they had under a military dictatorship.  It’s almost as if we’ve forgotten the fact that history has tended to win out on the side of democratic republic and constitutional societies.  It might seem kind of harsh, and I am by no means advocating the fact that we should just let violence go unchecked in any country, but to a certain extent independent countries need to find their own brand of government, the kind that works for them.  Like I said, it sounds harsh, but if you think about it, most ‘developed’ nations went through some sort of revolution or civil war in order to become what they are now (whether or not this is a path that all countries should follow is a completely different argument).  
These last three years of Bush’s Presidency have marked ever growing dissatisfaction with the job that the present administration has done but he was reelected in 2004.  I think that it’s important to remember that even though most of the people who receive this email did not approve of Bush, even then, approximately 50% of the country did (let’s not get into an unfairly won election debate, I’m saving it for the Associated Press).  However, directly before the 2004 election, a handful of bands came out with war/Bush protest music.  The most important of which was Green Day and their American Idiot album.  They were really the only band that came out with an album that was almost entirely about the sad state of our nation.  I’ve been listening to it pretty much non-stop all weekend and I came to the conclusion that between Dookie in 1994 and American Idiot in 2004, Green Day was really the band that defined the era (Kurt Cobain died about three weeks after Dookie came out, so Nirvana doesn’t really count in this).  Green Day went from this fun and funny punk band with three-chord songs about going crazy and masturbating to a musically complicated band determined to make the world a better place.  
I guess what I really reacted to when I was listening to Amy Goodman, and what I’ve been reacting to with Green Day is remembering a time when I was young and naive and still held some sort of hopeful romantic notions about the world, namely this country.  I remember being in college class after college class and arguing that we need to find a new way to protest.  I went to all those Iraq war protests in San Francisco and it didn’t help anything; it’s actually not a well publicized fact, but that’s the reason I wanted to get into film.  I saw what Michael Moore was doing in bringing awareness to ‘the masses’ and realized that this might be the most effective way to protest.  Since then I’ve broadened what I think about protest to art and activism, those seem to be what works, and I’ve actually grew to hope a little more, thanks to a certain presidential candidate, but I must say, sometimes our situation seems futile, sometimes it seems that we are doomed to inherit the pain and suffering of my parents generation.  
My mom said something to me in response to my ’70s inquiry that has stuck with me.  She talked about the veterans coming back from Vietnam and pointing out that those college kids protesting had no idea the evils of war and what it was like, they were spoiled pampered kids who shouldn’t talk about things they didn’t know about.  Now, I have no illusions of which side I am on in this discussion, nor do I try to speak about the atrocities that are most certainly happening in Iraq, but what I will say is that it is scary to be in the crux of history repeating itself.  It’s scary to be aware of it and to not know what you can do to stop it, if anything can be done.  It’s scary to think that democrats might bicker their way to a McCain victory and we could be stuck in Iraq for ‘10000 years.’  But I guess that’s what I’ve come to as a young adult; through my period of despair directly succeeding the 2004 election to where I am now, still skeptical with a little hope, it seems like I’ve finally found some middle ground.  It’s far left middle ground, but middle nonetheless.
Peace, Love, and Peace,
Julia

Advertisements

March 25, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Environment, Politics | Leave a comment

Was God a Writer?

Wow.  That’s what I have to say about the response to my last piece ofwriting.  Wow.  You guys really came through and I think you answeredmy question.  Basically, like all things in history it’s a little ofboth, this decade is partially monumental change, as was theseventies, and partially feels like monumental change because I amchanging monumentally at the moment.  But there have been other thingson my mind as well.  I’m coming to find that being in your twentiesmeans you start making big decisions that may or may not effect therest of your life, and there’s really no way to know which decisionswill effect the rest of your life and which decisions just seem big atthe time and actually aren’t that big.  It’s all pretty confusing andfrustrating.It’s like, your whole life people say that being a teenager is hard,and you get there, and it is, but you expect it to get better and itturns out that being a teenager was just preparation for the realchallenge, which is actually being a person in the world.  My friendand I got in an argument today because I told him that I didn’t wantto be classified as ‘adult,’ I don’t think of myself as an adult, andI never want to be an adult.  I don’t want responsibility.  I don’twant kids or a husband.  I don’t want any of it.  I want to be able topack up and move to a different country with a moments notice.  I wantto decide to go to Seattle for the weekend, and three weeks later bein Seattle.  I want to decide that can survive on less money byworking less and actually do it.  I don’t want to be responsible foranyone but myself.But what happens when you start making decisions like that?  I madethe decision to try and be a writer.  But what does that mean?  Iwrite everyday.  When I feel satisfied with something I have written Iwill send it out and try to get it sold or published, but who knows ifthat will happen or not.  Have I doomed myself to a life of odd jobsbecause I cannot imagine a life behind a desk?  Have I doomed myselfto a life where I actually have conversations that revolve around thenotion that I actually may make little enough money to qualify forfood stamps?  The short answer is probably yes.  The thought ofsitting behind a desk makes me want to kill myself, and the thought ofdoing something completely uncreative makes me want to gouge my owneyes out, but what does that mean for the life I chose?  This is thepoint where I say ‘I guess we’ll see.’  Then I stop thinking about it.Truth be told, this is not what has been eating at me lately.  Truthbe told, my actual dilemma is a much more profound one.  What is therole of the artist in society?  So I’ve made this decision to write,because really it’s all I can do.  But does it matter?  In a worldwhere we face huge catastrophe due to Global Warming; in a world wheremen my age are dying in yet another mistake of a war;  in a worldwhere my best friend cannot get married (even if he wanted to) becauseof the fact that he is a man who happens to sleep with other men, whatis the purpose of the writer or artist?  Sure Rousseau changed thecourse of French history, but am I really that egotistical to thinkthat I have any sort of connection, that I could change anything withmy writing?  I would love to think this could be true, but it isn’t.In literature we often talk about the writer as god.  And many writersactually have a kind of a god complex.  I mean basically, as a writer,you spend your time creating a world and then making everybody in itdo exactly what you want them to.  You have complete control over awhole world of people.  It’s a very powerful and addicting feeling.You might write a situation that you yourself faced and change thedynamic or certain elements and reshape the outcome to something moreconducive to your own wants or needs.  So writers spend all this timeplaying God, but do they really change anything?On the flip side, I think about the books I read as a lost kid.  Bookslike Catcher in the Rye or On The Road; these books made me feel lessalone, less like I was the only person facing any of these moraldilemmas.  Same goes for Television writing: My So-Called Life made mefeel less like I was the only teenager that had problems with friendsODing on drugs or who couldn’t stand their parents, while trying tofiercely cling to them at the same time.In a world that needs so much help, that needs so much to have peoplenot just observe and critique, but act, is there room for writers?I have no idea, but I certainly hope so.Peace, Love, and Uncertainty,Julia

March 10, 2008 Posted by | Books, Culture, Environment, Gay/Lesbian, Literature, My So-Called Life, Television | Leave a comment

Change and the Art of the Seventies

So a little while ago I wrote about how great it was to grow up in the’90s, and I still hold that belief, but last night I worked a bookrelease of a book called Comedy at the Edge about how comedy (as wellas other things) completely changed America in the 1970s.  I’m ayoung’n so I sometimes forget how big of a changing decade theseventies was.  I mean, the sixties had free speech and vietnamprotests, and women’s rights and all that stuff, but in the seventiesit went from being radical movements to being practiced in life, andComedy was a facet of this.  Think about it, you had people like SteveMartin, Albert Brooks, George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, etc. etc. etc.all talking about the social injustices, sexual politics, politicalclimate of the time and they ended up going on t.v. shows likeSaturday Night Live (remember when it was funny?)I’ve been kind of thinking about the seventies a lot.  And I actuallyhave a big question to pose, seeing as many of you lived through theseventies.  Does right now feel at all the same?  I feel like America,and the world, is in a huge period of change and I sometimes getcaught up in that, so much so that it’s hard to breathe.  I guess I’mjust wondering if the change that you all went through in theseventies feels at all the same as the change we’re going through now? Did it feel then, like it does now?   Did it feel like you might bethe last generation to see the world as it is?  Did it feel like anysort of safety net had been completely ripped out from under you?  Ordoes it feel exactly the same, and am I having a quarterlife crisis?So this is my first just flat out question.  If anyone has an answeror a theory, let me know.  I love hearing your thoughts and I’ll beback to writing my normal critiques on the craziness of modernAmerican society in a few days.Peace, Love and Change,Julia

March 6, 2008 Posted by | Comedy, Culture, Environment | Leave a comment