Archive for September, 2007

Does anyone have a worse metro commute than me?
September 26, 2007

For a job I have, I go from Clarendon to Rosslyn on the orange line (just two stops away), than Rosslyn to King Street on the blue, then i switch to yellow to go one measly extra stop to Eisenhower. That’s two switches for something like 10 or 11 stops.

So annoying

A mythical "Friends" experience on the metro
September 24, 2007

I was on the metro the other day, walking back from the Anacostia station from a job interview at around 3 p.m., where I saw 6 people board the metro. They all went to sit in the same section of the train, and were exchanging inside jokes, laughing, and having a gay old time together. They were probably people who worked together because they were all dressed in business casual but it must have been a wonderful place to work.

Suddenly, I was jealous of these people. How rare is it to be part of a group of friends in adulthood? I have friends from the two colleges I went to, from high school, from the ski club I’m in, or from a job, but they’re scattered and usually they’re too busy to hang out because they’re always working (whereas I’m usually not working or not working as many hours).

These people looked like you could write a sitcom about them. In fact, I think that’s why sitcoms like “Friends” became so popular because groups like that don’t exist in real life and as adults, we desperately want that. Our dating lives and quest to get married as young, single people out of college is still present, but we do not have those same networks of friends that we used to. If you do have a good network of friends, be thankful for that.

The Jon Stewart Generation
September 20, 2007

A friend of mine who posts frequently on his facebook account, posted two videos that I thought were ironically related. To clarify, posting means to provide a link to a video or website somewhere else on the web for your social network to see.

The first of these posts was a video during the Emmys of presenters Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in a comic bit and the second was the student in Florida getting tasered. To summarize the first post, Steve Colbert arrives with a leaf blower to the stage while Stewart criticizes him for it, asking him, “Is that really necessary? This is the Green Emmys.” Colbert replies that the leaf blower isn’t powered by gas but rather Al Gore’s tears and proceeds to criticize Stewart for flying in his triple sandwich jet. Stewart than raises the question that maybe the act of gathering people together for this awards ceremony produces too much carbon emissions to justify it. It’s a good point and a funny bit but then again, it’s not like Stewart heeded his own advice. His comic bit might have been just as effective if they broadcasted from New York and they could have actually done good for the environment, but for the Daily Show staff, it’s enough to make jokes about it.

Jon Stewart and his Daily Show cronies are the heroes of our generation and for what? All they do is make snarky commentary about everything in sight. They don’t stand for anything, and they don’t do anything. All the Daily Show knows how to do is make fun of things. They seem to believe that the mainstream media is poison but do they offer a better solution or have any appreciation for how hard it is to be in the mainstream media? Yeah, it’s a funny bit but did Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert actually do anything to reduce their carbon footprint by going to the ceremony. Rather than making fun of the green movement (which is a prettty noble idea as is), couldn’t they just as easily have participated in it and broadcasted that bit from New York and not lost any comic effect?

I think that relates to the student getting tasered because we’re ill-equipped to actually do things and be proactive when we need to. The students felt passionate about the cause since they joined a protest later, but that’s kind of what we do. We make commentary and stuff after the fact when it would’ve been more effective if we took action on the spot. Same with the Iraq war: it’s easy to criticize it in hindsight but where does that get us.

I think John Stewart is very funny and I wouldn’t think it’s absurd to call him the funniest man on TV (I wouldn’t give him that title myself, but I’d say he’s close to it). However, I don’t agree with us placing him on a pedestal above the mainstream media and politicians. It’s far easier to make fun of newsmen and politicians than it is to actually try to cover the news and make laws.

Can I flip-flop on Larry Craig?
September 19, 2007

You know, as a mindful citizen, I hope I have the right to change my mind on certain issues. I recently posted on Larry Craig and how disappointing it is that politicians are deceitful to us and stuff, but I think that as a guy who was willing to defend Clinton and say that his private and professional lives are separate, I would be hypocritical if I didn’t say the same thing for Senator Craig.

Tonight Show host Jay Leno made a joke the other night about how when Larry Craig was caught in a restroom, his defense was “well, it’s not like I wanted to marry the guy.” Ironically, this also makes a good argument for Craig’s defense: The activists who wanted to out him as gay were the gay community and the Idaho Statesman (who were fed the story from gay activist Mike Rogers) on the grounds that he’s repeatedly voted against gay rights. I think it would be a far reach to say that Larry Craig is anti-gay. He has a gay person on his staff and he has stated in previous interviews that he doesn’t really believe sexual orientation is important. He is against gay marriage but I don’t believe that voting a certain way on gay marriage is a vehemently anti-gay act. I realize this brings about a larger argument over whether banning gay marriage is a human rights violation or a minor sticking point within the gay rights movement, but my point is that it’s a little presumptous to group Craig with someone like Jerry Fallwell.

So, it does seem slightly possible that the parties who want him out of office might be on a vendetta. Mike Rogers actively sought out dirt on Larry Craig for four years and he couldn’t find more than one source who refused to go on the record. I also think that the officer’s report is not as definitive as it originally sounded.

Now, I’m not saying I like Larry Craig. He voted against Katrina funding and free school lunches but I do believe that stories can change and that unlike politicians, we do have the benefit of being flexible of our opinions.

Leave Britney Alone?
September 18, 2007

I must admit I was looking forward to seeing Britney Spears’ performance at last weeks Video Music Awards. In years past, she has always found a way to shock the audience – her choice of a flesh-colored outfit and the use of a python as a fashion accessory. This year, however, did shock me, but not in quite the same way. Spears forgot her own lyrics, aimlessly roamed the stage (Is this choreography? I think not.), and a less than flattering wardrobe selection. In light of the dreadful performance, Chris Crocker, an avid Spears’ fan maintains that we should “Leave Britney Alone.” But why should we?

Pleading with the viewers on You Tube, Crocker runs through a series of unfortunate events Spears has recently been through – having two kids, a divorce from K Fed, and now a custody battle. He screams “She’s a human!”. Thank you, Captain Obvious. She is a human, and life is not always perfect. That’s a fact of life. It is sad that the former teen superstar’s career has plummeted and she has resorted to drugs and alcohol, but using being a human as a reason to leave her alone does nothing to persuade me.

The emotional fan goes on to quote Perez Hilton as maintaining if she was a professional, she would have pulled it off. He responds, “Speaking of professionalism, since when is it professional to publicly bash someone who is going through a hard time.” We all go through hard times, even professionals but it is no excuse not to satisfactorily perform on the job. If a doctor were to screw up an operation because he was going through a divorce with his wife would still be sued for malpractice, be ordered to pay money to the patient, and could lose his license! Britney may be a celebrity, but she is to be held to the same standards as every other professional. Her performance of “Gimme More” was horrid; therefore criticism, as well as loss of her lawyer and manager are appropriate consequences.

Finally, Chris informs us “she’s not well right now.” We all know that! What well person would persistently abuse drugs and alcohol, shave their head, appear in public pantie-less, party through the night instead of rehearsing, and ignore all suggestions from wardrobe staff? If she did not believe she was well enough to do her job – be an entertainer – then she should seek more help, retire from the business, or merely turn down the opportunity to appear on the program.

Spears chose a career in the spotlight, subject to criticism by the press and the public. Give us a reason to praise you, and we will. But she has given us reason to critique and so we do.

So for now, Mr. Crocker, no, we will not leave Britney alone!

Don’t just mourn 9/11 but 8/29 too
September 12, 2007

A couple anniversaries passed recently. One was for 9/11. It’s been six years since 9/11 and we’ve created a sort of sacredness around that event. 9/11 was of course a tragic day, but I’ve also been a believer in keeping the event in historical context rather than treating it as an excuse to lose rationality. When we emphasize the never-before-seen destruction of 9/11 we short-sight things like Darfur or the genocide in Rwanda that have had higher death tolls. The parallel which we often associate 9/11 with, Pearl Harbor, resulted in the biggest war effort of this century for America, so when we equate 9/11 with Pearl Harbor, we have to be careful not to imply that the solution to 9/11 is to launch another big full-scale war, because that’s kind of what happened with Iraq.

It’s hard to equate one historic disaster with another, though. Rwanda and Darfur are things that didn’t happen in our country, but the death and destruction that happened with Hurricane Katrina, in our own country, is something that I don’t think we should forget. One main reason: With 9/11, all we can do is remember the dead. We can’t bring them back. With Hurricane Katrina, the victims are still there: entire cities along a region that stretches through four states filled with those that were let down by the government. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina isn’t an attack by a physical enemy and it’s not something we can solve by fighting a war. So if we’re going to continue to remember 9/11, remember 8/29 too.