30 March 2008

Seriously. . .

Where is the sun? I know I go through the same mind-fuck every year, I make the same complaints and use the same arguments (e.g. it's warmer in Greenland, the weather channel website says March is supposed to have a high of 48!, this feels like January, not March), but you know what? It's true. It IS warmer in Greenland, the weather channel website DOES say March is in the high 48's and April is in the high 50's, so I'm just wondering why it FEELS like it's 32 fucking degrees again, which, in case you didn't notice, is the high for JANUARY, and BELOW the high for FEBRUARY.

27 March 2008

What is Art to Americans?

The biggest complaint I have about art is that only rich kidz and the bourgeoisie can afford to not work and make art all day, and strangely enough, only rich kidz and the bourgeosie have enough money and time to consume it too. For the rest of us, for almost all of us, we have to work at a bread factory, or teach world literature seminars, or sell used furniture, or give 50 somethings manicures, and each and every day, there is a work of art, another story, another photo we didn't take or write or make, and before you know it, we are haunted by the ghosts of our own creativity, we live in a world of shadows where the things we couldn't create because we're human and we need to survive, end up outnumbering the things we actually create. Only music and cinema are self-sustaining, but that proves it's not about the utility of art, because a movie is no more useful than a sonnet; a slick R&B song, is neither more nor less important than say, a still-life, or a short story. But we're willing to dish out 10 bucks for an album, or a flick. So what do artists have to do so that cultures are willing to invest in them everyday? Has art strayed too far from the mainstream for the public to relate with, identify with, and escape into it? Is this a question of entertainment? Emotion? If art could make people cry, or take them back to their childhood, the way a song does, would the human response be different? If art could hold someone's attention for 2 hours, and make them travel to new places, would they go on that journey? And why can't or won't artists engage people this way? Are we too indier-than-thou? Do we despise the public subconsciously? Are we alienating non-specialists, or trying to please critics and editors too much? How does art become a robust part of our evolving artistic mainstream culture again without selling out and compromising its ferociousness? Is this what we're afraid of, being consumed and understood by too many people? As artists, are we creating out own division of labor? Do we lose our special place in the world if a soccer mom from New Jersey is moved by our work? Was Andy Warhol wrong to make caricatures of rich people and then take their money afterwards?

18 March 2008

If You Can Make Me Cry, I'll Vote for You

I read Obama's speech today and it made me cry. I'm serious. It made me cry. When I look at the whole picture, this man, his life story, his struggles as a bi-racial man growing up in a single-household in Indonesia, Hawaii, the way the media and our society wants him to be black, or white, but criticizes him for not being black, or white, or protestant, or practical, or experienced enough, I see an intelligent, eloquent, brave and courageous man. He inspires me, moves me, and makes politics human again. They say he all rhetoric, but at this point in the campaign, all 3 candidates are giving speeches, that's what they're supposed to do. With as much political experience as Bill Clinton when he was elected, with more legislative experience than HRC, but most importantly, with the most heart, conviction and honesty of the three candidates, Barack Obama inspires me to believe again. Some political cynics won't budge, but I did. And then I wiped my face, because I'd just read the first honest speech about race by a political candidate in my entire life, and it was so brilliant and so human.

15 March 2008

Lyrical Essay Published in South Loop Review

Yesterday, I just found out (officially) that "Piano Lessons," a short lyrical essay I submitted to SOUTH LOOP REVIEW about my おばあさま(my grandmama) was accepted for its September issue. Holla!

The SLR is a rad (not to mention, pretty) journal out of Columbia College Chicago offering creative non-fiction and photography. I'm so stoked. This is my first CNF piece to be accepted, and also, it will be nice that my peeps/family can buy something I've written at one of the Borders in Chicago.

14 March 2008

Why is the Wright Controversy a Controversy?

Okay, if I read another angry blog by another angry white person I'm gonna scream. Here are the reasons why I'm over this so-called Rev. Wright controversy:

1. I happen to agree with a lot of it. I think America is, and has always been controlled by rich white people. I don't even think this is debatable. I also agree that Barack Obama does not fit the typical mold of the Democratic machinery, which is why I like him so much. I agree with Rev. Wright that HRC has never had the N-bomb dropped on her before, or told that she was less than a person. And I also agree with him that Hillary doesn't know what it's like to deal with institutional racism. She's never had a taxi pass her on the corner, she's never been pulled over for driving a nice car, she's never been refused service because she's white before. All of this is both true and obvious to me, and I think it angers White America to hear that things are still fucked up.

Hell, I even agree with Rev. Wright that 9/11 was not simply a blind gesture of Islamofascism, but an attack on our culture and a response to our bellicose foreign policy. But sensitive white Americans don't want to hear this, they don't want to hear that maybe our culture engenders resentment and anger. After all, we've bombed Vietnam, Korea, Grenada, Cuba, Kosovo, Japan, The Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and countless other countries in the 20th century, we've put Japanese-Americans in internment camps, we've abused Iraq prisoners in Abu Ghraib, we trained Mujahideen to expel the Soviet invaders, once supported Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, trained + militarily supported the Contras, + now we've suspended the Geneva Convention, violated the UN Charter and every major Human Rights Organ with Guantanamo Bay, we have Arab prisoners in jail who haven't talked to their families or seen a trial in 6 years--bye bye Habeas Corpus, we condone torture in our interrogations, another violation of the Geneva Convention, we get angry at the EU for imposing tariffs on American exports but then we subsidize the steel, airline and agriculture industries, we wire-tap foreigners, really, we do a lot of shit that pisses off the rest of the world. But sensitive white people don't want to hear it. Well, too fucking bad. Just because 9/11 was morally indefensible/repugnant (as all terrorist attacks are) doesn't mean that American foreign policy didn't plant the seeds of that tragic attack. There is a fucking relationship there: violence begets violence, war begets war. Americans didn't deserve 9/11, nor did Iraqi civilians deserve the Iraq Invasion, but all of this is interconnected, an endless cycle of violence + aggression. Don't like that cycle? I don't either. So, stop supporting war + stop training death squads. That's a start. . .

2. There is absolutely nothing in Barack Obama's speeches, writings, arguments, positions, or lectures that is either racist at all. Not only that, be he refuses to use race as an explanation, maybe even when he should. He rejected that Mexican-American workers were stealing jobs from Blacks, he argued that Black families needed to have less kids and help each other instead of blaming white people for their misfortunes. Not only is Barack Obama NOT blaming white people, he is actually arguing that blacks need to take control of their lives.

3. Rev. Wright is not a surrogate of Barack Obama's, nor an adviser. He does not work for Barack Obama, he does not speak for Obama, he does not represent politics in anyway. Rev. Wright is accountable to his parish and no one else.

4. Barack Obama strongly rejects Louis Farrakhan, as we all do.

5. People keep saying, well Barack Obama went to his church for 20 years, so he must be racist. This is absurd, Barack Obama is an independent thinker. He says things all the time that both Democrats and Republicans (dis)agree with. He has clearly has no problem thinking for himself. Besides, HRC stayed with a cheating lying husband, but I don't think we should hold that against her.

6. Barack Obama is part white, if he was racist against white people he would be disrespecting his mom, who he loved more than anyone in the world, save Michell Obama, and his kids.