a culture crisis

for the depraved

Tag: aculturecrisis

Community Conundrum: A Question Regarding Changnesia

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Before you read any further, this post contains season 4 spoilers. There, you’ve been warned. The rest is up to you.

So, here’s a question for all you fellow Community fans out there. I’ve recently restarted watching the series despite having already seen every episode (several times!) for the simple reason that it is witty, clever, and just plain awesome.

That said, I have quite a few reservations about the fourth season. I am obviously not the first to point this out, as the internet has pretty much made it clear that if you are not Dan Harmon, don’t try to be Dan Harmon. Season 4 shows us the extent to which “posing,” as they say, can only ever steer you wrong.

But apart from the failings of wit and nuance, something about the fourth season has really been bugging me. In rewatching season 1, I came across a long-forgotten character in the current days of season 4… Ben Chang’s brother!!! Remember him? Rabbi Chang?!

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So, Rabbi Chang appears in the season 1 episode, “Basic Genealogy.” Chang also mentions him in season 3. In the episode “Basic Impressionists,” Chang tells us that his brother got him freelance work as a security guard at a kid’s Bar Mitzvah.

Okay, so now that we’ve established that Chang has a brother who exists somewhere in the world, when this whole Changnesia thing takes place, does nobody notify him? When people begin to doubt whether there ever was a Chang, does nobody contact Rabbi Chang to put an end to these shenanigans? When Kevin ever so (un)convincingly tries to establish himself within the Greendale community, and since there is already doubt about Changnesia in the likes of Jeff, why doesn’t he, or the Dean for the matter, call the other Chang to tell him that his brother’s gone bat-shit-cray?

If I have somehow missed some revealing detail somewhere along the way that explains all of this, for the love of God, tell me what it is. If there are no such details, but this whole Rabbi Chang evasion makes sense in some way, also let me know.

However, operating on the idea that there is no such missed detail, that this shit doesn’t make sense, and that the season was simply poorly put together, I have to wonder to what extent this mess has to do with the lack of Dan Harmon’s presence and the meticulous care he put into constructing a coherent and cogent (and, of course, super quirky) narrative. I don’t know how much influence he had in how the fourth season was produced (though to my knowledge, that is very little to no influence), but I just don’t see this as something he would have let slip.

On that note, though, Dan Harmon is back! NBC has asked him to return, along with Chris McKenna, as executive producers for the fifth season! Read the full article on DH’s return here.

In any case, if you have answers to this Community conundrum, kindly share. Or share your season 4 frustrations! Either way, I’m all ears.

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FAIL BETTER

Image(source: www.aritizia.com)

Just a shirt that reminds me of Beckett’s famous quote:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.

Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

 

I very much appreciate that counterintuitive claim – that is, to fail better. An inspirational message from a true modernist.

In any case, it’s good advice for a writer, especially for a writer who can’t make up her mind regarding how and what she should write. So many questions: How to write this blog? What do I even want to post on this blog (because, let’s be honest, it’s a bit of a clusterfuck)? What do I want for my novel(la)? When the hell am I going to write it/finish it? These are merely my concerns, but I can imagine that such a quote can inspire just about anyone in any field to reevaluate their work, try again, and fail better.

“One day I will…

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” – Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

How Not To Be Productive: A Guide for Supreme Distraction and Laziness

Hello internet folk. Allow me to share with you my incomparable guide to achieving and maintaining impressive quantities of laziness and new levels of sheer distraction for distraction’s sake. Whether you are a do-gooder who is always motivated and whose work is always turned in on time and you’re looking for a way out of that hell hole, or whether you are simply looking to refresh your skills in I-don’t-give-a-fuck, I’m certain you’ll find this post particularly insightful. Whatever your (lack of) motivations may be, I’m just glad to help a brother/sister out.

The Guide:

1. Think of some task you have to do. Do you have a 30 page paper due relatively soon? Do you have a project analysis to hand in? Do you have to grade your students’ more than shitty assignments? Whatever it is that you have to do, I want you to think of it, and create a mental picture of yourself performing this task. Well done. Now tell that mental image to kindly fuck off because it has no business involving itself on our journey to absolute laziness.

2. Meet your new best friends: your bed; your couch; your laptop, iPad, or technological haven of choice; pillows (trust me, you need your  pillows); and everybody’s favourite, sweatpants. As an English student, I feel as though I should suggest a book, but let’s face it, that shit’s just too much work.

3. Acquaint yourself with Savasana, the most awesome yoga pose ever. Otherwise known as Relaxation Pose or Corpse Pose (a little morbidity never hurt anyone, right?), Savasana involves lying down on your back with your limbs outstretched, and hanging out that way for 5 to 30 minutes. A word to the wise: always choose 30 minutes.

4. Take a tip from Joey and Chandler and never get out of your super awesome and comfy chair for anything. Even if Rachel tells you she’s taking her top off, use a spoon as a makeshift rearview mirror to ensure that she isn’t lying prior to exerting any effort by turning around.

5. Takeout, takeout, takeout. On the day of supreme laze (yes, it’s a word), one does not cook. One uses their technology of choice (see #2) to order food instead. I have no meme for this, so enjoy a somewhat relevant photo of a yummy bowl of spaghetti. This could be yours if you simply call and order, b.

6. Whilst laying in bed, or praciticing some Savasana yogi-style, play some Enya. Know that Enya is appropriate in any of the following situations: relaxation mode, facial and body treatments at the spa, Stellan Skarsgard pulling a torture scene in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Lord of the Rings themed party, etc.

7. Form a laziness encouragement and support group. This involves getting your friends together for collective napping and pantry-grazing.

8. On that note, embrace nap time. You always have time to nap. Just like you always have room for dessert. Or how you always have time for one more episode…

9. Speaking of episodes, start watching a new television series, preferably one that is old enough so that it has enough seasons to sustain your laze and graze mood for an extended period of time, but not so old that it’s irrelevant, because then it doesn’t matter, and if you’re going to be lazy, at the very least, make it count. My recommendations: Community, Arrested Development (it’s back on Netflix!!), Lost (utter disappointment, but addicting for an impressive amount of time), Dexter, True Blood (straight up ho-dunk camp), Game of Thrones (seriously, get on this boat), Mad Men, etc. Also, you could learn a thing or two regarding the mastery of exerting the least amount of effort possible from Jeff Winger.

10. When you eventually come to tire of your newfound TV show addiction (which will sadly happen once you realize that it’s been 4 days and you haven’t showered and that thing you smell is you), fear not, for there is still hope for you. You don’t need to ditch the TV entirely, just switch it up a little. By that I mean m0vie marathons (i.e. awesomeness). Suggestions: Marvel’s Avengers series, James Bond films, Jane Austen films (don’t hate), Harry Potter series (seriously, don’t hate), Pixar films, American Pie, etc.

11. Go to bed. Ignore alarm. Sleep in. Just remember, if there is in fact some task you need to attend to:

8 Things More People Should Be Doing

1. Use your “inside voice” whether you are in fact inside or outside. It doesn’t matter, home slice, just keep it down.

2. Whilst at Starbucks, kindly order a reasonable drink that, at the very least, the barista can get on his or her second-and-a-half try. You might, instead, consider what your venti-extra-hot-non-fat-half-sweet-light-whip-five-shot-espresso-frappuccino says about you as a person. No joke, I met a lady in line at Starbucks last week who was “a little tired” and actually ordered this drink. That’s 5 espressos… and a pleasant amount of sugar… let’s leave that there.

3. Recyle, recycle, recycle. Especially when it’s more than convenient. I get that while it might be less enticing to recycle your plastic bottle when their is no recycling bin in sight, nor relatively near by, it strikes me as just plain foolish to throw your bottle in the trash when there is a recycling bin immediately to its left (or right). Really, though, it’s right there.

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4. Read the news. Not CNN, though, because let’s be honest, that doesn’t count.

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5. Be critical! Not judgmental. Those words don’t mean the same thing. What I mean is: use your brain power. Analyze things. Don’t intake a bunch of bullshit passively because you have no will to think. Instead, do yourself, your community, and the world a favour and use your brain. It is in there for a reason. Think through things that are hard to think about (politics, religion, theory, news, beauty, music, philosophy, literature, etc.) and come to your own conclusions. I can only hope those conclusions won’t be bat-shit-cray.

6. If you aren’t already, start watching Mad Men. Firstly, it’s a brilliant series that is exceptionally well-written (thank you Matthew Weiner & co) and brilliantly acted. Secondly, as a quick Wikipedia search will show you, it has won 15 Emmys and 4 Golden Globes. That means that someone obviously agrees with my first postulation. Thirdly, the show’s aesthetics are spot-on, and the colours are very captivating (I’m particular about colour, as it turns out).

7. Read. Novels. Poetry. Philosophy. Novels again! Don’t let literature die! I’ll post a solid to-read list soon if you need ideas. But seriously, in the words of Nike, “Just Do It.” Though, don’t be like Hipster Ariel because, let’s face it, she’s annoying and a bit of an asshole.

8. Like my blog if you’re feeling generous. Shameless plug, I know. Don’t judge me.

Commodity Fetishism (Or Things I am Obsessed With)

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A look into my life through my current obsessions.

1. Oliver Goldsmith Manhattan Frame (as worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and newly relaunched)

2. The Great Gatsby soundtrack

3. Sperry Topsider Angelfish (Gold)

4. OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To-Go

5. Butter London Melt-Away Cuticle Eliminator

6. Diptyque Figuier Candle

7. Caudalie Beauty Elixir

8. Talula Van Nuys Jacket

9. Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato

A Consideration on Hyper-Irritability

When the sound of chirping birds and crashing waves might as well be nails scratching a chalkboard.

Caffeine jolts that race the heart and make the heart race, and anxiety is born and borne.

The bass speakers at the local coffee shop where you (try to) study are in fact speakers at a death metal concert (didn’t you know?).

Your computer LED light reflects that particular bright white of insane asylums.

Even sunlight is too much. It’s too strong, too forceful, and you can either run or faint.

The sound of your voice becomes increasingly like that of Janice from Friends. You need to shut up now.

As Thoughts Come, Let Them Go

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(Source: http://www.libcom.org)

On this blog, I have a page for “Words.” As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have dedicated this page to those words that I have encountered in my life and that, in some way or another, have impacted the way I understand, approach, or treat my life. These words may be from literature, from film, from the mouths of the rich and famous; or they may be words that have been said to me personally, words that I have said to others, good or bad, positive or negative. What they have in common is that they have been productive in some way. They have come to inform my mind, shape it, or be taken into it.

I have recently taken up yoga, and in several practices I have attended, this statement is often repeated: “as thoughts come, let them go.”

I am a big fan of personal interpretation, of allowing one to form her own decisions about how she understands words, concepts, thoughts, etc. So while I highly encourage you to think about what this statement may mean on your own, what it may mean for you and for others, I would also like to briefly share its impact on my life.

It seems that such a simple statement would equally have a simple impact, and perhaps that is the case. The impact is a simple one. But it is by no means small. For the past five or so years, I have dealt with a strong case of OCD, Purely Obsessional OCD, and several phobias. In the last year, I have worked with a psychologist and learned how to deal with these parts of me, these elements of my life that comprise and inform a lot of what and how I am. I recognized all the positive things that these challenges brought to my life (more on this later), but that they brought me a certain productivity made them no less difficult to deal with.

In the last year, I have worked very hard on acceptance. Acceptance: simple, but by no means small, nor easy to achieve. A big part of acceptance is coming to terms with the fact that you are of a certain disposition at the moment, and while that might be unpleasant for the time being, you actively acknowledge that yes, it is the case that this situation currently sucks, but I accept this suckiness and will see it through. It is a very difficult, very mentally taxing thing to accomplish. That said, once you learn this acceptance, once you allow yourself to give into such a radical relinquishment of control (or attempts at control, I should say), life gets betters. Obsessive thoughts get easier to deal with. They leave quicker. Not because this is some failsafe, or a trick you can use each time such a thought invades your mind. It’s not quite that easy. It is a practiced behaviour and involves something of a rollercoaster of successes and failures before you internalize it. But simply by virtue of practicing this acceptance, those obsessive thoughts show up and dissipate of their own volition. It’s rather lovely, actually.

How does one maintain this state, though, where your thoughts just leave on their own? I used to think my biggest problem was that my brain was always on overdrive and clung on to every thought that showed up in my mind. Perhaps I am still like this. But as thoughts come, you let them go. It’s not even an active behaviour, because I think to actively do something about it forces the thought to stay, or forces you to focus on other things to distract yourself from the thought, but let’s face it, it doesn’t go anywhere that way. But eventually, through acceptance, those thoughts come and go, and you let them. You don’t stop to worry about them, to obsess over them. They come and they go.

Let them.

Written from a Starbucks near you.

Lots of love,

J.

Red Revenge

Image(source: http://www.rubylane.com)

He flicked him on his nose,

Stepped on his toes.

He pulled down on his tie,

Blew dry his eyes.

He kicked him in the rear,

Boxed both his ears.

He whacked him on his head,

And sent him to bed.

Goodnight, Harlequin.