a culture crisis

for the depraved

Tag: mad men

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.

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On Being Busy, and the Maintenance of Sanity

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(source: For a Little Mystery)

I have been thinking lately that busy days do not merely constitute the continual performance of some action or other with little to no physical rest in between. Of course we are busy on days where we get up quite early in the morning, prepare something or other for dinner prior to heading out the door for work, and then, while at work, exhausting ourselves physically and mentally. And then of course, we leave work to pick up the kids (I have no children, but parents do this, don’t they?) and drive them to soccer practice – or something like that – and then when that’s over, we head home to finish whatever it was we prepped for dinner that morning. And then, since many of us bring work home, we do that for some time, and, well, you know the rest of the story. Voila, the busy day, par excellence.

But is it? This example of busyness must sound exceptionally familiar, resembling each of our lives in some form or other, relatable in some capacity. People know this type of “busy.” And it is certainly a type of busy. But lately, I have been thinking about different orders of busyness, different kinds, different levels…

I suppose, then, my point is that “busy” is not necessarily, nor exclusively, a physical state. Perhaps this is self-evident, but lately I have learned never to assume the self-evidence of even the most simple of claims.

(I teach a literature course to science students, and while I thoroughly respect the sciences and the value of such knowledge, other kinds of knowledge, knowledge that I understand as sheer common sense, is taken as the most revolutionary and radical kind of thinking… It’s a little sad actually. This is, of course, not the case with all science students. Don’t worry, I’m not homogenizing you all. But at least in the demographic consisting of the students in my class, very few of them understood concepts such as ideology and gender, nor issues like colonialism or even contemporary American politics. Writing and critical thought proved to be an “unfair” expectation of them, as one student shared with me, and that is just sad. A few of them threw around sexist remarks without even knowing they were sexist. “Obviously only women wear makeup, and if you wear makeup you’re either a woman or want to be one.” Well, no. “Obviously only females who can be compared to men are those that can be viewed as equals and in the same category.” Not sure exactly what that means, but once again, no. One student didn’t even know the word “patriarchy.” All to say, critical thought is required in all disciplines and I have learned not to assume that everything is self-evident. In fact, I had to break down, piece by piece, to one student the reasons why one’s enjoyment of makeup does not categorically mean that this person wants to be a woman. That, my friends, was a frustrating day. In any case, I digress…)

I am currently in the middle of my essay-writing period, and despite the fact that I have an incredible amount of work to do (I can’t even over exaggerate how much work I have) I have been ignoring it. I am currently ignoring it in order to write this entry (thank you blog for helping me procrastinate!). In fact, I’ve been filling my days with watching endless hours of Mad Men, and apparently I can’t tire of Don Draper’s attitude nor of Sally’s exceptional charm.

Seriously, look how cute they are:

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But in any case… I have been doing nothing for about 6 or 7 days now, performing no action other than eating and Netflixing (and showering too, I’m not that quite that lazy), and yet, I feel as though I am busy. Very, very busy.

There is this constant worry to get things done, and to be fair, perhaps I am busy insofar as I have very much to do and the workload is only getting heavier the more that I delay, but that isn’t really my point. It is not so much that I am busy, but rather that I feel busy, as though I were doing something, many things actually, but really I’m merely planted in front of my computer.

Lately, I have been experiencing a kind of worry – a constant worry, actually – and I think that this feeling, this generalized anxiety, perhaps, is that busyness. My mind is always working, whether I am physically performing actions or not. It is on overdrive, overworking itself, refusing to rest, running on and on with a will of its own, irrespective on how much I want to simply relax. It strikes me, then, that I continue to delay, to relax by way of doing nothing (you know, just Mad Men-ing), in order to alleviate that sense of busyness, and I don’t think that I realized that until just now. Literally, just prior to typing it out…

But I don’t know that it’s gone anywhere. Nor do I know if it’s gotten worse. I can’t quite tell right now. But I think that writing this out has been helpful, if for nothing other than allowing me a space in which to sort out what it is that I’m thinking about. But now the trick is getting work done… I think I’m just going to have to force myself to get down to it (though I’ve tried that, but this is where I’ve ended up). Though, it is not the end that matters, but rather the process that led up to that end.

This past year, I’ve been working towards achieving a certain state of mindfulness and mental awareness, and I think I’ve done well in that respect. I keep reminding myself that it is crucially important to actively maintain my health. That is to say that if I am to be healthy, I must be the one to ensure that I am so. That’s not to say that this is something I must do alone. That’s rather silly, actually, and not always possibe. Nor is it the case that, if I happen to have difficulty with it, it necessarily means that I have failed. No. But it is something that I need to take part in, or else it cannot be achieved. I have to help myself be healthy. I’ve done this before, but then again, I’ve never felt this generalized sense of anxiety before, so I am not quite sure how I am going to approach this. But the important thing is that I will approach it.

Thanks for listening.

J.