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Archive for the ‘celebrity stew’ Category

Have you ever tried to google your name? Ok, most people have… and I admit it, I just did. Amazingly, even with all the time that I spend on the internet, my real actual self showed up 3 times on the first page! And then I am not to be seen for another 5 pages.

Have you every tried IMAGE SEARCHING your name on google? Cause (since we are all past shame at this point), I have. The first six pages are pictures of adorable but never the less young infants, and then on page seven something shows up. A picture that was posted not of me, oh no, but of two authors that I wrote a review for a year ago for BOMB Magazine’s blog.

And the I’m feeling lucky button? Takes me to an adorable children’s book (of which I have like 5 copies).

Conclusion: Yes, I spend too much time on the internet.

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i never would have thought:

(extra points for spotting the longhorns hat)

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Walter Cronkite told the Texas Monthly the “way it was,” in 2006, including his time at the University of Texas, and longevity of the nightly news.

Also, author (Angela’s Ashes) Frank McCourt died yesterday.

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I grew up idealizing journalists. I thought it was a sexy profession — going to war zones, asking the polemic questions that no one else wanted to ask, keeping the “public” updated about what they needed to know — I thought that it was a selfless act of service to the community.

I don’t know where I gathered this idea; I think that there is a smiliar nostalgia for journalism hovering in our collective American subconscious.

Walter Cronkite delivers the news

Walter Cronkite delivers the news

I know that mine was formed from movies like His Girl Friday, and It Happened One Night, where the newspapermen (and sometimes women) were smart, and always knew how to sweet talk their way into a story.

And then there was the other aspect, like Al Pacino in The Insider — the act of public service, the fourth branch of government, the team of reporters who were dedicated to the public, and weren’t afraid to “uncover the truth.”

Walter Cronkite was perfectly positioned in the mid 20th century to represent both.

He was a TV journalist in the days when TV journalism was exploding, making the news more accessible. He grew with the relevance of TV. He brought Vietnam, the moon, presidential elections, and watergate into our parents and grandparents homes.

From his earliest days,” Mr. Halberstam wrote, “he was one of the hungriest reporters around, wildly competitive, no one was going to beat Walter Cronkite on a story, and as he grew older and more successful, the marvel of it was that he never changed, the wild fires still burned. (author David Halberstam, quoted NYT.)

So I feel like it is timely that Cronkite has left the scene just as TV journalism has made itself irrelevent, infiltrated by the entire Fox News Network, and the absurd 15 second sound bites from CNN, NBC, and other megacorporations, which applies itself to almost all of the major print media outlets too. Walter Cronkite brought us the news as the news should be — it wasn’t always pleasant, but it was always something that was needed to know. He didn’t dictate what a person ought to think, but he gathered his own conclusions from his experience and what he uncovered. He was the first news anchor. He certainly wasn’t perfect, but for me, he will always be a man who delivered the news.

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So I realize that this is perhaps a bit… shall we say, behind the times? However, I’ve been out of touch in the past few weeks, what with leaving the city, being on the road, and such, so I feel that I ought to put my two cents in, about now.

current supreme court

current supreme court

The most shocking thing that I’ve read so far is that according to The Nation, Wendy Long — counsel to the conservative group The Judicial Confirmation Network — criticized Judge Sotomayor, saying

She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.

Since when does one’s sex, race, and ethnicity not affect the decisions “one renders from the bench?” Clearly, social and ethnographic factors should not be the only reasons for nominating an individual to such a powerful position. But we are fools if we do not consider that the other justices — eight of nine being Caucasian, and eight of nine being male — do not speak from their own sex, race, ethnicity, and social class.

(not to mention that she has not proven herself to be overwhelmingly progressive.)

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Last week I discovered the wonders of the movie Downtown 81, a semi-autobiographical film about the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, who’s just living the life in “post-punk” downtown New York. The tale made me nostalgic for the “good old days” of new york that i wasn’t even a part of — though through no fault of my own. (i –rationally — blame my parents for not being extremely young parents and birthing me at the precise right time in history for me to come to new york and chill with all those cool folks.)

here’s the trailer for the movie, which was produced and finished about 20 years after it was filmed. because the audio for Basquiat’s dialogue was lost, Saul Williams (yes, the awesome spoken word poet) did the voice overs of his voice. the shots of the Lower East Side are awesome. not to mention how awesome it is to see the Basquiat himself; he’s always been a sort of enigma for me.

but since i had seen this movie, he’d been on my mind a bit, remembering when i had first seen his work in person at the brooklyn museum, among other things…

so it was eerily timely that the other day, while walking downtown (to a very different downtown than that of the 80s, through the commercial soho of today), to see for myself the much anticipated new Topshop (which is so massive and overwhelming that it deserves its own post), and on the way down Broadway I stopped in Uniqlo, and saw Basquiat’s images all around me. Everywhere! I’m not sure if I ought to have been excited, but I have to be honest. I was a little horrified. Seriously? Basquiat? A champion of counter-culture, he’s always somehow represented an ability to go against the grain of the neatly rows of mass-produced and folded tee-shirts, all perfectly divided to small-medium-large. His work is now being mass-produced for Uniqlo?

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Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a dumpster-diving freegan with a plot of land to grow all my own vegetables. I have, in fact, bough clothing from this same establishment. But it bothers me, has me thinking about Basquiat, and then thinking about the walls of tee-shirts, made in who-knows-where and in who-knows-what kind of conditions. I can’t help but think that Basquiat wouldn’t have chosen to be a part of this. But is it really right to let it bother me so much? It is recognizing the work of a very talented artist. As the Uniqlo website says, in describing their UT project:

UNIQLO is continuing it’s ongoing contribution towards a credible youth culture with the return of the UT project; a collection of over 700 unique t-shirt designs by artists and designers from all genres and aesthetics.

Hold up. What is a “credible youth culture?” Does the fact that Uniqlo is producing this youth culture make it credible? Does the commercialization of the art lend credibility to the art itself? How does this make sense?

fasb080229

I’m all for making art available for all people, even making it useable in every-day life. I have seen some very talented artists create clothing, and prints for tee-shirts, and Basquiat definitely does belongs among the everyday, not just in the “high art” arenas. But there is nothing “unique” about these tee-shirts, though I suppose in the spectrum of offensive tee-shirts (think any offensive spring break tee shirt, or pretty much any shirt that you can buy on st. mark’s place) it doesn’t even rank. it is a nice looking shirt, i’ll admit it. but i mean like, just think about it. you’re trying to impress a guy/girl, and he/she is like “nice shirt,” and you’re like “yeah, i bought it at uniqlo.” wouldn’t it be that much cooler to say, “yeah, i made it myself on this press that i keep this art space in bushwick that i rent with a couple of other young/hip/incredibly attractive artistic types. no big deal.” i’m just saying.

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ah! how exciting! i finally saw the mega-amazing poet and fiction author Sherman Alexie (!). He’s one of my favorite writers. maybe ever. He’s written all sorts of things, (all amazing), not to mention he’s super impressive because he was first published at a RIDICULOUSLY young age of 23. (intimidating and inspiring at the same time). Lauren and I saw him at the Poetry Project with poet Jayne Cortez (who i’d never heard of or read before).

While I am clearly ecstatic, not only because i was able to bask in the man’s presence, or because he was near enough to me for me to have a (very) brief converstation, BUT he also signed his new book of poetry, Face (published by Brooklyn’s own, Hanging Loose Press). The only problem is, it’s completely, and utterly illegible. I was too awed, starstruck, and just plain shy in his presence to look it over as he wrote it. Later, sitting just feet away, I remembered that he had inscribed something in my very own book:

(image to be posted)

I’ve only gotten as far as To: Emma. Seattle Wow!!! and after is a series of curly, handwritten words that may involve the word port, or as my father suggested, could be in French and involve the word puer… which makes even less sense.

Alas, I may never know. But hey, i’ll take it. it says my name. and we totally made eye-contact. plus, i still have this amazing new book of poetry to read. i’ll probably live.

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