A Torrential Downpour of Bullshit

Musings/Rants

I haven’t written in a long time and I’m very rusty. The heat here in New York is killing my brain cells. Then this morning Zeus got horny as shit and decided to give the clouds a good, hard pounding and like the obedient little maiden she is, the clouds parted her slender, fluffy legs and with several loud ecstatic moans, let out an explosion of angry fluids that has lasted for four hours now.

I am currently drenched in that fluid. I’m a slimy, sticky, sweaty slug. My shirt is clinging to my bra and my hair smells like pissed-on seaweed in the bottom of a highly polluted portion of the South China Sea. It’s appalling, but I couldn’t care less. I love rain in all its charming and unappealing moods. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. My soul needed cleansing. I’ve realized that I’m a horrible person who does questionable things and has the audacity to feel guilty about it but not the will to change anything. Walking through rain does not by any means remake my character or alleviate my rarely-existent guilt. It simply warms me up to it.

The one quality a writer needs to have is empathy. Every good writer has it. Every person has it to a certain degree. You can be a hypocrite, like myself, but you have to be able to react emotionally to people’s actions. Maybe you’re an alcoholic who abhors other alcoholics. Maybe you’re a slut who slut-shames. Maybe you hate cliches but has the full collection of Nick Sparks novels stacked like porno under your bed. You don’t have to be morally upright as long as you can sympathize with people’s motives and ultimately understand with their deeds.

But is it wrong to sympathize with some tragedies more than others? Is it possible to react insensitively to happenings that sadden you? Almost a year ago, I bawled my eyes out upon hearing about the Charlie Hebdo shooting. I sobbed as hard at the end of Brokeback Mountain as I did while I was reading Jennifer Gonnerman’s New Yorker piece on Kalief Browder. I even shed a few tears after Djokovic lost his 3rd French Open Final. I didn’t shed a single tear about the Charleston massacre, the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, or the now countless ISIS orchestrated casualties.

Why? Because I’m a typically insensitive, pop-culture obsessed, spoilt, heinous member of the Millenials. Because I obviously don’t give a shit about political crises and communal tragedies and flawed cultural attitudes and racial binaries that threaten to destroy the world as we know it for good. My ignorance is going to send this planet straight into Satan’s gaping, salivating jaws and aren’t I just ecstatic about it. Jimmy Kimmel was criticized for tearing up about the murder of Cecil the Lion but not about any of the things I didn’t lose a tear on. I can carry on sniffing about unimportant shit without being shat on because no one knows or gives a shit about me. Too bad that’s not the case for Jimmy.

I don’t send my mom an “I love you” text everyday even though she’s one of the two people I love most in the world. I don’t cry about every single thing that makes me incredibly, incredibly sad otherwise it’ll be niagara falls every time I think about my future or my face. I don’t decide what or who I’m attracted to. So what if sports happen to move me more than global news does? It doesn’t mean I’m not appalled by what I read, and it doesn’t mean I don’t care about it, otherwise I wouldn’t fucking read it, would I?

Thing is, and we often forget it, just because other people have it worse does not mean we don’t have it bad. Pain is relative, to that of others as well as our own. Empathy is a beautiful thing. No one should feel guilty for understanding one kind of pain but not another. You’re not slighting anybody else when you devote all your energy to one point of interest.

At least you care about another human being, and that’s not a truth that everyone has a claim on.

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First Come First Serve

Musings/Rants

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a tennis junkie who watches almost every important match played during the year. Unfortunately, I can never watch all of the important matches because I have to attend this dumb thing called school. Most of my college professors allow us to use our laptops during class, so I can simultaneously stream matches and take notes. But high school ain’t so sweet. Teachers are fucking vultures, just gawking at you and waiting to peck you alive for showing the slightest sign of disinterest in their vastly entertaining lectures. (I’m talking specifically about most of the teachers I had at my high school, a place I loathed with 97% of my heart. So please take no offense). Technology is basically taboo. Well, except for that shitty projector thingy they love so much. I’m not even allowed to check the bloody live scores on my phone. But I never gave a shit, of course. Saturday school was a small price to pay for an update on my favorite player’s journey to conquer yet another milestone. Trust me, you’ll find tons of sports fans more obsessive than I.

Shit, I’ve digressed quite drastically from the actual point of this post. I didn’t intend to go on a mini rant about my horrendous high school experience. What I really wanted to say is that my following of a tennis match has zero impact on the outcome of that match. Yet, I still can’t help but believe that if I follow the match, by either watching it or checking the scores, my favorite player (or favorite team in other sports) has a higher chance of winning. In other words, if I stare at the screen long enough the next point is more likely to go Djokovic than Nadal. If I don’t check the scores for 20 minutes, I’m sure Nadal will be up by two breaks. It’s bizarre and completely irrational, and I’m honestly kind of embarrassed for believing that.

But is it really so bizarre to want to be involved in something larger than ourselves, to foolishly overestimate our importance? I don’t think so. We want to feel important in this huge, crowded world. First hand knowledge makes us feel important. That’s why replays are never as impactful as live matches. Because millions of people already know the results. Because millions of people have already celebrated or sobbed with their friends. Because millions of people already witnessed the event before you did, which makes your experience irrelevant.

Take this line, for example: “Dude that’s old news. You’ve only just found out?”

We’ve all heard that before. We’ve all said that before. Apparently we only have a small window of time to make our knowledge of current events relevant. That window is generally 24 hours wide. When it comes to sports, it’s 2 hours wide. The relevance of our knowledge and the importance of our opinion on an event are heavily contingent on the number of people who came upon that event before we did. We can never be the last to discover anything. The least we can do is be one of the first.

This has been a very strange and disorderly post. I’m not sure if any of it made sense at all, but I just think it’s an interesting subject to discuss.

Bite-sized Brains

Musings/Rants

Do you ever wondered how often the “9” button on the microwave is pressed?

I was thinking about that because my mom left me some noodles for lunch, but I was too lazy to heat it up so I just ate some cereal instead. The microwave is at once the most-used and most-underused device in the household. We use it almost everyday for almost any type of food – drinks, packaged food, left-overs, popcorn – but at the same, we only ever use half of it. When was the last time you hit any button on the top row? You only hear about one-minute Quiche, two-minute noodlesfive-minute brownies. Let’s be real, if you have to wait seven-minutes for the damn microwave, you might as well just get the pan out and cook something.

For whatever reason, we just don’t seem to have enough time. Everything in our lives somehow revolves around speed. How can I get the most done in the least amount of time? This attitude applies to communication more than anything else. The reason why news and social media have become intertwined is that we young people just can’t be bothered to open up a new tab on The NY Times or The Washington Post and search for serious shit ourselves. But being the narcissistic gossipers we are, of course we’d be on Facebook all the time, so the only way the government or whatever can get us updated on worldly affairs is by posting bite-sized headlines on the FB Home page for us to skim through while we’re stalking other people. It’s kind of sad, isn’t it?

I’m not sure if our short-attention span is a cultural thing or a hereditary thing. All I know is that actively seeking detailed and complicated information is a long and winding process that doesn’t appeal to me. And patience isn’t my strong suit. But despite all that, I believe we still need to put in that effort to learn new things, even if they don’t interest us as much. That nine-minute microwave chocolate cake probably tastes a thousand times better than anything you can get in two-minutes. You just have to be patient enough to see it through.

What is News?

Musings/Rants, Pop Culture

A few days ago I showed my brother one of my blog posts (the one about peeing) and asked him for his opinion, just out of curiosity. After reading the whole with an stony expression, he said, “It’s not that interesting.” Not gonna lie, I was pretty offended though not that surprised, because we’re the kind of siblings who feel obligated to be assholes to each other under all circumstances. That having said, I was still curious. And pissed off.

So I went, “Well what the fuck is interesting to you?”

“Idk. Why don’t you blog about ISIS? Or Ebola? You know, something that’s controversial and important.”

Firstly, I’d just like to point out that the obnoxious necessity to urinate is a VERY important issue. But that’s hardly the point. My brother pretty much said that current events are more interesting than personal stories, and that what’s familiar is also uninspiring. It reminded me of a discussion we had in my journalism class, in which the professor asked us what we consider “news” to be. Something urgent and political? Or something that’s trivial but close to heart? Most people would say the former, and they’d be right to some extent: news should be informative and impactful above anything else.

But shouldn’t news also have soul? Yes, we should have at least a gist of the events and crises happening around us, but does news always have to be serious and factual and grand? Why can’t it expected and ordinary? I don’t blog about ISIS and Ebola not because I don’t have an opinion but because I just don’t feel as passionate about them as I do about pop culture and my own life. Does that sound narcissistic and insensitive? Yeah, probably. But it’s the truth. Of course I’m horrified and disgusted by what ISIS is doing, and of course I wish Ebola would go fuck itself and rot in hell before it spreads to every corner of the planet. But that doesn’t mean I feel connected to those issues, despite their magnitude. Actually, maybe it’s because of their magnitude that I don’t feel the connection. They’re too horrible and too powerful to really hit me emotionally.

That sounds awful, I know, but if I do write about politics and current events I would just sound pompous and phony. I’m fascinated by abstract themes like nostalgia and hope and fear; I’m passionate about creative writing and cheeseburgers and fiction books. That’s why I blog about them. I want my writing to be authentic above all else; if that means I can only write about trivial and personal matters, then so be it.