Out with the Good, In with the Bad

As I was peering through the daily dose of editorials off of boingboing, an editorial from Clay Shirky caught my eye.

"A Rant About Women."

Hmm. Intriguing. It pertains to me. And I love rants. So I decide to read it.

Even more intriguing. The topic itself--why women aren't as successful in the work force--is a topic that has been beaten to death to no avail. I myself have thought a lot about it, but I can't seem to come to any good conclusions.

Shirky's perspective goes as follows (excerpts):
I’m not concerned that women don’t engage in enough building of self-confidence or self-esteem. I’m worried about something much simpler: not enough women have what it takes to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks.

It’s not that women will be better off being con artists; a lot of con artists aren’t better off being con artists either. It’s just that until women have role models who are willing to risk incarceration to get ahead, they’ll miss out on channelling smaller amounts of self-promoting con artistry to get what they want, and if they can’t do that, they’ll get less of what they want than they want.

It’s tempting to imagine that women could be forceful and self-confident without being arrogant or jerky, but that’s a false hope, because it’s other people who get to decide when they think you’re a jerk, and trying to stay under that threshold means giving those people veto power over your actions. To put yourself forward as someone good enough to do interesting things is, by definition, to expose yourself to all kinds of negative judgments, and as far as I can tell, the fact that other people get to decide what they think of your behavior leaves only two strategies for not suffering from those judgments: not doing anything, or not caring about the reaction.
Essentially, I need to be a self-invested asshole to get ahead in today's society. To be noticed, I must inflate myself. I need role models that are willing to spend time in jail and don't give two shits about being a liar or thief or lawbreakers.

Frankly, I kind of like this idea. Too bad the only female con artist I know who is currently in jail only goes after feeble Williamsburg residents. It's funny to look at the comments to the blogpost. Of course it's a touchy subject--to be more successful, women must yet again adopt characteristics generally associated with men. But if it works, I'm all in.

Warning: Do not be offended if I become an arrogant self-aggrandizing jerk. Know that I'm probably happier. You should congratulate me if I succeed.


New Order

It's been a while since I've sat down and seriously blogged. I failed in Berlin, I failed over Winter Break, but I'm determined to get back on track with blogging (and journaling, for that matter) this new semester. So here's a retrospective and prospective post.

For the past several months, it's been really hard to get a good footing on anything.

In August I went abroad and had to acclimate to a new city and culture. Mein Liebe Berlin. I fell in love with the sprawling landscape, the makeshift assemblage of shops, clubs, and gatherings, and the undeniable air of rough cool that everything possessed. The history of the city was an unspoken truth, creating a place filled with such energy and excitement. As I watched this city in transition before my eyes, I couldn't help but feel a part of it all. To learn everyone's stories. To understand the ruin. To experience the rebuilding. I met some great people, did some pretty wild things, and all of it felt so natural after a certain point. But the relationship was nipped at the bud before it could fully blossom. Right when I was starting to really feel like I could manage the language and begin to feel at home. I'm thankful for study abroad and the opportunity to travel without worries and enjoy without true consequence. Though there may be regrets here and there (R.I.P. Blackberry), it was all a part of a collective experience I would not take back. All the time in a foreign place, outside of my comfort zone, gave me a chance to internalize my dispositions and my character. I grew a lot while abroad, perhaps more so than expected. In the end, I would say I did a pretty damn great job getting the most out of Berlin while managing to get some more understanding about myself.

Then after Berlin, I was back home, and that felt familiar and odd all at once. Mostly familiar, but still odd. I wanted to speak German all the time and be a snob. I wanted the freedom to hop on a subway without the worries of traffic or being carless. But the friends back home are irreplaceable. I forgot how much I missed Southern California and how truly different the people are. I'm not just saying this to sound snobby, but I am. Being home was great, and enjoying the company of friends and family was fantastic. Hopefully I stored up enough sunlight like a solar panel to last me until spring.

And right when home was starting to feel right again, I'm whisked away to Duke. Oh Duke. I've realized that I don't miss you that much. Or rather, I don't miss your essence. I miss a handful of people, but the rest I could do without. I know I'm not going into this semester with the right mindset right now, and I'm hoping it's only because I have been on campus for a total of three days. Three overwhelming days, with lots of familiar faces. But I certainly feel the gap in linear existence when being here. I keep thinking it's the start of everyone's semesters. I want a free planner and I don't want to walk into rooms that are way more decorated than mine. I need to get a grip on my classes and create a routine. I've never really liked routine, but I feel like routine will be very important to me this semester.

There's a lot of changes going on in my head right now, and I think I'll have my hands full soon enough. But not full enough to blog. I look back to freshman year, when blog posts were somewhat pathetically naive and resembled immature rants, but at least I wasn't feeling quite as jaded.

Here's to hoping I don't fuck up this year too badly. To starting 2010 the right way. To letting things go, and moving on.


My Top 9 Songs of 2009

I thought that since I didn't make it onto recess' yearly wrap up this time around, I would just post them here. I know, it seems so casually pretentious, but I just wanted to share what I've loved in 2009. It's in no particular order, but I do see some common themes: nostalgia, love , androgyny, electron0-dance (fist pump!)... enjoy!

Girls "Lust for Life"

Girls--one of the best discoveries of 2009. Love this song to death, love that it's gender bending, whimsical, etlc. It's Californian, it's Retro, it's Angsty, it's Sweet, it's Sassy, it's a Sing-My-Heart-Out-Athem.

Grizzly Bear "Deep Blue Sea"
I really think GB's best song of the year wasn't off of Veckatimest (I have to look up how to spell it each time), even though "Two Weeks" is wonderful. The arrangement is beautiful, and though the lyrics are a little bleak, the song just puts me in a place of calm and bliss.

Animal Collective "My Girls"
The entire album was great... this song is great... not much else to say. A classic already.

The xx "Crystalised" (those British, spelling things all funny...)
Probably my favorite new band of the year. They take minimal (and androgyny) to the next level. The guitar riff during the chorus is the best. So fresh and so clean clean.

YACHT "Psychic City"
This song is insanely fun and eccentric, and even though YACHT has been around for a while, this song feels like their big break. Basically, I want to live in a Psychic/Voodoo City now.

Passion Pit "The Reeling"
The song has such a great opening and the best sing-a-long chorus ever. Oh noooo-o-oooo-o-oooooo, Oh nooo-o-oooo-o-oooo! Saw them twice in one weekend, and it still wasn't enough.

Julian Casablanca "11th Dimension"
The beginning sequence sets up the rest of the song so well. Electrifying energy all the way through. And plus... I love Julian's voice. Melting...

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros "Home"
Another nostalgic powerhouse (whaddup Girls?!), making me yearn for things I don't even know about. I can't believe the dude from Ima Robot did a 180, and is now making music that urges me want to travel in a love mobile covered in peace signs. The song has a great beat, catchy chorus. Super cute.

Wilco "You and I"
I love Feist. I love this song. Simple and earnest. I think the album is pretty solid, but this is a nice little gem that I enjoy mellowing out to.