Saturday, January 5, 2008

Getting pwned by Senator Schumer

So I sent Senator Schumer an e-mail about making birth control more affordable. As a 19 year old girl in college, birth control is so expensive I'd almost rather settle for knowing that I'll be having an abortion. This was the response I got:

Thank you for your e-mail. Each and every piece of correspondence I receive is important because it allows me to better understand the New Yorkers I serve in the United States Senate.
As you can imagine, my office receives a great number of messages every day regarding a variety of issues – this is particularly true of e-mails. It makes me proud to know that my constituents take an active role in our government by corresponding with me, and I look forward to responding to your concerns in greater detail. In the meantime, I just wanted to let you know that your e-mail has been received, and to ask for your patience until I send you a more detailed response.
Again, thank you for writing. Please feel free to visit my website http://schumer.senate.gov to follow my work in the Senate and to learn more about the services my office can provide to you.
Warmest regards

So I sent him this e-mail:

Fuck your form e-mail. I doubt your assistant's assistant even read my letter.

He sent me back the same exact form letter.

And then people wonder why America's youth are so apathetic towards the political process!

-Jess

Someecards.com knows me better than I know myself

On my type of men:On my New Year's Resolution:
On my love affair with prescription pills:
My deep dark secret:
Go. Explore someecards.com. Learn about yourself, and then sit in your living room eating tomato soup, like me, and feel depressed because honestly, when fucking ECARDS can delve that deeply into your psyche, there must be something seriously wrong.

-Jess

Jess and Josh celebrate the right to get knocked up, and then abort the shit outta that thing

Blog for Choice Day

January 22nd is the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The people at Jess and Josh Talk (um, Jess and Josh) feel very strongly about being pro-choice, so we've decided to participate in Blog for Choice Day, as advertised by Feministing. That said, on January 22nd I'll probably devote a few entries to talking about reproductive and women's rights, and the importance of the pro-choice movement. You guys all know my opinion on sex education, so look forward to more shit like that on the 22nd. And I encourage all other pro-choice bloggers out there to participate as well. I mean, no self-respecting female twentysomething with a bright future wants to grow a parasite inside her, am I right?

-Jess

Friday, January 4, 2008

MAC ATTACK: Now it's personal

So, I got a Macbook today, and it has Mac OX Leopard, whatever that means.

Basically I'm just really excited because I get to do all those little things I couldn't do when I was using my friends' Macbooks, like change my iChat bubbles to pink and purple, and make my desktop background a picture of Sam Riley in Control, and take narcissistic Photobooth pictures. I don't know if this will make my blogging any better, but these keys are so much easier to press than PC keys!

-Jess

A premature note on the potential premature disappearance of your editors

So, faithful reader(s).

We've been back not a week and already we're disappearing again. I know, I know... we're assholes.

I'm going to visit the bf in Washington D.C. before he deserts me for London, and Josh is going to visit the bff in Chicago. Both of us may or may not be able to update from those locations, but in case we don't, I promise we'll be back in a week or so. I do most of my posts at work and during the academic semester, so it's difficult to keep up with this damn thing when I don't have time to spare squandering away NYU work study money or precious homework hours.

So have a good week, and if we don't see you: fear not. Don't drink that cyanide. We'll be back soon.

-Jess

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Persepolis: مايه هيبت يا حرمت ، پر


A few nights ago I went to see Persepolis, a French film based off of the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi. I was bound to love this movie, because I've had a deep love for Persian culture for years now, and I also speak French: naturally, I adored it.

The movie brings to life the true story of Marjane Satrapi and her experiences both before and after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Marjane's life goes from a typical happy and liberal childhood to a life overwrought with unfair rules and restrictions imposed by the Islamic government. Her parents are communist sympathizers, and Marjane, quite precocious for her age, studies communist and socialist theory early. The Satrapis were not Muslim, either, so the film demonstrates what it was like for the few non-Muslims in Iranian society to live under the growing Islamic Republic.

This film is important for many reasons. First of all, we all know that the US and Iran have hardly cordial relations right now. Persepolis does a great job of explaining the complicated nature of the Islamic Revolution: it was not just a bunch of radical Islamicists who overthrew the government and spontaneously revoked women's rights. The people who fought to overthrow the Shah saw him as an imperialist, and the elections for the Islamic Republic were rigged: the film says that 99.9% of the Iranian population voted for the Islamic Republic. At this time, Khomeini and his fellow clerics had such a powerful hold of the country (How do you control a country when a good chunk of the population is illiterate and impoverished? Religion, of course.) that they could afford to rig the elections. Few who helped to topple the Shah understood what they were getting themselves into. The restrictions placed upon them in the years following the revolution were a surprise to them, as well. Most people did not want a theocracy; they wanted a democratic republic that respected Islam, but did not necessarily incorporated Sharia. Persepolis successfully underlines these subtle anxieties, demonstrating the complications of a political revolution on both the personal and public levels. For Americans, knowing this history might help us to understand Iranians more: so few of them agree with the fundamentalist government that controls the anti-American rhetoric spewed from the mouth of President Ahmadinejad. He is but a puppet for the Supreme Leader, the religious elite, who control elections and judiciary branches. Persepolis is an important film because it can help make Iranians human again in the eyes of the US population.

But this film is not all political. It is also a coming of age story: Marjane does drugs and loses her virginity and leaves her family to study abroad. The political and personal are intertwined so perfectly that there is nothing left to be desired in either realm. These themes, set against the backdrop of intelligent and interesting artwork, makes Persepolis one of the most important films I've seen in a long time.

So why is Iran so important to me, you might ask? Besides my miniscule Farsi vocabulary, and the fact that my two best friends are Persian, and my basic inherent interest in Middle Eastern culture, and my educational training in both Middle Eastern and Iranian history, I'm actually currently applying for a visa to visit Tehran while I'm abroad in Paris next fall. I have to go through the Pakistani embassy, because ever since the early 80's, Iran hasn't had an embassy in the US. The document starts out "In the Name of the Almighty," as all documents under the Islamic Republic must. I have to write a letter stating my purpose for traveling to Iran. I have to disclose the names of people I will be staying with, how much money I will be taking with me, my father's name, and if I will be engaged in journalistic/scientific affairs or meetings with foreign nationals during my stay. I have to include a picture of myself, and I must be wearing hijab, or Islamic head covering, in this picture.

All of this is so foreign, and yet expresses the blatant paranoia of the Iranian government. I just want to see the Alborz mountains with my own eyes. I want to attend a mehmooni and shop in the fabulous malls of Northern Iran. None of this has to do with journalistic inquiry or political insurgency. But the problem with both the US and Iranian governments is: EVERYTHING has to do with journalistic inquiry and political insurgency!

So here's to hoping I get accepted for my visa. I'm tempted to wear a full-on chador if it gets me extra brownie points. But it's not just the Iranian government that's scared of tourists and students entering their country: my friend's sister was denied a vacation visa by the US embassy in India simply because she is Iranian. Maybe if that ambassador had seen Persepolis, he'd be more willing to let her go visit her family in America over winter break.

-Jess

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Crazy Dancing Ladies: On Misleading Advertising

Advertisers will do anything these days to convince the gullible and desperate to buy their product or utilize their services. Appearing the form of banner ads or pop-up windows, these ads usually involve pointless games (punch the fat man to win a free iPod) or funny images (click the dancing monkey to enter to WIN!) that promise the viewer a lucrative reward for very little effort. These ads exploit the myth that the Internet can indeed find loopholes and portals into free products that cost outrageous sums of money in the "real world," and they use the same logic that those Nigerian email scams employ to try to trick a surprisingly technophobic and overly-cautious public.
All this brings me to the Optimus Prime of these shady virtual billboards: the dancing affordable-mortgage lady. I spotter her on my Comcast home page. Look at her fancy footwork:







First of all, do these advertisers really think we're that stupid? That they could blind us to their suspect offerings by showing us a mildly attractive, rather awkward, and altogether off-putting animated .gif of a dancing lady? That we'll be duped into clicking their link by her fresh moves? Her moves aren't fresh! More Fresh Prince. Jeez.
Then it asks you to choose your state, which I find odd because I thought the entire nation was in a housing crisis? Though if the good people of Vermont are holding onto some secret allowing them to avoid the inevitable housing crisis, I doubt anyone would complain if they offered to share the wealth.

Finally, what the fuck? What the fuck is this? Who are you, dancing woman, trying to tempt me with your tush push and beguile me with your boogaloo? And who are the advertisers that devised this inane scheme? And why do I have the sneaking suspicion that this advertisement will draw many people to believe its claims?

And the beat goes on,
Josh

A little note

You'll notice we spent absolutely no time compiling end of the year lists that summed up how awesome/awful 2007 was. That's because I fucking hate those lists. They ruin the solitary innocence of nostalgia. I'm so sick of people writing Top 10 Films of 2007 lists or Top 10 Worst Celebrity Moments lists. Ok, Lindsay went to rehab 89032 times. Do we need to rehash it, in numerical form? M.I.A.'s Kala will always be everyone's #1 album. Everyone in Hollywood getting knocked up will always make for a juicy countdown. But honestly, I don't care. I'm looking to the future. I'm looking forward to Jamie-Lynn's baby being born with drug-induced deformities because Mama Lynn spiked her milk with steroids that would make her want to act as a child. I'm enjoying the pre-glow of Lindsay's next coke debacle, not her previous ones. So I hope no readers were offended with our lack of end of the year lists. Now you know: we hate them.

-Jess

2008: A rounder number, a rounder you

Jess and Josh are back! And ready to celebrate 2008.

Now's the time to feel all the guilt that 2007 wouldn't allow you to. Sure, it's a new year, but the holidays are over and it's back to realizing a few depressing things that will keep that blade poised mercilessly above your wrists:

1) You have gained 2-10 pounds because you've subsisted mainly on the food your parents keep in the kitchen. This includes, but is not limited to:
a) Delicious gourmet cookies your meager budget cannot afford.
b) Cheeses. Lots of holiday cheeses.
c) Latenight hot chocolate.
d) Christmas feast leftovers-- lasagna, mashed potatoes, those amazing Pillsbury crescent rolls slathered in butter, brownies cut into the shape of snowmen/Santa.

2) You have spent way too much money buying gifts for other people. Or, in my case, buying gifts for yourself in order to make up for all the gifts you didn't buy other people.

3) You probably treated your family like crap over the holidays. Your Grandmother bothered you one-too-many times about the state of your hair. Your father caught you smoking a joint with your cousin outside of your step-grandparents' house on Christmas. (Or was this only me?) Your mother berated you about "spending time" when all you want to do was spend time in your room, alone, moaping and listening to the only music sitting around your childhood bedroom: Say it with me now.... COLDPLAY. So now you must spend the rest of the year making up with your family: Cheerful phone calls. Thank you notes. Quick e-mails that "show you care." All this until the next holiday, when the cycle will start all over again.

4) New Year's Resolutions: No one ever keeps them. Stop promising yourself you'll quit coke or stop seeing your toxic boyfriend or be nicer to your dying Grandmother. Ain't gon' happen.

Happy 2008. Here's to being just as cynical as in 2007.

-Jess