Saturday, January 17, 2009

Steinhardt Event

NYU's Steinhardt School asked me and Josh to participate in a panel entitled "New Media and NYU," along with some people from NYU Local and WSN. Flattery! Josh and I plan on getting really wasted and making rape jokes. Heh heh kidding. But really it's an informal discussion about blogging and the internetz. So if you're interested in any of that stuff, or want to see how embarrassingly awful I am at public speaking (and by "public speaking" I mean "turning bright red and answering in monosyllables because I'm a blogger and not a TV personality for a reason") you should come. It's Tuesday January 27 from 12:30pm-1:45pm, though I don't know where yet.

-Jess

Josh says: Yeah, expect a lot of bangs-adjusting and water-sipping from me. I have no idea what I'm going to tell these bright, scholarly people. Oh yeah, I got high and posted a video of Louis C.K. That got a lot of responses. If you know us (and are free), please come; familiar faces are always welcome.

Cold

You check the weather on your friend's laptop before heading home. Nine degrees, it says, and you wonder what that feels like. After a certain point, isn't it all the same? Nine degrees is the same as twenty degrees, you think, which in turn is the same as thirty degrees. (You are naïve and foolish.) Nine degrees is a comical number that matters only to scientists and lumberjacks in Alaska! you chuckle to yourself as you turn onto First Avenue.

You travel all of three blocks before realizing you are wrong--very, very wrong. Nine degrees is freezing. Nine degrees is way below freezing. Nine degrees is so cold that your fingers are turning purple. Nine degrees locks your jaw and makes the leg hair between your jeans and your socks stand on end. Nine degrees gives you brain freeze.

You reach your apartment, convinced that your toes will never bend again. You dig around your bag for your keys: a difficult task, given your numbing lack of dexterity. You dig and you dig and you dig five more times before you come to your second realization of the evening: you don't have your keys. You panic. You stop panicking; someone must be home.

You buzz once. Nothing. You buzz again. Nothing; a gust of air blows under your coat and you feel your blood congealing. You buzz for a third time and bang on the door. Nobody's home. You had thought, at one point, that you would soon be in bed, reading on the Internet about things that are nine degrees. But now it's past midnight, your body is the temperature of the ice on the sidewalk, and you are stuck outside your apartment without a way in.

You are never so grateful to be home as you are an hour later, when your roommate finally gets back and your fingers start to burn in reverse from thawing so suddenly.

-Josh

Friday, January 16, 2009

TWITTER CELEB

I will never get a Twitter -- ever -- but I am pleased to grace LolSam's.
Also, this perfectly sums up last night:

-Jess

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Natalie Dylan's Virginity is Like Toast with the Crust Cut Off

Remember Natalie Dylan, the 22-year-old girl from San Diego who is selling her virginity to the highest bidder at an auction regulated by hilariously-named brothel The Moonlite Bunny Ranch? Well Fox News just caught wind of the story and wrote a whole thing about it, and the author of the piece can't even keep his indignation contained for a few measly paragraphs.

The lede is righteous enough: "A 22-year-old woman is selling her virginity online — offering her body to bidders nationwide in an auction that reportedly has netted a $3.7 million offer — and the law isn't doing a thing to stop her." Like, is Joseph Abrams trying to sound like a harried neighborhood gosisp? Because that's what he sounds like: a harried neighborhood gossip. Who voted for John McCain.

Abrams goes on: "The FBI isn't interested. The U.S. attorney doesn't care. Everything is fine by local police, and she isn't breaking any laws." I don't think he got local enough. How does the postman feel about it? What about the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker? I know, before we actually get any information from the brothel hosting the auction, let's get a few choice quotes from a conservative blowhard! Okay.

"Nevada has been out of step with the rest of the country for many years with regards to prostitution, and that's why I think it's important for federal prosecutors to look into this, so that Nevada does not dictate the morals and moral decency for the rest of the nation," says Matthew Staver, director of the Liberty Center for Pretentious Umbrage. No, Matthew, Nevada should not dictate our country's morals. You should. Stupid Nevada and its prostitution and its gambling and its...um...Siegfried and Roy.

And just how much is Dylan selling her virginity for, anyway? Try $3.7 million. Joseph Abrams knows that's a lot of money; he calls it "a price far above rubies." Emeralds? Don't push it. But definitely way more than rubies.

Abrams then calls the Web site "needlessly repetitive"--generally not a good idea to insult the source from which you're trying to get information, pal--and finally quotes some lawyer who says that the online auction "is as legal as toast with the crust cut off where she is." Virginity is more precious than rubies but also comparable to breakfast food.

Thank you Fox News for another fair and balanced report.

-Josh

So High You're Above the Influence



Someone really needs to parody the didactic, uninformed and absurd Above the Influence commercials like the one above in order to say what really happens when you're high.

"I ordered eight slices of pizza and ate eight slices of pizza."
"I laughed and had an overall lovely time with my friends."
"I found humor in everyday occurrences."
"I watched cars go down 1st Avenue while listening to Beethoven for an hour straight."*

*Happened last night

-Jess

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Taylor Momsen for Nike

Josh showed this to me last night and I think it is fucking awesome.



-Jess

Why I Care

Episodes like this--too common, if not in execution then intent--remind me why getting a good education is important. One of the girls says, "The people who did this to me don’t want women to be educated. They want us to be stupid things.” I bitch when I have to go to class in the rain; people like her put me in my place.

-Josh

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fight the (White, Straight, Married) Man!

Did you know that one out of every three gay American teens attempts suicide? That's...I don't even know of an adjective to adequately describe that statistic. It's not just a statistic, it's a tragedy and an outrage, and I'm glad someone has stepped up to bat for a unified civil rights movement.

After Prop 8, there was a lot of crossfire between gays and blacks. Many in the LGBT movement were angry that black voters had largely chosen to vote for a gay marriage ban, citing the hypocrisy in demanding civil liberty for some but not all American minorities. Many black voters, on the other hand, claimed that the struggles of the gay rights and black rights movements were distinct, and supporting one should not necessarily entail supporting the other.

Ms. Ruby-Sachs is right. In fact, I'm going to use a block quote! That's how right she is.

For those members of the LGBT community who think the Black civil rights movement is over, it is your obligation to work harder to resolve the deep racial inequality in this country. For those members of the Black community who are not assisting with the fight for equal rights for same-sex couples, you are not betraying your race, you are betraying your commitment to equality -- the same kind of commitment you ask for in others -- that requires legal parity for all Americans.



I hate hearing shit like, "Well we can't undo slavery or the way we treated blacks in the early twentieth century, and now they have a president!" White people are always the ones who say this; you never hear a black person going, "Well, that slavery shit happened a while ago, let's just move on." Because, well, we obviously have to move on, but the fact is that blacks aren't equal to whites in this country, and that's largely due to the Western pyschology that there is Us (white males) and then the Other, a thought process that has existed for centuries but was not articulated until European settlers needed an excuse to colonize Asia and Africa. But Others don't have to live a half-world away; in America, black people are Others, women are Others, and gays are Others, and the reason why we are one of the most conservative nations in the West, why it took eight years of a completely failed presidency and a meltdown of our economig system to send a Democrat to the White House, why gay rights and black rights and women's rights are still being debated at all, is because when we Americans took it upon ourselves to be policemen of the world, we also developed a hypersensitivity to human difference. This has its upside; America was, once upon a time, seen as something as a global savior, and our past humanitarian efforts (in addition to, like, bailing out every Western European country in the World Wars) did make the world a better place. We were the ideal, the American, the perfect, and the world was filled with Others that needed help. Unfortunately, we weren't astute enough to stop there, and so we built up our ivory tower even further and cast suspicious eyes on everyone--Americans included--who didn't fit into the apple-pie-with-two-kids-and-a-dog mold that is modern Americana.

And as much as we have liberalized and progressed and had drilled into us from an early age that everyone is special and super and important, we've never fully shaken off that notion of un-American Otherness. We the people were brainwashed a long time ago to think this way, and we still feel the ramifications of that Us-versus-Them mentality. Blacks do not fit into the American mold, because they are black and not white. Gay men will never find wives, nor lesbian women husbands, so they do not fit into that mold either. Women are women and not men, and America is still a masculine country that mistrusts women and fears losing its own aplha-male power.

I'm not saying that every white married man in this country is a horrible person who needs to be forced into accepting others. What I am saying is that the battle for civil rights--and belive me, it is and will continue to be a battle--is everyone's. While we may be arguing for different specificities--for example, gay people still have yet to attain marriage or adoption rights, whereas blacks and women have these things, while the latter two groups have their own struggles to overcome--we are arguing against the same psychological obstacles to full national equality. It is domestic xenophobia, the Others at home, and until that notion of the barbaric Other--that the Other is somehow worse than the person who identified the Other as such--is destroyed, American minorities* will never achieve full equality. I will be able to get married but still get jeered on the street; Jessica will receive a salary equal to her male coworkers, but have to face their lecherous harrassment every day; blacks will still be beaten by white supremacists, and the national consciousness will ignore the act. And one in three confused, effeminate little boys in junior high will try to kill themselves because their classmates are ignorant and scared of the little Others roaming their hallways.

So consider us a corporation. We are made of different elements fighting for different rights, but at the end of the day, we are all fighting under the same umbrella, that we want--and deserve--to be just like you.

-Josh
*Yes, I'm counting women as a minority here. They may not be a numerical minority, but in terms of their status in society with regards to equal rights and treatment, there are still imbalances against their favor and they as a group must, for the purposes of this discussion, therefore be considered as a minority when compared to men.

Puttin 5 Karats in My Baby Girl's Ear

I know what I'm doing on Friday night.

-Jess

Girl Auctions Off Her Virginity, Is a Genius

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/4222155/Student-auctions-off-virginity-for-offers-of-more-than-2.5-million.html
BANCROFT MEDIA

Natalie Dylan is doing what we all should have done for our first times: she's making money for letting some horny, sweaty dude lay on top of her for 3-5 minutes. And by "money" I mean "$3.7 million!!!"

Dylan is auctioning off her virginity to the highest bidder in order to pay for college. I'm sure many will condemn her for this, but I find it fucking awesome. It's a purely capitalist move. She possesses a good that she knows is highly valued to many people, and so she's putting it on the market to see what kind of revenue will pour in. None of this sentimental bullshit about some "precious flower" that is only propelled these days by religion and nervous fathers. She's 22 years old and still a virgin, so clearly she hasn't found anyone worthy of sleeping with her: why not make some money from it?

Besides, your first time (and the second and third) sucks. It's painful and awkward and doesn't feel good at all and in fact it feels like someone is stabbing your insides. If you have to go through that, you may as well make $3.7 million off of it.

I'm sure that Dylan will catch a lot of flack for this, but maybe we should look at it the way Sweden looks at prostitution laws: she is simply selling something she has, but not forcing anyone to buy it. Perhaps those to be condemned are the creepy, old, rich businessmen, willing to shell out millions of dollars for something so antiquated in its desirability.

Though in my perfect world no one would be condemned, but ha this is America and we still are squeamish about sex, so whatever.

-Jess

Guilty Pleasures

1. Rockwell, "Somebody's Watching Me." Let's go back to the dystopian landmark year of 1984. Thriller is still the Greatest Thing Ever, but it's also two years old (and it would be another three years before Jacko released his follow-up, Bad.) Meanwhile, Motown's running out of ideas. Oh, what is label CEO Barry Gordy, Jr. to do? Nothing, actually! His son Rockwell totally signed himself to Motown and released this song. Somehow, he convinced Michael Jackson to provide backup vocals during the chorus. Somehow, this song reached number 2 on the Hot 100 charts. Somehow, Rockwell became a legitimate recording artist. See? Nepotism allowing talentless celebrities to capitalize on their parents' fame is nothing new!

Because I'm pretty sure Rockwell couldn't sing if you paid him to (and I'm sure he got paid quite a bit.) And I'm equally sure that nobody's watching Rockwell, and even if they were, what does that have to do with him being unable to wash his hair in the shower? Nothing, that's what, and if you don't wash your jheri curls, they'll get all greasy. He's also got some tax evasion problems, since the IRS is apparently watching him. But no matter, they'll get off your back. You've hit it big, Rockwell. Ironically, all eyes are on you now. What's your next move? Oh, yeah, this. Fun while it lasted. It's sad that Motown died with this.

2. Puddle of Mudd, "She Hates Me." Take a classic rock chord sequence, scribble down some lyrics about this girl who totally disrespected you, man, and try to sound as generic as possible. Oh, wait, let's add the f-word to the chorus, because this is rock and roll. Okay, now just swallow some sawdust to make your voice sound as strep-throat-y as possible. Perfect! You're ready to record. Or, um, recordd. Yeah, you like that, because you're badd.

Strangely, this song is included in the 2007 Alvin and the Chipmunks video game. I don't have much else to say about this song other than I listen to it a lot because, much like puddles of mud(d), it sticks to you and doesn't wash off easily. And I don't like baths. Neither does Rockwell. Rock and roll.

3. Green Day, "Basket Case." So, like, remember when Green Day was cool? You know, before they started making videos with U2 and being all righteous and stuff? Think back. Maybe the older brother of the girl with whom you carpooled to Hebrew school every Tuesday night--the hot one who always played basketball shirtless on his driveway so you'd pretend to tie your shoe in front of his house on your way home from a walk when you saw him practicing--tried to get you into this song and you were like, "No, it's all about Janet Jackson!" and that's when everyone kind of started suspecting you were gay. And maybe, years later, after Green Day saved the world and became the most inexplicable legends since someone decided John Mellencamp belonged in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you watched the video for this song and it brought back this weird nostalgia for your childhood Judaism and the lyrics were actually applicable to your life and it was catchy and unpretentious and only then, years later, did you get what everyone loved about Green Day, but by that point it was too late because Billie Joe Armstrong had become so Hot Topic. Sigh.

-Josh

Monday, January 12, 2009

An Open Letter to Everyone On the Internet

Dear Pundits,

Please stop comparing Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln. At this point, you are grasping at straws.

I understand they are both widely revered men who crafted relatively bipartisan cabinets as they entered the presidency during a moment of great potential national transformation. But isn't every new election one of these moments? When has a candidate not referred to his candidacy as "historic" or "coming on the brink of great change"? Remember when Gore-Bush was the Biggest Deal Ever? Yeah, so was Kerry-Bush. And they were pivotal moments, to be sure, but my point is that obviously a new president will bring about a change in leadership. Obama's campaign theme of hope and change wasn't, in retrospect, all that revolutionary or insightful; it simply capitalized what the American people already felt and desired following eight years of Bush, and repeated those sentiments until they became accepted as facts of our national consciousness. It was simple psychology and wonderful campaigning.

Lincoln entered the presidency at a time when our nation was literally splitting apart; we were on the brink of civil war, and the debate over slavery had reached its zenith. By contrast, Obama won the election because he took states that have recently been Republican strongholds--hello, Virginia--and found a way to captivate an entire nation unified in its global fatigue and economic danger. The situations that met the budding presidencies Lincoln and Obama were both difficult, to say the least, but hardly comparable. If anything, Obama is more like FDR, a Democrat taking over for a Republican whose failed policies led the nation into depression. But even FDR didn't have to grapple with a losing battle overseas. In that sense, I guess Obama is rather Nixonian. But Barack Obama isn't really like Richard Nixon at all, in any way.

You could look at almost any president (except for you, Polk, you scallywag) and point to some aspect of his candidacy that's "just like Obama." But if history has taught us anything, it is that America is a regenerative nation, with each generation facing unique and previously unfathomed challenges to its national livelihood. Obama can certainly learn from the past, as can anyone, but as platitudinous as it sounds, his focus will have to be on the future if he wants to succeed. Insisting that he is "just like" Lincoln, FDR, or anyone else--assigning him a template that does not and cannot apply--only hinders that foresight.

-Josh

P.S. Yes, Obama and Lincoln are both from Illinois. But it's hardly the same state now as it was two centuries ago. And I presume Obama's been trying to distance himself from his, um, unclean home state as of late, anyway.

The Funniest Gawker Comment Ever

Is a picture:

















And I usually hate the picture comments! They're so lazy. But eatsshootsleaves wins a thousand gold stars. (And LOLs.)

-Josh

P.S. Here's the post on which the comment was made. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jumanji


is the greatest movie of all time.

-Jess