Saturday, January 31, 2009

Shocking

Impatience is our Virtue

So true, so well written, and from WSN? My world has just been rocked.

-Jess

SO AWESOME

Exciting news! Jonathan Safran Foer, author of two of my favorite books (this and this), has agreed to do an interview with me for NYU Local. I'll post the link here when it's up, but keep an eye out on NYU Local's site; it should go up this week.

-Jess

P.S. This post came out incredibly calm considering the fact that my cup literally runneth over with only minimally-adderall-induced excitement.

Renaissance

Michelle Obama's Secret Service code name is apparently "Renaissance." How do I know this? The Telegraph told me! (It's number 49.) This is totally the sort of information you want all over the Internet.

-Josh

The Truth About Back Hair

I've been really interested in truth lately. You know, truth, the organization made up of people who run around Manhattan with crawling baby dolls and men dressed as rats, spreading the word about the nefarious tobacco industry. As a smoker myself, I've always harbored secret dreams about being in one of their ads (I'm vain), but lately I've thought a lot about what exactly they do on a day-to-day basis, how they receive funding, and what makes someone like this want to get involved.

So I was on their Web site and I came across their Hairy Mail application, and I'm confused, to say the least. What exactly does a man's unfortunate body hair have to do with cigarettes?

...Oh. I still don't quite the application's purpose, other than to generate discussion about the site as a whole. Would any specialists in guerrilla marketing care to explain this to me? I know this thing has been around a while and has indeed received media attention (including a link from the illustrious Planetbears.com), but I wonder how much of that attention even acknowledges that the application is part of a broader anti-tobacco program. From the looks of it, many people are ignorant of that fact, which leads me to wonder why Hairy Mail has stayed on the site at all.

I also wonder who the unfortunate male model is, and how the truth people got him to do this. Same thing I wonder about the casting of "the stereotypical fat girl" in teen movies and "the before model" in commercials.

-Josh

Friday, January 30, 2009

Music For the Peepz

My Pandora stations:

1. Notorious B.I.G.
2. Nas
3. Tchaikovsky (Dork)
4. Carla Bruni
5. Ludwig Von Beethoven (Dork pt. 2)
6. Andrew Bird
7. Arab Strap
8. Hurts to Purr
9. Miley Cyrus (OHHH YEAHHH)
10. Radiohead

What are your Pandora channels? Gimme good music!

-Jess

Who has $575 this recession?

Birthday present must-have-but-never-will-get:


Drool.

-Jess

Tech Dork

This is the kind of thing scientists should be putting their brainpower towards. As opposed to like, the thing in the video below, though admittedly it's the shit too.



-Jess

Wine, Acid, What's the Difference?

So my Stumble thinks I'm a crazy drug addict who has a lot of free time but little money. (Only those last two things are true, ba dum tsch!) No, Stumble, I'm not interested in dropping acid. Achieving a nice, weed-induced high is one of God's tiny miracles, but something just seems wrong about having a thirty-minute conversation with your lamp because you thought it was Bugs Bunny. I don't know, call me crazy.

That said, who the hell started the rumor that you can make LSD from cherries, wine, and baking soda? This can't be true...can it? No, there's no way...right?

-Josh

Thursday, January 29, 2009

This is So Fucking Cool



c/o my MiniFeed.

-Jess

A Sad Day

In other sad news, when I'm high I've taken to only reading the comment threads of random tech sites I stumble upon. The sexy jargon! The heartfelt "pwning!" The imaginary fights between two to three people whose relationships are impossible to surmise until around page 4! What a glorious way to spend a Thursday evening.

-Jess

P.S. I think I need a boyfriend.

Your Birth Control Will Continue to Cost an Exorbitant Amount

http://d.yimg.com/origin1.lifestyles.yahoo.com/ls/he/topic/birth/birth05.jpg

Well, President Obama lasted a week without disappointing me, and honestly, considering the shittiness of the political process, that's longer than I could have hoped for. I'm probably going to be perpetually disappointed until church and state are separated again and marijuana is legalized and universal health care is implemented and racial and gender equality occur. But, you know, perchance to dream.

Yesterday the Obama administration announced their plans to strip funding for contraceptives from the $825 billion stimulus package that will be debated on the congressional floor in the coming days. With teen birth rates up in 26 states for the first time in years, this seems like a fucking horrible idea. Not to mention I do not like the idea of Obama catering to the conservative base, especially when he's president and has a democratic majority in Congress.

For conservatives, tacking on funding for contraceptives to an economic stimulus bill probably seems sneaky. But guess what? I don't give a shit. Until my little sister is taught in school that the morning after pill is a legitimate option to consider when things go horribly awry, or that condoms are always, always necessary, or that yes you can get pregnant the first time you have sex, I will not agree with Obama's decision to defund contraceptive use. And lifting the gag order on aiding international organizations that mention the word "abortion" is not sufficient.

Mr. President, we consider ourselves to be one of the most "civilized," industrialized, advanced and forward-thinking nations on earth. So why do we have the highest STD rate in the modern world? It's because we don't provide appropriate funding for sex ed programs, we teach kids about Adam and Eve instead of Simone de Beauvoir and Margaret Sanger, we fill their heads with lies and shame and propaganda. Unfortunately it takes money to end these antiquated practices. And guess what? Funding pro-contraceptive programs will actually save you money. Babies are expensive, and the more that are born-- especially to unprepared, often times very young mothers-- the bigger the drain on the economy via welfare/childcare programs, which will assuredly cost more than the measly millions that organizations like Planned Parenthood so desperately need. And those teen moms that are popping them out in the above mentioned 26 states? It's doubtful they're getting a higher education, which would lead to higher paying jobs, which would help the American economy flourish again.

It's easy to dismiss contraceptive funding as the product of hedonistic, oversexed liberals; it's more difficult to admit that it might actually be a good thing for this country, monetarily and morally.

-Jess

You Can Still be Mayor of My Heart

Once upon a time, a gay man named Sam Adams became the gay mayor of Portland, and it was a milestone because he was gay.

Then, he admitted that he'd had a sexual relationship with his intern, who was seventeen at the start of their affair. The gay mayor was not sitting pretty with the townsfolk, who called on him to resign and said he'd broken their trust. The gay mayor was penitent, but decided to remain mayor. The New York Times wrote a nice summary of the sordid episode yesterday in its delightfully named Outposts section.

Now this whole thing recalls the arguments of Lewinskygate: should a politician be judged by his private, sexual life? And does lying about his personal life prove that a politician is unfit for the job? Those are questions I will not attempt to answer, because each argument has its merits. But Thomas Egan, who penned the Times piece, would like to remind you that this isn't a Gay issue, it's a Politics issue:

The story of Sam Adams is not about gay predators or gay anything, because Portland has seen this civic morality tale once before, with a heterosexual mayor.

Sorry, Tom. You should be right, but you're not. This is a gay issue, because when a visible leader of a minority movement does something bad, the transgression comes to represent the community that leader represented. Like, what if a Jewish politican had done something really bad--wouldn't that all but torpedo Jewish political hopes for the next generation or two? Why yes, yes it would:

Some years ago I watched Neil Goldschmidt completely dominate a room of fellow politicians. He was the Great Jewish Hope — Portland mayor at age 32, transportation secretary for President Jimmy Carter at age 39, and then governor of Oregon.

People who saw Goldschmidt in his prime wondered when this guy would make history and become the first Jewish president. He could talk a dog off a meat wagon. He was smarter than anyone in the room. The great mystery around him was why he stepped off the political ladder.

The answer came years later, when the Willamette Week revealed that Goldschmidt had sexually abused his babysitter, starting when she was 14 and he was the married mayor of Portland. Mystery solved. The newspaper, which won a deserved Pulitzer for the story, also broke the lies of Sam Adams.

For you see, Tom, America has always been a Christian nation. It is a tolerant Christian nation--not always tolerant at first, but it gets there eventually--where the norm is still the White, Christian, Straight Male. When a politician who doesn't fit into that mold tries to win an important seat, it becomes a Minority thing, which is why Barack Obama's electoral victory is such a big deal. It's also why any future female candidate for president will inevitably be compared, on a microscopic level, to Hillary Clinton. And it's the reason why the next time a gay guy runs for mayor of a major city, you can bet voters are going to remember Sam Adams, and said politigeigh will have to explain both Adams and the gay community at large.

-Josh

Real World: Brooklyn: Abuse Edition

So last night's Real World was just as tedious as the previous episodes, while at the same time marginally more exciting than anything we've seen on the show before. Thanks, parental abuse!

Yes, today's episode was brought to you by the letter Sarah and the number Crazy. You see, Sarah has tattoos and bangs but she is truly a tender soul who likes arts and crafts. Her black-and-white Myspace photos (self-taken) don't just stem from a crushingly typical lack of self-esteem; no, see, a camp counselor molested her as a child, and then her parents separated and her dad took her on a camping trip and brought only one sleeping bag, so Sarah freaked out and has spent the last ten years avoiding her father. I felt kind of sleazy getting enthralled by Sarah's personal demons, because you just know the producers gave her dad the house's phone number and then just happened to instruct Chet to argue with Sarah about the nature of parental abuse and the importance of forgiveness, so that we'd be primed for the daddy-drama.

Because here's what bothered me about that whole subplot: I...don't think it was abuse. Yes, Sarah was molested by a camp counselor. Nobody's mocking that, and if she used child psychology and art therapy to get her though her problems, then great for her. But as far as we know, her father didn't actually do anything. Is sharing a sleeping bag with your twelve-year-old daughter strange? A bit, perhaps, but maybe it was a two-person sleeping bag, or maybe he just had to conserve space, or maybe it was a harmless gesture but his daughter was still in a bad mental place, so she overreacted and has been running ever since. But I know people whose parents did abuse them, sexually and physically, and it fucking sucks that they (very understandably) have a hard time trusting older authority figures while having to eschew the relationship with their parents so necessary throughout adolescence, because Dad was fucked up and Mom didn't care. I take parental abuse very seriously. But from what we were told, Sarah's dad didn't abuse her! He didn't, unless she's not telling us something, and the Real World producers exploiting Sarah's horrific past and twisting her story into a Grand Crusade Against Abuse rubbed me the wrong way, like they needed to give someone else an issue, like they were bored of her character and needed to throw her a detour, because I doubt Sarah spoke about her father in her audition video, so I'm assuming the producers did some digging. I'm not saying Sarah doesn't have a right to feel uncomfortable around her father--that's her issue--but I am saying that Sarah shouldn't be the "face of abuse survival" on the show if the problem she's facing--her father calling her repeatedly--may not actually be abuse. (Not to mention that Sarah crying "abuse" when maybe it wasn't abuse would kind of be a slap in the face to me if I were a victim of actual parental sexual molestation.) I will be very surprised if this becomes a theme of the show; I think the producers just wanted to have a Serious Episode, to be honest. On top of all that, it's hard to take Sarah's psychological problems seriously when we keep cutting away to watch Devyn's embarrassing attempts at musical theater.

Oh yeah, that. Devyn is an actress, did you know? She is a singer and performer and someday wants to be on TV or in movies, which she's already doing now, so she wins the game. Also, she was forty minutes late for her audition because she made a wrong turn and ended up in Jersey. (Welcome to my childhood! Ha.) And she got that personal audition after sending in her photo and "resume" (and probably a phone call from a RW producer, natch), and then she was there and the casting director was like "I should be mad about you being so late but I'm on TV so whatever" and then Devyn opened up her mouth and ruined the whole thing. She doesn't exactly sound like a dying cat, but...eh. She's not that great. She performed her monologue--about a woman diagnosed with HIV, or something--with less enthusiasm than when she spoke about her BFF-O-Meter with Scott, and then she sang the Star-Spangled Banner and tried to hit a high note but just sounded like she had inhaled too quickly. She also got into a sing-off with a tranny at a bar. And lost.

The sing-off happened because Devyn wanted to prove to JD that we're all special, or something, because JD is still a belligerent drunk who likes another transgendered person more than Katelynn and decided to tell everyone about it. Chet somehow scored a second date with Scott's model friend Alex (and took her to Little Italy, of course), and then told Ryan that he and Alex aren't dating because she is a non-Mormon who wants to do wicked things like not go back home to Manhattan at one in the morning. We also learned that Chet has never touched a boob. Katelynn is frustrated because she hasn't experienced an orgasm in, like, forever, and I guess she isn't upset about her negligent boyfriend anymore. Baya is still the boring white girl, while Scott still lacks any discernible personality and may or may not be a real person. This show sucks and I hate it.

-Josh

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Found My Autobiography

I just finished reading Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media by Susan J. Douglas. I really recommend it; it does an engaging and effective job of explaining the history of feminism within a media context. I found a passage that literally made me stop, gasp, and not only highlight but also circle and mark the page down (I am a compulsive book-marker. I can't read books without writing in them). I re-typed this passage below. It resonated with me so much and actually applies to not only me, but a lot of people I know-- and not necessarily all women.

Advertisers in the 1980s, especially those targeting women, apparently had a new bible: Christopher Lasch's 1979 best-seller, The Culture of Narcissism. Lasch identified what he saw as a new trend, the emergence of people who seemed self-centered and self-satisfied but were really deeply anxious about what others thought of them. Americans were becoming increasingly self-absorbed, he wrote, but not because they were conceited. On the contrary, Americans were desperately insecure, consumed with self-doubt and self-loathing, and totally obsessed with competing with other people for approval and acclaim. The "narcissistic personality," according to Lasch, was compulsively "other-directed" and consumed by self-doubt, even self-hatred. As a result, the narcissist craved approval and fantasized about adulation. Any sense of self-esteem was fleeting, hinging on things like whether someone looked at you funny or laughed at one of your jokes. This obsessive need for admiration prompted the narcissist to become skilled at managing impressions, at assuming different roles, and at developing a magnetic personality. Narcissists were always measuring themselves against others; being envied, for example, had become infinitely more important than being admired or respected. Narcissists had a strong believe in their right to be gratified and were constantly searching for heightened emotional experiences, for instant gratification, to stave off the fear that life is unreal, artificial, meaningless. Narcissists were especially terrified of aging and death.

I feel like I just read my own biography.

-Jess

Things I Hate

These are some things I hate that have been bugging me lately:

1. People who tell you all about their day but then don't ask you about yours. It's called politeness, chief, and I'm sure the kids in your class are annoying and this is worthy of a twenty-minute verbal dissection but really? It wouldn't kill you to return the favor and let me gripe a little. This is especially annoying when someone who has complained about this in the past does it to you.

2. Selfish people. In this instance, "selfish" means "I'm visiting our friend in Pennsylvania and nobody is allowed to come with me." I'm pretty sure you're not King of the Megabus and you can't make this stipulation, but I'm equally sure you're acting like King of the Douches. Well done.

3. People who don't stand up to said selfish people, such as our Pennsylvania friend, who is seemingly willing to let her douchey friends walk all over her. Grow a spine, lady! You deserve better than a lot of the crap you put up with.

4. People whose umbrellas don't fold in on themselves in the wind. How do you do it? Where did you buy your umbrella, and why won't you tell me?

5. People who don't let you bring friends to house parties. Like, really? You've been to my parties and brought your entire fucking crew, so stop being a hypocrite. You live in a graffiti-covered apartment in Brooklyn, not Beatrice.

6. When Borders suddenly decides that it does in fact have some of your books and proceeds to send them to you, even though you just went out and paid too much for them at the bookstore. So you've effectively bought the books twice, and they're not even for a class you're extremely interested in.

7. People in your recitation who get annoyed that there's no Gertrude Stein on the syllabus and introduce themselves to the class as such. Shut up, I already hate you.

8. When you can't walk two fucking blocks without slipping on the ice.

9. When you get tongue-tied as you introduce yourself to your recitation, and now everyone thinks you're an idiot.

10. Recitation in general. If you're comfortable with the material, it shouldn't be mandatory. If I need help, I won't hesitate in getting it, but we've read one short story and one half of a novel. There's no reason to talk about it for seventy-five minutes.

And you know what? When it's freezing and sleeting outside and your brain feels like it's trying to punch its way through your skull and you haven't had enough coffee and you've just generally been kind of blah lately because, you know, it's gray and January and you're single and jobless and probably disposed toward melancholia--well, these ten things that aren't big deals on their own can approach tragic proportions, and you really just want someone to give you a mug of hot chocolate and kiss you good-night. But who has time for that?

-Josh

P.S. This is the saddest news story I've read in a long time. Oh my God. I feel like crying.

Jess says: Can I add on to this? Fuck it I'm doing it.

1. When I have to be at work before the streets are plowed/sidewalks are shoveled and so I get splattered with disgusting slush by a city bus three seconds after leaving my apartment building.

2. When I finally get home after an exhausting day and they are doing construction on the apartment upstairs, making my much-needed and deserved nap completely impossible.

3. When there is a fire in you classroom building 15 minutes before your 2pm class -- those 15 precious minutes when you skim the readings you didn't do -- and then everyone's allowed right back in at 2pm on the dot, but the professor doesn't show up until 2:30. With a cup of coffee in her hand.

4. The line at the bookstore. Seriously? Seriously. We've had a week of classes, why must it still wrap all the way into the Teen Fiction section?

5. Homework. Fuck this. I'm smoking.

Adios

One of my closest friends from home, Alyssa, is leaving for Buenos Aires tomorrow. Alyssa is one of the most fascinating people I know. When I had the ridiculously spontaneous and insane idea of planning a cross-country road trip in less than a week (a trip that was to take two weeks in itself, and was to end just a few days before I moved to Paris for four months), she was right there with me. And we drove and drove, and smoked cigarettes in midwestern Sonic parking lots, and burned mixes with everything from Aly and AJ to Iron and Wine to Destroyer on them and then okay I crashed the car but the moments leading up to that were some of the most fantastic I had ever experienced, this vast expanse of nothingness, but of everything at the same time, and this was truly living, this was being free...!

Alyssa is moving to Buenos Aires with barely any money, only a vague idea of where she's going to live and how she's going to apply for school (at Buenos Aires University, which is free of charge as long as you register in person). She speaks very elementary Spanish and doesn't know a single soul in all of Argentina.


Alyssa is my hero. She is the only person I know who could pull this off without a sweat. She took a year off from Hampshire College after freshman year because she was smart enough to know not all four years of schooling could be about face painting and tripping in the forest. She stayed home, toiled away at a horrendous job at a children's toy store, then saved up the money and flew to Thailand for a few months to teach English to children. And now it's off to Buenos Aires.


If you know anyone in the B.A. area, feel free to comment. Alyssa is absurdly independent but having a network of people down there is never a bad thing. My friend David will be studying abroad there come February, but the more the merrier!


GOOD LUCK ALYSSA.


-Jess

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

1,002



This is our 1,002nd post so we made a video celebrating such a milestone. We wanted to do something spectacular but when it came down to it, Josh was tired and just stopping over on his way to the library, and Jess had a 13 hour work/school day and then had an emotional breakdown over all the stress/personal issues, cried all her makeup off, and then we made this video. So like, enjoy I guess?

-Jess

JOSH SAYS: LOL the most related video is Usher's "Yeah."

I Love Josh's Mom (No Srsly)

(Referencing the panel)

Good luck jess and josh!
wish i could be there
you'll be awesome, i know it.
just be yourselves cause being jessandjosh is pretty darn ok!
luv
mama

Awww!!! Remember: 12:30 today at Pless Hall we'll be joining our good friends (and bosses, sort of) Cody and Lily of NYU Local to talk about how the internet has made us millennials even more awkward.

-Jess

Miley's Nipple

Yes, yes, 1000th-post video is coming, tonight I had to be in the West Village to do things, plus we have our panel tomorrow, so no, Jess and I didn't get a chance to make it. But I have to talk about this for a moment.

It's a picture of a Miley Cyrus nip slip.

1. I can't believe this is already starting with her...Robot Chicken did a funny skit tonight involving a Disney producer warning Miley how they'd end her show if she ever "got knocked up like that Zoey 101 slut." (Spoiler alert: it involved her getting decapitated.) And South Park last year alluded to Miley's public loss of innocence at the end of its Britney episode. But whoa we're actually starting to sexualize (maturize?) her, by which I mean, many people have always fantasized about her and Annie Leibovitz took those photos of her but for the most part the tabloids have stayed away from stories about Miley drinking, Miley hooking up with guys, Miley as a sexual being--a.k.a. doing the things that teenagers do--but here we go. Stay strong, and we'll see you again (ha ha get it that's the name of her biggest hit) soon!

2. I feel gross blogging about this. She's fifteen.

3. Ummm was she at like a Lord of the Rings convention?

-Josh

Monday, January 26, 2009

J School Students Are Screwed

Go read my Daily Gorilla article here. And hopefully that video Josh and I promised will be created today.

-Jess

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So Close to the Milestone

Did you know that this is our 999th post? I cannot believe we have had 999 different things to say over the past fifteen months. I am saddened that a depressingly large proportion of the 999 posts have been about The Love Guru.

Anyway, our next post is gonna be number one thousand, so Jess and I are making a fun video for the occasion. Your patience, dear reader, is greatly appreciated, and will possibly be rewarded by a nip slip from one (or both) of us. Something to look forward to!

Til then,

Josh