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November 19, 2015

This blog was a short-lived project.

You can find my published work over at http://www.jackiekru.com.

April Fools

April 1, 2012

Any poem with imagery of maggots eating decomposed bodies that still manages to be beautiful is a winner in my book.

Spring

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only underground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
April
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Photo Crush

March 22, 2012

Today is a Diane Arbus kind of day.

“Most people go through life dreading they’ll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They’ve already passed their test in life. They’re aristocrats.”

Has anyone ever done a Diane Arbus-inspired fashion line? A quick google search suggests no. Since McQueen isn’t around to do it, I’d like to challenge another emotionally-unbalanced/talented designer to the task. Imagine all the fur and the black eye-liner. Guaranteed Wintour fave.

Confessions of a Part-time Waitress

March 13, 2012

I almost wrote this entire This Recording post in an email to a friend who recently told me she was going to start bartending part-time. I was unreasonably excited for her. Then I realized I was writing an 800-word essay in an email so I gave it to TR instead.

me as waitress

A Little Mad at MAD

March 13, 2012

Like most people, I am exceedingly eager to know what comes after postmodernism.

And, I should probably just end the post with that sentence.

I pass The Museum of Arts & Design on the way to the gym from work. The palimpsest of a building, which was quite controversial for a time (aren’t they all?), is imposing and welcoming at once.

A friend much more intellectually curious than I wanted to see the Notes on Metamodernism exhibit that ended Sunday; I wanted an excuse to go to Argo for a teapuccino and see my friend. I was mildly intrigued by pictures like these.

A reaction to postmodernism, metamodernism is supposed to describe the return to modernist thought, art, literature, while not altogether forfeiting the lessons and aesthetic of postmodernism. It’s a waffling in between those two poles while also, one presumes, moving forward. Makes sense to me! We have to assume, of course, that the Modernist and the Postmodernist eras of our previous century represented the pinnacles, the purest extremes of those movements, which may be arguable but I’m all about definitive generalizations for the sake of internet writing. I’m picturing metamodernism as a pendulum that is having seizures in its arc.

The fun part comes when we try to ascribe metamodernist themes to certain artists, writers, politicians (?)** and philosophers who most likely didn’t have a “THINK METAMODERN” sign over their easel or desk but who cares what they think, right?

Wikipedia:

“Artists and cultural practices they consider metamodern include the architecture of BIG and Herzog & de Meuron, the cinema of Michel GondrySpike JonzeGus van Sant and Wes Anderson, musicians such as CocoRosieAntony and the JohnsonsGeorges Lentz and Devendra Banhart, the artworks of Peter DoigOlafur Eliasson, Ragnar Kjartansson, Šejla Kamerić and Paula Doepfner, and the writings of Haruki Murakami, Roberto Bolano and Jonathan Franzen.”

MAD was supposed to have a video installation that complimented the free copy of cultural theorists Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker’s 2009 essay, “Notes on Metamodernism.” We found the pamphlet and its cumbersome prose outside the theater, but the doors were locked. After three attempts by staff to get the exhibit up and running, they plied us with free return tickets and sincere apologies.

Mike and I could only imagine that metamodernism was inherent in the experience of standing awkwardly outside the basement theater by the coat check, having people ask us where the restrooms were. Innocence abandoned in the nihilism of The Postmodern, our nostalgia for The Modern will only lead to exclusion and abandonment! Or something like that.

So in lieu of having a cogent opinion about the exhibit itself (dodged that bullet), I’ve created a metamodernist experience for you here. Listen to Devendra while viewing these pictures and stills and reading these passages.

 

We knew James Franco would factor into metamodernism somehow, didn’t we?

“I think he’s very funny and charismatic,” she said. “But I mostly just feel sorry for him. You know what I mean? He seems like one of those men who have to spend all their time maintaining an attitude, because they’re weak inside. He’s nothing like the man you are. All I could see when we were talking was how much he admires you, and how he was trying not to show it too much. Couldn’t you see that?”

The degree of pleasure it brought Walter to hear this felt dangerous to him. He wanted to believe it, but he didn’t trust it, because he knew Richard to be, in his own way, relentless.

“Seriously, Walter. That kind of man is very primitive. All he has is dignity and self-control and attitude. He only has one little thing, while you have everything else.”

Freedom

(I don’t even…)

“Father!” Tengo called out to him. He had not spoken the word in a very long time. “I’m Tengo. Your son.”

“I don’t have a son,” his father declared.

“You don’t have a son,” Tengo repeated mechanically.

His father nodded.

“So what am I?” Tengo asked.

“You’re nothing,” his father said with two short shakes of the head.

Tengo caught his breath. He could find no words. Nor did his father have any more to say. Each sat in silence, searching through his own tangled thoughts. Only the cicadas sang without confusion, at top volume.

He may be speaking the truth, Tengo thought. His memory may have been destroyed, but his words are probably true.

“What do you mean?” Tengo asked.

“You are nothing,” his father repeated, his voice devoid of emotion. “You were nothing, you are nothing, and you will be nothing.”

-1Q84

YOU’RE WELCOME.

And, if you go to MAD, definitely check out Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design. That’s some pretty cool stuff.

**Barack Obama is, like, SO metamodern.

Kony 2012

March 9, 2012

Much has been already written about this video and the organization that made it, and I won’t purport to follow the international development world as much as I once did. But nevertheless, I have some non-vehement opinions about it.

You can condemn the amount of money Invisible Children spends on things like kits and bumper stickers but the fact remains that it was their campaign that got American advisors in Africa to begin with. To those who suggest the video is demeaning to African armies’ abilities to capture the man, I will paraphrase Zuckerberg via Sorkin: “if they were going to stop Kony, they would have stopped Kony.”

So they spend more on filmmaking and promotion than directly helping fight Joseph Kony? What exactly can people in the United States do to directly help fight Kony outside of quitting their jobs, moving to Africa and taking up arms? Invisible Children has to spend most of its money on filmmaking and promotion and movement building because it’s primarily a war of awareness in the States.

We pay a lot of tax money for a whip-smart, powerful army – the battle is making sure that they’re being deployed in ways that reflect our actual interests and moral compass. Stopping genocides falls into that category, for me and for a lot of other Americans. If that means I’m giving money to a bunch of people who’ve dedicated their lives to that cause to make films and bumperstickers and influence policy, then so be it!

The thing that confuses me is that this critique of Invisible Children (and others like it) assumes… what exactly? That a bunch of people got together and said, you know what, we should start a non-profit that sustains itself largely on the pocket money of college students (I know that’s where I hope my salary comes from one day!) and live in this perpetual state of self-sustaining self-righteousness, pretending to care about Africa, traveling across the country to give presentations and talk to indifferent legislators because that sounds like a super-fun, not-at-all-frustrating venture!

I’m not saying that good intentions always translate to positive results. I think non-profits and advocacy organizations should be held to high standards of efficiency and transparency – as should government or, I wish!, corporations. Once Kony is removed, I’d hope Invisible Children would redirect much of their funds in building schools, reconciliation proceedings, job retraining for soldiers, and the like. But, until then, this and other campaigns are largely about awareness.

Do-gooders are frequent targets for this kind of backlash – perhaps because when we’re made to feel guilt, helplessness and shame about what’s going on, it’s easier to shoot the messenger.

UPDATE: Kristof, as always, says it better than I.

My Kind of Watering Hole

March 8, 2012

The Museum had its annual Dance this evening – neon-themed – so the young, beautiful and the mammalian all came out to play.