You Don’t Have Much To Say

October 11, 2011

I just came across Al-Jazeera’s series titled Slavery: A 21st Century Evil, which I think is more than 110% appropriate for these Occupy Wall Street protests.

Let me take a tiny step back. Yesterday I was listening to Sean Hannity (my co-worker’s default radio station on the drive home). He interviewed a young lady (Zuni I believe her name was?) who made some decent arguments about the corporatocracy and what people should do. I pretty much agreed with everything she said, but then he asked her why or how the corporations should be punished. She didn’t have much of a response. It would have been the perfect moment to talk about the link between modern slavery and American corporations.

This, again, goes back to what I’ve been saying, what Kevin Bales says in Disposable People, and E. Benjamin Skinner in A Crime So Monstrous: fight with your dollar. Zuni did mention this strategy, but didn’t stress it as much as it should’ve been. The example she used was MacDonald’s. True, MacDonald’s is not good for you and it would be ideal for people to stop supporting it; however, what Hannity wanted to point out was that MacDonald’s fulfills a desire the American people want. So ultimately the solution to the MacDonald’s problem isn’t that we should tax it more. We should curb the desire to eat their products.

The same goes for the perpetuation of modern slavery. Corporations like The Gap and IKEA fill a void in our lives for affordable, decent quality clothing and furniture. You can’t simply yell at the government and corporations for paying below minimum wage overseas if you continue to support these businesses. And maybe every single person occupying Wall Street doesn’t own clothing from The Gap/Old Navy or furniture from IKEA. It’s entirely possible, but very unlikely. We’ve accepted the products of modern slavery as essential to our everyday lives. Even our food. Even some food harvested in our own country is done by modern slaves.

I’m sure the people on Wall Street and in Woodruff Park all agree with my points, but are they ready to act on them?

Update 4:51pm: just saw that the Occupiers in Atlanta have marched to Bank of America in Midtown. So…you make the effort to get to the building, just so you can yell at it? Can’t you all simply walk inside and take your money out?! Can’t you actually do something to end the “greed”?!

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In the Dunes of a Cave

August 8, 2011

A problem I’ve had with many religious people is their approach to morals. You may be surprised at this, but lots of people have judged me for not having religion. Many people have asked me what my religion/faith is. I tell them that I wasn’t born with religion, and that my parents never raised me as anything. They then look at me puzzled and say “Then where do you get your morals from?” or “How do you know how to be a good person?

Read the rest of this entry »


Erased Me From Your Memory

April 27, 2011

I’ve had a few interesting conversations the past couple weeks. They all seem to revolve around the theme of change and growth. As I’ve written here before, I can’t believe I’ve done what I’ve done. I took a huge leap of faith and started from scratch in a completely new city. I remember people telling me that I wouldn’t like Atlanta, or that I was making a poor decision to leave my connections behind, or that I’d miss New York City too much to make it in a new place.

Whether or not these things are true, I like feeling like I proved people wrong, or at least that I impressed them with how amazing my life is now. Sure, in NYC I’d probably be doing something I love, like working for a non-profit or a film festival. In other aspects of my life, however, I don’t think I would’ve challenged myself. In Fall 2009 I started taking belly dancing classes with a friend and I loved it. I continued to go on a regular basis, but I eventually stopped going because it didn’t really fit into my routine I had created for myself. And I remember being really sad about it because I felt like that belly dancing class represented a part of me I felt was lost or stunted.

Here in Atlanta, my job certainly isn’t the highlight of my time here, but I’m doing things that make me happy. I feel like I’m growing as a person. I definitely have my regular bar and I don’t go out all the time to try new places with my roommates, but I’m twirling baton, which has been a dream I shelved years ago. I never would’ve pursued this in NYC or even California like I have here. Turnin’ TriXXX has opened my eyes to the things I can do. Silly sounding, I know, but I never would’ve committed myself to something like this if I even had a hint of structure or routine to my life.

see? life is good for me. i'm awesome.

I guess my point is this: you can’t hate on people who feel like drones in their own life. I’ve been there, and it feels super lame. I wouldn’t suggest you leave everything behind tomorrow to learn to play some obscure instrument in some rural Indian town, but I would encourage you to leave your routine behind. I still have my routines, like making myself eggs and toast every morning before work, but I genuinely feel like every day is a clean slate.

Try it. You might like it.


Give Me the Simple Life

March 28, 2011

I have a lot to say but I don’t want to say anything about how good life could be soon because I don’t want to jinx it. I just want to let you know I’m still alive and, while life has been tough, it may/hopefully will get better.

Huzzah! So stay tuned and hope that I have enough karma points to get me through this next couple weeks…


Calling Out from a Landfilled Life

February 19, 2011

Today I had an awesome day. I went to the locally-owned Libertine for a couple hours, then had lunch at the Yacht Club, then went shopping for an outfit at Rag O Rama to wear to the Dead Elvis show at Star Bar next weekend. Now I’m sitting on my roof in the beautiful weather.

Sure, I could’ve done something similar to this in NYC: walked around the village, had lunch at Corner Bistro, then chilled out in the park, or do something similar in Brooklyn. But when it comes down to it, NYC isn’t Atlanta. A weird comparison to make, I know, but NYC is old news. It will always change and it will always be great and it will always have something to offer. But Atlanta is like an undiscovered, awesome, sparkling gem that people won’t touch because it’s in the south. Someone came into Libertine today and complained about all the hipster Burning Man hippies living in Portland who ride their bikes drunk wearing all black at night.

San Francisco, NYC, Portland, and eventually Seattle all become the same thing: taken over by the next generation of yuppies and hippies trying to make the urban world a better place. I don’t think that will ever happen to Atlanta (knock on wood). I think anyone not from the south will be too intimidated to come here. Atlanta will go through its gentrification and will always have its issues, but when it comes down to it, Atlanta will almost always be the Atlanta people remember it to be.

And yes, that’s something great about NYC. (I can’t speak much for SF since I’ve never actually lived in the city. And LA doesn’t count because it sucks.) New York is always changing. People go to New York to introduce new ideas and try to make the next best thing. But New York has already lived through its glory days. Years from now it will have a revival, but right now it’s washed out. Nothing exciting is really going on, other than the usual NYC nonsense.

Atlanta, specifically Little 5 Points, is still growing and developing. There are times when I feel like I’m still part of the creation of this neighborhood. Can you imagine what it was like living in the West Village in the 70s? To be part of the identity of a neighborhood? That’s how I feel sometimes here. Everyone here works so hard not only for themselves, but for this city. For Little 5 Points. At least for now there’s very little gentrification from what I can see because most people have lived here since L5P came to be.

And sometimes it makes me sad to know that in 3 years I’ll probably leave for another city. But at the same time, I’m excited because if I hadn’t made the risky decision to move here, I never would have experienced all these amazing things. It’s obviously too early to tell, but when I make the decision to live somewhere of my own accord, I think I’ll have to move back here.

Now all I have to do is find a job I truly love.


Everything Is Never As It Seems

January 13, 2011

My roommate’s friend stayed with us for these past couple of days. She grew up around Philadelphia, lived in San Francisco, and now she’s traveling around the world until she decides what to do next. She’s got a camping backpack and a couple other bags and that’s it.

It used to be a lifestyle I wanted to pursue, partially because my ex-boyfriend was similar: he grew up in DC, and before attending NYU, he lived in San Francisco for a year and traveled a bit. I wanted that hippie, bohemian, nomadic lifestyle. I wanted to travel around the world and meet random people and make art and live a colorful life, like Auntie Mame (which I watched last night).

There are a lot of choices I’ve made that led me away from that dream. I left NYC. I left the Bay Area. I walked away from some amazing job opportunities and comfortable lifestyles, and for what? To follow an Army boy? To have a job completely unrelated to art? To live nowhere near my family?

Oddly enough, it was all for love. I moved to Atlanta with nothing but my savings account. I knew no one, I had no job, no connections, nothing. I just moved here because I’m 22 and in love. It’s certainly not what I dreamed of doing, and it’s not what I thought I wanted to do, but here I am. And life is good when you have love. Except for when it lives 400 miles away.


ATLANTA SNOWPOCALYPSE

January 11, 2011

It is day 2 of the Atlanta Snowpocalypse. The grocery stores are low on food. The booze is diminishing. The streets are blanketed in ice and what was once snow. There is no sound but the dripping from icicles to the ground. The city is deadly still, and I will party on through the snow days.

Originally I was going to tell you more about experiencing snow in Atlanta, but I just got an email from a peer of mine regarding photographers’ rights. This story is just wrong and it needs to be heard:

A friend of mine who is a photographer was severely beaten by police officers.  He was taking photographs out in the street, in public, and cops arrested him and charged him with resisting arrest after they smashed his head into the pavement and beat him so badly that he still has a bone sticking out of his shoulder.  He needs an operation but can not afford to take off work for that long.

That said, he asked me if I knew of any groups who fight for photographer’s rights, or resources and laws that clearly explain photographers rights, specifically in regards to public domain and shooting in public on the streets.  He is facing some serious charges in which he could see jail time and heavy fines.  I am not really familiar with laws and what the exact rules and regulations are regarding making photographs in public.  If anyone out there is familiar with this, please pass on whatever information you have or even what direction I may be able to guide him in.  This incident occurred in New Jersey if that is significant in terms of varying state laws.

The current war on photography and the camera seen as some tool linked with terrorism really pisses me off and in the end I think we all should be aware of our rights and know the specific laws regarding photography and public domain.  Perhaps if people have information about this they can reply to this list serve instead of emailing me directly so we all can have this information on file if we ever need it.

When one of us goes down, we must all join together, extend a hand and pick up our brothers and sisters.