Monthly Archives: January 2008

Surely They are Witches

I have a very unhealthy relationship with Jon Stewart, according to any credible news source, because I take everything he says to heart as my own and none of it with a grain of salt. I giggle like a school girl when he laughs at his own jokes and mirror his dumbfounded looks as Bush tells us that Kazakhstan is a threat to world peace. At this new job I have actual work to do (not pleasant, not my first choice, not worth it – I don’t want to come across as pretentious.) so I don’t have as much time to peruse the NY Times headlines as I used to in OH-IO. I still need to have some idea of current events if I wish to continue to bash them. So I need it quick and I need it to maintain my attention away from Friends reruns and Janice Dickerson’s Modeling Agency. So I have become completely obsessed with The Daily Show (A Daily Show until the writers strike ends). I’ve always tried to catch a bit here and there but now I have to get home by 7pm everyday to see Jon scribbling all over his note cards. This has also made it hard to keep my mad crush on him under wraps when I have a smile slapped on my face for the whole half hour. (I have watched this clip ten times already and still laugh at the idea of CNN broadcasting from Circuit City)

I know in the back of my head that there is controversy around reckless Gen Yers like me getting our news from a self proclaimed “nightly half-hour series unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity or even accuracy.” But I can’t pull myself away from the brutally honest humor in it.

I just started reading The Emperor’s Children (Ok that was the first time I’ve read that review and it pretty much gave away half the book. Awesome.) and within the first 50 pages it mentions a character doing a documentary on “the current wave of satirical press and its role in shaping opinion…the blurring of left and right politics in contrarianism. People who aren’t for anything, just against everything.”

So I looked deep inside my cynical self to understand why I see Jon Stewart as my generation’s Tom Brokaw. Due to the fact that Jon bashes both conservatives and liberals, I see this as a subjective view on the news. And why can’t my news have some humor? Doesn’t it make fact that we can no longer say we are the “greatest nation in the world” without some ignorance just a little bit more bearable? It does for me. I’m not using any type of official statistics here but it seem that as things spiral downward for G.Bush, the popularity of shows like the Daily Show and the Colbert Report seem to rise. People are looking for the silver lining in the political turmoil that we are becoming accustomed to. The most literal reason I watch his show is because politics are, in reality, one big joke. I can’t help but feel more fulfilled by my own life when I listen to politicians rambling on about nonsense world peace and “change”. When Jon Stewart is running a spoof on Lobbyist reforms, I feel like me and 1.4 million other viewers are in on a joke that Congress just can’t go deep enough to see. Campaigns are more staged than a Britney headline. And more red ties and pant suits than a meeting of the Brooks Brothers board of directors. How can American’s relate to whats going on on top of the hill, how The Suits are running things around here, when most politicians are starting to look like Pinocchio. Maybe Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert bring out the real boy in them…

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I believe you have my stapler

There are only so many ways to spice up the benign décor of an office cube. I work for an office furniture dealer. Our business is making offices looks welcoming and trendy and colorful and yet still I stare at sand colored panels and granite colored desk tops all day. I want the people around me to know that I won’t settle for bland; I am not a bland person. I want color, I want humor, I want life. But even though my apartment is straight out of the clearance section of Urban Outfitters apartment dept, I have trouble reconstructing that cozy colorful chic in my corporate cave. While most of the women in the office have no trouble letting everyone know that their children and grand children are the apples of their eye as they use all available thumb tacks to plaster their cubes with baby pictures and wedding announcements and Anne Geddes calendars, I (HAPPILY) cannot use the same theme. So instead I’ve got a tasteful array of pictures. One of the fam, one of Zoey, one of the Ann St conquistadors, one of Doc and I at Lollapalooza (to show that no, I am not a directionless downtown spinster, yet I am still young and carefree and love music festivals more than a ring on my finger). But its just not enough. It still looks like any other employee cube trying to prove that they have a life outside of the office.

But since I am not going to spend $10 on a “Drab to Fab!” DIY office cube decorating book (Who IS buying this book? What office would let an employee decorate their cube in animal fur and bamboo?? I’m going to say probably not PETA) I still have to resort to pieces of me (and Ashlee Simpson) around my area. So I’ve taken to going to great lengths to find an appropriate yet thought provoking and eye catching background for my computer. No standard Windows XP “bliss” rolling green hills for me.

First was a painting made by a 4 year old “prodigy/fraud” named Marla Olmstead. It was only a matter of time before someone tried to exploit the simple, superficial view of abstract art. The idea behind the documentary was that these parents are trying to sell their 4 year old daughter’s finger painting as masterpieces from the prodigy of Picasso. I am slightly torn with this argument. On one hand, I have always been a supporter of “everything is art” and anyone can create beauty in their own eyes and who are we to disagree? But this story seems to teeter on parents trying to cash in on the gray area of abstract art. Personally, I love exploring the Contemporary Art Museum, not for the art itself, but for what is behind the art, what the artist saw in it. And something tells me this cute little Marla was not thinking about starting a revolution or a new dimension of the mind with her paintbrush and cute little bob haircut. So even though I have to agree with the skeptics on this one, the art is still colorful and fun and has a cool and controversial story behind it so I used her as the splash of color and creativity my cube needed.

So now its time to mix things up for the next honored piece of art to be showcased in my 8×8 number-crunching platform. Erin showed me this awesome toolbar feature called Stumble Upon. Its a button that gets added to your toolbar that takes to you any thousands of random websites to explore. When you download it, it asks what your interested in and tunes into what you want to read about. I chose art and photography as one of my interests so when i click my little “stumble upon” button during a slow Friday afternoon at work, I usually find myself at photographers websites. I would spend too much of company time staring at photos of commonplace items brought to the forefront of your attention because of the colors and sharp focus of them. And the way photographers can make you want to land in middle of exquisite nature. So when I thought photography might be just the thing my computer needed, who better to look to for a shot than Annie Lebowitz, the legendary photographer in the inner circle of Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and Vogue. I love her work for the same reason I love abstract art. The stories behind them. Her book is story after story of photo shoots with celebrities all over the world. I love nothing more than to hear about how the Vanity Fair July cover project came to be and her Alice in Couture feature in Vogue and, of course, the infamous and sobering photo of J. Lennon and Yoko the day of his assassination. Chills.

So after clicking through hundreds of shots that she has done, I found one of Pete Seeger’s banjo with a saying that stuck with me. “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.” What more is there to say?