July 21, 2008

Barack the politically apathetic vote

The cover story in this month's Vanity Fair announces the "Class of 2008," the up and coming young stars of Hollywood. I excitedly turned to the article because it promised photos and interviews with the cast of Gossip Girl, my favorite smutty teen drama (it's like Dawson's Creek of the new millennium!) The article started out with a discussion of how dramatically being a rising young star in the entertainment business has changed over the past five years. I do wonder how any 20 something's reputation can stay spotless under the magnifying glass-like eye of the media these days. My friends and I have gotten into some pretty crazy things since we've entered, survived and left college. And we're just normal kids. Our reputations would be completely tarnished though.

Anyway, of course, being Vanity Fair and never wanting to pass up an opportunity to remind readers of its liberal political views and support of Obama, the stars were asked the 2008 election question: who will you vote for/do you support Obama. Most carefully avoided the question. Stating your political affiliation seems almost as detrimental as stopping at Starbucks or Taco Bell these days. Penn Badgley, Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl, did have an opinion. He said, "with a wordly, weary not of disillusionment, 'I'm politically apathetic. We were raised in a time when we never had a leader who was a role model at all. Every president has gotten worse and worse - it doesn't make you want to engage.'" Now don't get me wrong, I love Dan Humphrey and therefore the cute actor who plays him, but this kind of a statement absolutely kills me. Politically apathetic, in my opinion, is just another term for being lazy. As if our generation needs to look more lazy than it is already accused of being. We are already pegged as a generation who doesn't want to vote and who has always had low turnout numbers in past elections. Why perpetuate that if you're someone famous? And do not make excuses about poor role models. I'm obviously no Bush supporter, but honestly that makes me want to get out and vote all the more. I want to engage, I want to have a voice in changing our government.

I don't know, that attitude of not caring and labeling it as something other than being lazy and THEN blaming it on bad past administrations drives me crazy. How much of an effort would it take to go to each candidate's website and read up on their platforms? Or even to just turn on the news, read the paper or go to cnn.com once in awhile? I don't care who you vote for honestly, just don't give our already labeled as apathetic generation more of a bad rap.

Rant done.

July 16, 2008

prisoner swap

The bodies of two Israeli soldiers, missing for about two years, were returned today in exchange for the freedom of Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese man who murdered an Israeli while his four year old daughter watched and then bashed her head in, killing her. It's easy to look at that situation and say what really did Israel get from this trade? They freed this horrible man and got back two dead soldiers. Prime Minister Olmert, who I don't always agree with I'll say, said this, which really made me understand Israel's point of view, "The Worry over the fate of every one of our soldiers is the glue which binds us as a society, and it is this which allows us to survive in an area which is surrounded by enemies and terror organizations."
One of the things that I took away from my trip to Israel last winter was the incredible respect that soldiers got and the incredible pride that every Israeli seems to have in their army and their country. They believe so strongly in what they fight for.
Another quote I found incredibly true: "The power of a nation is not dependent on what the other side says, but rather only on us." (that one's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni)
The whole article can be found here on the Jerusalem Post's website.

July 15, 2008

So far away, doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?

It would be so fine to see your face at my door
Doesn't help to know that you're just time away
Long ago I reached for you and there you stood
Holding you again could only do me good
How I wish I could, but you're so far away.

I think there's some kind of saying that says having friends in far away places makes the world seem smaller. I disagree. I hate having my friends so spread out. Even Marnie and Meredith, who are just in Chicago, seem lightyears away. And that's not even counting anyone in North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, California, freaking Ireland. I know that far away friends give me prime excuses to go on mini vacations and long weekends to visit people but I what I really want is to be able to go have drinks with them in the middle of the week or play in the summer weather with them.
I remember when I was little and my friends lived in the same city as me. Ian's friends lived right up the street. I was so incredibly jealous that he could walk or ride his bike to their houses. In middle school I became friends with a girl who lived a few streets away and I thought my life was complete. Mostly though my friends were a car ride away. I hated that. I thought driving to the other side of the north side of Indianapolis was a tragedy. 20 minutes? I wanted 2 minutes! I lived in a tiny circle back then. Between my friends, the barn, school, temple, the JCC, my Indianapolis grandparents, Blockbuster and ice cream nothing was farther than 20 minutes away.
What I wouldn't give for that right now. My circle has expanded considerably these days. Oh wells, guess you can't always get what you want right?

July 10, 2008

I love the American government

Only because I should be receiving my stimulus check in the mail within the next few days! I'm going to put some of it aside to use during the Lollapalooza/Hollapalooza weekend. I plan on throwing down. Plus beers are expensive at concerts.
Adam wants to move to South Carolina someday maybe. That's so close to North Carolina that it makes me squeal like a little girl! Not that I'm planning somdays with Adam, I'm just saying, I like the possibility.
Last week I broke a lace on my left tall boot, rendering it useless. This week I broke my right half chap, rendering it also useless. No foot/legwear left to ride in. So I grudgingly went to the only tack shop in the city to buy new boot laces for the tall boots. The girl who "helped" me was the smuggest and rudest girl I've encountered in a while. I don't know why I'm so surprised. That I'm better than you attitude abounds in the hunter/jumper world and it disgusts me. Anyway, the girl sold me the wrong kind of laces despite the fact that I told her they were for tall boots. They're too damn fat to fit through the lace holes. So now I have to drive all the way back up to the north side and exchange them. Frick.

July 9, 2008

100 years of imagination

This year my favorite redheaded girl, Anne Shirley, turns 100. A 100th anniversary edition was published in February with original cover art and what appears to be a mostly original version of the manuscript, not perfectly edited and all:) I'm tempted to buy it, just as a tribute to my childhood and my favorite books growing up. Anne was my absolute hero between the ages of probably 9 and 15. I read every one of the books in the series probably at least 10 times. Anne's wild and free imagination only encouraged my already overactive imagination. I spent countless hours wandering through the woods behind my house, naming trees and paths and special spots, just like Anne did.
I haven't really thought a whole lot about these books recently but now that I am I'm realizing that maybe they had more of an effect on me than I knew. I read an article about the series today that focuses mostly on what kind of a heroine Anne is and if she fits into today's feminist heroine. Today's novels, young adult and otherwise, seem to be filled with high powered, highly motivated and driven girls and women. They are cut throat, whether it be while climbing the social ladder in school or the corporate ladder in the work world. Anne doesn't fit into this world at all. Her world appears almost antiquated in comparison. She abandons the real world for her imagination far too often and she gives up her ambitions to be a writer to raise a family.
I must agree with the Slate article in thinking there's more to these books than flowery descriptions of nature, a sentimental story about an orphan winning over a town, and a young woman giving up her dreams for her husband and family. Anne has an incredible independent streak. She does what she wants and says what she thinks. Of course that ends up getting her in trouble lots of the time and the great thing is that when it upsets or hurts the people she cares about she goes to great lengths to fix things. She doesn't let the class cutie, Gilbert, turn her to mush, at least not until he almost dies and she realizes she just can't live without him (that book, Anne of the Island, was my favorite, especially as I got older, because of its sweet romantic undercurrent.) Anne's imagination must encourage her readers to get lost in their own imaginary worlds. It certainly did for me. I loved disappearing into books and creating and acting out stories in my backyard. Anything that gets kids away from already completely fabricated stories on t.v. and mindless video games gets five stars in my book.
Now back to the feminist aspect of Anne. I strongly believe that a girl should be told she can do anything she wants. She should be able to go out there and have the same career as any man, she should be given the same respect and women have worked very hard to get close to that point today. I also strongly believe that if we look at media in general today that is all girls are being fed. High power, high fashion women dominate t.v. and books. They run around big cities in their Jimmy Choos and whatever other fashionable shoes they can buy, frantically trying to make it. Young adult novels and t.v. shows seem filled with these images too. Girls fight to be in the top clique in school, kids vie for the best and hottest internships that will launch their careers.
What's wrong with Anne's path? Girls could use a reminder that they have more choices and that they do not have to pick the crazy career over the family. Now I sound super old fashioned or something. I am all for having a job, a career, making my own money. Eventually though I would be the happiest girl if I could just stay at home with my kids and raise them. That, in my opinion, is an incredibly admirable job. Anne goes to college, something not too many young women did in her day, she even works for a bit until Gilbert is ready to get married. Then she takes on the job of raising her six kids to be imaginative, independent people just like herself. Through everything she faces each and every challenge head on and with a positive attitude. Why not remind today's youth of the importance of that? Why not remind them to slow down, be yourself, think for yourself and enjoy the beauty in the world around you? I think the Anne of Green Gables books are timeless and are filled with lessons and characters that I can still relate to as a 24 year old in 2008.
Hum, this all sounded very logical and well thought out in my head. God only knows if it ended up that way. Let's just finish with the statement that I am a huge advocate of the imagination and anything that encourages it.