A Brief Thought On A Twitter “Activist”

(via: Taiwanese Animators)

Apparently this issue is still being discussed and since  whitey is too white to talk about it, I, a fellow Asian American, will. While I understand that technology is catapulting change, it still perplexes me that people can obtain fame by pounding out 140 characters. Suey Park has accomplished this, and she has made her name by browsing the internet and looking for things to get offended by. I like to think there are more productive ways to use the wonderful interwebs; like job searching, score updates, and watching porn. To each their own, I guess.

A common problem with some modern day activism is that the activist opinions tend to outshine the actual cause they fight for. Whether that is intentional or not, it does little in producing any productive conversations. I do get a sense that they’re more concerned about their voice being heard than solving anything they deem detrimental, and often their indignation is directed at something so inane and so bland, the rest of us just shrug are shoulders and mutter, “Okay, so you’re offended? So what?”

Now shifting back to Suey Park. Although we’re all in accordance that Suey understands satire, cause she’s a writer after all, I don’t believe Ms. Park understands how life works. She imagines she can construct an idea without putting much thought into it. Park is free to express her views but she shouldn’t believe her opining is rebuttal free. Anyone who expresses their opinion is at risked for being judged — for better — or for worse, and while I grasp trolls add nothing beneficial to an argument, that doesn’t dismiss legitimate critiques. This is where terms like “check your privilege” is hurled out because there is no substance left to argue with.

I have no issue with Suey being offended by jokes, but what’s her thesis exactly? Ban words? Ban unfunny jokes? Should we adopt her vernacular? Should we only laugh at what she views as funny?  There’s no need to fretAsian Americans are fine; we (not me, unfortunately) have been paving progress for many years despite discrimination.

If I can give Ms. Park some unsolicited advice: Accept the world for what it is and not what you want it to be.

That doesn’t mean you can’t seek improvement and change, but don’t let external opinions affect your internal peace.  Especially jokes, because they’re not the same as personal statements, and to quote the late great comedian Patrice O’Neal, “Funny jokes and unfunny jokes come out of the same birth.” The intention is to be funny, whether we like it or not.

Photo Apr 03, 4 26 06 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(via: Franck Alcidi)

 

 

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Twee But No Oscar

wes-anderson

In correlation with this Sundays Academy Awards and the upcoming release of The Grand Budapest Hotel, here is an article I penned last year about why Wes Anderson will never win an Oscar.

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Wes Anderson, you are the guy who got straight A’s in high school but wasn’t accepted to your first choice school. You are the masked superhero who saves the world, but is dumped by the heroine because you lacked candor.

Anderson’s career has lasted nearly 20 years. Five of his seven films are part of the Criterion Collection, although I suspect that number will swell in the impending years.

He has garnered critical acclaim and has won a handful of passable awards. Nearly every Halloween, his characters come to life, and the memes the minions create could entertain a person for hours. But despite a loyal fan base and critical praise for the majority of his films, Wes Anderson is an under-appreciated director.

Yes, Anderson is nominated for Best Original Screenplay with his latest opus, Moonrise Kingdom. But, the thing is, I’m a betting man, and my money is not on Anderson to win his first Oscar. While it’s true the film did receive the honor of Best Feature at The Gotham and AFI Awards, the latter achievement was shared with nine other recipients. With there being little success during the award season, it’s been a constant disappointment at the box office as well. Unadjusted for inflation, his seven films have only averaged a dispiriting $39 million per flick; his largest grossing film, The Royal Tenenbaums, only managed to earn about $70 million worldwide. More often than not, these trends seem to be the way it is with a Wes Anderson film, but I remain optimistic it can go another way.

I’ll be the first to concede that some of his followers can display a pompous critique of any criticism. The retort, “if you don’t like it, you don’t get it,” is the go-to line for charlatans to respond with, when the wit they do have, expires. Perhaps there’s a kernel of truth to that claim, but I find this judgment irritating and that alone can easily bully anyone out of actually screening one of his films.

Obviously, I do not have a rapport with Anderson, so this thinking is merely conjecture, but I can still say with confidence that Anderson doesn’t share that smug sentiment toward the audience like some of his defenders do. His stamp is accidental, and I don’t recall him ever being cranky about any disapproval; he’s aware that art is subjective. I encourage newcomers to watch his movies, and if you like them, great, and if you don’t, that’s OK too. You’re not an awful, cretinous person. We can still be friends.

It’s been well-documented that Anderson doesn’t collect many personal awards. The bulk of the backlash appears to be that his plots are considered twee and excessively cartoonish at times, although I would argue, in this case, this is the intention. Anderson’s worlds are fabricated to fit eccentric characters with sincere problems. Dry humor is accompanied with poignant thoughts and actions throughout all of his films. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which was inexcusably given a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, features a protagonist that has disregarded his “son” and is considered to be an imperial, contrived, stale, oceanographer.

The protagonist evolves with an arc that consisted of losing a partner, a wife, a supposed son, and the character’s own self worth. Sprinkle in some amusement, some redemption, and this is a recipe almost anyone could endorse.

If one is going to dissect Anderson’s capacity as a filmmaker, his meticulous detail put into each frame has to be discussed. His production design is stubborn, but that’s what makes it so alluring. The Darjeeling Limited, for example, was filmed on an authentic train with most of the props handcrafted or at least adorned. Forks and plates, to the walls of the locomotive, were modified and or constructed to appease the film. It’s details of this scenery that are often overlooked or forgotten, nevertheless, it’s regarded as customary. Another staple in Anderson’s bag is probably the most recognizable, his cinematography. The camera movement is unabashed, yet it doesn’t reek of gaudy desperation for attention.

I can’t drill and probe insider any film jury heads, so once again I can only surmise, but these quirks probably can displease some more traditional cinema spectators. In other words, unless they’re in their own category, comedies rarely win major awards.

A Wes Anderson picture is not everyone’s jigger of whisky, and like the brown, Anderson might have to age a bit longer before he begins to obtain further recognition. There is no need to express pity for this director, as he has already established a reputable career.

All I ask is of organizations, festivals, and cinephiles is to show gratitude for the undervalued Anderson. That means hardware. That means funding. That means the other way.

Honing Our Craft

Getting The Reps

(Via: Gabe Celaya)

I had a interesting conversation with a friend over the weekend. My friend, who is a self taught artist, decided as a goof/experiment he would advertise his services. To his surprise, a very reputable internet company contacted him with a decent offer for only one days work. Although my friend is highly skilled at most art forms, he lacked the experience in the form the company desired, so he decided to decline — stating he didn’t feel his deftness was up to par. The conversation shifted toward the importance of honing our respected crafts. This is a necessity that I tend to overlook and I know that my writing suffers at times because of my torpor. It’s essential that we get reps in our fields; this will no doubt accentuate our style, increase visibility, install confidence, and makes our creations a little less painful to produce. 

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit

- Aristotle

Motivation And Cocoa Butter

cocoa butter kisses

Every singles least favorite holiday has approached us, but instead of dwelling and sulking in your own loneliness, pounce on the opportunity to alter your perspective. Use this as a motivating force to investigate and amend the bad so you can continue your genetic legacy. This is all moot if you’re content, and if that’s the case, carry on. I know I’m carrying on with my new Valentines Day ritual: a bottle of wine, cocoa butter, and Alexis Texas.

Instead Of A War, How About A Remedy

The lost of Philip Seymour Hoffman got me thinking about the war on drugs. There are countless tales of people losing someone dear to them; whether it be by way of incarceration or death. While there’s never a monolithic solution to any problem, here’s a concept that isn’t really novel but has rarely ever been implemented, ending the war on drugs.

When the term legalization is uttered I’m sure many shutter at the idea of drugs like heroin, cocaine, or crystal meth, being legal for purchase at your local Walmart. But I highly doubt the majority would dabble with substances just because they were deemed legal, and I’m confident Walmart isn’t looking to get involved in the crack game. What can be said is that the billions of dollars wasted each year have produced nothing but more potent and more vicious drugs  that are being peddled by unscrupulous sellers that labor under the mayhem of black markets.

Most drug merchants probably don’t have a Walter White producing their drugs, and by that I’m suggesting the group manufacturing these drugs are probably not as knowledgeable, and in regards to a drug like heroin, potentially cutting with additives – like fentanyl – can create a greater toxic effect. Fentanyl maybe beneficial for cancer patients but certainly not for heroin. A Better Business Bureau for drug dealers isn’t going to be established anytime soon, but having drugs legal would provide greater repercussions for those who decide mix ominous chemicals. Moreover, if drugs are being assembled in a controlled, professional setting with at the very least unadorned regulations, this is going to produce a product that – yes is still harmful – yet the public will become educated on what ingredients are being applied and the affect of various narcotics. Just to clarify, I’m in no way advocating the use of drugs such as heroin, cocaine, etc. The point being is that prohibition and classifying something damaging won’t prevent mistakes, only information can accomplish that.

With all that being said, addiction is still a sizable issue that has to be dealt with whether the substance is illegal or legal. Again, there isn’t a panacea to exterminate all the problems, but yet again, the war on drugs is not a viable cure neither. Ibogaine is a psychoactive substance derived from certain African plants that has been linked to assisting in cures for addictions like heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine to name a few. Researchers assert that Ibogaine is metabolized into another compound called Noribogaine that appears to diminish cravings and desire to use. Not to veer too far off topic, but studies also suggest that other psychedelics such as psilocybin can decrease depression and even reduce recidivism. While ayahuasca has been shown to induce the death of cancer cells and hinder the spread of carcinoma cells.

Drug interdiction is making research expensive and minute, but more crucially, preventing information on substance’s that could be a beneficial tool for healing our afflictions.

Unfortunately, Philip Seymour Hoffman kicked the bucket before he could kick his horrid habit. Unless there was a gun to his head, Hoffman is to blame for choosing to operate on heroin. I’m certain there was peer pressure but one can’t blame Hollywood or society. To be fair, even if drugs were legalized or just decriminalized, Hoffman overdosing is still a harsh possibility. But what we do know is that rehab was only a temporary fix for him, like it is for many other abusers. What we don’t know if there’s other medications that could be utilized in assisting with the prevention of such tragedies.

With the continuation of the war on drugs we may never know, so lets end it. Because I prefer helping those in need instead of memorializing them.

Intermission

Intermission

I haven’t been feeling inspired or motivated as of late, so I’m shutting down temporarily. This site will still remain available yet dormant. Let my past regale you for the time being. Au revoir!

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