As an exercise, Dr. Miller asked readers of the blog to list the 10 most expensive things they had ever bought, and then list the 10 purchases that had brought them the most happiness. More than 200 responded. As we expected, many people rued spending lots of money for stuff that hadn’t brought them joy. Boats seemed to have particularly low utility in delivering happiness per dollar; many cars fit that category, too, and so did many expensive weddings.
But we were struck by how much overlap there was between the most-expensive list and the most-happy list.
A Swedish couple believe so strongly that gender is a social construction that they do not reveal whether their 2.5-year-old is a boy or a girl. “We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mold from the outset.”
Only those who have changed the toddler’s diapers know if “Pop,” which is not the child’s real name, is male or female. “We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mold from the outset,” the tot’s 24-year-old mother told the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. “It’s cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”
“By the late 80s, Michael Jackson had been integrated into every form of entertainment. With the booming popularity of video games, making a Michael Jackson video game was a no-brainer. As part of a multi-faceted marketing ploy, there was a movie and several video games released based on Michael Jackson’s exploits. The title was Moonwalker, and the subject was a confrontation between Michael and mobster Mr. Big (played by Joe Pesci), who has kidnapped a bunch of children. The film and game coincided with the release of Michael’s new hit song, Smooth Criminal, which it also revolved around in terms of its plot, with Michael being some sort of “good” gangster.”—Hardcore Gaming 101: Moonwalker
“Elsewhere, Nehring interrogates our steadfast insistence on balanced, healthy relationships, our readiness to condemn doomed, impossible entanglements. She argues that it may in fact be a sign of health to enter into a relationship that is turbulent, demanding or unorthodox. She praises long-distance relationships, arduous relationships, relationships with men who are elusive, relationships the therapeutic culture adamantly opposes. She asks, “Could it be that the choice of a challenging love object signals strength and resourcefulness rather than insecurity and psychological damage, as we so often hear?”—Feverish Liaisons
As a society, we developed competing priorities: We at once revere the institution of marriage but put personal fulfillment above almost all else.
‘“We want to be partnered up and married, but after we’re married, we judge our relationships in a very personal way,” explains Cherlin, who is on his second marriage. “We keep asking ourselves ‘Am I happy? Am I getting what I need?’ And if the answers one day come back negative, we’re more likely to leave a relationship.”
“When the Sony Walkman was launched, 30 years ago this week, it started a revolution in portable music. But how does it compare with its digital successors? The Magazine invited 13-year-old Scott Campbell to swap his iPod for a Walkman for a week.”—Giving up my iPod for a Walkman
It’s hard to say when any one street in a city begins to regain its former luster or a new life. But if investment in a recession is any indicator, Mission Street is on the move.
In the last three years, at least nine new businesses, mostly restaurants serving everything from fresh pie with organic ingredients to Mexican mole, have appeared in the 10-block stretch of Mission Street from 16th to 26th. Six of those opened in the last four months including The Corner, a California/Italian, small plate café and Specchio, an Italian place with thin pizza and homemade pasta on the menu.
“Quite frankly, he may be worth more dead than alive," said Jerry Reisman of the Hit Factory recording studio, where [Michael] Jackson produced his best-selling album Thriller.”—Michael Jackson Reaches #1
“It was first used as early as the 1870s, but theorists Jean-François Lyotard and Frederic Jameson are generally credited with making the term “postmodern” popular. Jeffrey Nealon and Susan Searles Giroux provide a conveniently succinct explanation of postmodernism in their book “The Theory Toolbox.” When used in an academic setting, “postmodern” usually refers to a sense of style featuring “disjunction or deliberate confusion, irony, playfulness, reflexivity, a kind of cool detachment, a deliberate foregrounding of constructedness, a suspicion concerning neat or easy conclusions” (126). Nealon and Searles Giroux point out that postmodernism is more concerned with process than product. This can be seen in the meta “[blank] about [blank]” construction that often identifies the “postmodern”: art about art, writing about writing, architecture about architecture, etc.”—What is postmodern anyway?
“The soul of a publishing company is its editors, and when a publishing company alters its fundamental attitudes about books and authors, the sensibilities of its editors must, of necessity, change as well. With promotions and increased corporate responsibilities comes loss of contact with the intimate places in an author’s heart where literature is born.”—Editors: The New Disenfranchised (1998)
“As much as I would love to believe otherwise, I don’t see the rising popularity of YA fiction as an indicator of increased interest in books specifically among the teen demographics (though neither do I think that things are as bad as the doom-sayers would have us believe); what it does indicate is that certain sorts of stories have a wider appeal than others.”—Young Adult fiction: are we confusing marketing with markets?
But The Hulk plays to a different, and perhaps darker side of the Asian American personality: What Ang Lee calls a “subcurrent of repression.” “My Taiwanese upbringing makes my interest in such stories very personal,” Lee has said. “Growing up, my artistic leanings were always repressed — there was always pressure to do something ‘useful,’ like being a doctor.”
The passive-aggressive streak runs deep among Asian Americans — especially those who have entered creative careers, often against their parents’ wishes.
“One thing I’ve been realizing lately — as I’ve been tamping down temptation to apply to a creative writing PhD program, despite my contempt for, even hatred of, creative writing programs — is what the real purpose of a creative writing workshop is. In the past I’ve been too caught up in my anger at the workshop’s uselessness to notice that the point of the workshop is not what happens in the workshop, but the existence of the workshop in whatever form. The lack of a universal program or vocabulary or set of concepts isn’t the point. The existence of the workshop is the point.”—Creating Writers: MFA Industrial Complex
More young Americans on a proportionate basis drop out of school today than at any other time in our history. This problem is undoubtedly complicated, but one of the reasons why many American youth are unmotivated and not learning well is that they’re bored in school. They’re grown up in a fast paced, challenging digital world, with the Internet, mobile devices, video games and other gadgets. They watch less television than their parents did and TV is typically a background activity.
They are a generation doesn’t like to be broadcast to and they love to interact, multi-task and collaborate. Yet, when they get into the classroom, they’re faced with stale textbooks and lectures from teachers who are still using a nineteenth century innovation, chalk and blackboard.
“For those of us who lived through the Iranian revolution, which toppled the government of the Shah and paved the way for the creation of the Islamic republic in 1979, there is a dreamlike familiarity to the massive riots roiling the streets of Tehran. I remember the seemingly spontaneous rallies that brought the country to a screeching halt. The young, fearless protesters daring the security forces to make them martyrs in the cause of freedom. The late-night call-and-response of Allahu akbar (God is great!) echoing from rooftop to rooftop. The strange confederacies between young students and elderly clerics, military men and intelligentsia, conservatives and reformists, all united by a common cause.”—The Spirit of ‘79 in Iran
“Having lived in various cities like Fremont, California, Irvine, California, East Lansing, Michigan, and my current home in New York, New York, I started to recognize how Filipino Americans seemed to be similar everywhere. There seemed to be values that governed the ways we communicated, behaved, thought, or felt. There seemed to be common mentalities and processes people engaged in, which influenced how they made decisions. And there seemed to be common experiences with race and ethnicity that existed no matter where you lived in the United States. While Filipino Americans are all exceptional with their own individualities and personalities, I appreciated there was a culture that bound us together and connected us all as a Filipino American people.”—Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice
“Nadal’s arms, both of them, have inspired over the years a fervent subgroup of admirers, especially once he began appearing at international matches in what became his trademark outfit: sleeveless shirt, wide headband knotted around the unruly hair and his celebrated piratas, rakish knee-length shorts that made him look like a surfer who lifted weights in his spare time. When Nike altered the ensemble early this year, in what everybody involved insists was a mutual decision by the company and Nadal’s entourage (the idea was to move him into something more grown-up), there was a brief but spirited insurrection among the fans.”—Can Rafael Nadal survive his own grueling style of tennis?
“We are getting a lot of requests from YA bloggers, many of them teens themselves, who want galleys of one or another of our upcoming books. We are working at sorting out which of these bloggers have big enough followings to merit sending them a galley. Let’s say it’s roughly $8.50 to print and mail a galley, and our supply, and our time, is limited. How many of these bloggers might have enough readers to make it worth our while? Or, for that matter, write compelling enough entries that someone would want to read the book they are talking about?”—Read Roger, Publishers and Bloggers
So, I’ve started writing mini-stories for each of my important characters in this WIP. By mini-story I mean this: About two pages, written in first person POV of that character. It’s sort of like a school writing assignment: Write about an important event in your life. It doesn’t have to be a major event, just something that character remembers about his life that he feels shaped him or affected him in some way.
It’s giving me a chance to learn more about my characters, really get inside their heads. Most of this stuff isn’t going to go into the actual novel, but I do feel it’s helping develop them on page. Making them come alive because I can better understand how and why they would react or act in a certain way.
The rise of online media has helped raise a new generation of college students who write far more, and in more-diverse forms, than their predecessors did. But the implications of the shift are hotly debated, both for the future of students’ writing and for the college curriculum.
Some scholars say that this new writing is more engaged and more connected to an audience, and that colleges should encourage students to bring lessons from that writing into the classroom. Others argue that tweets and blog posts enforce bad writing habits and have little relevance to the kind of sustained, focused argument that academic work demands.
“For potential haters, mumblecore offers plenty of ammunition. The films are modest in scope, but their concentration on daily banalities can register as narcissism. Despite the movement’s communitarian ethos, from the outside it can seem incestuous and insular. Hardly models of diversity, the films are set in mostly white, straight, middle-class worlds, and while female characters are often well drawn, the directors are overwhelmingly male.”—A Generation Finds Its Mumble
“The sports world might be more obsessed with Kobe’s legacy than perhaps any player in league (or sports) history. Jordan dispassionately ascended to the pinnacle; Duncan and Shaq are casually placed somewhere in the top 5-10 range; we didn’t argue about Magic and Bird’s place, they just kind of arrived near the top. But we argue and wrangle and declare Kobe’s place in the hierarchy of gods with a different spirit – one attended by stretched stats and forced comparisons. By the time his work is finished he’ll have put together a stunning body of work.”—Deconstructing Kobe
Four decades later, however, it’s worth considering how far the idea of Asian America has come, and how far it can go. Does Asian American identity still have meaning? Have prevailing attitudes towards race evolved to a point where the term “Asian American” limits us rather than lifting us up? Has the moment passed?
Truth be told, the current picture isn’t pretty. Many prominent Asian American institutions, particularly those associated with arts, culture and media, have either shut down or are in danger of doing so. Some of this is due to the larger economic crisis, but if pressed, many of the former leaders of these organizations will quietly admit that the core issue they face is simple: Audiences and subscribers for their work have been dwindling, and without collective support from within the community, it’s been an uphill battle getting support from outside of it.
“When I described Find My iPhone to my wife, an iPhone 2.5G owner, she was initially slightly appalled. She thought this would become known as the cheating-spouse or stalker feature, because anyone with access to someone’s MobileMe account - which could be a spouse or partner or an ex - would also have live access to someone’s position.”—Find your iPhone (or straying significant other)