Thursday, July 24, 2003

Right now, right this very second, I am doing this for free. Just tappity tapping away at my laptop at no charge at all for you. But this all may change very soon . . . very soon I may be getting paid for *writing*.
I have an interview next Tues for a job with a PR firm out in Gunbarrel, the folks who (kismet!) do PR for my dad's company. I am trying for the position of junior copywriter. It sounds rather funny, like Lizzie said, if you go on a hike with a real forest ranger, when you get back to the lodge, you get a little badge that says "Junior Ranger." "Junior copywriter" has the same sort of ring to it, a slightly apprenticed and inexperienced ring. I have less experience than the ad asked for, but they called anyway. Let's see where this goes.
So. Uday and Qusay. I can't get excited about this for some reason. I mean, I'm sure they were evil, spoiled little twits, but I can't help but agree with Lileks when he conjectures: "hmmm. How Conveeeeeeeeeeenient." Questions arise about our getting into Iraq and so we need a little reminder of just what kind of person was threatening our world of democracy and Christian Charity (uh, yeah). I thought it odd when our local news mentioned that one of them was known for "raping Iraqi girls." I have a real problem with this- I mean, okay, sure, he probably did, and that's despicable. But as a woman, I'm real sick of Bush playing the women's issues card when it's convenient. He has no respect for a woman's right to chose whether or not to carry a child to term, but when he wants to attack a Muslim nation, all he can talk about is rape rooms and burkhas.
He doesn't *really* care about women ( ), or really, anyone else, that much, except when they serve his agendas. I tend to wonder sometimes where they get the intelligence that says either Uday or Qusay really did the things they say they did- I mean, it's becoming a real point of debate anymore if we can trust any kind of "intelligence" they give us dressed as truth.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Okay-- warning. What follows is the disgruntled ravings of a newcomer to the real world upon learning its true nature.
Those averse to whining or who experience head pain or dizziness upon hearing the phrase "It's not fair" my want to view other blogs, perhaps the many available dedicated to pets, quilting, or makeup tips.

It's not fair that I am a talented new grad with an internship under my belt (no wonder none of my skirts fit) but I can't find a job because I'm not well-connected enough to network my way into a job. It's not fair that it's not what you know or how well you can do it, but who you know and who you can pay . . .
This is not a new realization to me. Case study in true American democracy #1: the college admissions process. Many people go to Ivy League schools just because they can afford to (ahem, President Bush) and many people who can't afford it but would probably get much more out of it (people like myself, my friend Alvon, etc) do not. In the college admissions process, it's not who you are but who your parents are. And whether or not they're loaded enough to have a building named after them on the campus you are looking at.
And now, the job market, which bites anyway, is much like that process. There are literally hundreds of applicants for dozens of job openings, and I'm told (again) that my difficulty is not so much that I am not qualified for jobs, but because other applicants are better at networking (read: bullshitting other people to achieve a monetary end. Associated topics: brownnosing, pimping, lying) than I am. Again, people get high-level jobs because of who they know (ahem, President Bush) rather than what they know and what they do with what they know. It's not fair.
Anyway. Life isn't fair, I know. I have to play the game, I know. But it still sucks and I'm seriously getting sick of playing a game whose rules bend for people because of their "connections" (just how do college students get these connections, anyway? I know I didn't have access to high-ranking publishing executives out in Cedar Rapids, Iowa).
Worst. Job Market. Ever.
At least I am going on vacation this weekend.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

When you are driving a 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with a Rocket 350 engine to the local coffeeshop, you might not intend on cruising down either of the two blocks it takes to get there. But the car has a certain need to do so. And all you can do is sit back and pay for the gas.

I needed to get out on my own for a little while, a full day with the parents can be a lot of fun (hey, those of you who know my family knows that they're fun parents!) but I needed some contemplative behind the wheel time. I love driving. It gives you time to think while you go someplace.

My sister, the ever-cognizant pacifist but fan of a good argument has me believing that Bush is on a Christian Crusade against the (very tired phrase warning) Axis of Evil, a Crusade to make the world safe for Christians everywhere.
And I think this because:
A. None of the three countries on the Axis are predominantly Christian (We have secular, Communist, and Muslim . . . I think those are all on an even plane with the Shrubman). Further, these nations have a history of persecuting the small populations of Christians they have.
B. It is highly possible that Mr. Jesus Day saw 9/11 as a sign from God that some serious terrible swift sword action was required on the part of the Christian Neo-Conservatives regarding the problem of a certian group of unbelievers-- and with the flood of Christian missionaries (mostly headed by people within Bush's circle and people from his evangelical denomination) into Afghanistan and Iraq, those looking for a mission in the aftermath didn't have to follow far behind this military action.
C. The President seems to be unusually fond of characterizing entire cultures as "Evil" rather than the more politically legitimate terms "troubling," "belligerent," or perhaps "threatening" (actually, in hindsight, he tends to be just as Manichean in his terms concerning the American People as well- although never vocalizing it, his administration has done a good job of polarizing us into the flag-waving, SUV driving, Republican-voting, troop-supporting "Patriots" and war-protesting, civil-rights clinging, environmentally-concerned, economically-preoccupied "Others").
And finally,
D. The next on the list: Liberia. Another poor nation of non-Christians, ripe for the usual missionary temptations such as children's healthcare, livestock medicines, newly constructed shelters . . . all available if the missionaries can just get those people into their church. Onward, Christian soldiers.

This is not a settling idea. It seems that our President (well, The President at any rate) lied to us to get us to fight Iraq, one of these Infidel nations, and many of our young men and women died in this conflict. And although I am not so simplistic or naive to think that this was completely religiously motivated, I do believe that Bush's faith was a factor in this situation. Sending people to die for religious reasons? I thought that was what we were trying to fight against.

And finally, I'm not alone in this. Fifty-two percent of Americans agree that the level of casualties in Iraq was "unacceptable," and only 57 percent believe the war was worth fighting. Bush's approval ratings are his lowest since September 11. Commondreams, the AU, and other groups are calling Bush's freudian slip (he did call this a crusade against terrorism, remember that?) and spreading the word that this man, a friend of Billy "Islam is evil" Graham , a vocally born-again Christian, founder of Jesus Day, and now, Crusader for Christ, might not hold Islamic or other differently-believing cultures in the high regard one should expect from the leader of the free (to worship freely) world.

Now don't get me wrong. Jesus seemed like a nice guy in that one book I read. I seem to remember him saying something like "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
And while the Koran's diplomacy is a little different, I did find this little bit of information:
"Allah loves those who act equitably."
It seems to me that if religious zealots actually zealously followed their sacred words, the world would be a far better place.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Tra la la.  It's a lovely day, my new site is up and running Lileks was back to his old self again and I'm baking bread.

Life is good.

Concerning the Lileks bleat today- I'd like to offer my little warped childhood context to the whole Iran deal.

I was raised knowing that my dad and his mom had spent a year living in Tehran and exploring the middle east.  To me, that segment of the world is like what many of my peers think of places their parents visited as youngsters- Wisconsin, Western Europe maybe, Mexico . . . exotic in some ways, but familiar in others.  My home has been always touched by the odd melding of my mom's Country Living style (Waverly fabrics, Shabby-Chic furniture, stained antiques and lots of pillows) and my dad's travels: Bazaar-bought Kilims, copper pots engraved in Arabic, camel backpacks housing yesterday's newspaper.  Persian palace meets Laura Ashley.  And then there are the oddities we inherited when my grandmother passed away . . . I remember playing dress-up with a rusty-colored burkha.

Iran has always been something closer to me than to other American kids my age.  I knew it somehow, from photos, the scratchy texture of our camel-hair rug, from stories my dad told us.  But the Iran he knew was long gone by the time I was born.

The mullahs long ago killed the cosmopolitan Tehran, the American school my dad attended and where he worked on Western plays like West Side Story and Barefoot in the Park.  My dad has friends now who knew what the death of Tehran felt like, firsthand-- expat engineers who suddenly explode in conversation when he mentions his year in Tehran.  His year before . . . His year, one of the few precious years before the revolution.

My friend Fatma moved here as a two-year-old with her mother, to escape the Iran of 1985.  They arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Allah works in mysterious ways.  She is still a practicing muslim, a sweet girl and very funny, an adoptive mother to many of the freshman of last year.  There is more to her story than I'll ever know.

This perspective is something I am deeply thankful for.  In this world, it is good to have an understanding of a culture so many people simply dismiss as violent, unpredictable, erratic.  I know Iran.  And to know something as beautiful and complex and troubled as Iran is to know that it is a crime, a shame, and a terrible error to simply label it "an axis of evil."

Until next time . . .

Monday, July 07, 2003

Hello hello hello . . .
It's the halting beginnings of the dog days of summer. Heating up to around ninety by noon, cooling to a chilly eighty at around ten.
I have got to vent about something. And as someone involved in marketing, I feel this is a disgrace. Marketing cigarettes to kids runs afoul of the moral fiber of our nation, same with marketing booze or pornography to the under 11 crowd. So why, why why do we allow the marketing of such wretched creations as "From Justin to Kelly," the latest soulless celluloid offal generated by the American Idol phenomenon?
I mean, really. Why is it that the best we have to offer our children this summer is a pathetic revamping of a tired, threadbare Romeo and Juliet story veneered with the ugly image-based, advertising-centered vapidity of American Idol? Because so many parents have gotten to be lazy. When I was in retail, parents would come up to me in the mall and ask where a good restaurant would be "to take the kids." Why can't they take their kids to a regular restaurant and force them to expand their horizons? Why can't a kid go to a thai restaurant? Don't these parents even remember that, as kids, they were people, too? They wanted to have revelations and learn and be challenged and try new things. That's what being a kid is all about. Not catering to the lowest mean, the least common denominator, sitting in front of commercialized, vacant pap for two hours.
There were bad movies when I was a kid. I just didn't see them. My parents took me to see the Disney masterpieces, and I'd watch classics on AMC or TNT like The Searchers, Funny Face . . . with real actors, not creations of AOL Time-Warner. Parents don't go places *with* their kids anymore. They *take*their kids places. It's not a learning experience or a cooperative experience. It's a delivery system. No longer are the studios making things that parents and kids can enjoy together (except Pixar, of course). Just a way to placate the little bastards for another two hours before they're wanting McDonalds again. Not cool, man. Not cool at all.
My parents didn't stop being themselves to be parents. They just became themselves, with kids. We went to Vietnamese restaurants . . . Chinese, Russian, Italian, everything. We went to museums and plays, and I could probably count on my fingers the number of nights I had a babysitter. I went to weddings. Funerals. And yes, occasionally to McDonalds. And the result? As an adult, I always want to explore the next new thing. And I stay away from Meg Ryan vehicles and boring theme restaurants like TGI Fridays. Because that's where you find idiots who were raised on stupid movies and mediocre family restaurants. And who needs that?