(WARNING: Contains disturbing sexual and violent content suitable for mature audiences only.) A chilling work of genius that got me vlogging after a hiatus of several months, the Emmy-award-winning, Hulu series, The Handmaid’s Tale, exaggerates and magnifies the insidious dynamics of present-day society, to bring home the profound power imbalance between men and women which, until now, remains a backdrop of, at best, silent oppression and, at worst, potential violence. Unlike Orwell’s 1984, this work isn’t predictive or even dystopian. IT’S NOW. Indeed, it’s so true that any menstruating girl will find its home truths ineluctable.
Day One of Sam’s graduation trip to Washington DC + Cincinnati, Ohio. Intention: To bring Sam to visit those cities and places where I grew up, so he can get not only a better understanding of non-NY, non-SF America. But his Mom. And, again, “real” America.
It’s totally outrageous PC bullshit that June Chu, a dean at Yale University, has been put on leave because her Yelp reviews offended some hypersensitive liberals. Besides the fact that I identify very strongly with Chu, whose remarks, style and background, could have been my own, there are strong reasons why we need to nip overweening political correctness in the bud. First, political correctness which flies in the face of common sense reinforces the conservatives’ perception that the divide between right and left is absolutely unbridgeable, and that liberals have generally lost touch with reality – not to speak of the concerns of the ordinary, middle class American. Increased divisiveness and polarization are the last things we need in the United States (or indeed, Europe) right now. Next, ostracization and censure of university staff (or students) for failing to tiptoe around the shibboleths of political correctness is a politicization of the campus which, in theory, is no different than hiring professors or admitting students on the basis of their substantive political beliefs. Whereas ardent bible-thumpers or neo-Marxists might consider such tests (and missions) appropriate in an institution of higher learning, the overwhelming, vast majority of students and teachers in elite universities would place freedom of expression and debate over and above any specific body of belief or political persuasion. Finally, and this is probably my biggest axe to grind, because it’s personal, I take issue with the credentials of today’s righteous PC firebrands. Having attended both Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania, I know that many of these provocateurs are pampered white kids who’ve never experienced any form of racism, prejudice or discrimination – let alone harassment. It’s galling to me that they are taking on the mantle of minority oppression without the foggiest notion of what it actually feels like. Trust me, it’s something that the June Chus of this world and I know only too well. And THAT is why it’s utterly absurd to brand June Chu a hater or bigot, explaining the title of my vlog. You can find screencaps of Chu’s reviews here — and judge for yourself. As for the coverage of the incident itself, you can definitely Google that on your own. I have emailed my video to Chu and all her dean-colleagues. Their contact info is on this page.
Facebook announced its principal areas of focus and R&D during this week’s F8 conference. Call me naive. But I’m disappointed (that’s a very mild way to put it) that Mark Zuckerberg is just another tech entrepreneur mindlessly chasing numbers instead of exerting some moral leadership. He needs to grow up and get a conscience – URGENTLY. [I taped this vlog on the spur of the moment explaining the terrible lighting and my weirdly recumbent posture. Notwithstanding the aesthetics, I’m glad I did it.]
It’s the last 1-2% of best effort and attention to detail which engenders true loyalty when you’re building a business or brand. If a handful of people notice, it’s worth it; Now, after many years,
I reject the 80/20 rule; if you’re an artist, why would you ever live in the US any more, I asked Denise,
my friend, the music composer; besides the defunding of the NEA, Americans don’t fundamentally support the idea of building cultural patrimony, which makes it an unsympathetic home for artists, IMO; why is education necessary for good taste? And, if it is, what kind of education is required? I ask Denise why I should use Spotify; I don’t listen to music because I have no reliable means of discovering new high quality music; NO, actually, the real challenge is allocating sufficient time for music discovery; and that’s because I like music too much and can’t do anything else when listening to it; so, paradoxically, I don’t listen to any music at all; Denise reminds me that nothing can actually fill that (music) gap; because music can be accessed and appreciated without any prior knowledge or, as I put it, music can fill you, instantly; for that reason, I don’t like vocal music; in fact, it was Nietzsche in The Birth of Tragedy who was able to explain in words my dislike of vocal music.
Daily vlog diary: Sick as a dog today; the focal point of Hong Kong lifestyle is shopping malls; spending money to look like you’re in tatters; thousands of domestic helpers have to squat on the streets, both literally and figuratively, every weekend and public holiday in Hong Kong.
This vlog is about my extremely personal reaction to last year’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Sellout by Paul Beatty. This novel is a caustic and hilarious condemnation of political correctness. Reading it allowed me to understand (in the most backwards-ass fashion possible) why the righteous, high-minded condemnation of historical oppressions by do-gooding, white, liberal progressives bugs the crap out of me. I say “the most backwards-ass fashion possible” because it took the absurd character of Beatty’s “Me”, an over-educated, young black farmer from East LA, who reinstates segregation and takes on a slave, to understand why white people have no standing, by definition, to pronounce, let alone act upon, the prejudice experienced by black, brown, yellow, orange or dusk-colored people. By the way, it is because I read this defining book that I revised my personal mission to “vlog in a post-PC world without apologies). Now, if only I could write 1/10 as well as Beatty!