Monday, March 15, 2010
The ubiquitous presence of globalization has created a monster. People fighting, trampling, killing, and screaming over cheap products seems pretty absurd to me. Although i guess like any drug, consumerism seems to have become the addiction of millions worldwide. What is most disturbing about this is the thought that the grand opening of a store can attract more attention in a community than lets say the grand opening of a garbage incinerator. If this much passion was shown last week due to the closing of NYC public schools, there might be some justice. We have allowed ourselves to avert our energy into environmentally and socially destructive illusions of happiness, which provide extremely ephemeral satisfaction. (i mean come on, those were last season).
I love it though, because it gives the Beacon photo booth models a kind of notoriety, i mean all these kids are probably famous by now...and its mad entertaining. Here you will find Beacons finest (otter!!!eyes low holler!) and Beacons biggest Sophmore synths. Soo..i present to you the Beacon Photo Booth, dont take anything too seriously. But granted. Some of these photos just naturally raise the question "are you serious?" or more like... why is beacon so full of goons?
Monday, March 8, 2010
For the last month, a group of high school and college students has been running volunteer deliveries on Saturday nights for Ray’s Candy Store, an all-night chapel of East Village life packed with fond, fervent and freakish memories, but not exactly jammed with customers. With their deliveries — need an egg cream and Belgian fries at 3 a.m.? — the kids hope to drum up business for Ray’s until the spring, when more people are walking the streets.
How do the delivery teams get around? “Skateboards,” Arianna Gil, 16, said. “Scooters, bike and feet. All will be utilized.”
Already, friends and neighbors have run two fund-raisers to help the candy store’s owner, Ray Alvarez, pay thousands of dollars in overdue bills; another is planned for Monday night at the Theater for the New City.
In the age of bailouts, it turns out that not all rescue operations involve numbers ending in “illions.”
Last month, Bread Stuy, a coffee house on Lewis Avenue in Brooklyn, was padlocked by marshals because it owed back taxes; neighbors helped pay off a $10,000 penalty so it could reopen.
When the Pink Teacup, a soul-food fixture in the West Village for more than 50 years (“Take two pork chops at the Pink Teacup and call me in the morning,” the Newsday critic Sylvia Carter once advised) was collapsing late last year, its fans raised money through social media. Then the filmmaker Lawrence Page agreed to buy it, and he plans to reopen it this spring.
In Rockefeller Center, Jerry’s Barber Shop was about to close last month after 31 years when a customer — David Rubin, a real estate lawyer — volunteered to negotiate a better rent.
At the other end of the economic food chain, shares were sold last year to rescue the chronically in-hock Vox Pop Cafe, a coffeehouse-art gallery-bookshop on Cortelyou Road in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, making it into a collective.
Thanks to taxpayer-financed bailouts, big banks and insurance companies were spared the harshest judgment of the marketplace over the last 18 months, exempted under the doctrine of “too big to fail.”
On that scorecard, places like Bread Stuy and Vox Pop and Ray’s would be doomed. Banks in; egg creams out. But when someone has been running a little business for 37 years, as Mr. Alvarez has, he can build up a big head of social momentum.
One recent blustery night, Maria Musial stood behind the counter at Ray’s, where she has worked since arriving from Elk, Poland, in the early 1980s.
“When I came, he was nearly the only store on the block,” Ms. Musial said. “The squat people was here. Now it’s young customers, new people.”
A friend, Bozenna, chimed in.
“They don’t like egg creams,” Bozenna said.
In rallying people, some of Mr. Alvarez’s supporters have blamed his landlord, but the store’s problems are far more complicated than his monthly rent of $3,500.
“The landlord is not trying to throw him out,” said Bob Arihood, a resident of the area who has been working for the last year to untangle Mr. Alvarez’s chaotic financial life and who writes a blog called Neither More Nor Less. “Ray’s on a month-to-month arrangement. The landlord could have thrown him out any time he fell behind, but he doesn’t want to do that.”
Although he is 77 and paid Social Security taxes for decades, Mr. Alvarez has not yet drawn any benefits, because, he said, he immigrated from Turkey under a different name.
“They told him to go to a hearing,” Mr. Arihood said. “Ray didn’t go.” Mr. Alvarez said that students from Cardozo Law School were working on that problem. Then he recited an impressive catalog of debts. “The workers’ comp insurance is the worst,” he said, displaying a bill for $84,000 in back premiums.
Another pressing matter is the vat of boiling oil that he uses to fry potatoes, his best-selling product. The shop has no grease hood and an inadequate exhaust system. “The insurance company wants to cancel the policy,” said Barbara Chupa, the building manager. “But I’ve heard that Ray has someone willing to do the labor to put it in.”
The equipment, Mr. Alvarez said, would cost about $20,000.
His friends see injustice, not debt, and will fight. As the menu for the new delivery project says: “How could we sit idly while Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks slowly killed everything we cherished about our community?”
And there is a matter of loyalty to someone who was willing to cut kids a break on a plate of fries, said Arianna Gil: “He’s an icon of our childhood.”
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
In Valenti's book, she discusses how the social construct of virginity and purity is promoting patriarchy and furthermore hurting young women. STI's, Teen Pregnancy, Vulnerability, these are all products of abstinence education by day and Gossip Girl by night. Its an extreme dichotomy that sends all kinds of dangerous mixed messaging. I kinda laughed when i heard that these christian girls, are more likely to have anal sex and get STI's because they don't use condoms. But its not really funny, its fucked up, and a direct product of right wing manipulation. It isn't encouraging safe decision making, its encouraging fear and ignorance.
Some of the anecdotes she shares in her book make me laugh out loud but cry inside. She quotes right wing abstinence activists who say things like: "Guys will do anything for homemade baked goods." Wendy Shalit, author of "Girls Gone Mild" WTF! It is insane how this trend has picked up so much coverage, and on top of all of its grassroots christian support it has also picked up a significant amount of federal funding. The biggest advocates of "The Virginity Movement" are propagating a world (with federal funding!) where women are in the kitchen, married, and only have sex at their husbands disposal.
There are so many factors responsible for the conservative spectacle right wing America has imposed on sexuality, i don't know where to start. I would say it is epitomized through the federally funded purity balls. These take place in 48 states and are downright creepy. Its a dance in which your dad literally locks your chastity, and then promises to pass on the penis to the girls future husband. Kind of paedophilic, blatantly paternalistic, and scary.
The worst thing about these balls is that it directs all this energy into preventing something hypothetical. These fathers are not focusing or celebrating a girl's ambition, skill, moral judgement, or general humanness they are investing energy and money into fear and passivity.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Today i am really feeling the wrath of Ambivalence. My ideas are screaming in and out of my head" Fuck you!!! Fuck you!, Fuck you!: Teacher, SAT, Homework, College, Patriarchy, Racism, Capitalism blah blah the list goes on"...but now i find myself here...
And this book isn't just filled with every tip you need to "ace" the Sat, its filled with every step you need to uphold your privilege. I really think the SAT no matter how they much they try to deny it, isn't a test of your intelligence. It tests your ability to jump through a hoop, this hoop has many factors that make you more able or less able to jump through it. If you come from a privileged family you are likely to take a course, or get a tutor etc. This can be more than 500$...so while the back of my book advertises that it "tests your skills in reading, writing and mathematics- the same subjects your learning in high school" it is really full of bullshit you have to learn how to do. Lets not forget also that an exhausting number of low income neighborhood based schools are having difficulty passing REGENTS exams, which are far less rigorous tests. Some people are "learning" in high school, some are passing without knowing how to read past a 6th grade level. True story.
so the in short SAT really sucks and Ive been sucked right into it. Which makes me feel like a tool, and a poser, and depressed..I guess
Where i am torn is between everything mentioned previously and the two reasons i decided to take it.
1. If i do well my Mom is taking me to India with her in November
2. I will be "keeping my doors open" which is not a bad idea, but then i ask myself where does the suffering and treason stop? Do i have to compromise all my ideals and conform to standardized methods of valuing education to continue to keep options open. in the name of success? its all very narrow and subjective.