Oh, guys. For once, my tardiness is due to an influx of ideas. I suppose that you don’t know exactly what I mean when I say “tardiness” because the timing of these blog posts seem to have to rhyme or reason, but I will tell you now: from this day forth I will aim to have a new post for you every Monday with additional, incidental posts during the week as I see fit. Public statement. Public shaming.
Now, against my better judgement, I will share with you the various topics that have been bouncing around in my head for the last week and some, and I will perhaps expand on one or none of them this coming Monday.
1. I realize that, at this point, the Pussy Riot verdict may already be old news, but it appears that there are many trials to come, so let’s not let it become ancient history just yet. Last weekend, I encountered this article on the Daily Beast, which succinctly brings to light the alarming reality of the judicial process, which may have itself have been pulled from the vaults of Russia’s long history. Ms. Gessen’s point about language and modernity stuck out to me most particularly:
I suddenly realized these texts sounded better in English than they do in Russian. It wasn’t that the translators had improved the quality of the writing: the originals, which I had read in Russian, had been clear and cogent and surprisingly erudite for three very young women—they range in ages from 22 to 30—who had been known for staging radical actions, not for writing political commentary. The problem with the writing in Russian was that the women were speaking the language of the modern world in a country that is rapidly traveling backward in time.
Go with me here: when I was studying abroad in France in 2009, I talked about music all the time. It’s an easy topic for small talk and doesn’t require an extensive vocabulary. Eventually I had to ask, though: why do so many French recording artists sing exclusively (or almost exclusively) in English? The tradition of Rock and Roll, my interlocutor explained, is American; the spirit of the music is rooted in the English language, and it doesn’t sound as good in other languages. I don’t want that to be true for Pussy Riot, though. English, really, can’t possibly be useful as a language of rebellion anymore. The bigger rebellion, I think, is finding the phrasing and the words to say what you aren’t allowed to say in your native tongue.
2. From the political to the mundane. Yes, I am talking about the transition from Pussy Riot to this image, but I guess I’m also talking about the image itself. Bathroom graffiti is still the best forum to editorialize anonymously. Sorry, internet. What I really love, though, is the lurking possibility for inappropriate juxtaposition. While I’m sure learning to read will make a difference in our lives for so many reasons, I am equally sure that Rachel ❤ Chad and that they will be together 4ever. There’s a heart within a heart.
3. Please consider the following. First a real screen shot from an online job application I recently filled out:
And now this, which is funny because it’s true:
I have to confess: I am horrible at coming up with passwords. It is easier for me to memorize an arbitrary series of numbers assigned to me by a random website than it is for me to come up with a memorable password. Moving on. Having just seen the above video, I laughed – actually laughed – when the first company website told me to include numbers… and then to include a capital letter… and then to include a special character. Why couldn’t they just tell me all at once? At the top of the page?
I realize that these are the principles of creating a safe password: using as many different kinds of symbols as possible to create the largest possible pool of potential combinations. I took statistics, yo. I just can’t handle how weirdly analytical some of the guidelines can get. At this point, it really isn’t a passWORD anymore, anyway. It is just an arbitrary series of numbers and letters.
So, there you have it: my brain dump of the week in lieu of a cohesive (hah!) post. If you have an opinion on what you’d like to hear my opinion on, please feel free to leave me a comment. Clearly, I’ve got plenty of opinions to go around.