Archive for the ‘youth’ Category

Still unsure how I feel about Google Buzz. I’m a bit creeped out by the sudden inclusion of all my Gmail contacts suddenly being privy to my Tweets and Google Reader shares. Another part of me also wishes that more people would participate. Some friends have told me that Buzz is my crack, that I’m the only person they ever see post anything. In my defense, it’s part of my job to surf the intraweb for cool things and I really, really like sharing information…one of the reasons why I love journalism.

For all Google Buzz’s potential pitfalls, I was happy to sign on this morning and see two Buzz posts that made me smile. The first from my friend, Chelsea, who posted a Foreign Policy slideshow (this magazine is quickly becoming one of my favorites and consistently features incredible photography) on “A Dog’s Life in China.”

This was one of my favorites:

I spent last January in China with an Economics class, studying the cultural, environmental and socioeconomic changes associated with the country’s rapid growth. At one dam visit, I noticed a group of older men sitting together on some benches, with bird cages hanging in the trees around them. One of our guides told me that this was so the birds could sing together.

My roommate, Maren, posted this excerpt from Eve Ensler’s latest work “I am an emotional creature.” I heard Eve perform this on the show where I interned in the fall, On Point, and it gave me the chills. Good to see it in print form:

I love being a girl.
I can feel what you’re feeling
as you’re feeling it inside
the feeling
I am an emotional creature.
Things do not come to me
as intellectual theories or hard-shaped ideas.
They pulse through my organs and legs
and burn up my ears.
I know when your girlfriend’s really pissed off
even though she appears to give you what
you want.
I know when a storm is coming.
I can feel the invisible stirrings in the air.
I can tell you he won’t call back.
It’s a vibe I share.

I am an emotional creature.
I love that I do not take things lightly.
Everything is intense to me.
The way I walk in the street.
The way my mother wakes me up.
The way I hear bad news.
The way it’s unbearable when I lose.

I am an emotional creature.
I am connected to everything and everyone.
I was born like that.
Don’t you dare say all negative that it’s a
teenage thing
or it’s only only because I’m a girl.
These feelings make me better.
They make me ready.
They make me present.
They make me strong.


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Caught in a bad romance

“Just remember. Lady GaGa is the enemy.”

This is how I ended a female counselors’ training session at camp this summer. I’ve worked at a summer camp out in California for the past four summers. Most of our campers came from wealthier homes in the LA area and come to camp charged with both the pressures and sense of opportunity inherent in being a girl today. This past summer, as director of Girls’ Camp, I was convinced that Lady GaGa–oversexed, plastic, and outrageous–was just the wrong role model for the strong and empowered women I wanted the campers to become.

I think I might have been wrong. Sorry GaGa.

This was back in the day before I watched the Bad Romance video so many times I almost have the dance memorized (it’s complicated and I’m not coordinated). Okay maybe lyrics like “I want your leather studded kiss in the sand” is a bit much for twelve-year-olds. But Lady GaGa–oversexed, plastic, and outrageous–totally owns her oversexed, plastic outrageousness.

Last night my roommates and I were discussing how wimpy and ignorant of English literature (hello Shakespeare) Taylor Swift, another contemporary pop princess, is. Today, I stumbled across this video, a parody of Taylor Swift’s song “Fifteen” by Madinthemoon:

Brilliant. I’m not sure what my favorite lines are. Maybe:

Don’t spend your weekend nights crying at home on your guitar wishing life was like Disney.


Cause if you’re a virgin and some jerk steals your hymen, your life isn’t over. Because your hymen isn’t all you’ve got to offer in this world. Did you know at that end of that play that Romeo and Juliet DIE?

She closes out with another gem:

If you’re going to listen to someone, listen to GaGa. Choose creative over canned, choose fierce over bland.

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I feel old

The end of the decade…

There are tons of decade retrospectives out there (one on On Point today). Few are even remotely positive. Last night, some friends and I tried to think of good things that happened in the past ten years. The best we could think of involved our own sex lives and not the rest of humanity. Eek. I guess things are better if you’re Chinese?

Anyway, I find this past decade significant because it’s the first one I can fully remember, because it started off with my Bat Mitzvah and ended with me moving into my own apartment.

But this decade is significant to other people. Like the people who were born in 2000. It seems weird, but they’re actual people. This video is my favorite decade retrospective out there. It definitely beats looking at photos of the towers falling…again.

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Back in the day, I made fun of Twitter, scoffed at the idea of cold-call networking, and felt silly about the idea of having my own blog. Back in the day, I was a college student with all the resources of a first class institution of higher education at my feet and the desire to reach out and grab everything.

Now, things are a bit different.

I’ve decided to start taking better advantage of the aforementioned institution of higher education and make use of the Colby Alumni Network. I ended up connecting with Betsy Morgan, the former CEO of the HuffPo and a Colby alumna. We chatted today and she had some good insight on blogging.

One: you [meaning, me, the aspirational journalist] should blog.

Two: you should blog often [whoops].

Three: it doesn’t have to be perfect.

The third point is hardest for me. Perhaps it comes from the days of being the Echo’s Opinions editor, when I had to write a weekly column. I sometimes agonized over it. “I’m 19! What the hell do I know!” I tried to write honestly. I ended up with a confessional poetry-type style of opinion-editorials. Usually, my columns went like this:

XYZ is something I believe in. But what the hell do I know? I’m 19! And I’m white and privileged and live a cushy existence at Colby College. But I still believe in XYZ. Also, I love the environment.

To my own credit, my columns were usually more engaging than that. And I think I was pretty successful…I got a lot of good feedback.

But thoughts (and blogs) don’t have to be perfect…or even good…to be worth sharing. So here’s to the end of trying too hard. Instead, I’m going to try to express interesting things I’ve learned or weird thoughts I’ve had or whatever strikes me as worth telling the world about.

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Over all this “Lost Generation” hubbub, I just want to say: I ain’t lost. I may not know just where I’m going, but I’m content right now to be wandering. Yes, I’m poor and yes, my future is uncertain, and yes, my parents still have to pay for my health insurance. I love what I’m doing right now: I’m the most intellectually stimulated I’ve been…ever. My college friends–the people who I’ve had the greatest connection with in my life–are still a prominent part of my life. And…I have fun. Relatively speaking, I’m feeling quite carefree.

I haven’t had much time to write the past few days…I had an interview with WNYC yesterday (holler) and have been writing some other things. But I’ve been wanting to post this Garrison Keillor recent blog passage since I read it last week. Life is too short to be unhappy, Keillor says:

Among the young and ebullient, there’s no worry about interest rates because they have no savings — they spend their weekly earnings and a little bit more on hair gel, iTunes, phone bills, $4 coffee and $100 jeans beautifully pre-ripped. They don’t see the headlights in the soybean fields at midnight, only the lights in the bars where they go to be beautiful and cool and maintain text-message contact with friends from coast to coast and then have sex.

Okay so my life isn’t exactly like that. And I hope I’m slightly less shallow than Mr. Keillor believes my peers and I to be. But old people are still jealous of us, unemployment and all.

But here’s to being young and ebullient. We’re only young once and we’re lucky enough to be young at a time when others’ expectations for us are low. When else in our lives will we be accountable only to ourselves and our own personal sense of fulfillment?

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