“There’s a fundamental difference between the rebels of the past and today: Generation Y are born entrepreneurs.”—Because: We were raised to think we were awesome and could do anything and deserved the world, and this is the result. Worse things could happen, I say.
Because: I have many, many friends in law school and know how hard they work, so this piqued my attention.
This is why institutions in the U.S. are supposed to great, so they/we say, because they teach us how to “think.” But a surgeon who didn’t know how to operate after graduating medical school? In Argentina, undergraduates study very specific careers, and their classes focus entirely on that, whether public relations, architecture or human resources. I’m not sure which is better, but I do wish my Medill journalism major had been less pre-professional. It was based squarely in the liberal arts, with 75 percent of our classes outside the journalism school, but I often felt constrained. Also, writing an article is nothing comparable to closing a merger.
Because: About a week and a half ago I tweeted in Spanish, “Why are the trees crying?” As of late, the trees have been dripping, sweating or crying, on clear, sunny days with no recent rainfall. It’s this curious phenomenon, and I shot out a tweet about it. I thought someone might know and respond, but I didn’t hear anything. Then today, I received this tweet. (For those who don’t speak Spanish, it means “Thank you for the idea that we saw in a tweet of yours: Trees that cry in Buenos Aires.”) The subject of the story is fascinating, but also what fascinates me is what this exchange says about contemporary journalism practices and how reporters generate ideas for stories. Groso!
Because: Cooking the books, the meat of the problem, continue with the inevitable (and in my case, poor) puns and double entendres, but the reality of Argentine inflation is priced and spelled and out right there on the McDonald’s menu. Now, let’s stop with the fine slapping. Also, if we’re going to play pretend and subsidize any prices, can it please be the taxi fares? This week’s increase makes it the third or fourth in my 15 months in Buenos Aires. Public transit is still unbelievably cheap, so unbelievably cheap that I fear when the price finally changes it’ll become 5 pesos a ride. Right now it’s 1,10-1,25 pesos.
Because: Happy Thanksgiving! Today is my favorite holiday. I love that the secular holiday is so important in the U.S. and to those from the U.S., that it’s such a pure holiday. Sure, tomorrow is Black Friday or whatever and consumerism rears its money-hungry head, but today is Thanksgiving and all that is on the agenda is eating, time with family and counting blessings. Everyone’s doing their best impression of recreating their own version of a Norman Rockwell painting.
This fourth Thursday in November 2011 is my third international Thanksgiving. The first of the holiday abroad was during study abroad in Barcelona, and it was the only day in my four months of that Barcelona utopia that I was homesick. I sobbed on video chat before going out to dinner with about 12 other U.S. students to an Argentine restaurant and making toasts of thanks for about three hours straight. Then I ended up in Argentina, thought not in an Argentine restaurant, for Thanksgiving 2010. The day began with me waiting on a corner at 8 am (which is, like, SO early for Argentime) for a friend to drop off a turkey that we were pretty certain he was going to have shot and plucked himself. Then the majority of that day, for which the weather was a hot, hot precursor to the oppressive Buenos Aires summer climate, I ran around the greater Palermo area in desperate search of a bird thermometer because we were going to cook that turkey for 20 people and do it well, gosh darn it, even though the only temperature options on our retro stove were one, two or three squiggly lines. Bird thermometers apparently don’t exist here; you just have to know when it’s done (test the leg!) and serve it with a generous helping of hope that you’re not poisoning anyone. In the end, I ate too much, gave a lot of thanks and no one got sick.
This year I’m working most of the day, then running home to roast vegetables for a Thanksgiving potluck at a place I’m still trying to locate on a map. Last night I had a mini pumpkin pie topped with caramelized pecans, thanks to Chef Mun’s event at the Oasis Clubhouse, so I’m already feeling a little festive. The distance is hitting me harder this year than last, probably because I’m just sitting here thinking about how in two weeks I’ll be home, and I’ll be there through Christmas and that’s wonderful, but it would have been perfect had I been able to swing my traditional celebrations for both holidays. So close yet so far. Still, with tradition I think it’s not the actual act of carrying them out that brings the joy or comfort, but the knowing that they’re there.
“International marriages matter partly because they reflect—and result from—globalisation. As people holiday or study abroad, or migrate to live and work, the visitors meet and marry locals. Their unions are symbols of cultural integration, and battlefields for conflicts over integration. Few things help immigrants come to terms with their new country more than becoming part of a local family. Though the offspring of such unions may struggle with the barriers of prejudice, at their best international marriages reduce intolerance directly themselves, and indirectly through their progeny.”—
Because: I suppose I am one of such offspring mentioned, the biological daughter of my mom from the U.S. and father from Mexico. But, I really cannot pretend to have faced any prejudice, and if I have I haven’t recognized it. I can blend in, or at least not stand out, in any part of the US, really, as well as in much of Europe and Latin America, or at least I like to tell myself that. The whole part about reducing intolerance reminds me of how when growing up, at times when I felt like stirring the pot and someone would make a comment about “Mexicans” in town, a term many used to describe anyone who looked Hispanic, I would say, “You know, I’m Mexican.” I always had to bring that up when someone would let a “dirty Mexicans” slip because, uh, how offensive, and if only you knew how obsessed many Latin Americans are with preening. Often times my revelation would get a defensive, quick counter like, “But, you’re not like them.” If I really wanted to take it all the way, I would ask them what they meant by that.
Anyway, this sizable article is mostly about statistics and details related to cross-border marriages, and it’s quite interesting.
Because: The social media outlets of the Buenos Aires “expat” circle are abuzz with this series, just out, featuring our city. The series involved a handful of people I know personally, and I can confidently say that’s because it’s in English. Still, it was more than cool to realize. It makes me feel less like I’m playing pretend with my life in Buenos Aires. More than a year into it, it’s about time.
I’m convinced GQ publishes the best profiles. They (or their authors) have a knack for making their subjects, I think, more interesting than they probably are. My theory is it’s because the writing is always so dang good and they make sure to get to know the subjects outside a standard interview situation. Also, the journalists always bring themselves into the story, which makes the star/subject seem more human (celebrities! they’re just like us!) and therefore, counter-intuitively, that much cooler or greater. Alex Pappademas often pens the GQ profiles, and he’s such a phenom. A non-Pappedemas favorite of mine is this one from Edith Zimmerman on ” Captain America,” partly but not only because I adore Zimmerman by default because she heads up The Hairpin.
Side note: I selected this quote because since taking a contemporary art class in college and loving it, and then interning at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago senior year and loving it, I’m partial to it. Jay-Z, an artist himself and patron of various forms of art! Maybe next he’ll fund one of us dime-a-dozen young writers who all think we have a novel in us.
Because: Dear God, I love Adele. That voice! That voice must recover, for those of us who love and need her music as a cathartic, emotional experience that aches just right, which is, like, everyone. One day at work all I listened to for hours straight was remixes or versions of Someone Like You. It was First Love that first had me fall hard for Adele.
“We’re either going to change or we’re going to die,” said Thadd Kistler, a lifelong resident who recently stepped down as mayor. “This is Ulysses now, this is the United States now, this immigration is happening and the communities that are extending a hand are going to survive.”—Hispanics Reviving Faded Towns on the Plains
Because: I grew up as the demographic in my hometown outside of Princeton, New Jersey was changing. As I came into understanding more of the world around me, there were progressively more Hispanic residents in town, in the schools and running businesses. When day-to-day all can seem so stable, even and at times stagnant, I think one of the coolest things is realizing that you’re right in the middle of a big change, an evolution of sorts. News stories like these are the predecessors to textbook chapters of retrospective analyses, complete with catchy names like “The Great Migration.”
Because: If you have the time, listen to the radio show rather than read the story. Or, do both, but the Fresh Air episode is excellent. David Carr is a really interesting dude and comes across as such in every subject upon which he expounds. In this case, much of the subject of his conversation is about what the above title suggests, specifically Twitter. A non-tweeting (and Fresh Air fan) friend sent me this link with a note saying she is now totally re-thinking her perspective on the social media platform. Give it a shot; “it” as in the article, the episode, Twitter or any combination thereof.
Also, I love listening to NPR. Good radio reminds me that there’s a place for all types of media, even when the meaning or importance of them shift. Fresh Air is so soothing, in part because it brings me back to the morning commutes of my childhood when my mom or dad would turn NPR on in the car. I thought talk radio was soooo boring then. I’m glad my parents rarely let me change the station to Top 40, just like my dad would pump Creedence Clearwater Revival, or my mom Carole King, through the house on Saturday mornings.
Also, the friend who sent me this article said she used to listen to it when studying abroad for a year during college because in many ways it made her feel closer to home.
Because: First thing’s first, a “boot” apparently is a trunk.
About a month ago I took a jaunt to Rio de Janeiro. I got the urge to travel, had a three-day weekend and made some moves. It was my first time in Brazil, and now I’m all bent on returning and learning Portuguese, in whatever order. Visiting a place makes it more real and closer, for obvious reasons, so I was engrossed reading this article about the fall of a great (in stature, no positive connotations) carioca drug lord. I could picture the favela Rocinha, the people on the nearby beaches. One night in Rio, in a large group, I actually ended up at a party in the favela of Villa Vidigal, the slum that rose up behind the Sheraton Rio Resort where I was staying. Before I get called crazy, I have to put it out there that I am a generally cautious person, and try my best to not be ignorant. I went with friends, friends of friends and people who lived there, and good judgment was exercised. We followed the samba music, ended up in a low-key party and no one did anything that could have even been interpreted as bothersome. This was no gawking at the lifestyle or quality of life that I imagine happens on one of the many daytime favela tours. Still, I spotted some sizable artillery on our descent out of the favela that, had I seen it on the way in, would have turned me right around. It wasn’t being used, nor did it look like it was going to be used. But, I grew up in New Jersey and have seen a gun in-person only once before in my life at a shooting range on an imitation cowboy ranch in Upstate New York.
It is said that the “safest” favelas are the ones that aren’t pacified, or are without police presence, because the cartels want things to be calm and business to continue as usual. Whether that’s true, I am not in a position to say, but Rocinha covers a massive area and includes numerous, numerous residents. I can imagine the waves from this will be big.
Also, I was speaking with a Brazilian coworker of mine about the capture, and she told me the most impressive aspect of this news is not that this guy was captured, but that the police who captured him refused the reward the handlers offered, which would dwarf any Brazillian policeman’s salary.
Because: While I think the link above is a relatively lackluster compilation of Vonnegut’s best quotes, I’ll read anything that man writes. Follow “him” on Twitter — it’s an unverified account — for some real treats.
Because: It’s like all of a sudden, everyone is super into electronic dance music. I’m here in Buenos Aires hearing all this music and dancing to it and digging it out at clubs because that’s what people do all the time here, they go out to clubs and dance. But club culture has never been as huge in the U.S., and now it seems like so many people are regularly going to raves and I’m wondering if I missed something.
And any time Kaskade is bumping, which is often, judging from The Hype Machine popular chart and friends’ social media activity, it’s a Mormon who is moving the masses. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds that at least a little interesting.
Because: I can New Yorkers collectively reading this and saying “I want a treehouse!” The concept whimsical, hip, functional and potentially high-end enough to appeal to a swath of people. So, as my friend Katie who send me this article astutely pointed out, why doesn’t she just start a business creating treehouses for people?
Because: Cute. This is the kind of simple story that after first read, gets you thinking about all sorts of other things, all sorts of things far more complex than cookies and strangers, and then everything starts to mean something and those meanings keep morphing and suddenly you’re applying this to everything and everything’s a metaphor.