Because: I’ve lived in the U.S., Barcelona and Buenos Aires and interacted with a number of college-age people in all three places, and I cannot help but compare the drinking culture in all of these places. There is no question there is something seriously gross and off about the U.S. college drinking culture. So why did/do college students drink as heavily as they do? I definitely think there is value in looking at this question from a social level and inside-out, as this researcher does when he asks students if their latest binge drinking episode was fun and why it was fun. I’m unsure whether there is anything revelatory in his research, but I find it interesting (and maybe a bit depressing…) still.
“This is a secret that organizations that successfully harness the imaginations of their creative people have long known: You can’t order creativity. You can only create the conditions for it to blossom—mainly by setting certain prescribed boundaries and then giving your creative people a great deal of autonomy to execute as they see fit.”—
Because: It is things like Burning Man, which I have never attended but now want to attend, that restore my faith in humanity. This idea of looking to Burning Man for leadership inspiration and lessons is an interesting spin to it all.
Because: I have a document saved on my computer of my favorite quotes, and I love little more than coming across one that resonates and relates to my current life and mentality. Few of them are quotes that would end up on coffee cups or bumper stickers, as I consider myself something of a quote elitist and pride myself in finding the more obscure, nuanced ones. (Hey, we all have our things.) Given my affinity for quotes from intellectuals, leaders, writers and/or the famed, this article was super intriguing to me. It also reminds me of the concept: How often are we just hearing what we want to hear? With all types of quotes, I’m sure it is often.
Because: My little sister is a college freshman this year, (at Penn State University Park) and my dad sent me this article that is about her and her classmates, I suppose. The list is cute, interesting. I am four years/five grades ahead of her and have to say some of it is not all that different for me, nor does it seem that outlandish.
Because: I learned from unfortunate experience in sixth grade about the concept of toxic friends. While it was dramatic, deeply upsetting and world-shaking by middle school histrionic standards, it seared into my being valuable lessons about friendship and female dynamics. I do not doubt this statistic at all, but I do not understand why women are so reluctant to cut the toxicity and mala onda out of their lives. No time to be brought down, I say.
Because: My dear friend is this incredibly talented, gorgeous violinist’s publicist. Click the link for the Vogue.com video and witness his charm and musical gift yourself. I need to arrange for a Buenos Aires show and media tour!
“Cook once dispatched an underling straight from a meeting at Apple headquarters in Cupertino to the airport bound for China, without time even to pack a change of clothes or figure out a return date. “Why are you still here?” was Cook’s goodbye, delivered in the middle of the meeting.”—
Because: This photographer took her own personal stand against cyber bullying and canceled senior portrait appointments with girls who has posted malicious comments about classmates on Facebook and then posting a blog about her decision. Her post has gone viral, with most expressing their support and gratitude.
When I was in middle and high school, it was all about AOL Instant Messenger, LiveJournals and MySpace, and while cyber bullying existed, it was nothing then like what it is today. I applaud Jen.
Because: And so it was written. It seems the vast majority of Argentines I speak with are adamant anti-Kirchnerites, and therefore against Cristina Kirchner, and all reacted with shock at the primary results. (Case in point: Mauricio Macri was recently re-elected as Buenos Aires Jefe de Gobierno, aka mayor, and his politics are the polar opposite of Kirchner’s more socialist agenda.) Obviously, not the entire country feels the same. Let’s just hope everyone is voting for who they think will best lead the country, rather than who sponsors their mandatory trip to the polls with a free ride and Coca Cola.
“From the slums of Buenos Aires, there’s only one escape – football. To play like Maradona or Tevez is the ultimate dream, but off the pitch there’s another option: joining one of the violent gangs who control the sport. An extraordinary report of life among the world’s most dangerous fans”—
Because: I started doing CrossFit a few months ago when another recent college grad from the States and Buenos Aires transplant started gathering together a group to do Workouts of the Day (WODs) in a park. I’ve gotten hooked, and even within the first couple of weeks. I recruited friends to join in and extol the virtues of CrossFit workouts to anyone who seems even mildly interested. This article from Fast Company does an excellent job of explaining the phenomenon, which is actually challenging to do concisely because it’s not like saying “kickboxing” or “Pilates,” from what the concept is to why it’s so addicting.
Because: This article is by the sister of a friend of mine here in Buenos Aires (my friend, by the way, runs an awesome company called Narrative Tango Tours). I spent only a week in Havana, a small stretch of time that gave me a lot to think about, as I still do. For that reason, this essay pulled me in before I had even begun reading. It reveals a lot about culture and lifestyles in Cuba, and does at a pace that gives the reader time to digest it all—food pun not intended.
Because: Condé Nast, that fairy tale magazine publishing brand. When I interned at SELF, a Condé publication, my friends and I used to try to guess which floor everyone would hit, or where they would get off, and for which publication they worked, of course judging superficially. It is a funny, wrapped-up-in-itself-world, but some aspects of Argentine culture ("cheto"!) are just as silly and superficial.
Because: Who wouldn’t want to write more quickly, and just as well? I often have this thought when it is taking me forever to write something I know I could, at peak performance, churn out a better version of in one-third of the amount of time. I have tried to self-analyze what makes for a smooth, quality writing session and what doesn’t. I am fairly convinced that what it comes down to is what the second commenter on the piece articulates:
There is no need to write quickly. The goal should be to write well. Here is how you do that:
1. You have something important to say. 2. You should be anxious to say it.
If you have nothing important to say, it is better to say nothing. Don’t write.
For that reason, freelancing at will is a better fit for me than a full-time writing gig. Or at least that is what I tell myself.
Also, as an avid multi-tasker, I relished the inclusion that multi-tasking (a specific type of course) can actually be beneficial. And yes, I wholeheartedly agree reading more is always better. Reading regularly and copiously is one of the most fundamental ways to improve as a writer, for many reasons, some of which this article includes.
Now for an article on how to better edit yourself that doesn’t involve printing out a hard copy of what you’ve written and channeling your high school journalism teacher with a colored-ink pen? I need that.
Because: This is a huge, huge deal. I am not surprised “racial and class lines return” as the headline claims, in light of this. To begin with, can we really believe that they ever disappeared? Further, when I visited Cuba in March 2010, one of the most puzzling facts I learned is that Cuba has two forms of currency, the CUC and peso cubano. The CUC is the tourist currency, the peso cubano for all Cubans. The odd part is, some stores and businesses in Cuba only except CUCs, so unless Cubans have relatives in the U.S. sending or bringing them CUCs or enough money to purchase CUCs, they are prevented access to many establishments. In some rights, they are second-class citizens in their own country. Like, what?
“If this footnote from our culinary past can be read for a moral, it might be this: Our powers of assimilation are greater than we know. We can speak Spanish, eat sushi and still be American. The proof is in the pickle.”—
Because: Pickles and immigration, how funny. I am certain all fears that are racial, xenophobic or cultural are just as absurd and unfounded, but does it have to be only in hindsight that we seem them as such?
Because: Two friends of mine from Northwestern are spending the (U.S.) summer in Buenos Aires conducting research related to the villas, which are like shantytowns, in the city. Hearing about their experiences visiting and investigating the villas has been hugely eye-opening for me. Living in a relatively cushy Buenos Aires neighborhood definitely keeps one sheltered from such knowledge and sights, and I have been grateful for them for sharing what they have learned and witnessed so far related to their research. Linked in the title is the latest blog posts from one of the girls about some of their most recent experiences. It is not a short read (not super long, either), but it is well worth reading through to in order to learn and understand a little more about the villas in Buenos Aires, and the living conditions which for (far too) many city residents, is life.
“The good times are an illusion, like a vacation at Disney World. And Argentina’s stay at Disney is about to end," said Gerold, who predicted that the government will have to soon reduce or eliminate fuel subsidies.”—
Because: Another article about the economy in Argentina, yes, but this one is the most numbers-based an in-depth one I’ve found yet (and in layman’s terms, which I definitely need). What I didn’t know before reading this, though, is that sectors of the Argentine economy have been doing very well. But it seems there are still too many problematic contradictions.