Words By S.

Saturday, 15 April 2006

Life of the Decadent.

Filed under: Popular Culture,Ramblings — S @ 1:16 pm

Ultimately, why I will never understand current trends in fashion.

Riding the good ‘ol Greyhound yesterday, I saw a teen with the most atrocious mouthwork ever.

Apparently, it's called a grill.

Apparently, this atrocity is called a “grill” and it is the latest fashion statement among adolescents and young adults within the (popular) “hip hop” scene. The one that I saw on the teen riding the Greyhound was not nearly as gaudy as that one, but it was bad nevertheless.

Ugh

Along with questioning why it is anyone in their right mind would want this done to themselves, I have to question just how much something like this would cost. As a person that had to suffer through braces for three of my adolescent years, I am more than aware of the cost of putting useful metal in your mouth and the upkeep that goes along with it. I cannot even fathom how much a person would spend on this complete and utter uselessness.

In addition to having this implanted in, I cannot help but wonder if it is removable, how a person could ever manage to eat with it in, and how the shine is maintained. Really, not only is it awfully gaudy and ugly, but it is just wholly unnecessary.

To me, this is like the “hip hop” equivalent of ear gauging.

also ugly

Pictured is the tame version of a gauged ear. This is also utterly useless. However, unlike the “grill” (or so I would imagine) the aftermath of having gauged ears is horrendous. These people will forever have ears that you can see straight through with loosely hanging ear lobes. It’s disgusting.

One other difference between ear gauging and the “grill” is the cost. While I imagine that the grill likely costs thousands of dollars, ear gauging costs a little more than a hundred, at best.

I like piercings as much as the next person, but really, where does one draw the line? When is enough enough? And is it that I am just not “hip” enough to understand?

It seems as if the new trend in teen fashion is to be as extreme in your overt expressiveness as possible so that there is something extra to show for their being “rebellious”. No longer is it enough to have a few piercings and a tattoo. No, now teens must gauge their ears, get “grills” put in, get neck/facial tattoos, and so on.

weirdo?

It wasn’t so long ago that that being a “goth” or a “punk” deemed you “weird”. It wasn’t so long ago that ear gauging and “grills” were not the norm. It wasn’t so long ago that you were considered to be a weirdo if you wore all black clothing, extreme makeup or a trenchcoat, Doc Martens, and a Marilyn Manson tee. It wasn’t so long ago that you were considered to be a weirdo if you wore tartan bondage pants, safety pins, and had a mohawk in five different colors.

weirdo?

No longer is it enough for unpermanent damage to give you an identity to hold on to. Now it is necessary for youth to alter their bodies permanently in order to be accepted. And naturally, in normal teen fashion, there is no looking to the future to see how what they do now will affect them later.

Do we have a future of floppy eared, silver mouthed, tattooed freaks as our food servers, dentists, doctors, and senior citizens?

And, as always, there will be that one person that doesn’t know how far is too far.

Ew

Think about it, kids. That’s all I’m saying – think about it.

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Friday, 14 April 2006

Yeah Yeah Yeahs (04. 12 . 2006)

Filed under: Music — S @ 10:51 pm

I had the pleasure of seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs live, for the first time on Wednesday.

I missed them the last time I would have had an opportunity, due to some sort of previous obligation. However, it was well worth the wait. They were absolutely amazing – though, their opening bands left a little to be desired.

The first opening band, I have no idea what they were called, but we arrived in the middle of their set. They relied very much on the noise aspect, and very little on the actual music. Now, I don't mind "noise rock," when there's actually something to it. That and the singer just blabbed way too much for my liking.

The second opening band, Blood On the Wall, were okay. They reminded me of the Pixies. However, the female in BOTW had nothing on Kim Deal. Her singing also lacked a lot. It wasn't so bad when she did the talk-singing, but whenever she actually attempted to fully belt out the notes, her voice fell flat and was a bit hard on the ears.

YYYs were the main attraction and it is not hard to see why. The stage presence of all three together just keeps you wanting more and more. Nick Zinner's shy moodiness coupled with Brian Chase being hidden behind the drum kit, yet so very much there, and Karen O.'s off the wall mannerisms and outfits mesh so well together. They seemingly ignore that the audience is there for the first part of the show, until Karen decides that it is time to address them. During the encore, Nick comes out, silently, with a camera and snaps pictures of the entire audience. Brian comes out and together he and Nick start to delve into a song which sends Karen running out.

The audience at this particular show had its ups and downs. One thing that made it exciting was to be in the center of a tightly packed crowd. I can't recall a time when I have ever been in a crowd that tight before, it was amazing. It was fun to be in an audience of people that weren't too pretentious or afraid to actually enjoy the show – in fact, it made me enjoy it even the slightest bit more to know that these people were as excited about seeing a band as I was.

What I didn't enjoy about the audience (which is making me realize my age, perhaps) was the shoving. I can handle being whacked in the head (which happened more often than not), I can handle having some big oafish guy jumping on my ankle repeatedly (sounds more painful than it is, really), and I can even handle the wholly unnecessary remarks (that, really, go beyond sexual harassment). Those are more than welcome when considering the other factors that emerge in the territory that is the concert venue. The shoving.

Shoving is quite possibly the single most irritating thing about shows (next to moshing, but really, they are related). You see, shoving is bad enough when you have plenty of room, but it's ten times worse when you're in a jam packed venue.  Shoving is not only irritating and rude, but it is insanely dangerous – it leads to my worrying about toppling over and being fallen on by who even knows how many people, or even worse – being trampled.

Having never been to a 21+ show, I am unaware as to whether shoving is a byproduct of attending shows with high schoolers (and younger) or if it is all a part of attending shows, period.  That said, I would still rather have it than a show with a ton of pretentious people that are "too cool" to actually enjoy a show. 

Other highlights of the show: as mentioned before, Karen O.'s atrocious outfits – particularly the gore suit in the encore; getting a setlist at the end of the show.

Downside of the show: forgetting my camera. 

Saturday, 8 April 2006

On Life.

Filed under: Life,Ramblings — S @ 9:09 am

There are several milestone periods in a person’s life. The moment you’re given birth to, that first birthday that says, “Hey, you made it! You’ve successfully been alive for one year!” the first day you step foot into school, that tenth birthday when you realize that you’ll never again have a single digit age, the year you hit puberty, the moment you turn 16 and are able to drive, the moment you turn 18 and are able to vote, the day you graduate high school, and so on and so forth. I have already had a number of my milestone periods, and I am fast approaching a new one – my graduation from a university that will give me a degree that seals my employment for the future.

While, to all of those around me, I appear to be stable and grounded with a strong sense of what I will do with the rest of my life, I must admit that I am scared as hell. Absolutely terrified.

While I’m not known to be terribly neurotic or phobic (except when it comes to arachnids), I must say that I have an insane fear of failing at life. Knowing just how possible it is for me to not accomplish all that I have worked for is a major drive and motivator right now.

Having been a part of the schooling system since the ripe young age of three and a half, I have gotten so ingrained in the system and so used to knowing the ins and outs of how it works. Every day, you have homework; every couple weeks, you have a test; there is always a large assignment; you will always get a break. Never has there been a time where I’ve thought, “Wow, I don’t ever have to go to school ever again if I don’t want to“…until now. Just the very notion of that puts my stomach in knots.

I have become so institutionalized that the thought of being de-institutionalized is a foreign notion to me. Having worked in a mental institution psychiatric hospital for a good chunk of this year (to which I will be returning), I am more than acquainted with the concept of de-institutionalization. Everyone always associates this concept with the mental patient or prisoner or some person that has essentially been locked up with a force fed schedule. What they never associate the concept with is the student.

For 18.5 years (eight-teen and a half years) of my life, I have been a member of this institution. The names of the institutions have changed, but the basis of them has remained the same. That is eighteen and a half years of having a set class, lunch, break, and homework schedule. Eighteen and a half years of basically being a drone. Eighteen and a half years of not being gradually acclimated into the “real world”. To suddenly have that cut off…well, it would be like suddenly losing a limb.

Children are never given a choice about being institutionalized. Adolescents are never given the opportunity to not be institutionalized. Young adults are essentially forced to be de-institutionalized and have to wander, blindly, into the world. It’s like being re-birthed, but not from a loving and comforting womb into a loving home. No. It’s being birthed from a cold, mechanical entity into a harsh, unwelcoming world.

School seeks to prepare you for many things, but the world at large is not one of those things. From elementary school on, the child is given test after test after test. Constantly being given a rank of how intelligent they are. If they aren’t intelligent enough, they are frightened into believing that they are doomed to work at McDonald’s for the rest of their lives. “Better get used to the grease smell, boys!

The high school student turns into the college student that is told that their degree will “be completely useful, always!” regardless of the degree, only to find out that when the time comes, they’re frantically searching for a place of employment that will pay enough for a shitty apartment and food.

The student is just thrown into the world minus training. If it is up to us to be concerned about de-institutionalizing the prisoner, shouldn’t we, first, be de-institutionalized?

That is one thing no one ever tells you when you apply for college. That is one thing they never tell you in high school. In high school, you learn that they are preparing you for college. What, then, does college prepare you for?

So, here I am, a mere three weeks left in the education system searching for shelter and employment, scared as hell about what my future holds. But then, you suddenly realize that the degree doesn’t mean much anyway, it’s about who you are connected with.

Life is a series of networks, and who you know determines how successful you become. Maybe the world isn’t so scary after all.

Monday, 3 April 2006

V for Vendetta

Filed under: Film,Politics — S @ 8:31 am

V

I had the opportunity to see this wonderful piece of art, after much self-debating. Not in a very long time has a movie been this poignant and important. Under the guise of an action/superhero film, you have one of the most spot on and important pieces of commentary about the government. I can’t ever recall a film having the balls to go straight for the source in this manner. It was absolutely beautiful.

Guy Fox
The film starts off with, “Remember, remember the fifth of November,” so simple and basic, yet holds so much meaning. It also gives you a lot of information straight away about what story you are about to see – assuming you know the importance of the fifth of November. And if you don’t, you will soon find out.

In futuristic London, the government is out of control and has managed to strike fear into its citizens (Big Brother style), as well as its own law enforcement. What the government says goes, and the citizens have few, if any, real rights. In this horrendously oppressive society, one man has decided “enough is enough.”

V

Dressed in a Guy Fawkes mask and armed with knives and explosives, he decides that there needs to be a revolution – partially his own revolution. His aim is to set the citizens of London free, to give them their lives and identities back. His aim is to restore hope in the citizens of London, while also unveiling the actions of the government to the right people.

While the film initially looks as if it’s commentary on Nazis Germany, you suddenly realize that it very much is not. You realize that this film is portraying daily life as it is right now. Life where the government gains its power and thrives by taking measures to strike fear into its own people, all the while giving the illusion that it is responsible for saving them from themselves. Without the government, the citizens would be helpless and lost, vulnerable to the so-called terrorists.

It suddenly dawned on me, halfway into the film, that not only is this commentary about Hitler and Nazis Germany, but it is also commentary about the American government, and the government of any other society that has been able to get completely out of control. A society where no one citizen is safe from losing freedoms, losing their voice, losing their identities.

This film, then, was meant as an eye opener. As a way to say, “Hey, it is time to re-gain your freedom!” A film to restore hope into citizens of societies whose governments are out of control.

V for Vendetta

Perhaps it wasn’t so futuristic after all.

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