The Hope in Futility and a Side of Fodder

I don’t think I conceived this notion in one unknown day, in one bedding with misfortune. Rather, I have a feeling that it came in several episodes of irony, anxiety, and possibly slight depression. Either way, I’ve come to see life in a way that many people likely see it. There is no inherent purpose to living. Objective truths present themselves as scientific facts. We are plagued with social constructs so deeply embedded in our heads that we can only with great introspection discern them– there is no beauty on earth. Life is moments of pleasure, pain, and confusion. We assign import to trivial things (which in this world is any thing) and sometimes we pursue them. We are fundamentally equal with all other creatures and facets of the universe. The squirrel I saw running around today is as quintessential to life as my existence. (If anything can be called important when everything is equal,) The dead skin cells on my pillow case are no less important to the essence of humanity than Winston Churchill.

I accepted this one step at a time. After countless days of waking up trembling and terrified of existing, I came to terms with the fact that no matter what I did, it would not matter ultimately. We all die; some of us are remembered for a generation or many, some of us are not.. but we’re dead after we die, so that (preoccupation) affects us not. In the meantime, between now and the moment I breathe my last, I’ve assigned myself the mission of enjoying everything I can and want to, and trying my best to not negatively affect other people in the process. With this is the addendum of not regretting a single thing. For every offense I’ve committed against others and myself, I forgive myself. All the times I’ve been disappointed, all the times I’ve been hurt, all the times I’ve endured, I use and will use as calls for better judgement in the future. This is the most liberating notion I’ve ever created or discovered, and is at the core of who I strive to be.

Interlude: This all seems so melodramatic. Let is also be known that it is a Friday night, and I am alone. 

It is a conflicting idea. If there are no rights or wrongs (aside from the scientific), how am I supposed to justify human rights? How am I supposed to fight the struggle of the marginalized groups which I constitute and ally myself with those I don’t but do believe in? I am in the process (now and probably for the rest of my life) of figuring this all out. Ideally, I engage in discourse with others, but sometimes solitary contemplation must suffice. I suppose now that I am not trying to get at a truth, rather, I am trying to create one. I am trying to create something which I do not believe to inherently exist. I find myself in greater dilemmas and ironies every day. This all should give me something to think about until I die, I guess.

You Might be a Stupid Hoe If…: Apologies and Not So Much

Woo woo woow oowoo woowowo wow ow ow owo  wowoo woo wo ow ow owowoww

Come one, come all
O people who somehow
Hate Nicki Minaj

I was thinking earlier: am I a Nicki Minaj apologist? As I listened to Stupid Hoe while I biked to the office, I felt guilty for singing along with the problematic lyrics in the song. I don’t like her comparisons between Angelina and Jen, and who is with Brad and who is not. As if Brad were something special… dude had like three good movies that I can think of (specifically Babel, Snatch, and Fight Club). ANYWAY, I just sorta… overlooked the whole line. I guess she’s allowed to feel like being with Brad Pitt is superior to not being with Brad Pitt, however woman-reducing that thought may seem to me. At the end of the song, she says she “[is] the female Weezy” Of course I asked why Weezy isn’t the male Nicki Minaj? I was vehement about that question. I guess in the end I justified it by arguing that Weezy preceded Minaj. That is my Minajical Apology.

Now for what we are all here today:
Nicki Minaj is so awesome.

Let’s all agree on certain things, in order for this post to convey the point I am trying to make– agreeable or not.

1. What is a stupid hoe?
I normally would quote the most reliable source, Urban Dictionary, but seeing as it has been taken over by a faction of HATERS, UD is partisan. I would quote the second most realiable source, the OED, BUT it has no entries for such a term. Sad. I guess I’ll have to propose my own definition. (pssshh no it’s not partisan)

Stupid hoe
A. (adj. + n.)
1.
a. a person (usually woman) who ships wood instead of platinum
b. a person (usually woman) who talks as though she were the queen when in fact is resembles a laboratory vermin

2.
a. Baby bop, Bubbles, etc.
b. Sons of Nicki Minaj, and of whom she wants not custody.

The “problem” with this song, I think, lies in the fact that she repeats “You a stupid hoe” more times than I can be bothered to count. I guess this disturbs white people (I need to make a post wherein I clarify what I mean by that), religious people “with morals”, and people who think that they are better than others.* The real problem is that said people have a skewed perception of, and maybe a preconceived notion about Nicki. Oh, she’s a rapper, and rappers are awful. Oh, she says ugly, vulgar things. Oh, she couldn’t think of anything smarter to say. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah get that shit outta my face. But it’s ok if guys say it; she’s a lady and should act as such. We all know how I feel towards this misogyny.

The important thing here is she feels that stupid hoes are making her life more difficult. We should not expect every womyn to foster a sense of sisterhood at all times. The truth of the matter is that some people are difficult. And these people are the object of her song. What’s wrong with that? People piss me off too, and had I the verbal prowess and sense of rhythm of Nicki Minaj, believe me I would be rapping about it too. Sometimes bitches be trippin, and all I can do is blog about it to my two readers, one of them being my mom (and only when she feels like it). Male rappers come out with songs like this A L L the time. I feel like almost every song I have heard rapped at some point degrades other people. But because Nicki Minaj, the flamboyant, fabulous, extremely sexy, absurdly talented, eccentric woman said it, her song is somehow the loudest and most obnoxious. Thanks, whack-o society. If you find yourself hating this song more than almost any other rap song, check yourself. You might be what she’s talking about. YOU might be the stupid hoe.

Fret not, there is a way out. You can befriend Nicki. You can come back. She is a forgiving, loving entity.

* It’s funny. People who think they are better than others should be singing this song the loudest. I honestly wonder why everyone doesn’t love this song? It’s about self love (sure, degrading to others… but those others are unworthy; we all know a few unworthy people here and there). And it’s about self esteem. I feel like the baddest bitch in all the land when I bike in my booty shorts blasting this song on my earbuds. I feel like I, Michelle, get it cracking like a bad back too.

Um if you don’t know the lyrics to this song, the allusions in this post may appear nonsensical. Whatevies I guess.

Very Awful Musings on WORDS: BAD BITCHES PUT YOUR HANDS UP HIGH

Once upon a time there lived a young maiden in the outskirts of the Lands of Chicago. This young maiden was surrounded by brutes of different types. Some were large and dangerous and others were small and benign, and of course, there were many other types in between. Among these fellows was a faction of the inscrutable persuasion. These lads lived lives of adventure and adrenaline. Their daring deeds proved them powerful and earned them respect among their fellow companions. The important thing here, however, is their tongue.

One day, as our young maiden sat in the market with some boys of this particular sort, she overheard a conversation she would not soon forget. One of the esteemed gentlemen bespoke of his frolickings in another part of town; he described in great detail the copious numbers of “bad bitches” and how “cute as hell [they were].”

And in that moment, I swear she was confused.
Here is what I was always thought:
bad+bad=bad therefore bad+bitch=bad bitch = some abstract bad thing/idea

But oh my friends! How wrong I was! This is the point in the story where I change register and point of view because this is no longer a fairy tale… this is ReAl LiFe

In a world that reduces men and women to synecdoches, we find ourselves constantly creating new terms for each other.
Bitch, as the OED has it, is historically the female dog (later fox, wolf, and others). I sat on the train today and worked this all out in my head. I have absolutely no foundation for any of the following, and I will warn you all who continue past this point (much to my confusion) that I am a moron:
Originally a wild female animal, it became the derogatory term for a woman who, too, was wild in that she did not adhere to the prescribed procedure of men who had so gracefully bestowed this nomenclature. This is where I begin to question the validity of the insult. Humans are animals. Of course, this is coming from the more scientific side of your dedicated Mexican Princess.
A (derogatory) Bitch is one who does as she pleases and loses the “””””respect””””” of men. A Bitch is an animal, yes, but so is a man! (Shout out to dat young institution called SCIENCE.) Why then is the term bitch so frowned upon? I understand that is it meant to devaluate a woman, but why does a woman care when stupid people call her out for not being sedate and docile? Furthermore, Bitch is used to emasculate a man. It should make him feel as a woman… but why is being a woman such a bad thing? Ah yes, I forgot– we continue to live in the era of prevalent misogyny.

//// LONG LIVE THE PATRIARCHY ////
So back to our young maiden’s dilemma…
She realized then that Bitch is not such a bad thing. Better still, a “bad bitch” (or “baddest bitch” á la Nicki Minaj) is Bitch to a higher degree. A bad bitch is one who takes feminism to the next level. She is the misogynist’s worst nightmare. The seemingly fatuous fellow perhaps was not so fatuous after all; perhaps he was extolling the bad bitches from the market for being the fighters for feminism. Also they were probably really cute. Feminists are appealing in many, many ways.

I had always been uncomfortable with “The B Word” because 1. it’s a “””bad””” word and 2. it is used as a tool against women. It was created for men and by men to brand animals and later woman– later to dehumanize these woman.

I realized, however, that tools only work if their canvas is malleable enough, vulnerable enough. As far as this particular word is concerned, it no longer offends me to the degree it once did (not that I am often referred to as a bitch, but that’s not important). Though its traces have still somewhat raw wounds on my skin, damage it can do no more. What I’m saying is that this word is as empty as the person from whose lips it emanates. One cannot take away the humanity of a woman only to equate her to an animal, because they, like men, are the same thing: animals. What does it mean to be human? That is a post for another time. In about five million years. If someone is going to attack me, I thank him or her for doing it in the innocuous verbal way. What’s the point of scribbling inanities with washable markers? 

Chicago Summer Adventures

I wanted to start compiling a list of cool things to do this summer in the Chicago area. Perhaps there will be some Milwaukee-an activities as well. If anyone has knowledge of other cool fests/workshops/WHATEVER please let me know! So without belaboring the point any more and in no particular order:

(links open in new tab!)

MUSICAL
Wicker Park Fest

Pitchfork  (ya girl will be there all weekend. say hi and dance slow R. Kelly songs with me [please?!])

Chicago Blues which i might add is F.R.E.E.

Riot Fest for which i will (regrettably) be in college. sad face.

Wavefront you know.. if you’re into this kinda thing.

Green Music which features MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA for a suggested donation of FIVE DOLLARS. I REPEAT: F I V E (5) DOLLARS.

Summerfest (MKE) if for some reason you have a job or are spoiled rotten and are willing to pay ~$60 for the Avett Bros (who are well worth the money that I don’t have). oh and ~$40 for fun. ???? This is some bourgeoisie shit right here.

More to come?
Also, YES, I refuse to post about Lolla because f that. Five million dollars for a three-day pass? Yeah right. I’m not about that life. (I’m only a LITTLE bitter)

LITERARY
Newberry Book Fair !!!!

Printer’s Row

Kierkegaard seminar at Newberry $170 for the class… probably worth it, too.

THEATRICAL
The Book of Mormon

West Side Story

— Please comment below with any relevant events!

breaking: more cool street lit in chicago

So on Wednesday I went to Logan Square with one of my best friends to see Andrew Jackson Jihad at the 8AM. Basically, 8AM is the coolest lil venue in the entire universe.

Before we got there, Nina and I did a bit of exploring. Here’s some Logan Square street lit.

photo 5 photo 4 photo 2

2013-04-10 16.51.32 photo 1 photo 5 photo 2 photo 1
photo 2 photo 3photo 5photo 4

Then we decided to look for some milkshakes. We ran into The Brown Sack whose oreo milkshake was to die for!!!!!!!! Totally made up for the fact that it was 7:28. And the show was set to being at 7:30. And we were a solid ten minutes away.

Anyway, we somehow made it. It actually began closer to 8, as you can imagine.

So yeah, it was the coolest show I have ever been to. I’d never been to a folk punk gig, so the weird noises definitely took me by surprise. But it was so awesome. All of it. The sense of intimacy with the rest of the people (65 to be exact! It was played in an attic…) and of course the music was absolutely bat-shit crazy perfect. Amazing what a sole man and his guitar can evoke.

photo 2 photo 3Ian Graham (of Cheap Girls) was wonderful. His set was… very… ima go ahead and say pretty.

photo 4 photo 5

Hey…. check this out.

photo 5Oh, and Sean Bonnette is one of the sweetest guys in the universe; of this I’m sure.

Guáfles

Look, my first experience with waffles was with Eggo. So naturally, my idea of a waffle is an Eggo waffle. I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a waffle maniac, but I will concede to being slightly fixated with these checkered pancakes. Speaking of pancakes, they are the inferior breakfast starch.

I went out to breakfast with my dad and my sister today. I don’t often question my dad’s paternity, but today was one of the few exceptions. He openly dissed the Belgian waffle my sister had ordered for being too “big” and “disgusting.” How? How can a man who disrespects the checkered pancake genus possibly be my real dad?
So there he was– insulting my real family: waffles. That is my number one complaint about my “””””””dad.””””””
And I know what you’re thinking, readership.
“Michelle, you actually have a real problem. Normal people don’t have feelings about waffles.” No, actually, I don’t have a waffle problem. I don’t eat just any waffles, ok? They have to be just right.

Look, all I’m saying is that if you toast your waffles, you’re a fucking creep. Everybody knows -and I do mean everybody- that waffles are supposed to be nuked. You grab a plate and throw down a couple frozen suckers on it; shove it in the microwave for like 30 seconds, then eat them.
THEN, you put three more on the plate and nuke those. The first batch was made exclusively for the time the second batch was in the microwave for two minutes. These (first batch) you just kindof shove into your mouth to satiate your ravenous hunger (why else would you be eating Eggo waffles?).
The waffles should be soft. More than soft, they should be spongy, stretchy. You should feel as though your were tearing a cottony, delicious piece of cloth apart with your teeth. You may dunk them into milk. Yes. You are salivating now. You rush back to the microwave to fetch the second round of waffles that were made as “official” breakfast (or lunch or dinner or as a snack– waffles, they do not adhere to any contraints of time or societal norms. They transcend the barriers of reality.).These (second batch) you should put syrup on. Aunt Jemima syrup, mind you. Don’t give me no Vermont maple syrup shit. They are Eggo waffles for God’s sake. That would be like putting a Channel wallet into your fake Louis Vuitton. God!! I get pissed off just thinking about it. Aunt Jemima!!! God damn it!!!!! Shit, I’m angry just thinking about this.

Anyway, yes. That is the proper waffle procedure. I don’t really know how to end this post. Waffle Woman out.

Zombie Tryst

Ok, I admit that I’ve been looking for reasons to use the word tryst. I remembered it existed yesterday, or was it very early this morning? Either way. The time to use it has finally presented itself. Actually, it still sounds trite and maybe even nonsensical, but you know what? I’m going to use it anyway because it’s such a good word.
ANYWAY, I am before you today because I saw a movie.

I don’t really know how to begin my lil summary, so i’ll begin at the beginning– before it even began. I walked up to the lady at 1:30 pm with my eleven year old sister and stared blankly at the too eager girl waiting to sell me tickets. My sister and I had no idea what to watch. In fact, the only reason we were at the movies was because we were tired of walking around the mall. My first reaction when I saw the movie posters was “Ssssshhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiit. These movies suck.”

“Well, Warm Bodies starts in fifteen minutes. Might as well.” said a defeated Michelle. And so we walked into the theatre. I hoped, nay! I prayed to Jeebus that this wouldn’t be a movie about vampires, and my wish was granted.

It was about zombies. Well played, Jeebus. Well played.

The movie opens with Nicholas Hoult saying how he should really get in shape, eat healthier, fix his posture yada yada. I’d like to believe that his sentiments resonated very well with all the six people who were watching the movie. I sat there empathizing with this guy, thinking, “Man, this movie is going to be funny. I wonder what it’s about.” Lucky for me, about .2 seconds after that thought crossed my mind, the shot pans out to reveal that R (he doesn’t remember his name) is a zombie, or Corpse, as they are called in the movie, and he is surrounded by others of his kind meandering. It was at this moment that I sighed heavily and audibly expressed my disappointment at having randomly chosen and foolishly paid for this.

“Zombies, Jeebus? Really? You’re gonna do this to me? Fuck nahhh. I did NOT sign up to see this shit.”

Oh! But I did.

The movie continues, and R introduces his best friend Marcus (Markus? Markiss? Majrkwiz?). The grunting scene was perfect, actually. And you know what? I decided that maybe this movie wasn’t gonna be so bad after all. Any movie that can make me uncomfortable and make me laugh at my own discomfort and confusion is probably going to be full-o-fodder. So anyway, I thought they were totally gay for each other for a total of like three minutes, before they introduced the rest of the cast. Unfortunately for me, gay zombie romance was just a bit too edgy for Hollywood. It was however, a way cool post-apocalyptic Romeo and Juliet-esque rom-con about redemption, rebirth, and what it means to be human.

The first thing I didn’t notice while watching the movie was R’s red hoodie. In retrospect, it was so fitting, and no! I do not mean (solely) in the physical sense. I don’t think I need to tell you that the red was metaphor for R’s desire to live and love again. It contrasted brightly against the dull gray scheme of the rest of zombieworld. The texture of the hoodie was also important in that it was tattered and tainted, akin to R his spirit, his soul. His soul, that’s it.
The thing about being a zombie is that you have no soul. Throughout Warm Bodies, there are hints that there is possibly a cure for the infection that turned everyone into brain-eating monsters. Whenever someone remembers or feels deep emotion, his/her heart pumps. This gave me hope throughout the movie because I was shipping R and Julie so hard. Their relationship was a weird combination of grotesque and really hot.

Although heavily inarticulate, R displays his feelings to Julie through extremely awkward and adorakable advances. My black-hole of a heart was squee-ing the entire time because his whole gig was just so cute. (Am I unbearably tacky? Perhaps). The time they spent together was so great because Julie was able to see through the zombie thing and have a good time with this guy who was trying really hard to feel good again. The whole vinyl and dancing and poking fun at each other thing was really refreshing (especially for R who had been deprived of such life). Their nonverbal conversations reminded me that it really is the thoughts that count. Beyond superficial common interests, it’s really the chemistry and enthusiasm of two people that make a relationship work.

His narration was entirely essential to sympathize with that homeboy. (I mean..he couldn’t exactly TALK.) I can’t really remember the last time I felt like a zombie (although Monday mornings are a very likely simulator), but his light and casual profanity and humorous introspection established the fact that he was becoming more and more human. Recall the scene in which Julie decides to take off her clothes.

This was one of my favorite scenes for a variety of reasons. There is the obvious nudity, my profoundly profane hopes of seeing R follow suit (ha ha PUN), and his reaction to seeing Julie… which… I would again imagine resounded more -resonantly this time- with the other five people in the audience. “Oh shit…. OH SHIT.” I feel you, homeboy. I feel you. And Julie. Yeah, Julie. I feel you too, homegirl. She clearly wanted the D. She REALLY wanted it, in fact. Readership, in the minutely possible event that you are 1. still reading this 2. a guy, let me let you in on a lil secret. Sometimes… girls do things. Yes, we do things. Sometimes these things are seemingly casual and subtle, and they sometimes are a way of letting the other party know that “Hey! Hi! This is my body. You can look. Actually, you probably should. That’s why I’m doing this (i.e undressing with my back towards you, bending over, and crawling into a bed and complaining that I’m cold).” Yes, Julie. So yeah, you could say that I appreciated that scene.

Another one of my favorite scenes was when my obscene hopes were incarnated. I was blessed with the shower scene! (Thanks, J! You da man.) Honestly, how unfair would it have been to show only an almost-naked Julie and not an almost naked R? The answer is VERY.
The fact that M83’s Midnight City played in the background was a really cool bonus, too. I felt pretty pumped, pretty excited for whatever was to come from his make over. (…Alright, so I didn’t really cccccaaaarree. I was only concerned with seeing as much of R’s back as my eyes could possibly ogle. [Would this be an inappropriate time to admit that I have a ~thing~ for backs? Backs are really hot.])

As for the rest of Mis en Scène, I was a fan. It was no Scorcese or Tarantino or whatever, but I did enjoy it. The couple shots I remember not caring for were when the colors were obscenely yellow and pink (towards the end of the film, specifically when R and Julie were in the car with Julie’s dad). Hey, you know what I just realized? Literally, as I typed that last sentence? R(omeo) and Julie(t). Cool huh? I love writing. (I’m going to take two seconds to tell you what I think about the writing process: I must write to know, and not necessarily know to write. Anyway…….).

Speaking of Romeo and Juliet, I thought the parallels were pretty obvious. The Shakespearean couple is forbidden from being because of fundamental differences in status, and the 2013 version is prohibited because of fundamental differences in status also, though sure, last name and alive/undead are two KINDA different qualifiers. Ah, forbidden love. Makes my (nonexistent) heart melt.

Man, R was really trying. He was trying to love again and live again and prove to the normal people that he was an alright guy despite his physical inhibitions. That led me to believe that he was human. All along, actually. From the very start of the movie, he reflected upon and bemoaned his condition, proving that he could think… something zombies cannot. He contrasts with Julie’s dad… and actually the entire police force protecting the people. They blindly follow orders and shoot on the spot. That’s not human; that’s mechanical. Robotic. Not alive. Zombie-like. Maybe they were the real zombies. Maybe they weren’t the ones who ate the brains, but they were the ones who lost the ability to (want to) love (see: Julie’s dad, Dave Franco after plague spreads, all the soldiers, etc).

This begs the question…. Am I a zombie? The answer is a quiet maybe.

All hope, however, is not lost for love, because as long as there is a handy-dandy Christ figure, we can all live happily ever after and pander to my low, lovey-dovey feelings. For real doe. R was alive at one point. He “””””””died”””””””” for a while. The normal people (of whom he was once a part) want to kill him (essentially crucify him because he has betrayed [because he is undead] the laws of nature/God). And He comes alive again at the very end.

Let’s not forget the amazing fall-from-the-top-of-the-highest-window scene. This also tickled my romantic fancy. He fell with her in such a way that she would survive. And where did they fall, Jury? INTO WATER. W A T E R. H20. You know just as well as I do that water = baptism = rebirth. Glorious. And what happens when Julie pulls him up to the surface? Yes, he is shot (and yes I had a mild heart attack), but he also bleeds (and zombies don’t do that!). Thus he was born again into a new and better life as a new and better person.

God! That was a really fantastic scene.

And ah, the final scene. When the walls come tumblin’ down. The walls that segregated the Montagues and Capulets, People and Corpses. Who, we learn, are basically the same thing.

What a cool movie.