Tag Archives: culture

Intentional Americans

U.S. Flag There are many wonderful things I could say about the HBO documentary “Citizen USA: A 50-State Road Trip“, but here is a quote from newly naturalized citizen and intentional American Zeenath Larsen that captures not just one of the primary reasons people to come to the US (legally and illegally), but a valuable message for US-born American citizens (especially those who think immigrants come to the US just to steal jobs, collect welfare, and commit crimes), the politicians who are looking to influence, lead, and win over the support of the people, and any American who has ever taken America for granted (me included):

“The bottom line is that your country and you have to be on the same page where values are considered, principles are considered, what you believe in. And if that is not the case, then it’s… you may be born somewhere and brought up somewhere, but then you don’t feel that same type of loyalty. Because loyalty comes through ideas, not through the earth, not through mud and trees and hills. That’s the same everywhere in the world. Is there any country in the world that has it enshrined in the constitution that you have a right to be happy?”

And to underline the point even more, note that Larsen is originally from Pakistan. Food for thought– check out the trailer for “Citizen USA” below:

Mini IdeaFarm™ – August 2010

Mini IdeaFarm™ – August 2010

Originally uploaded by sindy

It’s been a whole year since my last IdeaFarm™ post and I thought I would post an update. I didn’t see the truck around for a while (at least in Mountain View– they apparently have people at locations all over the Bay Area), but then, a few months ago, they popped up again, parked near the intersection of Central Expressway and Rengstorff Avenue. They’ve apparently downsized to this trailer and bike (plus what looks like solar panels?).

This week, the trailer was parked at the corner of El Camino Real and Phyllis Ave after having been “silenced by MVPD” (Mountain View Police Department). I’m not sure what they did since I’ve never actually seen anybody next to/around the truck or trailer, but I suppose just parking for long periods of time in front of businesses and at busy intersections could cause problems. Nevertheless, I haven’t seen anything that would actually be illegal and if they had done something illegal, I assume the truck/trailer/whatever would have disappeared altogether.

So, I’d be curious to know what caused them to be “silenced” and how MVPD silenced them, but I still haven’t figured out what the actual, practical purpose of IdeaFarm™ is, what they do or how they do it. (One commenter summarized it as a version of “libertarian socialism”.) In any case, the IdeaFarm™ website has been updated once again, so maybe you can take a look and try to make some sense of it.

Otherwise– or perhaps as background– you can check out my previous posts:

IdeaFarm™ Returns – August 2009

I meant to post this a while ago, but here it is now: the IdeaFarm™ truck reappeared at the corner of Castro St. and El Camino in Mountain View, CA in late August. It disappeared apparently on September 11 at the conclusion of its Political Economy course. If you can’t read the sign, it reads (I think): “Mexicans colonize because you don’t receive them as brothers.”

Read my previous posts on IdeaFarm™: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

The IdeaFarm™ website has been significantly updated since my previous posts and it looks like there will be a big opening performance.

96% Nerd, 61% Geek, 13% Dork

I joined OKCupid on a whim (mostly because it’s free). They have personality tests like most dating sites do to better match you with other members. I took one today called “The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test.” I apparently scored 96% Nerd, 61% Geek and 13% Dork, amounting to being a “Modern, Cool Nerd.” Which is good, I guess.

More interesting is the breakdown of each word/category:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

In true nerd form, I found this interesting and worth sharing.

When did MySpace become so dirty?

Take a trip back and remember the clubland that was on the rise in NYC during the eighties and early nineties. Remember? They made a book, a documentary and then a movie about it with Seth Green and MacAulay Culkin and everything (Party Monster). All three pieces of media focused on the life of Michael Alig and his club kids and specifically, the murder of Angel Melendez that seemed to end it all. Now, while Angel’s death is certainly tragic and the effort to cover up the grotesque act is disturbing, I find the whole Clubland culture much more fascinating in general when it comes time to look back in history. Those crazy days of Clubland started off with some “innocent” fun– a bunch of kids dressing up in outrageous costumes and going to the clubs to become famous for being famous. There were substances, of course: alcohol, pot, ecstasy and even Special K, but soon Clubland was filled to the brim with every hard drug out there, young people were addicted and out of control and in the end, Clubland had become this weird, sleazy place with kids– some actually kids, some older trying to act like kids– reveling in some sick sex clown esthetic.

This is what it feels like sometimes on MySpace.

I signed up for a MySpace account a while ago because a friend of mine from high school said I should sign up. Now, I was already on Friendster, Orkut, and inCircle (the Stanford Alumni networking site that was the predecessor to Orkut). And since joining MySpace, I’ve also joined LinkedIn. It never stops and it’s sad really because I never do anything with those accounts after setting them up. Maybe I’ll put a new picture up once in a while when I get a good one, but that’s about it. Most of the time I usually end up using the system to reconnect with old friends. By putting myself out there on as many social networking sites I can, I hope that those I might have lost in touch with for whatever reason might be able to find me (and those I purposely lost touch with can see that I’m doing pretty well for myself). And this has been the case on most of these sites.

But who knew that MySpace would be the place I would reconnect with the most friends from high school and the like? And who knew MySpace with its janky site design (do you hear the circus music?) would beat out its more professional predecessors? Maybe it’s because MySpace, with its Tapioca Express color scheme and breadth of services (even though quantity not quality seems to be the rule here) hit it big when attracting young people to a place where they can easily put together an online profile, develop their own Web presence and use it to do a whole variety of things, from making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, tell each other about what’s going on in their lives, etc. Of course, the biggest thing that has happened is the downright naughtiness that has sprung up and taken over. Browse through the profiles and you’ll see a lot of photos of underage girls willing to show just about anything and equally clad guys just as eager to say anything.

Case in point: when I’m on these networking sites, I usually limit my interactions to those I know in real life and use the service as a way to come together in one virtual space to send notes to each other, let us know what’s going on in each others lives, maybe even introduce mutual friends, etc. It serves as a compliment to my social life in the real world. But now, on MySpace, aside from getting in touch with some old friends I haven’t talked to in almost 10 years, I also get the random messages asking for friendship/answer to a question or just plain out fucking. See, you take away most of the barriers to visibility, access and opportunity and we all just break down to the lowest common demonominator: sex.

Some examples of messages I have received:

Hello there. I ran across your profile on myspace and I think that you are very attractive. Check out my profile to see what you think of me and if you like what you see, you can email me at […] or message me on Yahoo ([…] is my screen name). I hope to hear from you soon.

Which is not that bad. It’s actually very nice. But here’s another one:

i’m checking my heart beats. think i’m missing one—omg…since i’m writing you personally i dont mind saying… you look fucking hot!! i would love to do you some “bad” things;)
anyway i’m not much of a writer but can talk (with an accent though;))
so if you feel comfortable gimme a call sometime. you are invited for milk and cookies;)

Does this work? Do these lines make women drop their panties and just want to fuck? I don’t know. It just seems like to me that no matter how attractive he might think I am, how could he really tell with the picture I have up there? It’s just a head shot and probably one of the more tame pictures out there compared to the naughty naughty stuff 15 and 16 year olds will put up there. Maybe I just have a look about me that invites trouble.

Now, facilitation of more risque (or at least “taboo”) and random sexual experiences has been a tried and true use of the Internet. However, for the most part, when people go on the net looking for “anonymous” sex, they usually try to stay just that: anonymous. They use pseudonyms and screennames, lie about their personal lives (spouses and the like), put up fake photos of themselves. And while people have certainly become more open about using the Internet for these kinds of interactions (just check out the casual encounters section on craigslist), I don’t know if they’re necessarily willing to divulge their identities so openly. But on MySpace, with the exception of the occasional fake celebrity profile, people seem surprisingly willing to a) divulge real and true information about themselves and b) be frank and open about their search for sex. Maybe it’s the simplicity of MySpace that invites a group of people that may be considered less “net savvy” (just take a look at some of the crap people put on their profile pages), but who they are, branch out to reconnect with old friends, and yet still reinvent themselves into something bigger and better and look for a way to meet new people and have new experiences…