(This was originally posted 6/20/00 on my site, a day before before I discovered Blogger.)
What are you up to?
Falling in love for no good reason, hating my job for no good reason,
enjoying New York and all the dancing opptys therein. Yourself?
We used to get angry, at Hampshire, when events we enjoyed were under-attended. It was something many of my friends did; maybe that was why we hung out together. At one point or another, usually early in our Hampshire careers, we showed up for some event which saw a turnout of less than a dozen, not even enough to fill the seatless indoor amphitheater of the East Lecture Hall. At that point we individually came to the conclusion that there simply wasn’t enough “community” at Hampshire. People weren’t coming together for the things which mattered to us; therefore there was no community. This beefing about “community” went on until the year I graduated, in the face of a number of events which clearly demonstrated that Hampshire people cared more for their neighbors than most do. (Like the vigilante mob which apprehended an attempted rapist one night at 3 a.m., for example, or the 500 people mustered in a flash when a student was bodily hauled off campus under dubious circumstances.)
Looking back I’m grateful I went through all this grousing, as I am about much of the “experiential education” I had at Hampshire, painful as it sometimes was. I’m better prepared for nights like tonight. I was at work until nine — my VISTA job is finally living up to its threat of being a 24-7 experience — sweating out a community forum I’d helped arrange. The idea was to get members of the low-income community where I work talking about their problems with the transportation system. (Apparently the local government has actually set aside money to investigate how they can get poor people to jobs more easily. Who knew.)
The turnout made the puniest Hampshire literary magazine meeting look good. There were maybe five members of the community there, and they just wanted to talk about getting jobs to begin with. It’s not like we didn’t advertise; I believe we sent mail out to 800 people, and we postered and all that. People just didn’t show.
I’m not as mad as I could be, but still, this is the kind of thing that sends me rocketing off into the stratosphere of possibility… I imagine what we could have done with a Madison Avenue ad firm at our backs for this forum, rather than a bunch of urban planning contractors monkeying with a copy of PageMaker. Whole subways plastered with graphically stunning information about available jobs with child care and benefits in Long Island, eh? I imagine shutting down all the mainstream media for a day, a week maybe, and donating all their time to social service organizations. Make a holiday of it. Anti-Media Day! With TV ads about food pantries, with talking lizards in them!
I mean, Rupert Murdoch gets to own the attention of how many people in the course of a week, and he gives us what? Cops? Secrets of the Mummies? Yarrr, mateys, let’s board and pillage the fsck out of his stations, and his newspapers too. There is so much liberating information out there, and all anyone wants to stuff their heads with is entertainment. The media could be used to educate, or could have, maybe, once. I feel like everyone’s asleep. And I spend all day dodging the Hatch Act and waiting for the government to pay off my student loans…
* * * * *
Meanwhile, in Queens it is the season where Korean grandmothers appear in the streets in traditional costume. Dresses with waists that begin at the shoulders. Pink chiffon bells with worn faces above them. And young men in tuxedos which match their black black hair. Boys too. I see them almost daily in front of Dae Dong. I guess it is wedding season, but as usual I am too shy to ask.
* * * * *
The Popo Village website is gone for now. Not that you care. I am trying to spend the summer learning how to hack together something which will generate web pages without my having to hand-code oodles of html. This is a problem: I don’t know how to program at all, and Glyph is trying to teach me something called an “object-oriented” programming language. Python specifically. I am told the learning curve is steep. It is so steep in fact that I think I’ve already run smack into the vertical part of it. But I desperately want to write (and I don’t want to deal with pitching and edititing and the aforementioned Hatch Act, which wants me to be desperately poor and desperately unfulfilled. If I write for publication it’s unlikely I’ll get to write what I want, or what I think). So I’m not waiting around to get the heavy tech stuff up. This web journal starts now.
A friend of mine has inspired me with his
<a href=”http://www.sundell.net/~tingley”>site. Apparently he feels
comment on politics and popular film well, more power to him. The fewer
professional pundits and celebrities we have, the better off we probably are. Amuse
your own damn self. Turn your own heads, move your own arms.
I’ll put things here periodically. Eventually this will be worked into the Popo Village site, which shouldn’t be so damn complicated to begin with.