Arrested by complexity

1) What Are Young Chinese People Thinking About?

This is what moves me.  The individual stories, the particular and crystalline truths.  Watching 9/11 memorials on TV Sunday morning I was annoyed by the heart-tugging music that was supposed to tell you/describe how to feel.  I believe in letting people speak for themselves.  If you ask the right questions, the truth wants to come out, as people experience it.

2) Boy with his mother on the subway this morning, reading an I Spy type book.  After finishing the book, mother gives the boy a Transformer toy.  He holds it up by his face and smiling, peeks over it at the woman sitting across the aisle who smiles back.

Boy: Mama, I’m shy. 
Mom: What?
Boy (loudly, still looking at the woman): I’m SHY!  I’m really shy. (Woman laughs.  I’m cracking up)
Mom: Come on shy boy, we’re getting off now.
Boy (asking the woman across the aisle who has also gotten up): Where are you going?!?

3) Sometimes people who hate or can’t stand each other are held together by mutual love of something else.  Something greater.

4) Old folks: respect the wisdom of the young.  Young folks: respect the wisdom of the old.  There is grace and dignity in any and every age.



Women’s heels get higher during recessions.

According to writer Elizabeth Semmelhack in her book Heights of Fashion.

Wonder why that is.  The bondage/stripper shoe set is out in force these days.


So we are not Generation Next, X, Y,  Z, delta sigma pi.  We are the “Millennials.”

.Millennials, defined as those born in the 1980s who came of age with the new century and are now between 18 and 28. The fact that they have grown up wired — linked as soon as they start to socialize via cellphones, computers and video games — is not the only defining characteristic. They have a different mind-set, making former methods of approach obsolete. This is the generation of free downloads, easy access to everything — what the American psychologist Nathan Brody calls ‘the entitled generation.'”NYT article

“Entitled generation” is kind of a back-handed moniker isn’t it?  Every generation has its own way of being condescending to the next.  I’m not an advocate for blind conservatism by the young, mindlessly following and nodding yes to the old.  Nor do I think that every subsequent generation is dumber and more depraved than the one before.  Each generation does have obligations to that which comes before and after.  If the young are somehow deficient in whatever way, isn’t that also partially the responsibility of the old who left us to inherit the world as it is now?

.This is getting way more metaphysical than I expected.  Hmm.  This requires more thought.


I’ve been toying with the idea of getting into an old-fashioned playground fight with someone one of these days.  Not seriously, just contemplating on a purely theoretical level.  When I watch Bill O’Reilly point a finger menacingly, apropos of nothing, at Jon Stewart during what should be a civil conversation, and grown people on a crowded subway call each other “stupid”, I feel like that fantasy could easily become reality if you just find the right (wrong) people.

A prurient desire that has something to do with how strangers handle physical closeness.  Living in a crowded city like New York, there’s a weird disjunct between how people are constantly in close physical contact, yet maintain invisible barriers between themselves in others.  You see in their faces, pedestrians walking in their own private bubble while jostling with others on the street, an unintentional, non-sexual orgy of bodies.  What is this weird parallel between fighting and embracing that still signals intimacy?  I mean, just check this out:

Just one of those weird gender inversions that makes me see Fight Club differently every time it comes on TV.  I think that’s what makes finding love and intimacy in the city such a compelling theme in movies and television – how we surmount the barriers between people.  You can punch and jostle, or you can embrace.  Somehow I feel that embracing is even harder to do between strangers than pointing fingers and “getting in someone’s grill.”