Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I am inspired

by Anil Dash’s cancellation of the term FAIL:

Because it marks a lack of human empathy, and signifies an absence of intellectual curiosity, it is an unacceptable response to creative efforts in our culture. “Fail!” is the cry of someone who doesn’t create, doesn’t ship, doesn’t launch, who doesn’t make things. And because these people don’t make things, they don’t understand the context of those who do.

Years ago, I worked at a summer camp in the San Juan Islands. I actually met the wonderful person who would become my wife there. And a summer camp, at its best, is this amazing volcano of creativity: you have the energy of hundreds of young campers, counselors who are still young themselves, you have music, you have nature, you have recreation and physical activity, you DON'T have electronic media. It's perfect, really. But there was this one person who, whenever something truly creatively odd would be presented (be it a song or a skit or just a joke) would make a yucky face and say, "Random!" She even made a song for people to sing with the lyrics, "Random, random, that was so random." A song is a creative act, sure, but she just borrowed an existing camp melody and put in her cynical patronizing words.

And, like, go to hell, you know? It's not random, it's a creative act inspired by the environment we're all sharing and that's a beautiful thing that sets us apart from the goddamn insects. I bet she uses FAIL all the time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vince Young

He’s a quarterback for the Tennessee Titans of the NFL. Last season, after losing his starting job, getting booed, and getting injured, he left his house without his phone but with a pistol, this after mentioning suicide several times over the course of the day. An APB was sent out and he was finally tracked down.

I haven’t heard much on the story since then but recently saw a short interview with Young on ESPN. In the interview, an excerpt of a longer version to air later this summer, Young says that he wasn’t considering suicide, that he just needed to clear his head and that he went to his uncle’s house.

You can’t know someone’s mind from watching a few minutes of tape but, how to phrase this, something seems wrong here. It’s just my gut but I don’t think he’s telling the truth. Young has every reason in the world to say that he had no thoughts of hurting himself, millions of dollars of reasons, in fact. As a star athlete for most of his life, he’s also existed in a world where toughness and exhibited strength are highly valued and mental illness is treated very differently from a torn ACL.

The topic of NFL players and suicide didn’t start with Young. Star receiver Terrell Owens attempted suicide in 2006 but he too claimed it was all a big misunderstanding. I hope someone in the NFL offices is taking mental health seriously although I doubt they are. After Owens denied that he attempted suicide, his publicist, demonstrating a real deft understanding of mental health, had this to say: “Terrell has 25 million reasons,” she said, “why he should be alive.” Or at least make people think he wants to be.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Unauthorized Trader Joe's commercial made by a guy who just really likes Trader Joe's

I watch this when I'm sad to become happier. Or when I'm kind of happy and want to get happier still.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Strange thing

Whenever I commit to blogging more here, I usually do the opposite. So I wonder if I'm about to start blogging more here because I plan to do less. I'm currently involved in a project that has a heavy blogging element but not in a real obvious public way. It's temporary but for the moment it's sucking up a lot of the bloggy brain cells. So I THINK I will be easing back on this for the next 3-4 weeks. Until then you can find me on Twitter and sometimes on the Tumblr blog.