Last week, I was unpacking boxes and came across an old Jackson 5 CD and my Thriller CD. I promptly put both in my car and have been listening to them on repeat all week. I had forgotten what an incredible album Thriller was - every song on it is a classic. And the Jackson 5? Just try listening to any of their songs and not dance.
He was, quite simply, a one-of-a-kind talent. I was so upset to hear the news last night, especially after listening to the music last week. All of his talent and accomplishments have been completely overshadowed in the past 15 years by the tabloid craziness. Was he a deeply flawed individual? Absolutely. Was it entirely his fault? Absolutely not.
David and I had a long talk recently about Mike Tyson, another tragic figure with one extraordinary talent. Tyson has a very limited intellect and was used by a long string of managers to make money. Of course, that doesn't excuse his behavior, but it does explain it. They raised him to do nothing but fight, but acted surprised when he fought outside the ring. His "handlers" took advantage of him and stole every chance he had for a normal life.
Michael Jackson started performing professionally at age 6. He was the family breadwinner before he started 2nd grade. He never had anything close to a childhood. His parents exploited him and his managers used him. Once he reached adulthood, he became the biggest celebrity in the world, with no access to any semblance of normality. I know I should condemn him for the child molestation, and I do - but I also feel so much pity for him.
He had a tape in the 80s that was a sort of long form music video (it involved gangsters, I think?). My brother and I watched it on repeat for years. I was an enormous fan. Still am.
Ugh. When I recommended "Lost in the Meritocracy" last week, I must have been insane. I haven't been this angry about a book since "Life of Pi" (or maybe "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night"). My biggest pet peeve is authors who write books with the audience - or more specific, the future critics - in mind. The topic of the book was promising, and I was very intrigued by the description. However, it quickly devolved into a self-congratulatory mess.
I just HATE when authors attempt to pander and write something with the goal of getting their books on the bestseller list, or on Oprah's book list. The subtext on every page was "smirk - I'm so smart", "smirk - the critics will eat this up", "smirk - this is going to sound so deep".
I couldn't even finish it, which is so rare for me. It just made me so angry - David actually had to ask me to stop reading it at night, because I kept yelling at the book.
It's a toss-up on least favorite book ever. "Life of Pi" was so awful and manipulative, but the author is so despicable in this memoir.
I have to cleanse my "palate" now with a bunch of trashy mysteries now.
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm obsessed with the situation in Iran. I'm in awe of the protesters - at one point, the line of marchers stretched over 5 miles long! Despite having to cover their faces in fear of violent reprisal, people are standing up for what they believe. When Ahmedinejad was first elected, it was during a period of relative stability in Iran. While many outside journalists expected a more reformist candidate to be elected, there was not a huge wave of public activism and a low voter turnout. Apparently, Iranians have had enough of his poisonous and isolating policies, and I'm thrilled to see it.
I'd highly recommend "Honeymoon in Tehran", by Azadeh Moaveni, for anyone who'd like to learn more. For an older perspective, "Not Without My Daughter" is a classic. It's a more negative portrayal of the country directly after the Revolution, but still an eye-opening read.
I'm all for safety, but this new stop sign in my yard is really bugging me. Our street isn't busy or a cut-through, and there are stop signs at both the block before and after us. It just seems like overkill - not to mention the litter that gets thrown in my yard or the fact that we can't park on the street anymore. Grrr.
On a good note, I just finished a great book. It's a paperback thriller called "The Prodigal Spy" - perfect summer reading, all about McCarthyism and Vietnam. (Of course, I promptly lost my copy, so I can't tell you who the author is).
I also just started another interesting book, called "Lost in the Meritocracy", by Walter Kirn. It's a memoir about higher education in the U.S. now. I think anyone who's graduated from college in the last 10 - 15 years will find a lot of his story familiar - I know I did. We spend so much time studying and prepping for the next step, trying to win - get the best grades, the best SAT scores, the best GPA, land the best job out of school. The question is whether actual learning is being lost.
It was definitely a tough transition for me. I worked my ass off to get the most prestigious job, then realized after a year that investment banking was not for me. (This shouldn't have been a shock, considering I was a French major and spent all my time in the theater department.)
And finally, I discovered a website that lets you create your very own jigsaw puzzles out of photos! How nerdy and awesome. I love puzzles :)
We had a wonderful dinner tonight with some good friends of ours. They have 2 kids, which is pretty typical of our friends here in Charlotte. Their kids are adorable - well behaved and cute. Yet...David and I just aren't interested in having our own kids. We love seeing all of our friends' kids, but actually having a kid at home with us - that gives us a bit of hesitation.
I understand that saying this opens us up to a lot of criticism. Couples who decide to remain childless have to answer a number of tough questions. At this point, we prefer to mentor and help kids who already have parents, but who are in need of help. The money we would spend on private school tuition, weddings, and college, could be directed to agencies in desperate need of help.
So I expect that we will hear all sorts of responses explaining that we'll "never feel full love" without kids, or that we'll never be fulfilled without kids.
I love kids, as does David. I also love and adore my husband, and I'm unwilling to mess with that dynamic.
Of course, we could change our minds. But right now, this is something we're seriously considering.
I secretly love Kelly Clarkson. I'm supposed to be too old, but her music is just so much fun. Plus, you know, she can actually sing.
And I HATE American Idol, so there.
Anyone who says they don't have guilty pleasures is so full of shit. I mean, I love to read literary classics and watch serious documentaries, but I also love trashy paperbacks and reality TV. I just think it's so funny when people claim to be "above" contemporary culture.
Considering the last post was about my health, I figure that an update is probably in order. Here's the short version:
Got married in February. It was perfect - tiny, low key, no frills. I loved my dress, despite the fact that I swore I wouldn't wear white at my second wedding. Oh, well.
We went to Asheville for our honeymoon, which was amazing. To anyone who thinks that a big fancy beach vacation is necessary for a honeymoon, I strongly suggest a relaxing week someplace low key. (Apparently, low key is my new motto).
Then we bought a house. It was kind of a whim, actually. I was bored to tears being stuck in the house, unable to drive. It hit me - real estate agents drive you around! So I found a house online and called a random realtor to take me on a field trip. Long story short, we loved the house, made an offer the next day, sold our house 2 days later to the seller of the new house, and were under contract in 6 days.
Since we're living in some sort of hysterical universe, the house then caught on fire. Seriously. While we were signing the contract, I smelled smoke (David told me I was crazy). The next thing we knew, 6 firetrucks pulled up outside. Apparently, our fireplace and chimney were ON FIRE while we signed the papers to buy the house. It all turned out okay, but it did delay our closing a bit.