Sunday, December 11, 2011

What food is sour? No change in style? A fight of sorts.

  • Andis:  "What food is sour?"  Student:  "Potatoes!"
  • Tony and I had a fight.  We made up. Tony said he was sorry.  I said I was sorry.  We hugged each other.
  • This article I have come across is interesting.  The writer, Kurt Anderson, offers the observation that cultural appearances, which usually change dramatically every twenty years, haven't changed so dramatically recently.  Compare the dress of people in 1991 with 2011 and they don't look all that different,  and their cars look the same as well.  Try doing that with 1955 and 1975, and you would think that the author has a point.  
  • Thinking of popular music, the bands I liked from the late eighties and early nineties, Morrissey and New Order, don't look or sound dated now.  (I also remember thinking that Nirvana represented the the beginning of the end for my following pop music closely.  Nirvana didn't seem all that original and their popularity was an annoyance to me.)  My thoughts about alternative bands made me inclined to read what the author had to say.  
  • Kurt Anderson also offered the observation that all that the new tech devices that we have make us more nostalgic.  They do make me more nostalgic because it is now so easy for me to find the things I couldn't get in the 1970s and 1980s and 1990s like music videos.  I find I love to watch video and film of the NFL and the NHL before 1980.  I love watching all the old movies.  But this just might be due to my age.  I talked to a recent twenty-something who told me she didn't know who the Marx brothers were -- the young set is particularly nostalgic as far as I can see. (Could it be that the younger generations's creativity is being focused on their portable devices and less on their clothing?)  I bet she probably hadn't heard of Love and Rockets either.
  • This superficial resemblance between now and twenty years ago is what Anderson calls the first paradox.
  • Anderson, unfortunately, then tried to make the same observations about politics and showed himself to be a leftist by showing his misunderstanding of the Tea Party:  And, although the Tea Partiers began by nominally re-enacting the pre-Revolutionary early 1770s, they were actually performing a cover version of the New Left's would-be-pre-revolutionary late 1960s.  Really?  I would say in a sarcastic tone.  Anderson then said that Reagan wanted to take America back to the 1950s and talked about the economy having flat-lined in the last twenty years.  Nonsense!
  • Anderson then states what he sees as the second paradox.  The paralysis in style-change has been accompanied by an interest in being stylish.  He says that people are more interested in style than ever.  This of course contradicts his observation that the economy has flat-lined.  In China, people, I observe, are very style-obsessed because they are wealthier.  
  • Anderson then wonders if this "style stagnation" is because of economic factors.  Forces that be in the style-industry have grown so big that it is now awfully expensive for them to redo themselves.  Really?
  • Anderson then ends his article hoping some kind of dramatic change is in the wake.  Although he feels the stagnation will continue.
  • Anderson's article ultimately is one man's view, and like most cultural-observation articles, his is full of casual observations and superficial reasonings that one has to only think about for thirty seconds to discover their self-contradictions.  For instance, people didn't wear so many tattoos twenty years ago as they do now.  His views about politics, are too embedded in Leftism, to be useful.  But putting that aside, I do think some of his observations about style are correct.  
  • So why is this so?  Humans can only take so much change at once, is about all I can say.  And perhaps the population is older. 
  • Perhaps, I shouldn't wade in Macro-cultural observations.
  • A non-American person: "Those Americans spell tyre t-i-r-e!  They do things backwards!"  Me:  "No!  If they did it backwards, they would spell it e-r-i-t!  And besides who spells tire t-y-r-e?"
  • Tony and I had another fight.  This time it was about the train set.  Tony pointed to a PLA RAIL box and a picture of a particular train setup or track configuration.  I then started to dismantle the current track configuration and Tony became upset.  I continued dismantling because I thought that Tony's wailing would subside when he would see me put together another configuration.  But it didn't.  Tony only became more upset when I started to make a new one.  He then began to rip apart the track of the new configuration.  Annoyed, I helped him and put it the track in the plastic box in which we store his PLA RAIL things.  I asked him if this was what he wanted.  He said no!  I held him in my arms for above ten minutes trying to soothe and calm him down.  I eventually took the track out of the plastic box and tried to make another configuration, but the same scenario happened.  This time, I told Tony to tell his mom his complaint -- he can speak a lot of Chinese that I don't understand.  She told me that he told her he wanted me to make a new configuration for him.  Telling Jenny that that what was what I was trying to do didn't do anything to lower the contempt she had for me at that moment.
  • Actually, the second incident really wasn't a fight.  I did nothing aggressive towards Tony.  I just let him wail.  I even withdrew from him at one point to see what he would do.
  • During the withdrawal, I was hoping to see Tony run to me.  What did happen was he continued to cry and I couldn't stand it and so went back to him.
  • It took Mom giving him a Ipad to calm him down.

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