At this very second the internet is flooded with “best albums” and “best song” lists of 2013, and that’s all fine and dandy, but the real story is about all those awesome-ass jams from the 1980s. Yaaas. You know, songs you’ve probably forgotten about by now or ones that only come on “ironically.” Look, the 80s were the hottest decade for culture, I don’t care what anybody says. It’s not just because I was born then. The fashions, the music — everything — it was just so on point. Such vibrancy. And even now that the 90s are having a moment, the 80s are the decade that warms our hearts. So in the spirit of all things 80s, here are 15 songs from then that you should have on your iPod AT ONCE, that is, if you want to be considered a healthy individual. For the record, I would put Prince’s “Darling Nikki” on here 100 times if I could, but his “people” don’t like to put his music on YouTube. A real shame.
1. “Do You Want To Get Away?,” Shannon
2. “Dancing By Myself,” Billy Idol
3. “Billie Jean,” Michael Jackson
4. “She Bop,” Cyndi Lauper
5. “Ain’t Nobody,” Chaka Khan
6. “Sweet Dreams,” Eurythmics
7. “Oh Sheila,” Ready For The World
8. “Walk Like An Egyptian,” The Bangles
9. “Heaven,” Bryan Adams
10. “How Will I Know,” Whitney Houston
11. “My Perogative,” Bobby Brown
12. “Whip It,” Devo
13. “Push It,” Salt-N-Peppa
14. “Rhythm Nation,” Janet Jackson
15. “Love Shack,” The B-52s
“Pull Up to The Bumper,” Grace Jones
What are some of your favorite 80s jams?
One of the great catchwords of neoliberalism is tolerance. We must tolerate gays and people of color and Muslims (as long as they’re not, you know, all covered in black or, no duh, terrorists). This pretty much sums up white liberal nonsense succinctly: we might not like all these weird, gross people but it’s our ethical obligation to tolerate them. After all, we can’t just, you know, get rid of them as that would be not right and stuff. America was built on tolerance! So we must tolerate them (just keep ‘em in their own neighborhoods that I might visit, once in a while, to add some color to my life — no pun intended).
Oy vey. I’ll come out and say it: I have a hard time tolerating tolerance. But not because I am opposed to people who are, uh, different. It’s because tolerance is such an egregiously condescending word — as if this was all our (whose?) world to begin with and now, oh, we have to put up with all these odd and distasteful people. As if we were not all different! As if difference was not the very stuff of life!
So I don’t want to tolerate difference. I don’t want to tolerate queers and blacks and browns and commies and kikes and retards and cripples. I don’t even want to tolerate white middle class liberals. Nope. I want to affirm them.
I don’t want to find myself begrudgingly accepting anyone or anything — ok, maybe I’ll tolerate the occasional bartender in a vest or a backwoodsy beard on my barista. But as for all those other freaks and miscreants? Nope, no tolerance from me. I wanna love them, affirm them. And hopefully ignore them because just like you, I’m a weirdo too and I don’t really care what color you are or whom you fuck or wanna fuck or how you fuck.
A word, then, on respecting and ignoring people. To ignore other people is sometimes to respect them. It’s to assume they have their own lives, their own kind of happiness and distress and ecstasy. Of course, I also ignore those for whom I have no respect. But in this case I’m talking about two different modes of respect: a fundamental or natural respect for someone as a form on the planet versus a respect (or lack thereof) for someone within the human social. I’m talking about the former here: to ignore people who are different than me is to respect their fundamental presence on this planet. If I find myself tolerating them, it’s as if I assume I was here first and they entered my space. Which is absurd.
Now, I don’t have to respect your authority as my boss or co-worker; I can very well know and believe you are an incompetent douchebag. At which point I might or might not tolerate you. I may, for instance, throw a knipshit. Or quit. Or ignore you. But I still respect that you are a different human being and that, alone at night, you wrestle your strange demons just as the rest of us do. Only your demons are your demons and my demons are my demons and that’s ok. In fact, it’s better than ok: it’s beautiful. I may not tolerate your douchebaggery but I love your oddity as a form on this planet. I love that your demons are ugly and weird and very much your own. They make the world more colorful. I don’t have to like you to love that you exist.
I truly believe that tolerance is dangerous. It is one of those words and concepts that sounds right but that actually works to placate, to justify, our racism, homophobia, our disgust with things that are different — such as loner misanthropic horny hebes. While the distinction between tolerance and affirmation may seem pedantic, the distinction is everything. Tolerance is predicated on an architecture of entitlement. It’s a sensibility that breeds hatred. Affirmation, meanwhile, fosters and foments a multihued life.
If tolerance is nearly passive, performed begrudgingly, affirmation asks something else of the affirmer: it asks for a reckoning, for a recognition of the other that may yield ignoring but, first, demands empathy. Tolerance is something you do behind your back, while looking away. Affirmation demands all of you; it demands your presence within this life, your attention to what’s around you, a reckoning of this life.
Affirmation begins with the radical idea that all there is is this life. That all there is is difference, that there is no foundation but that everyone and everything is different and flows with the cosmos and, yes, it’s beautiful. There is no alternative to life. Life is not to be tolerated. It’s to be affirmed — or not, as the case may be.
Being on the Internet as a feminist lady-identified person can be a real minefield. It’s cool to have a space to express your opinions and talk with like-minded people, but often these conversations end up in a lot of abuse.
If you have a lot of followers or write for a site with a lot of exposure, the abuse is multiplied. If you’re black or gay or transgender, you can expect to be called every slur in the book. Even if you’re the nicest Miss Rogers on the Web, you’ll be the target of at least a little abusive trolling.
I’ve been writing about feminism for a while now, and I feel like I’ve had the entire book of insults thrown at me. Most of the time, these insults come from men. Many times they don’t. Either way, there are a lot of really terrible things that faceless people on Twitter or in the comments feel compelled to tell feminist writers every day.
There are much worse things that women I know have heard, but these 8 things you shouldn’t say to women online are all things that have been Tweeted, emailed, or otherwise sent to me. Hows about we stop, guys?
1. You’re ugly.
No, I’m not. I’m fabulous, actually. You’re a random guy on the Internet and no one cares about your opinion. This is especially true if you’re too chicken to share your own photo online. Take your deep-seated body image issues elsewhere. It should also probably be noted that every woman on the internet, including supermodels, has had someone tell them that they’re ugly. We have a thick skin, and toolbags like you don’t faze us.
2. You’re fat.
Yes, yes I am. I commend you on realizing that, considering that I tell everyone that I am fat. I have written about it. I’m cool with it, and your attempt at being mean doesn’t hurt my feelings. I am surprised, though, that your detective skills haven’t landed you a job with the FBI, Sherlock.
3. “Fuck u, dumb bitch.”
There’s nothing I love more than someone with the grammar skills of a grade schooler stopping by to tell me that I’m a dumb bitch. Go play with kids your own age, and leave the real discussion to the adults.
4. “I hope you get raped.”
This is an actual thing that men say to women online, believe it or not, and it’s awful. 1 in 3 women globally will be raped in their lifetime, and many are already survivors of sexual assault. These kinds of tweets are extremely triggering, and reveal just how much of a despicable asshole you are. There have been cases where police have had to intervene after serious rape threats, so it’s not just something that feminists make up for blog material.
5. “I wouldn’t fuck you with someone else’s dick.”
This is actually kind of a compliment. I’m glad to know that I’m repulsive to douchebags who troll and say mean shit to women on Twitter. That’s a good thing, but someone should still probably explain to you that not every woman that you come in contact with wants to fuck you. In fact, probably no woman you come in contact with wants you anywhere near their genitals.
6. “You’re probably really a man dressed up like a woman.”
I don’t even really understand how this is supposed to insult me. If I were a “man dressed up like a woman,” I wouldn’t have these damn periods every month. Besides, you’re being a transphobic asshole and that’s not a good look on anyone. If you don’t know what transphobia means, go find a dictionary and come back to the Internet when you’ve learned more.
7. “You must be a man-hating lesbian.”
Again, I don’t see the point of this insult and you’re being a homophobe. You’re more than welcome to call me a lesbian if you want, but it doesn’t hurt my feelings. Lesbians are awesome! I’m sure my boyfriend would be super-surprised to learn that I am a lesbian, but no one will be surprised to learn that you are a boil on the ass of humanity.
8. “Go kill yourself.”
No snark needed here. Telling someone to commit suicide is just hateful, and I don’t think many of you would tell anyone to go kill themselves to their face. You look like such a coward taking out all your angst on people that you’ve never met, and I hope you finally get some help from a professional.
There’s no harm in a little online snark, but this shit crosses the line in a real way. If you’d like to actually engage with women in discussions instead of hurling insults, I’m sure they’ll be happy to oblige you. If you can’t quit acting like a pissed off toddler, though, everyone will ignore you while laughing at the sad little troll.
“I’ve been thinking about neurosurgery,” I said.
“Wait, let’s go back. You’re pre-med? Like, are you sure?” she said. She being a girl in my residence hall.
“Yeah, I’ve always wanted to be a doctor.”
“Can you even handle hospitals?”
“I think you learn along the way to be desensitized.”
“It’s a pretty serious profession.”
“I’m just saying you should think about how it’s serious and how you kind of aren’t.”
Can’t I be smart and funny? I mean, I know I can be both. As someone who has been in the advanced math and science track since sixth grade, as someone who survived tests that were impossible to finish, teachers who explained nothing, I guess I’m pretty smart. And I think the reason I merely think I’m smart is because I’m never acknowledged for my subtle, near-genius state. I’m still pretty sure I was snubbed out of a spot in my elementary school’s gifted program; my IQ was definitely higher than those runny nosed kids who got to leave class a couple of times a week to go share their smartness with each other, drinking coffee, not paste. I make people laugh, too. I’m a quick witted, sometimes asshole who feels comfortable in situations that aren’t serious. I think this started in elementary school as well. If people were laughing with me, they couldn’t be laughing at me, right? But sometimes when you’re funny and like to have fun, people forget that you can be smart, too.
It’s a weird balancing act. I mean, most of my wit is because I am smart. Don’t people know that? Can’t they see me as an outgoing funny girl who also aspires to be a surgeon? Actually, scratch that. Can’t they see me as any of the things I am and an aspiring surgeon? I like chai lattes better than coffee, I play vinyl while I study, cats are pretty cool, and every now and then I like to stop what I’m doing and have some goddamn fun. I don’t brag about my knowledge, in fact, I see that as tacky until you have some actual qualifications to do so. We’re in college, basically all equals. I don’t want to hear about how much smarter everyone thinks they are and how they should be at Princeton, but got cheated out of a spot. Bottom line: if you were meant to be at Princeton, you would be. Stop whining and get to work. Oh, you studied all night and bragged about how well you knew the material, but didn’t even finish the test? Great work. I could run circles around so many of the people I am working with, but I don’t. Why? Because everyone has their own talents, and I’m not going to point out the weaknesses they are more than likely already aware of.
What type of society do we live in where the only respectable smart people are the ones who sit for hours on end studying until their eyes are glazed over and they’ve forgotten how to be humans? We are breeding a society of sleep-deprived, work-obsessed, unoriginal creatures who forget that individuality is just as important as being a serious worker.
Next time I tell someone I want to be a neurosurgeon, I just want them to be proud. Or not even be surprised. I want them to think, “That makes sense,” and not question my abilities just because I do yoga and skip an occasional class to do something that makes me happy.
On yet another late-night of schoolwork, my friend mused whimsically: “What if your job was to go on vacation all the time? Like if someone just paid you to do vacations for them?”
I know. This breakthrough isn’t that far from saying, “Why do we need money, anyway? Why can’t we just trade stuff and do things for each other out of looooooooooove???”
Ugh. I know. Socialist hippie dogma gives me a stomach ache too.
But then I thought… this is actually pretty conceivable in our culture. Millennials run out of time way too quickly and they jump at the chance to live vicariously via Internet.
It’s possible that with the right amount of charisma and wittiness, you can live life as a pampered, free-loading bum! No joke – the dream can be a reality.
Let’s consider my friend’s scenario: getting people to pay you to go on vacations on their behalf.
There have been a lot of comments about Americans not utilizing their vacation days. This is rooted in a number of things, but it does seem that people have little time for vacations.
Why would people that don’t go on vacation pay YOU to go on it though? It’s hard to assume that they just can’t bear to leave work. In fact, I would imagine that a workaholic is wistful, if not bitter, when thinking of people that just shirk off their responsibilities for a weekend in Paris.
However, what if they physically cannot travel? Maybe the only way they can see Paris is by having you take a camera there. Maybe the benefactor that you need in order to vacation for free is a wealthy person that is too ill to go on airplanes.
Vacationing for free would require you to 1) generate a unique experience and 2) advertise or generate interest in an area. This is part of what makes travel blogs successful. However, travel blogs don’t always get snagged up by book agents and even then, you would have to invest money and actually fund your own vacation.
There are so many jobs out there that look like a dream or at least a very ingenious creation and focus of energy.
Beachologists are writers that grew into the critic niche and became acclaimed for their opinions on beaches. Now they are paid by resorts to play at being beach bums. A few days in Bermuda, a few days in the Bahamas… life seems pretty sweet. How clever of these people to specialize in something so awesome! Seems ingenious!
The same thing goes for beer critics. Unlike their pompous cousins, the wine critics, beer critics wouldn’t just spit out the beer they are sipping. They would get to taste (a lot of it) and experience the flavor, the hops, what have you… Becoming a beer critic is more or less a self-declared title. People start up blogs and look for sponsors and after reaching a large enough audience, they get paid to get boozy! Wunderbar! Speaking of bars, another dream that has become reality is taste-testing candy bars! That must be by far the most exciting kind of quality control!
People start their own businesses about things they care about and you would be surprise about where there are profits to be had! So why not? Why NOT get paid for going on vacation? It seems silly and ridiculous, but with enough charm, you can present your presumably positive experiences as something marketable for the places you visit or for travel sites and advisories.
You can carve out a piece of the tourism pie for yourself! Someone out there is already doing this. A lot of travel writers are getting paid for their experiences. So why can’t you?
Because it’s still work.
I love hammocks. One of my best friends in high school had an awesome hammock between two trees that had the perfect amount of foliage/shade. That may be a small part of why I befriended him in the first place. But I would love to get paid for swinging in a hammock all day. Who would pay me for that? People that care about what I have to say about hammocks. I need to create an audience and spend time on a business model and a multimedia platform for my business. Suddenly, I have a lot less time to spend just sitting in a hammock.
No matter how sensationalized you make it, work is still work. If it’s not work, it will fail. Just look at Jean-Ralphio and Tom Haverford’s Entertainment 720! Their only business model was buying cool things.
Think of anything that would presumably be awesome and turn it into a job – it will become a lot more stressful. Try running a pornographic film empire: you have to think about the logistics of filming and the schedule for putting out (bad pun) movies. And would the internet be your sole distribution channel? How can you maximize profits? There. Porn just became not-fun.
In an age where clever opinions matter, it’s possible to make a living off of doing whatever it is you want. But you can’t support yourself without taking initiative and working hard to create a good product.
Motivation, though… Who’s got time for that?