a less temporary goodbye

Featured Image: Ocean Waves by Hokusai 

This class has been one of the most tiring and exhilarating experiences of my life. I have found that writing an essay in 40 minutes is actually possible and moreover, it’s fun. I’ve found that writing is so much more complex than I’d previously imagined, and so much more fun. I’ve found myself engrossed in essays and all the intricacies within them. I’ve found myself seeing beauty in new places.

And yes, this class was tiring. Or rather, life is tiring and this class happens to be a part of that. I wish I had more time to delve into the material of this class. I wish I had spent less time overthinking things and more time reading and doing work for this class. The overthinking did nothing but make me more anxious and put me further behind in my classes. But I’m learning. It’s taking a very long time but I’m learning how to not overthink.

And I’m really bad at goodbyes. I will miss this class. I will miss my classmates and the classroom and this blog. I will miss you, Ms. Magnuson. Thank you for being there for me and understanding when all of my work was late. Thank you for inspiring us everyday. I will miss you so much.

And thank you, Class of 2018 for these past five years of amazing times and laughter and wonder. You’re all too amazing and I am going to miss you like hell.

 

Farewell,

Michelle Musili

 

you’ve got the spirit,

don’t lose the feeling.

(the bad arts by destroyer)

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The Refugee Thing

The refugee issue is one that’s been talked about for as long as I can remember. In the background of my childhood fantasies, I could always still hear the newscaster talking about families searching for a better life someplace else. I, being the escapist I was (and still am), ignored the newscaster. I went on flying dragons and ignoring reality. But the dragons have dissipated, my kingdom has vanished, yet the newscaster continues to talk of the refugees. I suppose I can’t run away from it any longer.

The refugee crisis is a topic I’ve always had mixed feelings about. I’ve always been been a person with a large capacity for empathy, so automatically, I side with the refugees. These are people running away from terrible situations and awful regimes. They deserve a chance to live freely.

However, I also understand the hesitation towards refugees. Some can represent a security risk. Desperate people go to desperate measures and there have been plenty of cases of refugees committing terrible crimes against the people of the nation that they’ve escaped to. Furthermore, a country must be able to consider whether they can handle an influx of refugees without their economy crashing.

Only one thing is certain: we can’t keep running away from the problem like children. We can’t escape to our fairytale worlds where refugees fit perfectly into society and have no issues whatsoever. We can’t run into a world where we have no moral responsibility to help those escaping oppression. I don’t have the answer this question, but I know that it’s complicated and nuanced and it’s time politics addressed it as such.

In Defence of Offensive Humor

Featured Image: Detail shot of “L.H.O.O.Q”. by Marcel Duchamp, 1919, readymade. I’m sure this was found to be pretty offensive originally. I think it’s kinda funny. Duchamp, you little rascal, you’re such a weirdo. 

Warning, if you’re sensitive to topics like 9/11 and rape, I do discuss them here, so be warned. 🙂 

This is probably the most nervous I’ve been to post a blog post, so I thought I’d start it out with an awful dark joke, just to set the bar as low as possible: I thought about starting this argument out with a joke about Hitler, but I do Nazi how they are funny, Anne Frankly, I don’t think anyone should make jokes about the Holocaust. (Yeah, that joke works better if you say it out loud. And even then it doesn’t really work.)

Dark and offensive humor is highly controversial, to say the least. YouTuber PewDiePie came under fire for making statements that were found to be a little too Nazi-esque for people’s taste. He lost a deal with Disney and many news outlets tried to rip him to shreds. However, he seems to have gotten more subscribers from the incident due to his unwavering position that what he said falls under freedom of speech. However, many have said that the First Amendment doesn’t apply for hate-speech. The question of hate-speech has been discussed many times, but often it devolves to a screaming match. “RACIST!” screams the left. “THOUGHT POLICE!” screams the right.

Humor only further clouds the spectrum of hate-speech. When a comedian makes a joke about the Holocaust or rape, there’s always a barrage of criticism, often well-intended. A lot of people feel that we shouldn’t joke about things that may bring back trauma or desensitize us to tragedy. However, others argue that humor falls within free speech, and thusly can talk about whatever the comedian wants to discuss. They also point out that if someone feels offended, they don’t have to listen to the comedian.

However there is another viewpoint, that isn’t discussed as often: dark/offensive humor serve as an avenue for social commentary. Humor by nature has to be surprising, otherwise people don’t laugh. That’s why timing is so important. It’s why anti-jokes like “why did the chicken cross the road?” work (or used to work). We expect there to be a pun or something there and we try to anticipate it. But the chicken just wants to get to the other side. We laugh because our expectations were subverted (I chose this joke, because I know that it’s already dead and thus I risk nothing by breaking it down.)

To break down another joke and forever render it unfunny, the Sarah Silverman Program has an episode in which Silverman, for the 6th anniversary of 9/11, puts on a play reenacting the event. She, however, keeps getting distracted while driving to the play, and keeps running over bearded men, thinking they were Osama bin Laden. I’m not exactly sure of Silverman’s intention with the joke, but it seems to me that it was commentary on the War on Terror and racial profiling. Silverman, like the American government, overreacts to a traumatic event and causes harm to innocent people in an attempt to insure safety and/or get revenge.

Louis C.K. made a much darker and more controversial joke about a topic that hits much closer to home for a lot of people. During a stand up routine, he said that if he were given a time machine, he wouldn’t kill Hitler, but rather he would rape him, as it would prevent him from committing any crime. The act would completely subjugate Hitler, rendering him unable to commit the atrocity. In this joke, C.K. manages to navigate the complex effect of being raped, especially as a man. It’s emasculating and can destroy a person’s identity. C.K. forces his audience to consider the reality, while at the same time making them laugh. He’s doing something quite powerful: showing us a grim reality that we usually ignore while making us laugh.

Some have said that this is offensive to people who have been raped, and I would assume it definitely could be, however, I don’t think that’s the audience he’s trying to reach. They already know what that trauma does to a person. He’s trying to illustrate it for other people. I definitely don’t think that his intention was to hurt those who have been raped.

That being said, I can see how this isn’t for everyone. It’s difficult, and probably isn’t funny for many people. And I also know that not all dark humor works this way. Some of it actually is damaging and distinguishing the good from the bad can be very subjective. But for those of us who enjoy dark and offensive humor, like myself, I think there’s a lot to be gained. Humor can make us question our assumptions in the world. It can open our eyes to a new reality all while making us laugh.

The Louis C.K. joke was from HBO’s Shameless in 2008. Silverman’s joke was from The Sarah Silverman Program, season 2, episode 10, Patriot Tact. 

P.S. the Nerdwriter did an awesome video on this topic. I would recommend it for anyone interested in the subject. Child molestation is mentioned and joked about, so viewer discretion is advised. 

e.e. cummings and some subpar metaphors

Featured Image: Quite possibly the most precious human being on planet earth, Jonsí of the Icelandic band Sigur Rós, playing a guitar with a bow like the a legend. Photography by Deanna Kim.

For your reading pleasure, here are some metaphors describing the poet e.e. cummings.

e.e cummings is a peacock, flaunting uniqueness at every turn.

He is a cosmos atrosanguineus or a chocolate cosmos flower, rare and dark.

If one were to try to wear him, they’d be putting on kaleidoscope glasses, and reality would be seen fractured and reshaped.

He is the 29th of February, extraordinary.

He is a smogamsburg of different foods. He’s the color puce – no one quite knows what to make of him.

He and the dodecahedron are identical twins, I had the same response of fascination to the two.

He smells like faint cannabis, because surely only drugs could produce such nonsense.

He is a Zaha Hadid building, twisting and turning and becoming more than one thought a building could be.

On his forehead, the word ‘incoherent’ is imprinted, but we all know it’s untrue, he just wants to shroud himself in seeming incoherence.

He plays the guitar with a bow, throwing familiar things together in a strange way.

He is the transition season between the rainy and dry seasons; it’s so hard to know what to make of it.

He is the engineer of appliances, an innovator.

He’s a sunshower.

If he were in a book, he’d be the wonderland Alice found herself trapped in: mystical, magical, with just a hint of darkness. 

How to write the BEST RESUMÉ EVER (100% GUARANTEED TO GET YOU YOUR DREAM JOB!)

Featured image: Korg Electribe play/pause button. Posted by dominicotine on Flickr (it’s a resume button. and we’re talking about resumés. get it?) 

If you’ve wound up at a 17 year old’s blog featuring the most clickbait-y title on the interwebs hoping to actually learn how to write a resumé, I’m afraid you’ll need some lessons on how to internet, my friend.

Condescending remarks aside, writing a resumé is surprisingly easy, and is one of the most useful things I’ve learned throughout high school, so let’s have the quick run-down of how to do this!

First, you’ll write your name. Choose what you think sound the most professional. Once upon a time, I used to sign all my poetry with the name M.K. Musili, but then I thought it sounded too much like Project MK Ultra so I trashed that idea.

Next, you’ll put down your contact information – email, phone number, fax (if you still use that archaic machine), pager (what is this, 1992?), or what-have you. Make sure your email is appropriate (no BootyliciousBeyFan@email.net) and check your social media sites to make sure they’re all pretty harmless, because your future employer WILL stalk you on every media possible.

After this, you’ll announce your career objective. Think about it like this: this job is the most beautiful person you’ve ever met and you want to to date him/her. You have to be upfront with your goals. Don’t be that person that says they’re not looking for anything serious but then leads you on for millennia and then just leaves. The point is, be clear in your objective. What do you want from this job? Tell them.

Now, let’s disclose your previous work experience. Don’t use experiences that aren’t apropos to the job you’re trying to get now. If you’re applying for a job as a graphic designer, don’t mention that you worked at taco bell. Make sure your resume isn’t too long. A page is great and maybe two is fine. Three or more is overkill.

And of course, put down your education experience. Tell them what level of education you completed, when you were in school (specifically, when you were in high school or college, depending on your level of education), and where you went. If you served in the military, tell them.

Do you have any special skills or things you feel make you qualified for the job? Put that on your resume, friend!

Format that nicely and there you have it, future employee! You have a beautiful resumé that 17 year old helped you write. Go forth and punch the clock, fellow slave of capitalism. 

Truth or Punishment

Featured Image: Star vs The Forces of Evil, episode: Sleepover. Daron Nefcy/Disney-ABC Domestic Television (It’s a great show, and it’s actually related to this topic.)

In an episode of Star vs The Forces of Evil, the main characters play a sentient game called Truth or Punishment, a magical variant of Truth or Dare. Throughout the game, the characters each have to answer difficult questions truthfully or face magical punishments ranging from violent tickling to being trapped in a death maze.

I kind of feel like we need something like that for journalists and politicians. (I’m joking! Not a death maze. Just a really really long maze that they never escape from. They can have a wonderful life within the maze, away from the public.)

Last year was deemed the year of ‘post-truth’ and I can’t argue with the assessment. The political climate in the United States got to be absolutely polarizing. The left and the right were tearing the country apart, and still are. CNN and Fox News would both put an article out about a similar event, but they would paint different heroes and villains in the story. Who was correct? It all depends upon your political leaning, everything seemed to be telling me. Truth is all relative.

Our best inventions are our downfall. The internet, in all of its wonder, has been part of the reason this post-truth era has befell us. The internet provides information on a scale previously unseen. It also provides anyone who wants a platform with one. We’ve taken the innovation that brought us copious amounts of cute cat pictures and used it to twist the idea of truth.

However, I don’t think this truth twisting was born out of malicious intent.

In the aforementioned episode of Star vs The Forces of Evil, the climax features the game imploding upon itself as the main character, Star, tells it that truth isn’t black and white – it’s a rainbow of emotions changing everyday. Star was referring to truth relative to one’s emotions, and while I disagree with her on the exact phrasing of the sentiment, I agree: truth is complex. We don’t want it to be.

We see the economy falling apart and we blame the immigrants. We see sexual harassment and rape incidents increasing and we want to immediately throw anyone accused of rape in jail. But this is irresponsible and doesn’t solve any of the problems we want to solve. This isn’t a fun time to be an American. Really, it isn’t fun to be alive right now. We want a simple truth that’ll solve all of our issues. We’ll even trade in the complex truth for a simple half truth.

But it’s not worth it. You can’t solve a problem without knowing what you have to solve. Truth isn’t simple. There are no heroes and villains in life, just humans. We have to learn how to imagine the world around us complexly in order to effectively create change in it.

living la vida meaningless

Featured Image: an art piece I made in about 32 seconds called ‘my life rn tbh lol’.

The word ‘meaningful’ is the most useless word in the English language. It’s much too nebulous, too vague. I can say that the most meaningful thing in my life is my pinky toenail. How could anyone argue with that? The only thing that deems it meaningful is my assertion that it is. I suppose this is why I have trouble with the idea of a meaningful life.

Last year, teenage hormones dictated I had to have a crisis, so I fell into the recesses of obsessing over the idea that my life was meaningless. I watched as many videos about existentialism as I could. I wrote dumb poetry about fearing the machine and hating the rat race that is human existence. Eventually, the distant worry of living a life I was vaguely annoyed with turned into anxiety attacks over the idea of going to school the next day. The things I used to enjoy faded away, either in opportunity or in general enjoy-ability. The idea of a meaningful life was light years away from reality for me.

I’m not sure how I gained back that feeling of meaning in the time since that crisis. (I suppose my mind got tired of obsessing over existentialism.) I’m still not sure if my life has meaning or significance or if I’m living truly. I have no strong convictions, no huge motivation, nothing. I do things because I’m told to. I’m the rat that I feared I would end up being.

I don’t know if there’s a way to achieve meaning. I don’t know if there’s some treasure trove of the essence of truly living that I can find. I know that there are beautiful moments: I listened to an album all the way through the other day, and I focused on the music. I found myself enveloped by a strange, innovative, sometimes laughably ridiculous album and for a moment, I think I saw what the transcendentalists saw. I think I saw what I wanted last year. And maybe I’ll find it again.