Generational Shame

It’s a sad moment, when you realise just what your generation will leave behind for the after-world to say “aaaahhhh” over. What kind of “aaahhh” this is is completely dependant on what the people born in your decade can all nod and smile about, with this deeper understanding, this secret handshake, that anyone born after you will never quite be able to get to the same level. My husband can say “I love the Star Wars movies” without having to explain which ‘generation’ of Star Wars he was referring to. My oldest brother played the original Super Mario games before it became hipster-chique to play them. And I… I bonded over the Little Mermaid with a girl my age in Shakespeare class today.

This is very sad. I am simply wondering if the people growing up during the 90s have something to be proud of? What did we have that has become… cool? Hip? Trendy, because the geek-chique of today approve of it? I missed the wave of Barbie-Dolls, Spice Girls and Take That which swept over a world of pink and glitter, in a strange 90s which idealised the extremely girly or the extremely grungy. Mostly, people my age and I have little to bond over, but that it has to be Disney Movies is no consolation. I DID manage to snag a small corner of the ‘white but still cool and not completely bonkers Michael Jackson’ era, but everyone agrees that Thriller and Bad were his hay-days. I could not have told you who Nirvana were before the later part of the first decade of this millennium… but I actually still can’t. Though I have understood it has something to do with Kurt Cobain (oh look, I spelled that right before I looked it up!) and him shooting himself even though he swore he didn’t have a gun in the song. I also caught up with the other guys way after it was cool to listen to them: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Cake, Pearl Jam, Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day… I started listening to them when it was cool to listen to them AGAIN. (I’m referring to the bulging mass of Indie-kids of today, who think that a band is only worth listening to if they played alternative rock in the 90s, or even better, you don’t know who they are, have never heard of them, and “don’t get their sound” when you’re made to listen to them.)

One good reason I missed out on plenty of 90s music is because when Silence of the Lambs came out I was only 3, and around the same age with the other “people will never forget about them and keep quoting them to death” movies: Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, Schindler’s List, Titanic, Jurassic Park, The Matrix (first one) etc. I did get in on most of the Disney Action: The Lion King was enormous, as was Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. I did miss out on Toy Story. I wonder why my parents decided that one in particular wasn’t anything for us. Would it make us want toys? Are the cowboy and the astronaut too stereotypical to be good heroes for hippie-kids? No, that doesn’t make any sense. Because I never saw Pocahontas either.

Anyway, I just hope that something from my time will become cool again. Not Indie-kid cool, or hipster cool, and definitely not american football-player cool. No. I hope something from the 90s will be cool to the new ruling class: the geeks and nerds of the world. In case no-one else noticed, being geeky and nerdy has magically become the new sexy (more on that in some later blog-post). I just hope that when my children grow up, I can tell them better things than “when I lived in Canada, Justin Bieber became famous” or “Miley Cirus actually went from bad to fucking crazily nutty seriously what are you doing? Seriously” or “Well, at least Britney Spears isn’t popular anymore…”. We have one hero from the 90s, though I don’t think he is to the geeks: a man who managed to leave a sad boy-band and instead of failing completely, turned out some pretty good music, because he actually had a voice, and a personality. Yes, I think we all know that we’re talking about Robbie here. So there was always something good that the 90s left behind (though it took till the new millennium for that transformation to finish).

If you would like to point out something positive the 90s gave us which is cool/useful/nice/edible/acceptable to geeks, please chime in, and make me feel a bit better about being… a 90s kid.

I leave you with this sad and hopeful tune.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D35vfQ7eZg

Just a note to say…

I will not have an awful lot of time to write for the next few days, as they will be spent cooking, decorating, planning and freaking out about the wedding… a wedding which is less than a week away now! I just wrote to let you all know that though I may have a short, productive blog-break, my husband-to-be is now posting everyday, and not just anything…

He is posting our story. It’s the short, the oh so very short, version of it, but it’s there. So if you’re looking for something to read that has very much to do with me, and everything to do with us, go there. He has so far posted 3 out of 9 “chapters”, and you can find the first, second and third here. It may be of special interest to you because our story started right here, on WordPress, a little over 2 years ago now. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

In my freezer, I have 54 cinnamon-buns and 3 cheese and onion pies. I just removed 99 stickers from 33 candle-holders, and then washed and dried them individually. My arms are aching from carrying toddlers and groceries. I am very excited, rather stressed and so deeply happy.

 

 

I would like to be feeling like this:

calmbride

But I actually feel like this.

stressedbride

Oh well. It’ll all be fine.

Here Comes the Bride… (And who’s that? Oh. It’s just her shrink).

It is now a few hours less than 8 days  till my surname changes forever. In other words, I will be a married woman, and I am aware that I do not HAVE to change my name, and that I can change back to my “nee” at any moment… but since it is a voluntary action, I do not think we have to argue any further.

My wonderful husband-to-be is none other than a fellow WordPresser. In fact, we met through our respective blogs. It was far from intentional: he read an early blog of mine, he liked what he read, I read his blog, likewise, and a friendly exchange between bloggers began. To be honest, it never even entered my head that we could have any kind of romance ahead in our mutual future, nor that we would ever meet, or even speak outside of the “Leave a Comment” section on the other’s blog.

Ha ha ha.

Well, here we stand today… or rather, in 13 days and a few hours time. Since I will be going on and on about how we met and who we are and all the romantic stuff for several posts ahead, I would like to make this post one of caution… and no. I am not telling people not to get married. Duh. What? I’M getting married for crying out loud! I would never lecture people on that. No. I am instead going to make a weak attempt at being of help to other future brides out there, by listing a few things I didn’t really think about before the wedding, and which have come back to bite me in my more sensitive parts as the day draws near. These are:

1. People.

You may think that it is very obvious exactly who you want to attend your wedding, and who you’d never want to share your special day. Fair enough. To me, it seemed an easy enough question… and then POOF! Out of the blue, I certainly started thinking “how do these people get along? will that person get hurt if I invite him but not her? will these people want to sit together, or apart? is it too long ago that I saw that person to invite them? I know this person will say no, but should I invite them anyway, because it’s the right thing to do?” and hey presto! Your head is suddenly spinning with what-ifs and whose-its. So my number one recommendation is take time to THINK! You may end up not having invited some people that you in hindsight would really like to be there, or inviting some people out of guilt that you regret inviting once you think about the food and drink you’ll be treating them to… so stop to think. Take your time. You’re only getting married once (well, I am. If you’re undecided, maybe it’s not so important. Then you can forget about this one and move on).

2. Theme.

Now, I’m one of those wondrously naive people who can say stuff like “I don’t really care what it looks like/I never really thought about it/I’m sure it will all work out in the end” about things such as decor, venue, general theme of the wedding etc. *stifled laughter*. Mhm. Here’s the thing. Even if you, like me, haven’t spent your entire life planning your wedding-day into the tiniest and minutest of details, all of a sudden things which didn’t seem that important will take on a magnitude that the Sphinx can’t really compare to. So try not to sit there like me, a few days before the wedding, hoping you will be able to find something green in the wild to decorate the room with, that won’t whither and die within two second of being picked. And if you were wondering, yes, it will be important to get those specific candle-holders. Trust me on this. This wedding is stupidly simple, low-budget and laid-back… and the details are still hurting my brain.

3. Expense.

Think about that for a second. If you have a certain dream-wedding in mind, you will definitely want to think about the budget before you pick a date. And once you have thought about the budget, think about it some more. Try to come up with more possible expenses. We have already had multiple: my dress, which was only going to cost me £162 (custom-sown, ordered on the internet, including transport) ended up costing me another £78… in customs. This is a cost that many sites will conveniently forget to mention when you order, so you’ll have to look up possible customs expenses when you order from out-of-borders by yourself. Because when you are already hard up for wedding-funds, an unforeseen £78 is not what you want to have to pay.  We also have to pay extra for the ceremony, which would otherwise have been free, because our officiator is from a municipality not our own. And a cravatt can be much more expensive than you think. So sit down, think about the cost down to the nitty gritty details, and then add extra money (a lot of extra money) for the “in case” fund. Because there will be “I never thought about that” expenses.

4. Help from your friends.

My friends and family-members, and family-members-to-be, are truly wonderful people. If you are arranging a wedding where you are doing basically EVERYTHING yourselves, you will probably need to ask some people for help. Think about who to ask for what. Some people will gladly help you cook or set tables, whereas some may feel a bit insulted. Some you can trust with carrying those rings and getting your grandmother home safely, and some you can’t trust with pouring welcome-drinks. Asking for help can be difficult, and it is, for me. If you are worried about stepping on toes, try to gauge who actually would like to help, and who would just say “yes” to be polite. Just try to keep a nice balance on things: you don’t want to have a guest of yours working their a** off all day, but you don’t want to be standing there doing dishes and carrying chairs either.

5. Traditiooooooons. Traditions. TRADITIONS!

Today, quirky and modern is becoming increasingly popular. The bride shall carry the groom across the threshold, the mother will give her away and maybe the ceremony should be held whilst bungee-jumping? There are, naturally, still some very “conservative” weddings, with the white dress, the cake-cutting, the father-of-the-bride speech etc. I have no objections to either. What is important is to ask yourself: this thing that we are about to have/not have at our wedding, is it because WE want it or because a) we don’t want to follow tradition or b) we haven’t even thought about it simply being a tradition because everyone does it? There are some I’ve chosen to stick with: the cake, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”, bridal bouquet, brides-maid… but my dress will be champagne, my father won’t walk me down the aisle and our best man is a wonderful woman… but the title is still Best Man, so don’t you go trying to change that around now! 😉 Just consider that a wedding can be exactly the way you want it. Don’t let yourselves be governed by traditions, or the fear of them.

 

One last, tiny piece of advice… don’t panic. Douglas Adams said it right. My husband-to-be has tried to help me in this regard. When I start hyperventilating about the things that may go wrong, everything that will have to be done last minute and all the expenses, he does his best to calm me down. I can’t say I don’t panic occasionally anyway… but it certainly doesn’t help one bit. Here’s a friendly reminder, printed on our custom-made wedding-invitations:

20130719_015733

I don’t know if these words will help any desperate brides or grooms out there. It has given me a nice little venting-space, however, and something to type while the pasta-sauce is simmering to delicious, tomatoey thickness. I’m going to go boil some fusilli now. OK. Bye.

Turn-about is… fair play?

For thousands upon thousands of years, humans have perfected the art of suppressing, using, abusing, manipulating, taking advantage of, milking, sucking the life out of, making fun of, stealing, reaping, raping, mocking, hunting… just about everything. Ore from the earth, wood from trees, life from other animals, and most certainly, ourselves. We have refined this art: now we can pollute with ease, extract with skill, lie with expertise and shake the hands of our enemies as we put them in prison for years to come. The strangest of all these urges is that to belittle others. We can see it today, and have seen it in famous historical examples; mainly slavery and the suppression of women.

Due to these centuries of taking other people hostage and agreeing that women are not good for anything but childbirth and, perhaps, cooking, a new group of people has arisen among the masses. A group which is hated, mocked and scorned by all, a group which is rapidly losing their honour, and, through merely being born into this group, you will automatically be on the top list of “evil human beings” for the rest of your life: wealthy white men.

“Gasp!” you say. “How can you speak of them as ill treated?” you say. “They are no better than criminals!” you say. “They deserve what is coming to them!” you say. “They are all selfish, competitive, raping, racist bastards!” you say. Aha. So by virtue of being a wealthy, white man, you immediately become all of these things. I see. That is by no means racist, by no means judging someone  by their income, or sex. Not at all. Because if you were born with the upper hand, you deserve what is coming to you.

When did this happen? I guess it has always been this way. In previous societies, certain things were openly strived for, openly admired, but in a modern world, thirsty for what is fair, quirky, different and therefore better than mainstream, the things that used to be good are now despicable. Virtue? We want sexual freedom for all. Money? We should get rid of it and all live in harmony, trading services. Power? Power only ever leads to corruption.

In a million ways, I agree. And yet. How is it fair that a comedian who is African-American, Jewish, Indian, Chinese or [insert ethnic group that is not classed as “white” here] can make the most racist jokes and remarks about any other group… because they are not “white”? How is it fair that female comedians can rant about the shortcomings of men for hours, and this brings the house down… but if a man makes a single joke about a woman, this is sexist? When did “turn the other cheek” and “do unto others” become “do as others have done previously because you can because revenge is justice, at least if taken by what has been a weaker party”? (I love Russel Peters, by the way. He’s hilarious. My point is, if he gets to make racist jokes, so should everyone else).

I am not saying there have not been some terrible acts of injustice throughout history, or that there are none today. I am not saying that wealthy, powerful white men do not have an awful lot coming to them… as long as the person in question is a chauvinistic, selfish, racist arse. But I am fighting for that other guy. The father who is deemed worthless because he didn’t “have to carry the baby for nine months”. The young man who is a “slob who lives in his parents basements and just plays video-games all the time”. The boy in the hoodie on the street who is “bad seed”. The husband who is inconsiderate because he doesn’t “take me out” or “talk for hours like we used to” or “bring me flowers anymore”. ANY man who isn’t “good enough in bed”.

Shame on us. Shame on the sex that asks for all the benefits, but none of the responsibility. That father might well have wished to be able to carry that child for nine months, but was not able to, due to his physiology. A woman can go to a sperm-bank and become a single mother, but a man could never get this chance, because he is unable to carry a child. That young man may be no worse than a young woman living with her parents, but because she spends her time writing a blog, scrap-booking, painting her toe-nails and talking to her friends on the phone, she is somehow better, a good girl, a virtuous, productive young woman who is simply taking her time to make her choices in life. And the hoodie. All the hoodie is is a light jacket with a piece of cloth attached to the top. Wow. Are we really going to pass someone off as a dangerous criminal, a junkie, a nobody because they choose to wear this garment? That husband, why is it always his job to bring flowers, book a table, start a conversation? What husband complains about his wife “neglecting the romance” in their marriage? But above and beyond all; when did it become the man’s job to make sure that a) you have the best sex of your life every time you do anything at all and b) he has the best sex of his life, because you shouldn’t have to lift a finger to please him?

Why do we stand there, jeering at these “worthless, selfish, sloppy, slow, overrated MEN”, expecting them to do everything for us, and yet claiming to be self-sufficient and strong? They have to start doing dishes and cooking, but we don’t have to put up a shelf or mow the lawn. They should be home more with the children, so that we can pursue our career… if we want to. Preferably, they should bring in the money AND take care of the children, so we can go off and take art-courses and long vacations, because being mothers and wives and poorly treated women entitles us to do nothing and get pampered.

Yes, things that have been done to, and are still being done to, women are absolutely AWFUL. Suppression in physical, mental and emotional ways is an everyday occurrence in many countries. But why should a generation of men who are learning much from their mothers, from a time when liberation of women and equality is on a constant rise, have to suffer the most for the actions of their fathers and grandfathers? Should the Germans of today be punished for Hitler’s actions? Should all the white Americans be shipped out of the U.S, because their forefathers took the land of Native Americans, and it is rightfully theirs, so piss off? And if we should all have to bear the consequences of our forefathers actions, and take the punishment for their mistakes and cruelty, how far back do we go? Homo sapiens were responsible for the genocide of the Neanderthal. Should we all be killed for that?

Inequality is shit. Suppression is horrible, slavery is inexcusable and chauvinism is just plain stupid. These things have existed, and do exist. It is something we should always strive to get away from, something we should always fight to stop. But fighting fire with fire has never been effective. Attacking men for their fathers’ actions is not going to make those actions go away, it is simply creating a new group of suppressed people. If we want equality, we are going to have to start treating everyone as an equal. EVERYONE. Even the pariah of today, the wealthy, white man.

Monsatan… Monsanta… Monsanto

I’m sure none of us have done ANYTHING on our computers the last few months without reading the word “Monsanto” amongst things like “super-duper-evil”, “worse than Hitler”, “OMG! I can’t believe how terrible these people are!”, “Boycott them or die!” and so forth. Yes. I can no longer log onto facebook without the majority of my friends having posted something about how this terribly nasty, BIG corporation (you know how them being big and making money means they are evil, right?) is taking over the world one grain at a time. If you have managed to miss this, good for you.

Because this Monsanto-fever is giving rise to something else, something which has killed an awful lot of people over thousands of years. Wherever it has reared its ugly head, people drop like flies. This little something, I like to call: self-righteousness.

Yes indeed. That thing that makes a person walk up to someone and tell them how despicable they are because they haven’t made the same life-choices. How selfish they are for drinking bottled water. What a terrible pregnant mother they are for eating a single Dorito. How can they live with themselves, these terrible people who don’t walk to work, or don’t grow their own organic veggies, or don’t breastfeed their children till they’re 3-years-old?

A deep, glowing belief that your way of life is the only right and the only GOOD way is what has led to a great many “events” in world history: The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, The Russian Revolution and the Holocaust, to name a few. It would not surprise me if the mind-numbing sharing and reposting of things like this, this and this soon turn into “demonstration” in the form of throwing stones, bombs, graffiti etc. Perhaps some nice anti-GMO person will start shooting Monsanto hot-shots, because for some reason they think this will make the world a better place.

But hang on. The same people who are so against what Monsanto are doing today, aren’t those the ones who wanted to… what was it again… oh yes, end world hunger. Because that is the main reason for GMO in the first place! Creating enough resilient, hefty crops, that give farmers in third-world countries food and an income? Or, all these self-righteous, angry, first-world people can go the f*** down to Africa and India and into China and start helping the farmers for free, swatting bugs to avoid pesticides, farming acre upon acre of land without heavy machinery… no, but it is so much easier to just shout at some common scape-goat than to actually do something to fix the situation.

This is what Monsanto’s home-page looks like:

Monsanta 

(The morning of the 13th of June, it took me forever to get to their homepage. It would not load. Is it possible that some well-meaning anti-GMO activist feels that Monsanto are so big and evil they do not deserve a website, or to tell their side of the story?)

This is what one of the thousands of “Monsanto is the evil of the world and the spawn of Satan” web-pages looks like:

Monsatan

(Interestingly enough, the BBC are now “biased” because they made a “pro-GMO” documentary. Up until now, the BBC have been professional, the best in the biz, world-famous for their unbiased reporting.  But if they do not agree with such a large group of people, who are well-informed of who Monsanto really are, thanks to reposting stuff on facebook, they must now have turned to the dark side. I don’t blame them. We have cookies.)

And this is what good ol’ neutral Wikipedia has to say on the matter:

Monsanto

One great problem is that people continue to share these things, huffing, puffing, gasping and frowning at the audacity of this company’s actions, without actually trying to find anything out for themselves. If they do, they go to “reliable” websites, with words like “green“, “organic“, “natural” etc. in the name. Because if it says Monsanto is evil, it must be true.

I am not saying anything either way. I know that by now, I would have to read for a week straight to get any unbiased information about this company. I know that even if I did, I could not convince its supporters that it is evil, nor its opponents that it is good. Because people see what they want to see, no matter what is actually there. But I still believe that self-righteousness is a much greater killer than any evil corporation ever has been. So far.

Ask why

An acquaintance of mine and her boyfriend recently broke up. I asked her why and she answered “That’s just how it is sometimes, I guess”.

This led me back to a train of thought that I’ve been stuck on of late. The relationship today, and why it has turned into what it is. The shrug and the “other fish in the sea” attitude which people often have around break-ups nowadays. The disinterest in finding out why it fell apart. The ease with which we can shut people out, because we don’t all live in the same tiny village and have to see each other every day.

Is it that simple? Because we are so many, living in massive heaps of human upon human, we can abandon our partner, a person we have shared every intimate ounce of our lives with for years, and go find someone else to do it all over with? Really?

And why would you not question, why would you say “I guess that’s just the way it is sometimes” and shrug and give up? If you have been with that person for several years, there must be a reason beyond “it was convenient” or “we had sex and then we kept dating”? No?

The hopeful romantic in me wants to shout and ask people to fight, to stop and ask themselves what they saw in that person when they first met them, whether that was a construct of wishful thinking or a real quality, and if so, is it still there? Why is that not so important anymore? Why does taking something for granted immediately make it a negative, in a sense, something which is forgotten and discarded behind all the habits that all of a sudden become so annoying and impossible to live with?

It’s as if people don’t need to think anymore because we can just run away; defriend, delete pictures, block phone-number, change lock and ask your friends if he’s going to be there before you go to the party. Oh, it’s not an easy process in the slightest, but it’s probably a hell of a lot more comfortable than having to face that person and have some form of conversation with them about the reasons it didn’t work out, and the reasons why it should have.

The hopeful romantic in me cannot believe that all the things you loved in a person have certainly magically disappeared. The hopeful romantic in me knows that if it was worth getting into in the first place, it’s worth fighting for. The hopeful romantic in me knows that unless you hate the person for some reason, or it turns out your values differ greatly in the fields of politics, religion, upbringing of children, drug-use or something equally serious, there will probably be a way to find common ground, compromise, forgive and live with each other again.

But no. No say the people of today. We are many, we are young, we have a friend-list of 1000 people to pick from, because hey, we can be bi if we want to. We have longer life-expentancy, so more time to screw up and keep screwing up.

Fine. You do that. I am going to keep loving the man I am with madly, for all the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place, and never let myself forget. Because when you have found something and someone worth fighting for, you do not let go. Under any circumstances. You do not shrug and turn away. You ask why.

One Wedding and No Funeral

Yes. It has been almost a year. I know. I’m shocked to see that there are occasionally people still checking in here, almost every day! I do not have a long, elaborate explanation as for why I haven’t written. Life happened.

 

Last time I wrote, my oldest brother and his fiance had just had a little boy. He is now about 8 months old, and a proper person, but a lot smaller than most of us. It’s my job to talk English to him, so he grows up knowing several languages. I have no problem with that. Well, not just my job, mine and my fiance’s.

 

Oh yeah. Remember that amazing person I mentioned frequently back when I was still blogging, last year? We’re engaged to be married this summer. It’s rare, not only in it being my first, last and only marriage to anyone, but also in it being a full-blown WordPress wedding. Oh yeah. Do you remember how he was a blogger and we met through WordPress? Well, he’s still a blogger, he’s been a lot more active than me over the last year, and right now he’s working on some exciting updates to his page. It just so happens that his 2 year bloggoversary falls on the 17th this month, so give him a wordpressent by visiting him a lot! It will be fun, because the changes are happening gradually.

 

What else? Last time I wrote, I was still finishing up courses to get into university. Well, I did a summer course on “Visual and Material Objects”. Does it sound complicated, pretentious, weird? It probably was all of those things, but I enjoyed it immensely. My – occasionally – overly analytical brain thoroughly enjoyed picking apart and decoding images and various forms of art. I feel like I have had good use for it in my current field of study; English. I did English all of last fall, and now all of this spring, and then I will spend all of this summer planning our wedding.

 

So the one wedding should be fairly obvious by now. Best get to the second part before you claw my eyes out.

 

A wonderful, beautiful person in this world has died. Sierra, a girl that I have known since I was 16, and whose blog I actually linked to once or twice, chose not to live any longer, and I have to deal with that over Christmas. I was not angry with her – though I have the feeling that her relatives were, because they did not have a funeral –  I was just sad that she was so sad that she could not carry on anymore. Sierra had a wonderful sense of humour, was very caring, hated conflict, drank like a champion, rocked short hair, gave the best of hugs, doted on Audrey Hepburn and could not stop smoking. I love her to bits and pieces. I still feel tears welling up when I think of her “too closely”, but at the same time I am grateful for having known her, and happy for her that she doesn’t have to be as unhappy as she was anymore. Ironically, her last blogpost is titled “the queen is dead”, and the last thing she wrote in a book we sent back and forth, like a letter, was “BUMMER!”

I can’t bring myself to leave you on such a sad note. Think about all the wondrous and joyous things I will share with you this summer! I am sure to blog about the wedding and the wedding-plans, because apparently everyone does that, and I have noticed that women become absolutely obsessed with that date as it draws nigh, so I’m sure I won’t be an exception. Also, with the permission of my brother and his lovely lady, I will post a picture of the most adorable – to me, and yet – baby ever born!

One thing my English course has taught me – so far – is – besides quite a few things that I know happen to be incorrect, because my fiance is not only English, but good AT English, and most Englishmen would cry if they knew what they teach us at this university – how to write a very boring, overly complex, fancy, abstract, and to most good writers, unacceptable, text, which needs a conclusion that repeats everything you have just told people. To that end (clears throat): In short, I have studied a lot, I have a wonderful little nephew, my friend is dead and I will get married this summer to the most wonderful person I have ever met and then get to spend the rest of my life with him.

 

Write you soon.