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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for the ‘Current Events’

Near the end of an epically terrible year, remember the good things that happened.

December 21, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Current Events 22 Comments →

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Doctors of the World Reality Xmas cards designed by McCann London. ’tis the season to give a damn.

2016 has been HORRENDOUS, and it still hasn’t stopped sucking. Surrounded by such gruesomeness, we tend to lose all perspective. We even start thinking that this horror is normal. Well, it isn’t. This will pass—we don’t know how long it will take, but it will. In the meantime there is something we can do. We can live AS IF the world is a good place, AS IF people are kind, AS IF honesty, decency and justice prevail. This is not denial or airy-fairy optimism, but a form of resistance based on our favorite instrument, irony.

From Letters to A Young Contrarian by Hitchens:

Vaclav Havel, then working as a marginal playwright and poet in a society and state that truly merited the title of Absurd, realised that “resistance” in its original insurgent and militant sense was impossible in the Central Europe of the day. He therefore proposed living “as if” he were a citizen of a free society, “as if” lying and cowardice were not mandatory patriotic duties, “as if” his government had actually signed (which it actually had) the various treaties and agreements that enshrine universal human rights. He called this tactic “The Power of the Powerless” because, even when disagreement can be almost forbidden, a state that insists on actually compelling assent can be relatively easily made to look stupid.

And this stratagem sounds like something out of Clueless! Later in the same chapter:

The process often involved an inversion in the usual relationship between the ironic and the literal. The “People Power” moment of 1989, when whole populations brought down their absurd leaders by an exercise of arm-folding and sarcasm, had its origins partly in the Philippines in 1985, when the dictator Marcos called an opportunist “snap election” and the voters decided to take him seriously. They acted “as if” the vote were free and fair, and they made it so.

No matter how recent history is revised and spun, no matter what disillusionment followed, it was the right thing to do.

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While we poke into the wreckage of 2016, we should remember that it wasn’t completely dreadful, even if it feels like it. Hey, gravitational waves were detected. There’s Proxima B and SpaceX. There were wonderful moments in pop culture.

In our personal lives, it can’t have been all dire. Everyone had small victories and big victories. Let’s acknowledge them, and allow ourselves to gloat a little. Tell us about the good stuff that happened to you this year in Comments. I have three things:

1. After two and a half decades of stopping and starting, I finally wrote a novel I didn’t shred.
2. After a lifetime of trying to get my hair to behave, I got a hairstyle I like. (Jay Lozada is a genius.)
3. After a ten-year absence, I visited New York. My timing was off: I figured that by the time I landed, the celebrations would be on. The opposite happened. But New York was exactly the way I wanted it to be: thrilling, tough, slightly scary, vigorous (if somewhat shellshocked), thought-provoking, and also strangely kind. (Lav Diaz said that when he was penniless and without prospects, he would take refuge in the New York Public Library and it became his school. He’s learned something.)

You?

How to deny, deny, deny

December 17, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Television No Comments →

Fly in the face of confirmed fact! He’s not dead, he’s pining for the fjords.

Do people really want freedom from freedom? 2016 suggests that Loki in The Avengers was right.

December 15, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Movies 2 Comments →

The evidence suggests that people do not practise critical thinking. Or do not want to think. Or do not think at all. It’s so much easier to surrender your decision-making processes to the nearest strongman who claims to have the answers to everything. Freedom comes with responsibility, and who has the energy for that? Yeah, join the hive mind and hide behind the supposed strength of numbers. If you agree with everyone, you can’t possibly be wrong, right?

Nope, it just makes you a scared little waste of evolution. Throughout history people have died to fight and to escape from slavery, but you choose to be a slave. You do not have to be anyone’s tool. Think.

You can choose to be free. We are responsible for ourselves and our fellow humans.

* Star Wars analogy redacted because every viewer naturally assumes she is the hero and not the oppressor.

Here is this week’s Dancing In My Tsinelas playlist for VP Leni exclamation point!

December 12, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Music 1 Comment →

It’s by rickyvvvvv, and it’ll get you through the many traffic jams you have to endure this week. We’re posting a new playlist every Monday so we need a lot of music. Send your happy playlists to saffron.safin@gmail.com or post them in comments.

Dancing In My Tsinelas: A happy playlist for VP Leni

December 05, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Music 11 Comments →

I am tired of being angry.

We all have reasons to be angry, but being angry just makes us angrier, and then the loudest and angriest wins. All that energy expended on nothing, just making everyone feel ill and look worn-out.

Today we woke up to the kind of news that makes us angry. I support #ProtectVPLeni and #LabanLeni, but I’m thinking that we could also try a different approach—one that is less likely to cause yelling.

A different approach, like Cheer. Like believing that good defeats evil. Like laughing in the face of despair. Like insisting on hope. Like dancing on the grave of injustice. (To those of us who are not perky sunshine people, it’s positively revolutionary.)

Nothing promotes happiness like music. So Juan, Ricky and I got together and made a list of happy songs off the tops of our heads.

Here is the first Dancing In My Tsinelas — a happy playlist for VP Leni. Because there’s a lot of work to be done, and how can you work if you feel like the nails are being driven into your coffin? Cheer up!

Don’t just listen to the playlist, make your own and send it to us! (Note: We need Filipino songs!)

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls

November 21, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Music, Places, Traveling 1 Comment →

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A New Yorker who stood up against bullies.

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The people of New York standing up against bullies. The Post-It Project.

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Overheard in the 14th St station: “You wanna stop and write your feelings? Hey !@#$%^ tell the world how you feel!”

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On the platform a woman was singing “Hallelujah” in a way that honored Leonard Cohen while wiping the floor with his version. (In the immediate aftermath of the US presidential election Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, and Sharon Jones have died.)