Friday, April 8, 2011

I Like the Internet: Part I

Many of my favorite blogs have periodic posts where they highlight awesome things they found/read that week on the internet. I always enjoy these posts, because, you know, I like the internet. As of today I'm going to start making these posts myself. I will call them, "I Like the Internet," because I am creative. So when I've gathered enough articles/videos/websites/internet-things stolen from those other blogging people, or from people on my Facebook page/Twitter feed, etc., I will regurgitate it all on here for everyone! Maybe sometimes I will be adventurous  enough to read and find cool things of my own volition, but, I mean, just catching up on all of my friends' shared links is a lot of work, so, let's not get too out of hand here.

Here we go:

+ The turmoil and upheavals which are occurring all throughout the Middle East/African world are fascinating, simultaneously exciting yet heartbreaking and violent, and overall, impossibly important. The New York Times crafted a video feature a little while ago called A New Arab Generation Finds Its Voice featuring interviews with well-spoken young Arabs from countries such as Libya, Morocco, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine. The individual videos are brief and move quickly, but with 25 in total, it does take a little while to get through, but I believe it's worth it to hear all of them to absorb the diversity of perspectives presented. All of their voices speak to the power of revolution, social media, youth, and hope, but many of them do question the drive to embrace democracy. One young man in Jerusalem points out that democracy in Palestine has essentially failed, since they democratically brought Hamas into power but the world still refuses to listen to/accept Hamas, so what good does it do? Others meanwhile maintain that the word democracy, in itself, especially in terms of Western interference in the Arab world, has become a muddled, meaningless term.

+ Heather Anne Hogan recently wrote about her research on rape being used as a tool of war in an entry called the sweet individuality of each face, and in typical Heather Anne Hogan style, she writes with  an overwhelmingly moving combination of intelligence and compassion.

+ I had never previously heard of The Rumpus, and then one day I had three friends posting links to  two different Dear Sugar columns. Both of them give advice about, essentially, how to not feel shitty about yourself for wanting to be a writer. The first one is entitled Write Like a Motherfucker, in which a female writer writes in about how depressed she is and how she's worried she's not good enough and even if she was good enough, all the famous female writers kill themselves, anyway. It is a cheery little letter! Okay, actually, it's a brutally honest account of depression and can be hard to read. Mainly, going to this link is actually worthwhile just for this quote at the bottom of Sugar's reply:
The unifying theme is resilience and faith. The unifying theme is being a warrior and a motherfucker. It is not fragility. It’s strength. It’s nerve. And “if your Nerve, deny you –,” as Emily Dickinson wrote, “go above your Nerve.” Writing is hard for every last one of us—straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.
So, there you go, I already kind of ruined it for you. I also fear I am already writing way too much about these links, and that it would be more likely for people to actually visit them if I just, like, posted the links. Also, everything I've included so far is kind of depressing. Dammit, apparently I'm bad at I Like the Internet. Focus, Jill, focus!

The other Sugar column is called We Are All Savages Inside, and deals with intense writer jealousy. The person who writes in this time is bitter and jealous of everyone around him, and Sugar explains why. Both of these articles could come off as extremely whiney and exceedingly annoying to most people in the world except for the sliver of lunatics out there who want to be writers. I also find Sugar's excessive use of the phrase "sweet pea" to be somewhat irritating, even if I do understand that, her name being "Sugar," and all,  these sweet euphemisms are probably used on purpose. However, again, the real gem of this one comes at the end of Sugar's response, when she breaks down our jealousy based on our past privilege and what we think we "deserve" from attending a "prestigious school."

+ Ever since the extremely poignant, important, and successful It Gets Better project was created by Dan Savage in reaction to a slew of teen suicides, it seems like there are more and more, and better, anti-gay-bullying/gay-teen-support type things popping up on the internet and in the world all the time. This video is especially awesome--AND it's Irish! Seriously, watch it.




+ To end things on a simpler note, I can't believe it took me this long to discover  Garfield minus Garfield.

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