Intrepid Girl Reporter


Sunday, 5/18: here and there
May 18, 2008, 1:29 pm
Filed under: media, MSYDP, music, poetry, politics, skool

I spent less than twenty-four hours in Seoul this weekend, tracing the path of our future MSYDP superstars and ensuring that they will have enough speakers to keep them entertained and enough jjajangmyun (ew) to keep them fed. It’s exhilarating now that all of this is starting to coalesce, that we’ll be able to take these kids and let them dream about a better world together. A couple of our friends/allies at the Embassy were gracious enough to spend their Sunday out in the city in the rain with us, helping us make sure that everything was going according to plan, and they even talked a little bit about the possibilities for next year. I’m not even sure if I’m prepared to hope for that possibility yet.

On the subject of possibility, though, here’s an editorial from the NYT that offers some rather sober food for thought, if nothing terribly new:

The Hillary Lesson

I think she’s quite right in asserting that

…voting for Clinton does not make a person sexist – there are other reasons to reject her.

The subject of sexism and Ms. Clinton, of course, isn’t anything that hasn’t been covered before, and the statistics the author cites are hardly surprising. Still, the fact that this article needs to be written at all, that there are still statistics to cite, is indicative of the issues that the girls of MSYDP, at least, will someday face. In one of the few advantages that my school has to offer, they had a gender studies program last year for the students – one that I would ordinarily have dismissed as repetitive, old news, perhaps replacing material of actual substance. But now I’m not so sure. Aside from the fact that a few of the boys at my school have obviously not learned to respect women (or maybe people, for that matter), most of my students seem reasonably aware of the actual, as opposed to societal, limitations placed upon them. But Jeju, with something like 65% of its women involved in the workforce, still outpaces the other provinces here by a good deal. And those women are still cleaning and cooking in addition to teachering and lawyering. Sometimes the girl power message feels repetitive, but I suppose we’re the first real generation to have it hammered into our heads repeatedly, and whether or not it works to change those numbers – and to create candidates who aren’t hated for their gender, as opposed to their tactics – remains to be seen.

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Aside from the article, there are a few other things I’m sharing here. The first is this poem, which I found in a rather roundabout way. I’ve only read one other William Logan poem, and it also used meter and rhyme in a manner that most of the modern poets I’ve read seem to eschew. Guess I should have taken that class on Poetic Forms in college.

For an Old Girlfriend, Long Dead

Lying on that blanket, nights on the seventh green—
in the dry air the faint scent of gasoline,

nothing above us but the ragged moon,
nothing between but a whispered soon…

Well, such was romance in the seventies.
Watergate and Cambodia, the public lies,

made our love seem, somehow, more true.
Of the few things I wanted then, I needed you.

I remember our last arguments, my angry calls,
then the long silence, those northern falls

we drifted toward our newly manufactured lives.
Does anything else of us survive?

That day in Paris, perhaps, when you swore
our crummy hotel was all you were looking for—

each cobbled Paris street, each dry baguette,
even the worthless sous nothing you’d forget.

Outside, a block away, the endless Seine
flowed roughly, then brightly, then…

Then nothing. Nothing later went quite that far.
I remember that Spring. Those breasts. That car.

– William Logan

I’m also going to plug the newest Beirut album, The Flying Cup Club, which isn’t actually new at all, but is if you’re me and just got around to listening to it:

The Flying Club Cup

These are all in .m4a format, but you should probably already have iTunes anyway, and if you don’t, well, not being able to listen to this album is your punishment.

I probably like it mostly because I was listening to it today when it was nasty and rainy out, just like part of the reason I like the Police’s “Spirits in the Material World” is because I first heard it when I had a tiny part in a perfectly awful play we did at My College called “The Beloved Community,” and while the play itself wasn’t worth much, I liked contemplating the ideas of community and how much it’s worth – how beloved it should be. If you will. It gave me this weird feeling of naivete and optimism that, for unknown reasons, I associate with the late 80s and early 90s, probably because that was when I was first contemplating these ideas. It was also the first time I had heard the Police, although certainly not the last time, as I was also listening to that song fairly recently. And so will you, because it’s right here.

The Police – Spirits in the Material World

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1 Comment so far
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I heard a lot about The Beloved Community from Julia, Strother, et al., and was disappointed to hear that it turned out so poorly. I’d had the chance to talk to Herman Farrell the previous spring in my senior seminar, and he displayed the same preference for reasoned consideration over demagogy that originally made me want to follow your blog.

Speaking of music and the word “Police,” have you heard “The Police and the Private” by Metric? It has by far the highest play count in my iTunes, probably because, much like what you described, I associate it with a particular feeling of self-determination and wonder (albeit one I discovered only last year).

Comment by Brendan




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