I’m currently in the backwoods of Indiana. [Noblesville to be precise. Hamilton county is one of the richest and fastest growing counties in the nation, but it still feel like backwoods because] My aunt and uncle still depend on AOL dial-up for internet access, but I’m currently stealing WiFi from one of the $400k clonehouses that are creeping ever-closer to this turn of the century farm house. I’m consistently happy that I spent the extra bills for a more powerful receiver. My cousin is getting married later today, and there is an open bar at the reception.
CAVEAT: This post contains egregious amounts of cursing.
• When merging and you are in the yield lane, yield you motherfucker. And for chrissakes speed the fuck up on an on-ramp. You should be going at least 60 by the time you reach the merge area on the interstate.
• When on the interstate and approaching a merge, move one lane to the left, if possible. This means that neither you nor the dumb motherfucker who wouldn’t know how to yield if his arms and legs were cut off by Graham Chapman have to slow down.
• If your car won’t go over 50mph, get the motherfuck off my interstate or I will beat you like a rented mule.
• If you are in the fast lane and a faster car comes up behind you, get the fuck over before they have to put on the brakes.
• If you can’t get the fuck over because there is an even slower motherfucker in the lane next to you, speed the fuck up so the motherfucker behind you doesn’t have to apply the brakes, and then get the fuck over as soon as possible.
• No matter how fast you’re fucking going, stay in the farthest right lane that you can, because there will be a faster motherfucker coming up behind you and you can avoid lots of hassle by staying in the slower lane where you belong.
• If you’re trying to be a motherfucking badass and merge your Haibatsu Gravity Well from the fast lane to an exit lane in less than a quarter of a mile without using your turn signal, don’t get all pissy when I don’t let your sorry ass cut me off. I will fuck you up, motherfucker.
• If someone uses their goddamn turn signal, let them the fuck in your lane, unless you’re in a traffic jam and they are one of those ignorant fucksticks who think they can drive all the way up to the exact spot where their lane ends and stick their dicks in your lane. Castrate those dumbfucks.
• When exiting, don’t slow down until you’re on the fucking exit ramp. That’s what they’re fucking for.
Man, I haven’t gone on a rant in forever. That felt good. Yes, I know the title is redundant.
Metropolitan is a movie about the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie, debutantes and their escorts, people who read literary criticism but not the actual books, and kids who obsessively worry about their own downfall, debate theoretical political systems and don’t know how to drive a car. I would detest having even the slightest contact with these people, who are essentially all talk and no follow-through. Yet I enjoyed Metropolitan and I’m glad it made me go mental.
Metropolitan is a movie about class, and though the only class present is the upper-class, the “UC” as the characters so smarmily refer to it, this focused approach effectively made me examine my own class situation in a new light. Luc Sante’s essay, linked at the end of this post, says that America pretends that class doesn’t exist. I think this is close but not quite. I think many people who aren’t consider themselves to be middle class. This makes sense, since middle class can cover ground from someone like me who makes less than $30k a year to someone like a surgeon, who might make twenty times as much. We’re still people make ends meet by working for our pay. In Metropolitan, discussion centers not on the necessity of work to make ends meet, but on the choices of profession that should maintain or strengthen their status as UHB. They don’t need to work, but they need something to fill the time.
The character that lets us [middle-classers] enter in to this world is an ex-trust fund kid who, after his parents’ divorce, has become one of the middle class. In this movie, one is never poor, only “financially limited.” But Tom’s financial inadequacy is blatant. He has a rented tuxedo and can’t afford a greatcoat to keep off the chill of Manhattan winter. His parent’s are also divorced, another middle class distinction. Yet he went to prep school and has the right pedigree in all other aspects. In fact, just having a pedigree helps him enormously. Some folks think he is a fake, but as the film develops we find that, to some extent, each character is playing the role of the UHB at the price of his or her own soul, and they’re all fakes. Most importantly we learn that Nick, who seems to be the ultimate UHB, is closer to Tom than we realize.
This triggered all kinds of thought processses. I realized that I had been watching the economically derived cultural aspects of the upper class, which functions like any other cultural base, with its own taboos, rites of passage and etiquette. This in turn made me examine the cultural aspects that have resulted from my own middle class existence. This is the main strength of the film, by showing us another class trying to figure itself out, we in turn examine our own status and role. It almost seems to indicate that culture does more to stifle true expressions of self than ease interaction with others. Perhaps this is merely an effect of the examination of the strictly controlled exclusivity of the UHB, but I found myself relating to almost every male character in the film. It would be interesting to watch it with a woman to see if she feels the same in regard to the debs.
This film would be a good tag team with Spike Lee’s Bamboozled for an examination on how class and ethnicity are knotted.
Tom also serves as a reflection of the movie itself, which has be appear high class while being “financially limited.” I forgot to mention that.
The GMMC met for the final time in this funding round last night at the Cleveland Foundation. We had delicious Eastern European food from North Coast, recommended by Sokolowski's. I particularly liked the stuffed cabbage. And I hate cabbage. Bob Brown from the Cleveland Planner's office spoke to us about the update to the city plan and gave an overview of the types of activites that the office focuses on. It seems that they have input in a lot of different areas like safety and permitting, but not as much power, except in their own little fiefdom. A representative from Voices and Choices also spoke for a bit about their plan.
This was a tough crowd for her to speak to. Twenty community activists who've spent the last six weeks sniffing out the problems in grant proposals were quick to question the efficacy of the program. The V&C process appears to engage this workflow: Gather people to voice their concerns -> Have communities determine primary concerns -> Have communities determine possible solutions for those concerns. The key questions centered on what is going to be done with this data? Who is going to implement the solutions? Apparently V&C is going to give the results to three different colleges, which wasn't very satisfactory to most of us, since colleges aren't policy makers. When we finally got to the bare bones of the situation we discovered that V&C wants people from the community to take the final step on enforcing implementation.
While I think it is fine that they want community folks to do the work to improve their communities, it does leave a sour taste in my mouth that all V&C, with all its money, only focuses on getting people together to talk and not in providing technical assistance to facilitate the solutions they want us to give them.
Then we had a frank discussion about the Conflict of Interest policy since some of the committee members were wondering what constituted an "indirect benefit." The argument could easily be made that any funding that benefits a neighborhood can constitute an indirect benefit. The upshot of this discussion was that Joel is going to revise the policy to make it a bit more specific.
We funded nearly 50% of the grant proposals we received.
Well if I hadn’t been convinced before, this month’s attempts at writing a poem a day should have convinced me that my writing process cannot be disciplined and effective. I write when the spirit moves me, when Papa Legba uses me as his horse and what not. So I’m bailing on National Poetry month a bit early and I think I might attempt to write some turboshort fiction instead. Something that even ADD can’t fight.
I spent the entire weekend cleaning my apartment. It wouldn’t pass a military inspection, but it is much cleaner than it was even when I moved in. Cleaning the windows was the worst part since they were sealed with caulk at the beginning of winter and I had to pick it all off. My hands are dry and covered in tiny cuts. And it continues today at work as I have to rearrange my new cube into a conducive work environment. I managed to get rid of a bookcase which creates an illusion of space if not the reality.
My first key had no keyhole
but I felt grown up anyway. I had
responsibility now, and secrets
though even I did not know what
lay behind its lock. I would play
with my parent’s keys and ask
them to tell me stories about
each, this one opens the
door to work, where things I
wasn’t quite grown up enough
to understand were done so that
I could have Frosted Flakes and