Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Sea Link

On the Sea Link bridge in Mumbai, if you use your imagination for a second – just one – it feels like you’re suspended in time and space. Not late for anything – not near or far from anything.Bandra-Worli-Sea-Link When you’re on it – you’re safe. Safe from measurement and from a schedule, safe from disappointing yourself and from disappointing others. For those few minutes you’re free to really see into or past the colorful slums, your choice. Or look out on the water, into an endless gray mist of nothingness. You’re free to let your mind wander without a focus or end goal, to let relief wash over you. For those few moments, the burden of today is lifted off your shoulders. And just as you begin to grasp it, barely begin to cherish it, you come to realize: it’s a freedom you cannot hold on to.

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#100happydays

Sometimes you’re too happy to stop and take a picture, and sometimes the most memorable happiness is the kind you #share with no one.

Silhouette of young woman sitting on sea front fence at dawn

 

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TV: The Renewal of Intelligence

After many decades of complaining that TV is rotting our brains, and many (many) seasons of sitcoms, adult cartoons, and trashy reality TV, we’ve finally seemed to turn a corner when it comes to our beloved home screens. However you like your TV (live, DVR-ed, streamed, on-the-go), the fact remains that what we’re watching today is significantly different, and I’d argue improved, than what we were watching 10, 5, even 2 years ago.

Of late, many TV series and broadcast dramas that premier on syndicated channels are offering a more selective, dare we say, more intelligent array of content. We’ve heard TV is the new cinema, and if we surveyed the landscape ample examples arise. Mad Men, Newsroom, House of Cards, True Detective… to name a few on specialty channels. Suits, How to Get Away with Murder, White Collar, House – more mainstream but still steps away from the usual couch-friendly sitcoms that flooded prime time slots in the 90s and early 2000s.

Part of this widespread popularity and repeated success seems to be derived from their common theme: a plot line centered around an intelligence-driven skill set. Law & Order, CSI, and others like them were initial attempts at this genre – but held on to a slow, long-form, soap-opera feel that is thankfully missing in popular content today. Let’s look at a team of doctors who diagnose illnesses and identify the not-so-medical cause, lawyers who find brilliant and often less-than ethical solutions in airtight cases, and ex-criminals that piece together forensic clues and decode the cryptic psyche of the fraudulent, to name a few. All these complex skills distilled down into pithy language and quick plot twists that are just-difficult-enough so that you end the show feeling part of an elite, discerning audience, with a nose slightly turned up. Whether you then switch back to Family Guy or Keeping Up with The Kardashians, is irrelevant. In that moment as the credits roll to some wonderfully apt indie tune, you’re reeling in the deliberate and stimulating triumphs of Don Draper, Annalise Keating or Frank Underwood.

Let’s have a round of applause for shows that make you feel intelligent, entertained in a way that requires your participation, and disallows you from sitting there, trance-like, staring into an alternate universe. In reflecting on these strides in TV content, it becomes clear that the mass audience’s interests are evolving; we are shaping ourselves into a more discerning group with standards we want, no demand, to be met. Granted, we’re not there yet, but we’re moving towards a new, intelligent consumer of TV. 

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Monica Lewinsky on the ‘Culture of Humiliation’: Her Incredible Story

Monica Lewinsky’s self-reflection, coming-out-of-hiding piece in Vanity Fair is incredibly poignant and insightful. She looks back and evaluates the cruelty of the media and society for putting a “24 year old girl through the wringer.” And she’s so right! She talks about what that shame looked like, felt like, how she dealt – and didn’t deal, the feminists that didn’t show up to the conversation, and how tied her life became to the political calendar. She says:

Monica Lewinsky photographed by Mark Seliger in her Los Angeles home

Monica Lewinsky photographed by Mark Seliger in her Los Angeles home

“When I hear of Hillary’s prospective candidacy, I cannot help but fear the next wave of paparazzi, the next wave of “Where is she now?” stories, the next reference to me in Fox News’s coverage of the primaries. I’ve begun to find it debilitating to plot out the cycle of my life based, to some degree, on the political calendar. For me, it’s a scenario in which the personal and the political are impossible to separate…I turned 40 last year, and it is time to stop tiptoeing around my past—and other people’s futures.”

This is the first I’m hearing of her, and definitely FROM her, since my kid-self saw her face all over the news and didn’t quite understand (and was, I gather, purposely not told) what “she” had done. She explains how she became the object of fault, a scapegoat, forever symbolic of  “That Woman.” Yet she never bashes the Clintons, never points a finger anywhere, and firmly states that it was always “a consensual relationship.” Monica Lewinsky proves in this piece, she’s a woman of integrity.

She made an interesting point about being defined by the media:  she didn’t let the “Interngate” scandal define her, but she was so young, she didn’t have an identity to fall back on. And that is what she hopes to prevent in her efforts against cyber-bullying, a voice of sympathy and reassurance that one event, however public, does not define you.

Impressed, to say the least. And excited for what she’ll bring to the anti-media-bullying table. I hope its not the last we hear of her. Her story is incredible, and one of strength and resilience.

 

 

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