black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.

             

Americans love Mexican food. We consume nachos, tacos, burritos, tortas, enchiladas, tamales and anything resembling Mexican in enormous quantities. We love Mexican beverages, happily knocking back huge amounts of tequila, mezcal and Mexican beer every year. We love Mexican people—as we sure employ a lot of them. Despite our ridiculously hypocritical attitudes towards immigration, we demand that Mexicans cook a large percentage of the food we eat, grow the ingredients we need to make that food, clean our houses, mow our lawns, wash our dishes, look after our children. As any chef will tell you, our entire service economy—the restaurant business as we know it—in most American cities, would collapse overnight without Mexican workers. Some, of course, like to claim that Mexicans are “stealing American jobs”. But in two decades as a chef and employer, I never had ONE American kid walk in my door and apply for a dishwashing job, a porter’s position—or even a job as prep cook. Mexicans do much of the work in this country that Americans, provably, simply won’t do. 

We love Mexican drugs. Maybe not you personally, but “we”, as a nation, certainly consume titanic amounts of them—and go to extraordinary lengths and expense to acquire them. We love Mexican music, Mexican beaches, Mexican architecture, interior design, Mexican films.

So, why don’t we love Mexico?”

"In the service of our appetites, we spend billions and billions of dollars each year on Mexican drugs—while at the same time spending billions and billions more trying to prevent those drugs from reaching us. The effect on our society is everywhere to be seen. Whether it’s kids nodding off and overdosing in small town Vermont, gang violence in LA, burned out neighborhoods in Detroit— it’s there to see. What we don’t see, however, haven’t really noticed, and don’t seem to much care about, is the 80,000 dead—mostly innocent victims in Mexico, just in the past few years. 80,000 dead. 80,000 families who’ve been touched directly by the so-called “War On Drugs”.   

Mexico. Our brother from another mother. A country, with whom, like it or not, we are inexorably, deeply involved, in a close but often uncomfortable embrace.”

Bourdain: Under the Volcano |  PARTS UNKNOWN

"I wasn’t surprised that the President of France threw over his First Lady (who was not even his wife, but his ex-mistress girlfriend) for a pretty movie star. Americans expect that of France. (Except maybe the part about the First Lady being hospitalized for being dumped.) If an American president did something that he’d be in big trouble, but it seems like the French actually like Mr. Hollande more now that’s he dumped the woman who broke up his marriage for a prettier woman who’s a movie star. Apparently 89% of the French public prefers the new mistress. …

I understand France. But I’m still trying to figure it out the mistress thing. … 

For the French l’amour is a way of life and it seems kind of smuttily, interestingly attractive. ‘Fuck me now!’ For Americans l’amour is something to think about while you play with yourself.

I am an American. I love women. I like women. Sometimes it has even seemed that I liked them almost too much. I have been married at least three times. And I wasn’t always faithful, although now I am on a long streak of my best behavior, but one thing is for sure: I never had a mistress. Never. Not once. Not even close. …

I will probably never know anything more than I know now. Americans live in a female dominated sexual police state. There is a conspiracy here to keep men from fucking around. You get caught fucking around and you are going to pay, big time. Getting caught is an industry.”

Glenn O’BrienThe Mistress (France’s Secret Weapon)

11 Persian-American Artists Bringing Iran to the U.S. | Vanity Fair

1. Artist, photographer, and filmmaker Shirin Neshat, named “Artist of the Decade” in 2010.

2. Nina Seirafi, named one of Architectural Digest’s top 100 interior designers in the world (the “AD100”) in 2010.

3. The bisexual writer-director-actress Desiree Akhavan, hailed as “the next Lena Dunham” by the New York Post. Her debut film, Appropriate Behavior, a comic and sexually graphic story of coming out, premiered at Sundance this year.

4. Nariman Hamed, the son of actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, “the Meryl Streep of Iran,” is directing a documentary, Shirin, about the artist Shirin Neshat, with animation by Persepolis author Marjane Satrapi.

5. Nima Behnoud got his start re-designing jeans that had been dropped by the Red Cross on the Iran-Iraq border during the Iran-Iraq war. Now, Heidi Klum and other celebrities wear his calligraphy-laced clothing brand, Nimany. His Web site has been banned in Iran.

6. Hafez Nazeri, the son of Iran’s most prominent classical musician, Shahram Nazeri, is a composer who brings East and West together in hauntingly beautiful orchestral pieces. His fifth album, Untold, released by Sony March 11, was recorded in five countries with more than 35 Grammy Award-winning artists.

7. Habibi, the retro, all-girl, punk-rock band, based in Brooklyn, fronted by Rahill Jamalifard.

"Don’t Call Girls Bossy. Or Grown Women Aggressive.
Seriously, don’t do it. And while you’re at it, don’t call them pushy, angry, brusque, ballbusters, bitchy, careerist, cold, calculating — you get the point. Also: shrill and strident, both of which imply high-pitched and screechy women a la your mother, finger pointed, scolding you to clean your room. Bossy is the subject of the new Sandberg campaign, but it’s something linguists have written about for decades. The reality is that these words are rooted in stereotype, and they are only applied to women. Think about it: girls are bossy, boys have “leadership qualities.” Women are deemed aggressive, while men are simply decisive (or just, um, bosses). From Ruth Bader Ginsburg (called “a bitch” by her law school classmates) to the “ball-busting” Hillary Clinton, historians will tell you: women in power have long been punished for exhibiting qualities of assertiveness, because it veers from the “feminine” mold. And yet, isn’t it precisely those assertive qualities that will help women get ahead? If you wouldn’t call a dude these words, don’t say ‘em of a lady.
Please Avoid the ‘Crazy Woman’ Trope. And While We’re At It: She’s Not ‘Moody,’ ‘Hysterical,’ or ‘Emotional’ Either.
Female hysteria was once the catch-all diagnosis for a woman with problems, and it didn’t disappear entirely from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders until 1980. But the trope of the crazy, emotional, moody, hysterical, PMS-ing, crazy woman — or worse, the crazy, emotional, hysterical romantic stalker — remains in full force. Crazy is the catch-all putdown for any woman you don’t like/makes you uncomfortable/doesn’t fit the mold. (Or as Tina Fey said in her book Bossypants, “the definition of ‘crazy’ in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to f*ck her any more.””
Jessica Bennet on How Not to Sound Like a Sexist Jerk

"Don’t Call Girls Bossy. Or Grown Women Aggressive.

Seriously, don’t do it. And while you’re at it, don’t call them pushy, angry, brusque, ballbusters, bitchy, careerist, cold, calculating — you get the point. Also: shrill and strident, both of which imply high-pitched and screechy women a la your mother, finger pointed, scolding you to clean your room. Bossy is the subject of the new Sandberg campaign, but it’s something linguists have written about for decades. The reality is that these words are rooted in stereotype, and they are only applied to women. Think about it: girls are bossy, boys have “leadership qualities.” Women are deemed aggressive, while men are simply decisive (or just, um, bosses). From Ruth Bader Ginsburg (called “a bitch” by her law school classmates) to the “ball-busting” Hillary Clinton, historians will tell you: women in power have long been punished for exhibiting qualities of assertiveness, because it veers from the “feminine” mold. And yet, isn’t it precisely those assertive qualities that will help women get ahead? If you wouldn’t call a dude these words, don’t say ‘em of a lady.

Please Avoid the ‘Crazy Woman’ Trope. And While We’re At It: She’s Not ‘Moody,’ ‘Hysterical,’ or ‘Emotional’ Either.

Female hysteria was once the catch-all diagnosis for a woman with problems, and it didn’t disappear entirely from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders until 1980. But the trope of the crazy, emotional, moody, hysterical, PMS-ing, crazy woman — or worse, the crazy, emotional, hysterical romantic stalker — remains in full force. Crazy is the catch-all putdown for any woman you don’t like/makes you uncomfortable/doesn’t fit the mold. (Or as Tina Fey said in her book Bossypants, “the definition of ‘crazy’ in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to f*ck her any more.””

Jessica Bennet on How Not to Sound Like a Sexist Jerk

11 French Travel Tips for Visiting America (via Google Translate)

Our custom is to kiss before, during, and after each social encounter, with 1, 2, 3, or 4 kisses. This is not the custom in the United States. For a friend, we will hug, with a great tapping on the back and a big smile. For colleagues, greet with a good handshake. Americans have a firm handshake, so do not hesitate to grind their knuckles. It is also a sign you have confidence in yourself.

Be prepared for an onslaught of friendliness. You may be approached by a stranger on the street asking you where you got your coat. Passersby greet each other cheerfully in the street. Your neighbor may compliment you on the curve of your muscles, and the cashier at the supermarket may ask you what you are doing with this beautiful weekend (and the three cases of rosé you’ve purchased).” 

A passerby stumbles and sprawls in the street, an old lady can barely control Brutus at the end of a leash, a small tricycle driver loses control of his vehicle. Politeness means, of course, that you come and help all these people. American culture wants you to quit all your activities and rescue the unfortunate. In America, you cannot pretend to not have noticed all these little quirks. You must rush to provide assistance to all who need it.” 

Americans eat and drink anything and at any time of the day: in the street, in a meeting at work, in the car, on the subway, in the elevator, the movies … So, there are drink rests everywhere: cinema seats, baby strollers, shopping carts at the supermarket, in cars, some bike handlebars.”

Rejoicing in the presence of children or pets. This is the correlate of “smile to strangers,” it is mandatory to have a smile or a little “how cute” tilt to your head if you come across a child or pet. Even if they are ugly.” 

Crossing the road as a pedestrian is not always easy, you often have to wait for ages. When the white man is on, you can cross. And then a stressful countdown shows the time remaining for you to cross, sometimes only a few seconds to cross large avenues.”

“‘Inspiring’ became a word I heard every day: everything must be ‘inspiring’ and push transcendence. We go to the movies, there is a choice between the biopic Lincoln, the Avengers or Misérables, each so inspiring in their own way. The books are inspiring, everyday people are inspiring (such as all the people with children and a job at the same time, teachers, etc…). I confess that I have a little trouble with this cult of everyday heroes.”

If you want privacy (in a public restroom), no chance. There are no real walls, only partitions that do not even go to the ground. So you can see the shoes of your colleagues, hear all the noises … And even the doors do not help much. You can see the faces of the occupants through the slits in the doorway.”

Read on: Mental Floss

©2011 Kateoplis