minute thoughts 5.24.17

Thoughts while researching buttercream varieties

1. What are the occupational/academic credentials required to be a modern philosopher? I'm genuinely curious.

2. Three years of Spanish in high school and still my crowning achievement to this day is knowing all the words to this song (the music video is also a gem and if you haven't watched it, I highly suggest that you do because it will make your day 1000% better).

3. My sister recently got me into Quantico and it's so good (ask me about my girl crush on Priyanka Chopra). But one of the more unusual elements of the show is that it's set in the present day, in the context of our universe, so it makes a lot of oddly striking topical references, from Snapchat to Kylo Ren to San Bernardino. And because it's so relevant, the social commentary is glaring. Much like Designated Survivor, a show I started watching a while ago but never caught up with, Quantico approaches the intersection of politics, terrorism, nationalism, and the media. Both shows focus on the repercussions of a potential domestic terrorist attack on US soil, and the resulting panic that blooms into a full-on witch hunt (the actual kind, not this). In the aftermath of the attack, both the FBI and the media scramble to figure out who is responsible, and also why it happened. I wrote about media manipulation in my last Minute Thoughts, but in the wake of the Manchester bombing, it is painfully clear in these moments how easily we are manipulated by pure fear. And the media especially fuels this kind of panicked fire-and-brimstone rhetoric (re: "mean world syndrome"), by failing to report on the newsworthiness of the events and instead relying on shock value. Sensationalizing and/or misrepresenting the news is essentially propaganda; it creates a culture of fear and hatred and terror that doesn't necessarily exist.

Edit: This morning's The New York Times wrote a really excellent "The Interpreter" column on the cause of radicalization/terror.

4. The ability to see into the future would cool, but also tricky and a little bit paradoxical, because it would have to take into account the fact that all of your life decisions were made with this knowledge of the future. Unless you subscribe to the multiverse theory, which I also find interesting (if you've researched this topic, comment below or message me, because I honestly have so many questions about it).

5. I just found out my favorite book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, is now a play! I'm obsessed. Now I have to move to San Francisco so I can see it. It got pretty glowing reviews and the girl who told me about it said it was surprisingly well-done, but my favorite part of the book is the gorgeous narrative style, so I'm curious to see how that translates onstage. But I like that they call it "a reminder of our shared humanity," especially at a time when such cohesion is so crucial. The message has always resonated with me: the innate human desire to be loved, and the sometimes-devastating process of finding love in other people.

6. I attended a SoulCycle class for the first time, and I'm now convinced that it's a legitimate cult. There's something very unnatural about being so upbeat while pedaling furiously in a crowded, darkened room to Pussycat Dolls remixes at 9:30 am on a Saturday with an instructor yelling at you to "open your heart" and "trust yourself." The best part was the super-bougie cold-pressed apple, lemon, and ginger juice they gave out at the end of the session, which normally costs $9 per miniature glass bottle.

7. This rose rose cake from my name is yeh. I don't think I've ever seen anything as pretty. I have a sudden urge to make buttercream succulents.

8. I finally watched The Grand Budapest Hotel and...wow. It really is just an amazingly beautiful movie, aesthetically. The color scheme, the symmetry. It was honestly so refreshingly and genuinely delightful to watch. I've also been really into cinematography lately, and Wes Anderson's distinctive filming style is breathtakingly gorgeous. When every shot looks like a work of art (literally the only reason I started liking Kill Bill), it's a testament to exactly how much thought and care goes into the editing.

9. When it comes down to it, making new friends/dating someone new is just a process of determining how weird you're allowed to act around the other person.

10. Okay. I can't really relate to this at all, because I am neither a Star Trek fan nor someone whose parents have accents. But the fact that this means so much to a significant amount of people is heartbreaking. I do love Michelle Yeoh and I love that Asian actors are finally getting recognition. But you do have to admit that it's a little bittersweet that our standards for representation are simply a normal Asian human, with no stereotypes or whitewashing attached. Baby steps, I suppose.