Visions of the future

Leaving a business school info session, on the street going north to Union Square. A young lady on the phone. “…they said it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working. And I need to explain why I want to go to business school. What am I going to say? That I want to quit my job and get a new one? How am I going to get a recommendation from my current supervisor?”

Age of the selfie

The selfie seems to be everywhere you look, taken on the streets and found in media of all sorts. It officially hit the big time when Obama was caught doing them at Mandela’s funeral, and cemented itself in popular culture with the Oscars selfie.

Selfies did not exist until recently. Until recently, most photos were taken by cameras on film. Each film roll has a limited quality of film, allowing for about 28 pictures each roll. Each picture was carefully rationed out because of that limit. Once the roll is full it needs to be drpped off at a photo center. The process of buying film and waiting for the photo center takes time and financial resources.

The selfie came about due to a confluence of certain technologies:

  • Smartphones with built-in high quality cameras, sufficient memory capacity to store pictures, and capable of Internet connection on the go to upload those pictures instantly. Front facing cameras on smartphones were a crucial factor as well
  • Social media channels like Facebook that allow for rapid dissemination of content like pictures among one’s social network

These factors enable the inner narcissist in all of us to indulge at will.

I’m not personally a fan of selfies because I think they are a sad reflection of contemporary society’s constant self-obsession and navel gazing. But selfies seem to be here to stay for at least a while.

The meaning of Marnie

I just watched the season 3 finale of Girls and overall I think this was the worst season to date. It was consistently solid, never quite reaching the lofty heights or deep pitfalls of earlier seasons. The show morphed into a more conventional drama-comedy centering around a group of friends living in New York and it has ceased to be experimental and surprise.

However, one aspect of the show that I think has been very well done is the character of Marnie. By appearances alone she fits the mold of the conventionally beautiful WASP living the good life in the big city. As human beings we are naturally preconditioned to assume that beauty = goodness/positivity. In any other show she would be a sitcom lead engaging in various hijinks but coming through for herself and her friends in the end. On Girls, Marnie may be the most singularly dislikable and destructive character. She is highly narcissistic, completely lacks self-awareness or empathy for others, and has single-handedly taken the axe to several relationships. All of this happens somewhat despite herself; she doesn’t seem to be a bad person or bear conscious ill-will to others, but her decisions result in negative ripple effects across her social network. I am impressed that the show has done such a great job of deconstructing this character. If you were to see someone like her in the subway or on the street you may very well think she’s got it all going for her. The reality can be shockingly contrary.

Brunching

In my experience brunch has rarely, if ever, been worth the wait. The waiting itself builds anticipation and makes the ensuing meal feel more like it was worth the time irregardless of actual quality.