Monthly Archives: November 2002

cultural insensitivity

Cunundrum. The vernacular approach to “Happy Thanksgiving” is “Celebrate life and love with family and friends”. Yet, Thanksgiving is a holiday based on destruction, death and imperialism. What does it mean to be a holiday? To celebrate these values? I hadn’t really remembered that Thanksgiving was approaching, because i never actually wish anyone a Happy Thanksgiving, partially outta frustration that i see that day as my birth day and therefore refuse to give it the violent inscription, since i need to own it for my own sanity… But then, at last night’s Ani concert, some punk ass screamed out “Happy Thanksgiving Ani” and Ani stopped singing and said “Imagine living in a country where our holidays celebrate life instead of death.” Of course, this made me smile, because i couldn’t agree more.

And now i’m faced with a situation. I need to tell 1000 people that we’re not going to be doing our normal weekly thang because of the holiday, but how do you politely and respectfully say what the vernacular means without implying the historical insensitivity?


Well, we are certainly becoming a new roman empire (and most likely we will also fall). And finally Osama has decried his reasons for which we should. Reading through that is quite impressive. As a disbeliever of all Zoroastrian-derived religions, i couldn’t help but disagree with his world view in relation to religion and sexual/social morality, yet so many of his points regarding policies, politics and ethics were so accurate and the wakeup call that i wanted the US to have after WTC that it was quite eerie to read this message, regardless of who its author might actually be. Aside from his statements about our foreign policies, one point struck me in an interesting way:

You are a nation that exploits women like consumer products or advertising tools calling upon customers to purchase them. You use women to serve passengers, visitors, and strangers to increase your profit margins. You then rant that you support the liberation of women.

Oh, and friends have also pointed out similar articles of interest:
The Push For War
Our Way: The Trouble with Being the World’s Only Superpower


After spending a glorious weekend relaxing in oblivion, i ventured up to New York city as it seemed all too timely that my favorite musician and fabulous ex-housemate were playing a show together on my birthday in a town nearby. But what an odd show to see. Erin was fantastic and she looked great, smiling and all. I wanted to say hello but it was awefully awkward to do so, as i felt like i was some oogling fan; i think that i should just keep my fond memories of our adventures and wait until our paths cross in natural un-power-dynamic kinds of ways. As for Ani…. damn that girl is hurting and seeing her on stage was almost painful. Her suffering and loss of control over it comes through both in her vibe and her music. Eek.

More horrifyingly was the audience who failed to comprehend the situation with which they were presented. They acted as though it was there concert, calling out to her at inopportune times (a.k.a. any time that she breathed or was otherwise silent or quiet) to ask for a specific song or tell her they loved her. It was as though they thought that their interuptions would make her love them back? As though a boy honking at a girl on the street will make her come running and profess love. And since when did an entire audience go to listen to some asshole sing over Ani’s lyrics and control the direction her song takes? After years of doing this, Ani handled it with ease, but still it made me cringe the whole time. Or the two girls who refused to sit down in an all-seated theatre, inconsiderate of other listeners. This is precisely what makes me despise fans, particularly Ani fans. How can someone listen to her music and then be so inconsiderate of others, of Ani’s role as performer? I hate seeing the obsession and control that fans have over these environments, as though the event is about them, not about her. ::sigh:: And people wonder why i don’t go to concerts or why i refuse to publish anything more than Ani’s lyrics on my site (which btw has gotten way too popular for absolutely no good reason…).


I am often told that i’m a bit to hypersensitive about the Department of Defense’s interest in Social Network Fragments. I mean, c’mon, it’s money, right? And there is no doubt that i’ve suffered some consequences from disagreeing with this connection, such as a terrible stake between my old advisor and myself. And everyone’s right – they can always repeat the work and ideas that i’ve been doing. But it makes me terribly miserable to think that my research might aid their objective directly:

The goal of the Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery (EELD) program is development of technologies and tools for automated discovery, extraction and linking of sparse evidence contained in large amounts of classified and unclassified data sources. EELD is developing detection capabilities to extract relevant data and relationships about people, organizations, and activities from message traffic and open source data. It will link items relating potential terrorist groups or scenarios, and learn patterns of different groups or scenarios to identify new organizations or emerging threats.

you know you have been bad when…

… conference photos emerge of you and you don’t really remember when they were taken. That’s right: CSCW2002 was a blast, although i’m still not sure of how i feel about conferences held in New Orleans: recipe for disaster. But each day i woke up, had my brain tugged and prodded and then found myself relaxing to the New Orleans atmosphere and then finding Hurricanes everywhere. Free ones too. Dangerous dangerous.

Our workshop turned out better than i could have expected. 12 attendees, all rather rad folks and genuine discussion. Sure, like in all workshops, we did not get as far as we would have hoped, but i can’t complain because it’s been my experience that making connections far superceeds functionality in these situations and this was just a rad group for getting into challenging conversations.

My brain is definitely spinning from (both the alcohol and) meeting amazing people who reminded me that 1) school can be inherently amazing and 2) i am still a capable human being. Oh, and plus, so many people told me that i look so much calmer and less insane (ha! little do they know!) It’s true though – i’m smiling again…

Now.. must get back into school…

Oh, and as a side note, Stewart Brand is even cooler now that i’ve seen him speak, and he was pretty amazing as a textual figure before. Of course, i’m totally biased because 1) his introduction focused on his life with Ken Kesey and other heads and 2) he didn’t take himself seriously.

graphical browsing

As much as the notion of graphical browsing pains me for its inefficiency, i have to say that i appreciate the elegance of the system (mmm.. circles) and i realize that many AOL users only browse the web through clicking on items at the portal front site. Scary, isn’t it?

christmas resistence

My best friend falls in love with Christmas every year in October. By the time that the bloody holiday hits, she’s with the rest of us: ugg ugg and ugg. I’ve been trying to convince my family and friends that gifts are utterly unnecessary, attending mass is just an exercise in snore reduction and the Christmas tree was far more entertaining when my beloved kitty used to knock it over. Alas, i always lose to the traditions of my family. But apparently my sentiments are shared by others cause now there is:

Christmas Resistence
No Shopping
No Guilt
No Pressure


“Terrorism Is Society’s Condemnation of Itself” – Jean Baudrillard

The despair of having everything

The West’s mission is to make the world’s wealth of cultures interchangeable, and to subordinate them within the global order. Our culture, which is bereft of values, revenges itself upon the values of other cultures.

Is globalisation inevitable? What fervour propels the world to embrace such an abstract idea? And what force drives us to make that idea a reality so unconditionally?