Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I DON'T write Theory; I write FUN and CONVINCING

So, it has come to my attention this hilarious distinction of certain modes of production regarding critical writing or, dare I say, theory. Here's my problem with the word 'theory':

1. Theres no way of removing the loaded definitions of this word while implying or invoking it in your own work i.e. saying you write THEORY and expect to be critical.

2. Theory implies prescriptions for actualization or practical delineation i.e. you tell people what to do, by critiquing something in a specific way.

3. NO one 'says' they write THEORY; people say you WROTE theoretical texts, post-production, i.e. don't be a dick and say you write theory.

I just realized this was written on a hunch and after some discussions with some very well-read colleagues that suspected the same thing about the distinction between 'theory' and criticism. So, here's my provocation for the day, which I just wrote in five minutes. In theory, I think I should spent a bit more time to criticize it, but I don't care enough about a well developed text as much as like one-liner jokes, which WRITING 'THEORY' does not.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Being a Critic causes you to be critical...DUH!

In the midst of a research binge on architecture critics, from the journalistic to the academic, there has been a common thread I have been realizing within all: I am critical about being critical.

You see, sentences like that are what I am dismantling and over-analyzing, time and time again. What the fuck do they mean? Have I internalized my theoretical influences to the point I can no longer enjoy text and only read into subtexts? There we go again, what the fuck am I talking about?

Three questions in 2 minutes makes me think that I might as well not bother writing this, but in the ever changing landscape of my style, theoretical ideals, and concepts, I have found solace in self awareness. I am guessing here that I want a text that speaks to me in two ways: the conversational and off the cuff, as well ass the theoretical and hard to swallow. Is that too much to ask? (In that last question I even thought the cadence of the sentence was nice.)

You know there was a time when someone wanted me to think of myself as a Miami bro and not a critic. Although that was eons ago, I think of the weight of that polar opposition (seeminlgy polar and not very, to be honest). I like that I can bro-it-up with my friends who have no idea what the term 'context' means, but know very well what a situation and influence are. I like that there is a level of understanding inherent in all aspects of society and I like writing right around that area, but I have realized that I am not REALLY doing that.

Reading critics makes you realize that who they are writing for is as important as what they're writing about, which is of course overstated, but I forget that constantly. So that leads me to my point: since I am writing as a critic I have to be even more critical of myself as much as anything I read, digest, or see. I think that this is of course possible with a level of self awareness and a modesty about your writing, as well as a humbleness, i.e. things I struggle with all the fucking time.
(P.S. on the i.e., I just realized that I have been using i.e. instead of e.g. (i.e. I have been using for example instead of 'in other words'. BAM! There is your literary lesson for the day.)

So I again find myself at the end of my post and I am purposefully not doing some witty ending. So there you go. MUNCH on that motherfuckers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

update 1.0

School has been amazing. The criticism program here is more than I could have imagined. I fit in very well within it and yet there is still so much room to move and think. There are no blinders or methodologies imposed on you and you are allowed to explore. It's a fucking dream come true.

READ Dave Hickey. Please.

ANyways, Chicago rules. My apartment is coming together. I am only missing some stuff, but little by little I have been dumsptering amazing shit. I was telling my mom the other day that it's nice having the freedom and solitude to get acquainted with one's self again. You would think after so much babble about self awareness and independence that I would have gotten acquainted with 'myself' already, but I must prescribe a remedy if you find it hard to do. Imposed distance from your own life is one way of doing this. Some people find it hard because of proximity to their everyday and some (like me) distanced ourselves, 1,304 miles in my case, from the norm.

Stir shit up a little and see what you find. If there's nothing under the soot, move on and try to stir it up again.

NO more prescriptions!

MIAMI, peoples should go see Norman Finkelstein on Wed. Sept. 20 @ FIU South.

See you soon!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A mirror is a two-way mirror is a one-way mirror (Mad Men content)

I think that the cultural sentiments expressed in television are obviously mirrors and NOT anachronistic in portraying the past, if done critically. In Mad Men, there are several instances where one can read a definite reference historically, but at the same time understand that reference dialectically or transitively, in a contemporary context. Of course, this is an element of the show that is successful because who would want to see another “bewitched” again. Don Draper is not Darren Stevens.

The views expressed in Mad Men border on portraying the more negative, closeted, and sultry aspects of the 1960’s cultural phenomena. This is done, I think, for two reasons: 1.) to accurately and honestly portray the reality of a time where people believe America was a “better place”, and 2.) to be able to have a contemporary tv show feel both nostalgic yet current, almost investigative.

They tie in all the narratives in the show through a dialogue between all the subcultures and status quo’s, yet it is readily apparent that they somehow bridge the language gap (by language I mean cultural and social idiosyncrasies that were quite standard then), by engaging in a much more real, free, and sometimes reluctant, speech or dialect. The dialect, in this case, can be said to be the ‘real’, or at least what is meant 'by the real'. This seeping in of reality is the criticism provided to us by the art, the writing, the actors, the portrayals, the conditions, the settings, the spaces, etc.

What can be said for a contemporary time, because of this show? Well for one, the notion of social constructs and detriment caused by them (i.e. marriage ending in divorce, closeted homosexuality ending in overcompensation and inadvertent outing, etc.) is made abundantly clear. These are touched upon almost every show and there is always a glimpse of some sense of reality or reluctance to abandon the said construct due to tradition, convenience, what have you. This aspect of the show portrays an era much more truthfully and actually, than any show in the 1960s or 70s did (minus of course All in the Family and Maude with their comedic and satirical criticality). The relationship this show has with the American viewer and public can possibly provide understanding into difficult and complex familial and social structures carried on in their lives.

The one thing I take away from this show is embracing the complexities of everyday life. That does sound a little too positive, but what I mean by it is that the constructs stifled the people in the show and simply changing constructs with different individuals would not change the actuality of the construct (i.e remarrying). Truth is hard to come by, even in an era where we have been involved in a decades long challenging of these social constructs. Yet, there is still merit to the criticality of Mad Men, for challenging the accepted notions and the closets, and the misogyny. The real question is, what catharsis can come of this show in a contemporary and current sense?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reminiscing, Metal, and Bikes

So today I can definitely say was one of the best days I've had in Chicago after my move. I rode a lot of bikes and hung hard with some Miami folk and met some more chicago punx. I ate again at 90 miles (this faux cuban place on Armitage and Stave, which is not too bad, but not close to Cuban. I met up with April, Steve and Ari and we reminisced hard about Miami, the Alley, and our accents. It was refreshing.

I have been staying in a lot and working on some non-sense and some good stuff, but this whole transition thing is falling into place. I got a job at the digital lab at UIC|SOA. I get to meet with Bob Somol on Thursday with some other grad assistants on the rooftop terrace and then go watch teenage bottlerocket. How is that fair?

I saw Cannibis Corpse and this local band called Ectecide (or something like that) which reminded me of terrorizer with a more contemporary feel. There was so much physical and violent tension during CC that April and me were just laughing and ranking on the metal heads about fight, hard. It felt familiar or something close to it.

To top it off, I had some good conversations today that really helped put things in better perspective regarding the past. If the past is all we have, we get caught up in not living but remembering, so here's to riding bikes and moving forward because although it's a goal oriented decision, it is as nice a direction to go in as any other. Fuck you :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chicago and the foreseeable future


I have not written in this blog for quite some time now and I think it is a good time to start. The next series of posts, I hope, will be informative and open regarding my move to Chicago. This has been one of the most daunting tasks in my life and it is all about transitions and stages. This first aspect of my transition is the departure. The next part of it will be the adaptation and familiarization of the new life. The subsequent stages after will consist of normalization, further adaptation and re-idiosyncranization.

I use big words because I am scared and they make me feel better. I hear Angelo in the other room banging on his walls because he didn't score a goal in FIFA '10. I asked him today if we would talk everyday and he laughed. These fears are the simplicities I am leaving behind and they are completely normal. I am ready.

P.S. I realized today that some people live their fiction a bit more foolishly than others. I am so over it all that it easier today than it ever has been to step away and see things for they were worth. I win.

P.P.S Nellie and me are doing great and we will be making a zine about everything and have a part of it regarding us and our feelings about what defines us together and individually. I hope it comes out nice and I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

South Pointe Park, Art, and Marmalade Tofu with Spinach and Cous Cous

This is what my day is going to look like today. I am sharing this day with Lucia Morales, who rules, and did I say, rules?
Anyways, I just wanted to post this because I wouldn't change where I am today for anything. Familiarity was overwhelming three weeks ago, but today, I am finding new things in my beautiful city. I try not to run away from my problems. At times they overwhelm, at others they are not even on my radar.

Heres to dealing with things and growing the fuck up.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Just a reminder

It is funny how things work out. I mean, you can never see ahead when you're in it, but when you're out, it's clear. It's crystal fucking clear. Today is a good day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Do I write to heal?

I write to write. I mean, we do things for different reasons, but I write because I like it. I pose questions, make statements, and give an update, to myself (and whoever else may read this) about myself. It's almost purely a retrospective tool. I've said this for years. I also use it as an indirect way to communicate.

I remember in august of 2008 how I felt about the year before and I was in a much less detrimental situation, but felt worse than I have ever felt. This must be the single most important progress I have made. I am doing ok today and there is nothing that you can do or say to make me feel otherwise. The difference between me then and me now is personal accountability. I know what I did wrong.

I will not demonize myself, my beliefs, or my actions anymore. It's very easy to break someone like me down, but how many times will you do that to someone and expect them to come back. Thats borderline. Thats pathological. That fucking evil.

So i write to heal today because I want to. I may not write tomorrow, but I can, and that is settling.

Embracing freedom is not easy, but the past few weeks have been so good in some ways because of that freedom, I cannot even fathom why. Maybe it's because I face my issues head on, fail, succeed, fail, succeed and not move on to new things without fixing what I did wrong the time before. Learn something.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thoroughly unenthusiastic today

I am not sure why this is. I have been blaming the never-changing scenery that is Miami (maybe it is more fair to say the familiarity is overwhelming). I am in a very transitory point where I cannot see forwards, but only backwards. It is definitely a pathos I wish to disengage from. Is it an active move to stop this? Or does it just happen? I do not try to fill my days with distractions. I do not replace people in my life with others because I am afraid of solitude. I do not feel like I am better off necessarily today, but I know that as everyday passes I will eventually change that. I am not running away from anything.

I want to make that specifically clear. I know my limitations as a human being. The prospect of moving is certainly inspiring, but what if I carry over my problems and my attitude today over to another city? I obviously do not want this to occur and thats why I am making the changes I need to in my life.

I do not WANT to, but I NEED to. Lets wait until that changes to desire. When that happens, I think it would be easier to process all the things that cause a stutter in my life.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The way I fill my days

As I wake up every morning, my lingering thoughts from the night before rip at me for about 10 minutes at a time. I eventually get out of bed and go to the bathroom, wash my face, brush and floss my teeth, and comb my hair. In this time, I either continue ruminating and drive to school/work, or I change my mind. I have been changing my mind more the past few days. My days have been filled with friends, music, architecture, and good food. It's surprising how nice things can make the difference. I do sit here in my room, feeling mildly anxious, but definitely in control of it. The last few weeks have been a blur of emotions at the speed of light, and yet I still feel oddly optimistic. I always miss things the way they were but I am not sure why. Familiarity is my guess. So the way I combat this active melancholy and nostalgia is through activity in my daily life. Getting reacquainted with myself is not easy because although I know myself, I never give myself the chance to find out how much I have to offer or who I am, outside of everything that supposedly defines me. This is my first point, in changing. This is why I fill my days.