Monthly Archives: April 2010

Super Chocolate Brown Bear

So on my way home from a Birthday get together tonight (… by “tonight” I mean four days ago) I was (unfortunately) able to witness the following scenario: a very drunken Mexican man being (not so subtly) mocked by about 10 drunk white hipster kids on the L train. There was no overt racism or hate speech – just the sense that, this was an older drunk person on a train at a time when it is generally crowded by drunk (more often than not white) kids. And this older drunk person was the Other. (p.s. I am loving my parentheticals tonight).

So, as I was saying, I witnessed this event. And it was sad, heart breakingly so. Not to say that I identify with this old not-quite-sober man, but my mind made a connection in this idea of not fitting in.

My world is largely white washed. And I know that, and I know that it’s an effect of how I’ve decided to live my life. Which is to say, in college I deliberately chose a largely non-Indian major: English, and career wise … well, we all know how that turned out. Despite Sonny Mehta, it is still a mostly non-brown profession (although this too, is changing). And generally, I’m okay with all of it – my life that is. Even so, there is this lingering thought that never really goes away of: you are not the same.

Not that “you are not the same” means you (or I) can blame being different for any ills or negative experiences that fall your way. Rather, it’s that you’re not going to find people who understand you. (cue the: NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME).

I don’t pull the race card (in all seriousness) often. It’s usually discussed after I’ve had a few- because as with most Americans, I’m not entirely comfortable discussing the issue of race or ethnicity and what that means as an American citizen.

What does it mean when you’re first generation and you don’t have that common history with your country? I honestly feel connected to the history of America- this is where I grew up. Barring a short 8 – 9 months, I’ve spent my entire life in this country … and yet.

Sometimes, I still feel like a secondary citizen, socially.

(WHINE WHINE WHINE)
… my fingers desperately wanted that to say: SHINE SHINE SHINE.

Not secondary in the sense that “you’re brown, you can’t frequent this establishment” – more like, you’re brown and not really American. … It’s not too far off for me to think that way, is it? The way a frighteningly large number of Americans are reacting to our President?

This race thing largely wasn’t an issue until I got older, of course. I like to blame the last good ole’ Dubya for teaching our country that difference is to be feared and rejected. We joke about being called terrorists and being looked at funny in the airport – but the fact remains: there’s truth behind it. I only started laughing about being called a terrorist after I heard a group of kids in college walk by and say: “Yo, check out that terrorist.”

… Seriously. Least inventive racist remark ever?

I think this post is just a lot of verbal diarrhea, and there’s no real argument or thought process or beginning or end. I’m not even sure I’ll publish it, it’ll probably sit here for a few days while I try and decide if it’s appropriate, or if it’s too “call the whambulance.

Regardless … for me, whether or not it’s valid or whether it really means anything, there might always be this scratching little thought inside of my brain.

At the same time, I hate for it to sound like race is some decisive factor in my life. It rarely is – it’s more of something I notice, or think about (maybe too much, I don’t know).

… Well, there it is. I don’t know.

Pre-post fun times: I sent this out to two friends to test it out, so to speak, and my favorite half-Asian only had this to say:

“Are you suffering from half-Asian paranoia—i.e. the belief that everything you say/do is wrong or will grab the unwanted attention from weirdos?  Because if you are, welcome to the club, ahahaha.”

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My Future is Imaginary

As I get further and further into my (damned damned damned) thesis, and closer to the end of my comfort zone student-ness, I find myself questioning where I am and where I want to go within publishing. I’m reaching and grasping in the air for this thing that doesn’t exist anymore, or at least… it feels like it doesn’t exist anymore. A… figment, if you will. [Insert cheeky grin here.]

It used to be, you had a track. Overly simplified, it was  Editorial intern –> Editorial Assistant –> Editor.

Alas, this is not necessarily the case anymore. In an industry rife with nepotism and aging management, it is tough for a kid to get a break. (/whining).

Beyond just the things working against us, there’s also the constant change that’s happening within the industry (UM HAI iPAD!), and the pundits opinions as to what it all means or where it will take us. Obviously, no one really knows.

Stop just saying whether or not a device will fix us, and how about hey, come up with some new models or ideas. Stop waiting for tech companies to do all the revolutionalizing you poor shmucks*. … That was probably uncalled for and kind of really mean. But you know what I’m saying.
*(When I say “shmucks” I mean everyone who has ever said anything about the topic ever. Not the participants in that video, I don’t even know them.)

Instead of jumping on every bandwagon you see, or stealing and slightly altering someone else’s AMAZING INCREDIBLE SPECTACULAR-SPECTACULAR idea for the future, how about doing a little brain storming and coming up with something new and improved and (dare I suggest it?) unique.

… Yes, yes, I’m ranting. What else is new?

It might be said that now’s not the time for one person to be doing anything. Everything that can be owned is already owned, and someone’s already done everything that could possibly be done. (… maybe). Not that we’ll ever really know when everyone who can actually make a real difference in publishing is too scared to actually do anything interesting.

(I will note here that HarperStudio was new and interesting and done by a company that was big enough to make a difference. Of course, the imprint is now defunct, but the thought was there! The potential was there! Yay Harper! … Now just get rid of that ole’ dinosaur you call Dad, and we’ll be good to go.)

In an example of the ridiculous end of the spectrum: I went to a luncheon a few weeks ago to see a group of industry bigwigs talk about the future of publishing. First of all: HA. Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha ha.

… Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system.

So, a question was posed to the two people representing traditional book publishing. The question centered around the consumer who will actually be purchasing the book. The representatives fumbled a bit before noting that, well yes, they didn’t really have a lot of contact with the actual consumer and so couldn’t really answer the question.

And people think the issue is that no one is reading anymore and there are too many venues for content and entertainment.

I say: LOL.

But I digress, this isn’t a post about what people are doing wrong. Not really. This is a post about not knowing where we fit in. We, the young, hopeful, bright eyed interns and assistants who want so badly for the book to never go away. We’re not being used to our potential, and that is so, so depressing.  Use us! We have pep and vitality!*
*In no way do I condone using crystal meth to make Book Publishing better. Unless it proves to work. In which case: Bring on the meth labs. I am so in.

So where do we go now? It’s never been more difficult to get into this industry. And once you’re in, it’s never been more difficult to move around. The thought of the future makes me want to vom a little. I can’t lie. It’s a big question, I know. And one that currently has no answer.

I am where I am, and I be where I be.

Teh End.

But not really! (Fooled you, suckas!)

I’m gon’ take this here future into my own hands (which will be full and complete because no matter what emails I get today, I will not cut my own fingers off in protest).

… I am a cocky little bastard, aren’t I?

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