Some day, Harry is going to come back from a hard summer at 4 Privet Drive and find Ron and Hermione making out on his bed.
Archive for June 2003
One thing I noticed about the great colleges of the world is that they don’t take the applications process as seriously as the rest of the world does. Harvard could fill its class three times over with students who have never had a grade less than perfection, and it certainly didn’t seem concerned that high schoolers aren’t worrying enough; it’s just trying to assemble the best class it can, as is every other college. If a college gets 3000 valedictorian applicants to its 1000-person class, it’s going to take 1000 students (and not necessarily people from the 3000). If it gets 0 valedictorian applicants, it will still take 1000 students. “Don’t put your self-worth into your application. We don’t deserve that,” said Yale. “I don’t worry anymore about the students who don’t get into our school because there is a really amazing depth to the colleges in America, and there are several colleges in the US that can provide great education and opportunities to its students, even opportunites that we can’t provide,” said Princeton.Perhaps I’m just fooling around out here, and I’m not going to get into any of these schools. If I don’t, I’m still going to be a good person, and my life is still going to be just fine. I think it was good to see these schools because it helped give me perspective. They are all great places, but they are still just places. The college applications process has really gotten out of control; the Ivy League has become a Valhalla, but really, all the kids trying to get into these schools are still just kids, and these great schools with multi-million dollar endowments are still just schools. The people selling boost-your-SAT-scores and boost-your-application books are making millions of dollars off of your insecurities, but selling snake oil is an old, old profession. Yale said that one day he got a phone call from a concerned father wondering what he could do to boost his daughter’s chances of getting into Yale. His daughter was 4 years old.
There have been times in my life when I’ve completely lacked this perspective and become obsessed with grades, and there are several months in my life that I cannot really remember because I was lost in a fog of work and sleeplessness. June is already halfway gone, and I’ve barely noticed because I’m still trying to rise up from the ashes of May. When I step into school in August, I will be a drastically different person than I was the year before, but what kind of person will I be? I don’t know. Summer is two weeks old, but the months to go are a mystery to me, and when I think of my senior year, the only thing I see is the top corner of the band room between the ceiling and the huge mirrors, and I see dozens of students wandering around, setting up stands. I do not yet want to leave this place. I know that in a year, I must go and make my living, and I wonder why I feel so attracted to the east – will this pass? – and I know I really ought to start running again, but it is not yet time to leave Baltimore, and it is not yet time to return to work. It is time for lunch.
I’ve had some strange things happen to me this year, but it’s all for the best. Something great will come from this. I feel the desire to create every single day, and every day I put it off again. I must either yield to it or cast it away. Why do I feel this way? Why am I afraid to do something about it? These are questions I am afraid to answer. God knows. I haven’t felt united with him for a long time now, but each day I heal (“grow my personality back, I call him”), he becomes more attractive.
Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky…and eat some roast beef. I’m really getting hungry.
Ha ha ha, roast beef eaters, ha ha…nevermind.
It is good to be 17, after all.
From now on, I am going to spice up bad movies by injecting symbolism into them. “Two Weeks Notice” provided me a lot of fun in this regard. The next time you watch it, remember, the red stapler represents Power.
The passive resistance of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference characterized the civil rights movement of the 1960s. This movement won respect for the civil rights campaign and brought several de jure reforms for equality, but at the end of the 1960s, blacks found themselves in nearly the same de facto position as ever: penniless and victims of the prejudice of white government and business leaders. By the end of the decade, especially after the assassination of King in 1968, many blacks had joined the black power movement, whose leaders included Stokely Carmichael and Huey P. Newton, which called for greater racial consciousness and revolution against the establishment. The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron were members of this movement and contributed to it through their music. The songs “White Man’s Got a God Complex” and “Niggaz Are Scared of Revolution” by The Last Poets and “The Bottle” and “Winter in America” by Gil Scot-Heron call for consciousness, equality, and self-determination among blacks while pointing out individual obstacles to this freedom in the stark, realistic style that characterized the 1970s black power movement.
In “White Man’s Got a God Complex”, The Last Poets indict the white race for marveling in its technological advances while doing nothing to save blacks from decadence and despair. The song describes a black community that is buckling under its own weight in alcoholism, drug addiction, and crime. The whites tell the blacks to help themselves and turn their backs on this sociological decay. The Last Poets admonish whites to take a more active role in helping blacks achieve freedom.
The group shifts the blame to the black community in “Niggaz Are Scared of Revolution”. The song catalogs the black community’s obsession with white culture and says that while blacks are busy watching television, whites are stealing all their rights. The song charges that African-Americans are quite willing to thump their fists for black power but are afraid to enact the true change needed to create a functioning society. The Poets call for the black community to end its dependency on the soma of mass media and create its own culture and identity. “White Man’s Got a God Complex” and “Niggaz Are Scared of Revolution” give different scapegoats for the decay of black society, but both call for a revolution to improve the lives of blacks.
Gil Scott-Heron gives a more personal perspective of the crisis of black society in his song “The Bottle”. In it, he describes black families paralyzed by alcoholism. Though this song does not mention the revolution by name, it says that doom will come to black culture if it does not cast out its social demons.
In “Winter in America”, Scott-Heron says it is not just black families, but the entire nation that is in decay. It is a requiem for a United States of America which has lost the vivacity of its early days and is on the road to irrelevancy. Scott-Heron calls for renewed activism in America in order to save the lives of the entire population, not just blacks.
These songs by the Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron give different reasons for the decline of black society, but all call for activism in order to bring about a changed and equitable America.
Well, I’ve thought about the mistakes I’ve made this year, and I’ve decided that they were my fault. It’s a refreshing thing to know. I’ve also realized that my body is not limitless. I thought I could get away with abusing it with sleeplessness and procrastination the entire year, but it sharply rebuffed me in the last month of the year. I stopped writing in my journal, which was a bad decision because it’s my primary vehicle of real prayer and introspection. I just feel better when my life is chronicled; it doesn’t become foggy like this year did. I haven’t been myself since spring break, or perhaps February. I’ve been operating purely on instinct for a long time now, and it’s time to stop doing it. Instincts can pull me through some things, but when my instincts are wrong, then I’m in trouble.
I’ve become addicted to avoiding decisions. Even when I’m asked if I want to take the basket up the right side or the middle of the church, I shrug and ask the other guy what he wants. “What restaurant do you want to go to?” “I dunno; what do you want to do?” and so on and so forth. It’s easy for me, but I imagine it’s gotten on the nerves of everyone else I know. I imagine it’s because the only times I make real decisions (last June, the end of December, and March of this year) are when hearts are broken and tears (and blood) are shed. The rest of the time, therefore, I let someone else make the decisions so they won’t be offended by mine and have me ruin their night.
Well, there, I’ve explained why I don’t like to make decisions and tied it to tragedies in my past. If I was a normal person, at this point I’d say “So there!” and go to bed, and the next time someone brought it up, I’d feel offended that they didn’t understand me or the great pain that I have gone through. Well, I’ve had so much happen to me that I can’t be a normal person anymore. I don’t like to make decisions because my decisions have caused great pain in the past. YET, if I live like an oozy, squishy, slightly sticky ball of Nickelodeon flubber-gak mold (boy, that one came off well), I will create even more pain for others, and I will be miserable and emasculated for never taking responsibility for anything. So..I’m going to start making decisions.
So yeah, it was nice talking to you guys tonight, but I have to go to bed. Good night to you.