back after a hiatus

23 Aug

a lot has happened since i wrote. and yet not so much.

what does travel really do to “change” people? or time for that matter? we like to think that the experience of either is so formative, and yet i wonder. case in point, during my summer i met plenty of flight attendants who had traveled the world 3x over. they talked of all the “worldly” things they had seen. how their minds had expanded. and yet, here they were, still spewing the same this and that about “those poor africans,” “prague is so beautiful,” “the food in x, y, z is so great” – and here is another facebook pic of me in this cool outfit i bought in paris. yay paris. couldn’t they have done or thought the same without having ever left? and yet we say travel is so formative.

cue requisite anthropological reflexive guilt. how am i so different? with my pictures of this and that from this place and that. yay, i traveled and you didn’t. i saw where egyptians died in tahrir square. i saw where indians toil in god-awful heat in the deserts of dubai while the rich people drink their martinis in air conditioned ignorant bliss. and yet i criticize those who aren’t so different than me, albeit less racked with political guilt. or is this all too harsh? i wonder.

my dad says it’s all “invevitable.” nothing you can do about it. “that’s just capitalism” – as though it’s just some omnipotent force that you couldn’t stop even if you had your hand on the lever. aiwha ong writes against such universalizing grand narratives. says things are more complicated than that. and they probably are. but things still seem awful simple when you’re on top making +100K, driving two cars, and lamenting about the poor people begging for change on the streets. “here’s a dollar…” god bless. and we move on with our lives.

met two interesting people today. “fairies” who work in disneyland. perfectly nice women. and yet, the conversation sort of stopped short of job hours, creepy guests, and how good jack daniels “honey” flavor is. am i too cynical and thinktastic for my own good? why do i feel the disconnect with such people?

meanwhile, people i’ve “friended” still living in dubai comment on each others posts. guys flirting here and there aimlessly with the girls. “ooh i ate this.” “i ate that.”

my sister has lost faith in the human race, save a double or triple handful of her friends and family. i don’t necessarily blame her given the crap logic you see spewing from the ignorant lot on tv – made all the more glaringly, painfully visible/audible during the election year wars. if academia truly is the last ivory tower bastion for high, critical thought for high, critical thoughts sake… i worry about the fate of the planet when palins, romneys, and their young, suburban, hipster cronies touring silverlake or downtown l.a. come of age – happy in their privileged sense of “pain.” woe is me.

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