- Waiting on the bus. In LA. You heard right. http://twitpic.com/cas2l #
- Older guy w/ dreadlocks on bus, wearing surgical mask and carrying briefcase with a giant bumper sticker on it reading “Who is John Galt?” #
- Excellent analysis of phone company (esp. AT&T) price rape over sms: http://bit.ly/Ykqbs #
I was watching a short video segment on the NY Times website this morning. It was about the drug “Paco” which is causing a lot of problems in Argentina. One of the things that struck me was the voice of the interpreter. It was much more a voice you would hear on the street and much less one out of academia. I never really thought much before about the voices that they use in voiceover when people are talking, except on the rare occasions when they would use a woman’s voice over a man’s talking or vice versa. In this particular case, they were profiling a drug user who was living in a shanty town. He was very poor, without work, a father trying to pull his life back together after coming out of a treatment program. Sadly, he had relapsed into serious drug use, unable to escape. As he spoke in Spanish during the interview, the voice and the words of the translator were very jarring to me. This wasn’t the voice of some remote, calm professor they had drudged up. This was the voice and words of someone more “street”, more what you would hear in normal life in my old neighborhood in Manhattan, for example. When I thought about it, it seemed that this voice actually fit the subject better than some rarefied social science expert, and it made me wonder about the choices news organizations use in picking these people and what sorts of cultural messages they are reinforcing by these choices. The basic idea, in news reporting is to be as “detached” and as “objective” as possible in the reporting, a cool distant eye on the subject. The use of soporific, detached voices when doing translations could be thought to add to this effect. Or it could be simply that, being used to always hearing the same kind of voice, we tend to think of it as standard, and so it fades into the background, letting the story speak for itself. But does it really? Do these voices convey the identity they are translating better or worse? That is to say are they more or less “authentic”? Do they add or remove barriers to our understanding? How about to our empathy?
- Cool ice cream sandwich truck in LA run by architects with product names like “Richard Meyer Lemon” http://twitpic.com/by7nu #
- And 20 bucks to check a bottle of wine you won’t let me carry on? Hope you enjoy it in the backroom. #
- Had amazing croissant and coffee with Tom this morning at this place: http://tinyurl.com/nnmuel #
- The toast just caught fire in a big way, bursting into flames. #
I was walking around San Francisco this morning when I came across a pair of jeans left bunched up on top of a public trash receptacle. Not stuffed inside, but sitting on top of it. Not given to Salvation Army or recycled or thrown out with all the other trash that one throws away from behind the veil of secrecy at one’s own home, but here on display in public, and left in a manner that suggested some hurry and desire to be rid of them in a flash. What is the story behind these pants? Did they have a rip and someone did a quick change on the street into a new pair and left these crumpled in place? Did someone have a sudden urge to galavant naked around the (very cold, I might add) streets of San Francisco this morning? Had someone been carrying around this extra set of pants with them for some time, hoping against hope to find just the right tailor to repair them and finally gave up the ghost after one last heartbreaking head-shake from a local seamstress? Perhaps they had refused to BeDazzle them with some lewd image? Maybe someone had been carrying around their partner’s pants and just at that moment learned of some infidelity and tossed them and the relationship aside in a huff? Maybe someone was carrying a huge pile of clothes down the street, so big that they couldn’t see in front of them, and this lonely pair slid off at just this place? What stories could this pair of jeans tell if it could talk?
I was invited to one of the loveliest weddings I have ever been to this weekend. My friends Pete and Kevin, who have been together for over ten years had a ceremony to celebrate their wedding. (They actually got married last year while it was still legal, which turned out to be a wise move on their part since the right was soon taken away by the voters in their infinite lack of wisdom.) I have known Pete for close to 15 years, since the days when we were working together at Apple. We have been through a lot together and were roommates for a time when I came back to San Francisco from Paris in 1999. I was there the night Pete and Kevin met, in a SOMA club in San Francisco in July 1999. Over the years, I have watched their relationship go through many twists and turns, and have marveled at the warmth and love they have grown into with each other. We have shared many experiences, from the ridiculous to the scary to the loving to the peaceful to the mundane. Although I moved away from San Francisco many years ago, I come back often and spend time with them. They are the kind of people I will always want in my life, filled with generosity and warmth and humor. I was really thinking a lot this weekend about weddings and public commitment ceremonies, and what they mean and why they are important. As we form communities around our friends and families, we interweave all of our lives and life stories with one another. Each piece and part adds to the whole, and these connections are a big part of what gives meaning to our existence. When we celebrate a wedding or a public commitment, we are reinforcing these bonds, and recognizing their importance in our lives. I was honored to be present to witness Pete and Kevin declare their love and support for one another, and the ceremony and their words to each other in front of all of us made me all teary eyed. As I looked around the assembly, I remembered fondly so many people and so many stories that have made me, made all of us, what and who we are today. To be able to share these disparate threads, and to bring them together in a cloth that wraps around all of us and gives us warmth was a special gift. I may be a wanderer, but there are some places and contexts that will always have a hold over me, and that give me great strength. These people and this part of my life is such a context. I will always feel connected to it and to them, and no matter how far away from here, always feel at home somehow when I am in their company.