Sunday, June 23, 2013

Super Stink

Super powers are not just the stuff of comic books. I have seen a youtube video of Isao Machii slicing vegetables at mind blowing speeds and I have read apparently legit articles about Wim Hof, the guy that's impervious to cold. I know that there are supertasters walking among us. None of this is real news anymore. People take the incredible for granted ...

But today ... I want to share how my own life has been touched by (probably) two remarkable individuals whom I have never met, but who, it seems, were endowed with a superhuman stink power

Exhibit A

Witness exhibit A: one of my favorite shirts. I bought it at a thrift store only to discover after bringing it home that one of the armpits still carried the odor of the previous owner's sweat. This powerful "smell stain" has proven itself impervious to removal after many washings. Whether fortunately or unfortunately, I keep on forgetting about the smell stain and wear the shirt again without trying more drastic means of stink removal, and then I get all embarrassed when I catch of whiff of it (but of course, by then I'm out in public and it's too late to change). I imagine to myself that anyone else close by is disgusted by the odor, but would no doubt be even more grossed out if I explained, in my defense, that it's not me that stinks--it's the previous owner's super stink that just won't wash out ...

Exhibit B cannot be displayed, since I didn't take a picture of it. But this is a much more bizarre case. One day, a stomach turning stench of body odor wafted around our living room. We had a hard time, at first, tracking it down, but ultimately discovered it was emanating from the DVD of Inspector Maigret we'd checked out from the public library. The disc itself reeked as if it has spent the last several months lost in the fat folds of a 3,000-lb person--perhaps upon that person's death, the disc was discovered (and removed with tongs, I imagine) and returned to the library. I can come up with no better explanation. I also cannot find words extreme enough to describe the potency of the b.o. that somehow got onto that disc.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sorry I Didn't Give Money To Stop Kony, But I Did Pledge $50 For This ...

I confess: I am a jaded postmodernist, generally skeptical about the ability of any nonprofit agency to do actual good in the world. Every now and then I see requests for donations on facebook but I can’t remember ever actually giving money. Even for causes I care about. And to be honest, that’s first of all because I’m stingy. Second because I’m lazy. Thirdly, I get nervous making financial transactions online. And then also, I get paralyzed by cynicism.

But for some reason, this project made me stop and decide to open my wallet. (And then I found out they may not even take my money after all—which was kind of emotionally confusing—“Oh, good, I might get to keep my money” but also “Oh, bad, maybe they won’t get enough support to make their movie.”)

This is the article that I first read (most of—well, okay, really just the parts that interested me). To summarize: it’s the story of author Alisa Valdes’ disgust at certain mainstream Hollywood producers’ rejection of her pitch for a t.v. show (based on her bestselling novel) about a diverse group of Latinas because (she tells us they said) they wanted to limit themselves to more stereotypical portrayals of Hispanic women. And sure enough, one of the studios she was in talks with (Lifetime) but could not reach an agreement with is now (unsurprisingly) coming out with a show about sexy Latina maids.

So Valdes is now trying to raise enough money to produce independently a movie based on her book. That’s ambitious. And definitely, to my mind, a worthy goal.

I love this idea, first of all, because it’s not like giving to so many national or international charitable organizations where there’s a real question as to what, exactly, your money will accomplish. Here, you know that a movie is going to be produced. Art will be created. And that is an end in itself.

Also, the more people support small budget films, ultimately, the less people’s attitudes will be shaped by mainstream media (which relies to a horrifying, revolting extent upon stereotyping, sexual exploitation, hackneyed tropes, and other undesirable appeals to the lowest common denominator in taste[lessness]).

So, now I’m doing my part to spread the word. Support better art; support a better world! (-: Read about the project and perhaps you'll be inspired to make a pledge, too.