Why Tinder Is Actually Amazing

Who are you kidding? We all know you have it buried somewhere deep in the mysterious realms of your phone. Perhaps it’s hidden in your “Utilities” folder or “Travel.” Or maybe it can even be found in your “Games,” because isn’t that all it is anyway?

Despite Tinder’s reputation of being solely a means to finding a casual hookup, in which desperate, horny 20-somethings can find a quick lay, it is actually one of the most inventive and creative dating applications (or whatever you’d like to call it) out there, not to mention the fastest-growing free dating app in the United States, facilitating more than 2 million matches per day. Long gone are the days of Match.com and eHarmony. Even the relatively new okCupid is seemingly passe. It’s really quite simple if you think about it. Rather than having its users meticulously construct lengthy profiles, Tinder creates each user’s page by merely pulling photos and basic information, such as “likes,” from his or her Facebook (with permission, of course), and in almost milliseconds, users can find people in their area. In fact, the simplicity behind the app, both in its creation and in its use, is arguably why it has become so very popular since its 2013 launch. For starters, it’s basically built for a toddler, or at least an adult with the same technological skill set as a toddler. The idea is simple: you, upon entering the app, are served a succession of photos of people who meet your age, gender, and location criteria. Tinder also allows its users to provide a brief profile if they care to, which can also be seen at this time. It is now up to you to either swipe left, indicating that you are not interested in the user, or swipe right, indicating that you are indeed interested and thus give him or her permission to message you. The app is fast and casual, a far cry from most dating sites, which force you to trudge through countless questions about religion and hobbies, among others, and sort through dozens of messages before finding someone of any appeal. Tinder, on the other hand, lets you find your own matches by doing exactly what we all do in social settings anyway: judge people based primarily on their appearances.

Now, because I’m a feminist, I have to go here. This is exactly the type of scenario that we have often been told women hate. “I think that women more often than not will say that they’re looking for something casual, and there’s nothing wrong with any of that. I think deep down, though, most women don’t actually believe that,” says Amy Webb, author of Data: A Love Story, quite accurately summarizing the general belief. She goes on to say, “Most women do want to be in a long-term relationship.” However, 45% of Tinder’s users are women, and none seem to be at all bothered by the app’s low-commitment objectification. Of roughly 200 million ratings per day, around 70% of them are left swipes and 30% are right swipes. Women are using this app and in roughly the same way as men.

There’s also that old notion that unlike men, women need extensive detail and information on a guy before they can determine if they’re interested. Tinder has disproved this, too. The app’s non-profile profile circumvents the skepticism that naturally comes with signing up for most other dating sites, requiring a multitude of answers to truly unnecessary questions, all of which are designed to determine who you are and what you want in a potential life partner. After Webb gave a Ted Talk last year on her approaches to online dating, she received over 1300 emails, 80% of which were from “people agonizing over what to put in their profile[s].” When the profile disappears, so does most of the stress. A 26-year old Brooklyn woman said on the matter, “I wasn’t really open to the idea of strangers (or even worse, friends) coming across an online profile with me describing in depth. I’m not embarrassed to know that they might have seen five pictures of me and a Simpsons quote, as opposed to my deepest, darkest desires.”

Perhaps the most appealing of Tinder’s features to women is that of messaging. Unlike most dating sites, in which women are bombarded with mass messages saying some derivative of the useless “Hi 😉 What’s up?,” on Tinder users can only receive messages from users they have already indicated as a match. Additionally, Tinder does not allow users to message each other with photos–although, a recent add-on to the app was “Moments,” which are presented as snapshots of what you are doing that matches of yours can see and like, sort of like a Snapchat story. The inability to message photos is something that gay users have become particularly keen of as it prevents the sharing any “dick pics” unlike Grindr.

Before Tinder, hetero dating apps were relatively non-existent, despite the fact that apps like Grindr, which is known as a gay hookup app, have been around for years. Tinder-like apps have been created (e.g. Blendr and OkCupid Locals) but have all failed miserably. Tinder is user-friendly, quick, and quite honestly enjoyable, which leads me to explain why Tinder is amazing on a day-to-day basis. It is genuinely the biggest confidence-booster in the world. I kid you not. Having downloaded the app a few months ago after hearing about all the hype, I can honestly say that every time I open the app, I feel like Kate Upton. So even if you’re like me, in that you never actually meet your matches and hardly ever message with them, Tinder is awesome. Now back to technical stuff.

Pulling data from Facebook was once thought of as the dreaded black hole of all dating sites, betraying the ounce of shame that users felt about blending their “real lives” and their online courtships. However, Tinder has shown that women are actually quite fond of the Facebook data given to them (first names of mutual friends and mutual “likes”), as it gives a sort of social accountability. Even though the use of a profile picture might be a bit antiquated, Facebook is merciless in cracking down on fake accounts, and if you’re really doubtful, you can contact one of your mutual friends to confirm the realness of your match. Thus, any inkling one might have that users are not who they say they are is quickly remedied by this feature.

Arguably most important, Tinder is a far cry from the common exercise in self-deprecation that online dating has brought about for many women and men alike. Natascha Bird of London says of the app, “It didn’t feel like offering yourself on a plate to a collection of the world’s ‘lonelies.’ It also allowed for the more casual type of connection without seeming totally sleazy.” Tinder really is fun. People sign up because they’re drunk and a friend dares them. Or their circle of friends gets to talking about it at dinner or even in a group chat, and they join together. Some friends of mine have called it “playing Tinder.” Some people have even invented drinking games: Take a shot for every bathroom selfie you find or two for every person you know in real life. As Tinder doesn’t require hours wasted on meticulously constructing a profile that conveys “the real you,” all possibility of hurt from rejection is lost.

Erin, a Minneapolis native, who met her boyfriend on the app says, “Tinder was just this funny but also kind of exciting and socially acceptable thing I could do, and with low expectations.” Even the most decorated of online dating veterans crave the simplicity of meeting a partner “organically,” without the robot comparison that determines whether a person is or isn’t soul-mate material. Unsurprisingly, it’s difficult to feel any shred of romance when you’re reading a long list of red flags on someone’s profile.

With less information, though, comes a great deal of confusion. A common complaint about Tinder is that no one really knows what it’s for. Pay-to-play sites like Match.com set the clear goal of finding serious relationships, and free sites like okCupid say they’re for dating, so what about Tinder? As its reputation tells, the answer currently could be for “casual hookups” or for “last-minute coffee dates you feel free to flake on.” But this might change as the app expands. Already, co-founder Justin Mateen says they’ve heard of more than 100 marriage proposals resulting in Tinder matches–kind of a lot considering Tinder hasn’t been around for all that long. I guess it really is just what you make of it.

Hillary 4 Prez

I had all of the other bases covered: my love of Oscar Wilde was firmly represented with “I’m Wilde About Oscar,” my adoration of books was manifested in “I Read Banned Books,” and my support of National Public Radio was made known to the world (or at least to the drivers of Paradise Valley) with my “NPR” and “KJZZ Sustaining Member” stickers. The only thing that was missing from my array of bumper stickers was a political endorsement. I had always wanted to display some political message on the back of my carpool-mom-like Honda Pilot, but my father always encouraged me not to do so, as not to upset anyone on the road. I mean, someone would totally have been likely to smash all my windows and steal my tires because of a little “STR8 AGAINST H8,” right? Anyways, I finally decided, after seeing a similar sticker on a car on the George Washington Bridge—yep, that’s the one that NJ Governor Chris Christie is currently being ridiculed for—that ol’ Jonah was being a bit too protective and that it was finally time for me to voice my (very strong) opinions. So, sometime in early November, I ordered my first political bumper sticker, which read, “HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT 2016.” I have since then gotten very mixed reactions. Apart from being made fun of by my family and questioned by some of my more conservative friends, I have caught three drivers taking photos of the wonderful sticker, seven rather elderly folks squinting to see what it said, and countless of discussions commenced in other vehicles because of it. Needless to say, it was $11 well spent.

Although she has not yet actually announced her running, I have fully given my vote to the admirable Mrs. Clinton. And honestly, why wouldn’t I? She is, thus far, the most suitable potential candidate. She has experience in the White House, both as a First Lady and as Secretary of State, has acquired the wisdom necessary to win from running once before, heads an organization that seeks to better the lives of oppressed women globally, is a strong proponent of gay rights, has the knowledge to lead our nation to its best possible state, and has the great Bill Clinton behind her. I wonder what they would call him. First Man?

Despite having “liked” various Facebook fan pages in the past, I just recently discovered the “Ready for Hillary” movement. I assume that I need not explain exactly what and whom it is that this political committee is in support of, as it is quite self-explanatory. Basically, if you can’t figure that one out, you probably shouldn’t be reading this magazine. I quickly discovered that Ready for Hillary had over one and a half million “likes” and already over 33,600 contributors—I’m one—before the woman has even said whether or not she will be running! This was obviously very impressive, and I was so joyed to see that so many people had the same enthusiasm and hope that I did. Perhaps the absolute best feature on the Ready for Hillary website, though, was the link a visitor can click on to receive a free bumper sticker. I, naturally, clicked on said link and am currently awaiting my second Hillary bumper sticker. This time, I think I’ll put it on my computer, though. Two on one car before it’s even official might be overkill.

But now onto the important stuff: why Hillary has my vote. As I mentioned previously, she is more than qualified for the position and is, as we saw in 2008, more than willing to work her a** off to do her very best. As an avid feminist, I am particularly impressed with Mrs. Clinton. Of course, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, also a progressive Democrat, is said to be running, but she is dull in comparison to Hillary. Clinton’s work for women both in our own country and in countless others is truly admirable, and her dedication to bettering the lives and futures of them all has come to dominate her social work. The most important reason that one should vote for Hillary, though, is her twenty years of experience in Washington, including two tours in the White House! She has also worked in the Senate, ran a presidential campaign in possibly one of the most grueling and historic elections, and she was the nation’s top diplomat. Having such an extensive past working in politics, Hillary will not make the same “rookie mistakes” that so many presidents have, not to mention that she has been stonewalled by the GOP previously and will thus be far more prepared to deal with GOP obstructionists than any other candidate would. And let’s face it. Hillary surpasses all other potential candidates by a landslide. I hate to offend any neo-con Tea Party conservative—well, actually I’d love to—but Ted Cruz? Seriously? Putting aside his utter incapability to run arguably the most powerful nation in the world, he can probably wait another four years to run, considering he is only 43. Then, of course, there is the other end of the age spectrum with Joe Biden, who will be quickly nearing 74 by the time the 2016 election rolls around. I am naturally a bit biased, but I would argue that Hillary is the best (hopefully) candidate that we have seen since her hubby!

According to EMILY’s List, an organization that supports pro-choice Democratic women running for office, says that America is ready for a female president. In their attempt to put the first woman in the White House, the political action group launched their campaign “Madam President.” The group’s president, Stephanie Schriock—you may recognize her name from countless emails if you are a supporter of or contributor to the organization—announced, “Americans are not only ready for a woman president, but—this is the best part—they see women’s leadership as a positive. We are in a new time, and I can feel this bubbling everywhere. We’re seeing more women step up and run for office. And we’ve quintupled our size in two years.” And with the heavy praise of new books like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, women are far more than ready to see their gender in power. It is time that a woman be elected president of the United States—if Mozambique can do it, why the hell can’t we!—and who better than the wise, brilliant, esteemed, and beautiful Hillary Clinton?

To get a free “I’m Ready for Hillary” sticker of your own, visit www.readyforhillary.com!

Is The Wolf Winning?

After much skepticism, I finally succumbed to seeing the current blockbuster The Wolf of Wall Street last weekend. Knowing little of what the film was about, I was excited for its arrival several weeks ago, but when I read a letter from the daughter of a colleague–or rather accomplice–of Mr. Belfort’s, the mixed feelings began to pour in. Her points about Hollywood’s constant endorsement of greed and everything monetary, sometimes regardless of how it is achieved, were completely valid and accurate. The letter details Christina McDowell’s (the writer) life with her criminal father, noting that she drove a Range Rover at age 16 and “snorted half of Columbia” whilst in high school. McDowell later tells of the negatives of having the father that she did, such as the various times he attempted to steal her identity or subject her to fraud investigations when he transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars into her account in order to save some of the stolen money. So, she got to me. Everything mentioned in the letter was totally valid.
Seeing the Oscar-nominated “best film” confirmed many of my doubts, but it also made me realize that it wasn’t really about that. And by “that,” I don’t mean that it wasn’t about Jordan Belfort and his short-lived reign over the financial world. It totally was. Rather, I mean that the film was not all about endorsing unlawful behavior as a route to prosperity. That just came as a side effect of Hollywood. I came to see that it wasn’t just The Wolf of Wall Streetthat glorified greed. Perhaps it did so more than others, but all of Hollywood, both on screen and off, is about wealth. Now that I’m writing this, I realize that it seems a bit naive not to have seen this before, or rather not to have seen it in more of an economic and realist light. Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio–bless his cute little heart–weren’t to blame! They were just doing their jobs. And if you ask me, they did them pretty well. As did Jonah Hill, speaking of whom, as embarrassing as it might be, I’ve always had a bit of a puppy crush on him. Weird, I know. I digress! Truly though, it seemed as though Christina McDowell just needed someone(s) to scapegoat. And who could blame her? I mean the girl went through a lot. I honestly just don’t think that anyone behind the film was trying to or succeeding at justifying and/or glorifying the actions of her father and his colleagues.
I do, however, have some problems with the real life Jordan Belfort (the non-Leo version), apart from just his treacherous behavior and his nearly non-existent reparations to make up for it. I picked up a copy of his book The Wolf of Wall Street, which happens to be one of the only books that is worse to the movie, and became pretty enraged. First of all, who the hell gave him the right to write such a poorly-executed, bullshit glorification of a memoir? Ok, the first amendment did, sure, but still! And the wolf of Wall Street? Are you kidding? He spent all of five seconds on Wall Street, right until the firm he worked for closed. The rest of his scam of a career was spent somehow coaxing millionaires into buying penny stocks. I won’t even begin to talk about his personal life because if I were to, I don’t think I could ever stop. I think most awful of all, though, apart from the terrible effects his actions had on hundreds of lives, was the misogynistic ways in which he conducted business. And he certainly cannot blame the times–not that that is ever a completely valid excuse–because this was just over twenty years ago! I mean, rewarding his employees with hookers? C’mon! Then what the hell did he give his female employees? Birkins? He should have! At least in that case, he would have made one correct long term investment! Ugh, it angers me so.
I believe it to be utterly preposterous that a man who ruined the lives of so many, a man who has such poor character, a man who, to this day, has not apologized directly to his victims, served under two years in prison. And in a federal prison, nonetheless. Most drug dealers serve more than that! But a man who had an extensive history of crime got away with 22 months? What bothers me so much, though–perhaps this is where any possible resentment towards the Hollywooders comes in–is that he is profiting so much off of this film, and I don’t just mean monetarily. Since its release, Mr. Belfort has appeared on countless television shows, including Piers Morgan Live on CNN, his book sales have soared to new heights, and he continues to make money by selling his “techniques” that allow him to “turn losers into millionaires”–his old habits with an ethical twist. The fact that many Wall Street-ers who went to see the film were reportedly “laughing their asses off” because of the accuracy of the Wall Street habits displayed is beyond worrying.

The Wolf of Wall Street proved to be a very good and entertaining movie, but it failed to show any empathy toward Belfort’s schemes’ countless victims. DiCaprio is fabulous, as is Hill, and gorgeous newcomer Margot Robbie. My mixed feelings of the film led me to further mixed feelings about the entirety of Hollywood. The film was and remains a hit at the box office, though, so I suppose all’s well that ends well, right?

Who Was Lucien Carr?

Tonight, I decided to continue my monthly tradition of a Saturday night movie. That sounds like a pretty normal idea, right? Wrong. My particular tradition does not refer to a big family outing to the newest comedy or to seeing a steamy romance with my (non-existent) boyfriend. Instead, it refers to quite simply my individual attendance. Yep, I admit it. I go to movies alone. And it’s not even because I can’t find anyone to join! I genuinely enjoy going to the movies alone, perhaps apart from the sympathetic looks I get from families and couples. But hey, who actually wants to go see a movie with someone who will constantly whisper through the whole thing? Or fidget with his or her sweater? Or, worst of all, eat all the damn popcorn? The only time a partner in crime is needed, I would argue, is at a movie that will cause tears. And I’m not just talking a few. I mean, full-on crying. C’mon! You know it’s happened to you! It certainly has to me. And how embarrassing that would be (has been) to get up at the end of the movie, as the lights slowly get brighter, with mascara stains on your cheeks and big, puffy eyes? Well, take my word for it–very. I digress! The movies that I do see on my own are, indeed, usually among the less popular. For instance, tonight’s film was Kill Your Darlings, a Camelview 5 (the indie/foreign film theater; basically the best theater around) flick that stars Daniel Radcliffe, whom I’m apparently newly attracted to. The movie was about the absolutely amazing, sometimes even called “god,” Allen Ginsberg. For those of you who are not familiar with this man or his revolutionary work, bye. Just kidding. But seriously, go immerse yourself with his work. Here’s a link to a reading of his most popular work, Howl (warning: explicit content): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVGoY9gom50. Essentially, he was a leader in what is arguably the second best, behind only Modernism, literary movements in American history, the Beat Generation. But that’s not what this post is about! This post is about a character in the film and in Ginsberg’s early life, Lucien Carr.

 

Lucien Carr, in regards to the Beat Generation and to Ginsberg, he was sort of the conductor. If not for Carr, Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs may never have met, and the entirety of the Beat Generation may never have existed. Mr. Ginsberg met Carr when he was a wee, little freshman in 1944 at the beautiful Columbia University. After some exchange and banter about literature and what makes it, Carr introduced Ginsberg to some of his friends, among whom were Burroughs and a man named David Kammerer. Basically, he, the older of the two, brought Ginsberg into the underground world of New York City, inserting him into the abundance of drugs, alcohol, and intelligence that eventually formed the famous movement. Now, this all seems good and dandy, but Carr’s relationship with Mr. Kammerer, as told in Kill Your Darlings, went from one of equal benefits to one of hatred and eventually murder. Kammerer was, in simple terms, Carr’s teacher turned admirer turned stalker. David Kammerer was a teacher in St. Louis and met Lucien Carr when leading a youth group that Carr belonged to as a young boy. He was immediately infatuated with Lucien “Lu” and followed him across the country as he moved from city to city and college to college. We are first introduced to Kammerer in the film on the night that Carr first shows Ginsberg the town. The two wind up at David’s apartment, where he is giving a lecture of sorts with constant reference to a Yeats poem. The next “big” scene that he appears in, also at his apartment, is when Carr, Ginsberg, and Burroughs have just emptied the bookshelves of what have been deemed some of the most quintessential works of all of literature and cut them up, nailing the scraps to the wall. After yelling at Ginsy and Burroughs to go into the other room, Kammerer hands Carr an essay. We learn shortly after that Kammerer is “a professor working as a janitor” because he can’t live without Lucien. In exchange for Carr’s love, David writes his school essays for him. Throughout the movie, there are hints to something that happened to/with Lucien during his time at the University of Chicago, which we eventually learn was *SPOILER ALERT* a suicide attempt, in which Kammerer saved him.

 

At the end of the film, we are taken back to the opening scene, in which Lucien is holding David’s bloody body in the middle of the Hudson River–the movie plays quite a bit with the idea of time through filming. Allen calls Kerouac’s home, where his wife answers, and is told that Jack has been arrested as an accessory in a murder. Kammerer’s murder. It turns out that it was Carr who killed him, first by stabbing him repeatedly with a knife and later drowning him, hence the river scene. Lucien asks Ginsy to write a letter to the D.A. on his behalf claiming “honor killing” as defense. This is, of course, after Allen has fallen madly in love with Lucien and has to some extent taken on the role of Kammerer. With some advice from his recovering mother, Allen decides not to help his beloved friend out. Instead, he writes a piece telling of exactly what happened, rationale and all, which he gives to Lucien with the threat, “either you tell them the truth or I will,” to which Carr said he would not. Ginsberg turns the same piece into his English professor, whom he has had a bit of a ruff with since day one, and subsequently gets expelled from Columbia.

 

Perhaps the most horrifying of it all, however, is what happens when the movie finishes. As a “based on a true story” film, it unsurprisingly offers a few brief sentences about what happened in the end. The entire movie theater gasped when the screen read that Carr had only ended up serving 18 months in prison, as the case had to do with homosexuality and was inaccurately seen as self-defense. Even worse than that, though, was the fact that Carr later served as an editor for the United Press. I mean, it’s difficult for many minor criminals to find jobs after serving time, let alone a murderer!

 

All in all, the life of Lucien Carr is incredibly controversial, especially in regards to his role in the New York City circle and in the murder of Davis Kammerer. He isn’t really considered a Beat writer or even a part of the Beat Generation, but he is responsible for the “meeting of minds,” which could have never happened if not for him. He died in 2005 at age 80. His son, Caleb Carr, is, unlike his father, a writer and a pretty well-known one at that. His best known work is The Alienist. Putting all this aside, Kill Your Darlings is truly, truly a great film, and I recommend all lit-nerds and even some of you who aren’t to go see it!

Hey, Feminism! Where’d Ya Go?

Hi, hi, hi. So, I realize that it’s been five months since my last post, and I’d love to blame Oxford or school or college stuff, but I’ve really just been lazy. Anyways, here’s an article that I wrote for The Rabble-Rouser, a political magazine at my school. Thought I’d share.

Feminism is described as the movement and ideology that is aimed at defining, creating, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This is, of course, considered to be pretty common knowledge at this point in the movement’s life. Many, particularly those who grew up during the second half of the twentieth century, often associate feminism with the many demonstrations, marches, and even riots that it has had. For those of you who know your stuff, you probably know all about the Equal Rights Amendment and its life, which, by the way, still very much exists. The ERA was first proposed to the United States Constitution in efforts to guarantee equal rights for women. This was all the way back in 1923 (three years after women received the right to vote) with its proponent being one of the biggest names in the history of feminism Alice Paul, who was a suffragist leader and founder of the National Women’s Party. Go Alice! The amendment was not passed in both houses of Congress until March of 1972! It then went to the state legislatures for ratification and eventually failed to receive the necessary number of ratifications before its Congress-mandated deadline, June 30, 1982. Mind you, that was only a little over thirty years ago. Needless to say, the ERA was not adopted.

What is known as Second-Wave Feminism or the Women’s Liberation Movement was, however, very much adopted by the United States, willing or not. The movement took place between the early 1960’s and the early 1980’s. Whereas First-Wave Feminism focused primarily on women’s suffrage and overturning legal gender rights, Second-Wave Feminism expanded the debate to a wide range of issues, which included sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, de facto inequalities, and official legal inequalities. Essentially, this wave was a bit more about the social stigma than about the legalities. 1966 and 1967 were perhaps the years in which most feminist organization of Second-Wave Feminism sprang up. This was for quite a few reasons, but foremost was the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission’s lack of support for working women. Betty Freidan, the woman behind NOW (National Organization for Women), founded her organization in response, which began petitioning the EEOC as its first operation. One of the primary concerns of women in regards to the EEOC was that of Title VII. Flight attendants, in particular, filed many Title VII complaints about being forced to quit when they were married, became pregnant, or reached the age of 32. In the proceeding years, as Second-Wave Feminism continued, thousands of women joined in on the movement. The feminist movement not only helped to better the lives of American women but more specifically those of African American women and of lesbian women. Whether for the ratification of the ERA, for abortion rights, or for the targeting of the EEOC, popular women’s glamour magazines, or even against the Miss America pagents, these women joined in on thousands of marches, protests, sit-ins, and thought processes that eventually created the many rights that women have today. And thank goodness for that!

Now, this is all just good and dandy. But why isn’t this sort of thing still happening today? There are still so many gender discrimination issues in the world and very much in the United States. Feminism seems to be thought of as a thing of the past, but it is arguably just as needed now as ever! It is now seen as a movement for radical women who hate men when in reality, feminism is a movement for women who want the rights that they damn well deserve. Women are still objectified by advertisements, films, magazines, and by so many other mediums. Despite the fact that there are now more women in the workplace than there are men, gender is still very much a problem, as many working women are sexually harassed, kept from being promoted, and sometimes still receive lower pay. The Equal Rights Amendment has been introduced to Congress every year since 1982, and it has still not been ratified. On an international level, women are constantly being oppressed by their governments, husbands, and fathers. There is still so much to be done for women in this world! And sure, there’s the excuse that the internet has provided for a new medium for protest and for statement and that actual marches and physical protests are no longer necessary. However, many other movements, such as the 2011 March on Wall Street, have taken, quite literally, to the streets. If anything, the Internet should make it drastically easier to establish a movement. I want to know where the Betty Friedans and Gloria Steinems are in today’s world! Of course, there are minor feminism movements that are very much in existence. For instance, there has been a relatively new trend in New York City called Topless Rollerblading. This idea is quite self-explanatory and genuinely encourages women to rollerblade (as outdated as it may seem) around the city bearing all. Now, you’re probably wondering how something like that is legal, as public nudity is banned in so many places. Well, thanks to some awesome feminists back in the day, it is absolutely legal to be topless in the state of New York. Please let me make clear: I am by no means telling you to rip your clothes off in a densely populated city and embrace your sexuality, but I am telling you to speak out for yourselves and for your fellow women!

The Just Ok Gatsby

I’m a bit disappointed. And yes, my expectations for Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby were unrealistically high, but after waiting a year, how could they not be? The movie as a movie was wonderful, but as an adaptation of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, it sort of wasn’t. I get it. I really do. Hollywood has got to appeal to the greater public, not just the 20s-obsessed lit geeks like me, and it certainly did a good job at that. In fact, I’m sure many who’ve done themselves the misfortune of never reading the book would largely enjoy it. It’s just that the film left out some of (in my opinion) the novel’s best parts. For instance, the entire relationship between Nick and Jordan is non-existent. And Gatsby’s death and funeral are completely under-done. I do, however, greatly admire the movie’s subplot of Nick’s being in a mental asylum when telling the story. I thought that was wildly creative and a great way of turning it into more of a narrative piece. The costumes were, of course, absolutely incredible. After all, the dresses were all designed by Prada! The acting was very good, particularly that of Leo and surprisingly, Tobey Maguire. He, contrary to what I thought, made a fantastic Nick. Although I loved (and still love) the music by itself, I wasn’t all that crazy about its place in the movie. It just didn’t really seem to fit. I mean, 1920s flappers dancing the Charleston to will.i.am. just seemed a bit off. I would recommend seeing the film to everyone, even if just for the sake of watching Leonardo DiCaprio in gorgeous Brooks Brothers suits. In fact, despite my reservations about it, I’m going to see the film again next week. I would just warn all who are planning on seeing it that it is more a Great Gatsby than it is the Great Gatsby.

Gatsby Galore

For those of you who don’t already know, I have a very deep love for the 1920s, particularly the era’s literature, so naturally, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is among my long list of favorite books. My affection for the novel is so incredible, in fact, that my Powderpuff football nickname was “Gabsby”–get it? Ha. Anyways, I’ve now read the book five times. Five. I never read books that many times, regardless of how amazing they are. No, no, Gatsby is not just any book. You see, every time that I read it, it takes on a new form. It’s all new to me, as though I’ve never laid eyes on the masterpiece. Every single time that I come to the last chapter and (*SPOILER ALERT*) Jay Gatsby’s untimely death, I bawl my eyes out. It’s remarkable that a simple 180-page book has the ability to do that to a person. Wow, I digress. My point is, it’s remarkable, maybe even the best. So, as you can imagine, my excitement for Buz Luhrmann’s upcoming movie is inexplicable. I actually can’t put it into words. If you aren’t familiar, the film was originally meant to be released on Christmas, 2012. Needless to say, I’ve been anticipating its arrival for over a year now. And it’s finally almost here! The world premiere of the movie was last night (photos below), and it will finally be coming to theaters in just a week! The movie is filled with sensational renditions of old music and, of course, some new, an exquisite array of 1920s flapper-esuq clothing, and unsurprisingly, a young and talented cast. As the May issue of Vogue has fabulously noted with the star on its cover, the wonderful Carey Mulligan will be playing Daisy Buchanon. The one and only Leonardo DiCaprio plays well, the equally one and only Jay Gatsby, and Nick Carraway is played by Tobey Maguire. As dorky as it may be, I plan on wearing some decadent vintage 1920s piece to the midnight premiere that I will obviously be attending next Thursday. Hopefully, I will be able to contain my over-joyous jumping, that currently appears whenever the movie is mentioned, when waiting in line. I suppose I have seven days to work on that. I’ll give you all the juicy details of the film next week, so look out for that! And for those of you who live under a rock (I’ve decided you must, if you haven’t read Gatsby), go read it!!!

Check out photos of Wednesday’s world premiere here: http://www.vogue.com/parties/the-new-york-premiere-of-baz-luhrmanns-the-great-gatsby/

Hidden Gems

Only I, Gabby Shacknai, would find myself rummaging through an old pile of papers and books and other oddities at 1 AM on a Sunday night. And sure, I’m also watching reruns of old Sex and the City episodes, which is largely what is keeping me awake, but some of what I’ve just found is slowly taking precedent over my favorite show. Carrie Bradshaw can wait for one night. It started with the massive heap of records just beside my record player. I began to sort through Led Zeppelin and Billy Joel and even Def Leppard. Naturally, I got bored. Well, that, and the brown LP-sized bag I was putting some into was getting a bit too full. So, I moved on to the indistinguishable creature in the middle of my room. This creature used to be a coffee table, but nowadays, it’s lucky if an inch of it can shine through the mass of old New Yorkers and Saks catalogues. After clearing the top layer, I began to realize that this monstrous hoard was not just of old magazines and papers but also of books and letters and journals and gift cards! I found torn-out-of-magazine articles (clearly they were good) and old stationary. As if I needed to add on to my already endless list of books to read, I found some that I’ve bought in the last few years that I never actually read. And some that I had. And some that I had started and never finished. I started flipping through a book on sociology and religion, then an old Fitzgerald novel, even some of my old (shitty) poetry. I was so intrigued by what, just a few months ago or a year, had interested me. It was the greatest feeling finding all of these treasures–like falling in love with them all over again. 

Can You Believe It?

It’s so difficult to think about how far the world has come in such little time. With the beginning of a new year, I, as always, have been looking into the past. I’ve lately stumbled upon vintage copies of books, magazines, and newspapers, and they have truly reminded me of how rapidly moving our world is. I mean, it’s hard to imagine that it was not even a hundred years ago that the 19th amendment was passed allowing women the right to vote. Thinking about how recent this was is pretty mind blowing considering the equality among the sexes in today’s world. In fact, almost 17% more women voted in the 2012 election than did men. Pretty remarkable. Also taking place in the 1920s was prohibition. Of course, alcohol was not legalized until 1933 with the 21st amendment, but the debate lasted for quite a number of years. I just find it so bizarre that drinking a beer or a glass of whiskey would have been illegal back then when it is now such an ordinary part of our culture. Of course the set drinking age accompanied the legalization and has changed from 18 to 21 in more recent years, but still! And now, with the legalization of marijauna, which seems like such a far fetched action; will the fact that it was ever illegal one day seem preposterous? Of course, the most obvious transition has been slavery. When the United States declared its independence from England in 1776, slavery was a common feature. Almost everyone had slaves. It was how it had always been and didn’t at all seem abnormal. It wasn’t until 1865 that slavery was abolished, of course following the Civil War. That was 149 years ago, and sure, that might seem like a pretty long time, especially given the young age of our country, but that’s not even twice the average American’s life span! Now we have an African American president! It’s incredible how much has changed in such a short time. In January of 1983, TIME Magazine featured am article about machines, particularly the computer. It spoke of the dramatic increase of computer sales and how they were slowly but surely becoming a part of the American life. These computers were, of course, big bulky desktops that took up a large fraction of a room. Now, I’m typing on an iPad, a computer that literally fits in my hands. In just a short thirty years, the technology world has truly gone from 0 to 60. The U.S. is one of the youngest countries around at 237 years old. And in just that minor time period, so very much has changed. For better or for worse, who knows! Sometimes, I wonder what our founding fathers would think if they were to see the country today. Perhaps they’d be proud or maybe disappointed. I suppose that’s a question to ponder, but I do think that it’s a great thing to look at the past as we welcome in the new.

Guess Who’s Coming To Town?

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I’ll begin this post with a sincere apology. It’s been two months since I’ve last posted something. I fucking suck. I know. So there’s my big apology, and having delivered that, I would like to, as with any good apology, offer a thought of change. From this point forward I will do my very best to write at least one post each week. Alright! Now onto the good stuff!
So the answer to the title of this post is most obviously Santa, but there are more Christmas visitors than just the jolly, old Saint Nick! When I was seven, I accumulated a large sum of people, people who would soon be my family. My mom’s new husband, Ian, was British and had a very large British family. And so, a tradition commenced. Nearly every December since, this very large family (or at least most of them) have come out to the scorching desert to celebrate the holiday, and this year was no exception. We have shared so many great times together over the last god knows how many years, and I expect we will share many more. With Christmas just hour away, and New Year’s around the corner, people around the world are celebrating. And sure, the holidays (especially New Year’s) are a time to go out and have fun, but they are also a time to spend with family and those who are closest to you. So forget about the gifts and the champagne and parties for a moment, and instead, have dinner with your parents or play a game with your friends. Stop worrying about following your resolutions and getting ahead for next semester. Enjoy a night or two with the people you love the most. So as our dear Santa Claus would say, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

PS: I’m technically Jewish, emphasis on the “ish.”