Revolution in the bathroom mirror

I stumbled over theses sentences again today. They’ve always made a big impression on me, and apparently also on a lot of other people. The words might seem a bit trite, but knowing and liking the band they hit you as absolutely right.

Sometimes you feel real old, older than you are. Check the aches and pains, the hairline, the demands of life. Responsibilities, responsibilities. Worse things have happened to all of us; the circus wasn’t as good as you thought it would be, the movie stunk, etc., etc….

Punching the clock, punching the wall, hating your boss. You can’t go if you don’t know, and you can’t know if you don’t go. And everybody in the world has their own song in their heads. The best songs ever. Problem is figuring a way to get them out and present them to others.

You’ve got to know where the brakes are. Enjoy life at a realistic pace. You crazy youngsters, what with your nightlife and everything. And it’s important to trust other people while putting stock in yourself as well. Reevaluating your priorities, checking yourself daily.

Not everybody is a victim of circumstance; conversely, nobody should feel like a martyr all the time. Problem? It’s hard enough to communicate these days; some of us don’t even get the chance. Some others don’t know they have a chance.

When you travel frequently, you find a lot of images. And sometimes, you have to try and make the best of a bad situation: more often than not, we grin and bear it. Other times, you learn to enjoy some small facet of your predicament. Nothing too elaborate, just an attempt to adjust priorities. Revolution starts at home, preferably in the bathroom mirror.

Example? Winter always comes too soon. This year was the worst I can remember, except when I was five years old. Pushed open the front door, got lost in the snow.

But who actually wrote the words? My best bet is Bob Mould, but it could just as easily have been Grant Hart. Or maybe even Greg Norton?

Reagan’s Speech and the way to meet Manhattan

Danish Libertarian Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard in a warm portrait of his first encounter with The Land of the Free which coincided almost magically with Regan’s famous speech at Brandenburger Tor in 1987. It’s in Danish but the whole speech is there and it’s still very moving and powerful. Reagan continues to grow on me, I must admit. Truly a visionary and brave politician, even with all his faults.

I still remember my own first meeting with New York in the fall of 1999, when I was in a very special and transformative phase of my life. It was Indian Summer in November and I absolutely fell in love with the majestic city. I was there with a good friend and we were simply in extasy over the sounds and views and smells of the dirty and bustling and beautiful Big Apple. I remember that the Twin Towers made a particularly memorable impression (which I documented in a lot of photos) and I actually felt so at home that people soon started asking me for directions.

It’s not the same now when I go back, as I have a few times. The city is different, and I’m different, and the Towers are no longer there, which fills me with sadness every time. New York is still in my opinion an unsurpassed metropolis, but politics, terrorism and war have taken their toll. However, people still ask me for directions, which why I’ll always come back.

Sorte Slyngel

Bloggeren Torben Sangild har fået en række tekster tyvstjålet og omskrevet af en blogger, der kalder sig xxx (navnet er redaktionen bekendt) på Sorte Sider. Teksterne kommer især fra Torbens videnskabelige blog Det spekulative øre, som xxx altså forsøger at låne lidt credibilty fra. En bizar sag. Mere her.

Update, kl. 15.40: Case closed, Slynglen har givet op. Det gik stærkt. Da Torben har besluttet at være nådig og slette mandens (drengens) navn fra sin blog, vil jeg også gøre det her. Lad os håbe, at fjolset har fået sin lærestreg.

These guys scare me

Welcome to the Creation Museum – prepare to believe. Or not.

From an article in The Economist:

The Creation Museum opened in Petersburg, Kentucky, on May 28th. Here impressionable youngsters can watch awesome animatronic dinosaurs interacting with primitive humans, just as Genesis implies they did, shortly after the beginning of time one Monday morning in 4004 BC.

The museum’s aim is to teach visitors how to answer attacks on the Bible’s authority in geology, biology and so on, while providing a “family-friendly experience”.

I guess it’s like Jurassic Park: Nice dinosaurs, shame about the rest.

Project 300

One of the things that surprised me in Iran was that even the people who were very critical of the government, also hated the movie 300. Many Iranians are very proud of their ancient Persian heritage, which they see as a highpoint in their culture – especially compared to what they have now. I haven’t seen the movie, but from what I hear it would be quite reasonable to be a little offended by the harsh portrayal of Xerxes and the Persian empire.

As a very amusing alternative and counterpoint, different Iranian artists have now launched Project 300 to “show the forgotten face of ancient Persia and modern day Iran”. Rock music, videos, grafitti, comics and much more. Most of the posts seem to be by artist Legofish. What a great way to use web 2.0!

On telling and showing

An often used bon-mot of writers and teachers of writing is “tell don’t show” “Show don’t tell”. This means that a text becomes boring if it tells us what to think about what is going on, instead of showing us this through action. Simply stating “he loved her very much” is boring tell, and furthermore strangely unconvincing because it is a cliché. But showing us how he gives her flowers, or runs in front of a moving train for her, is showing us how much he loves her.

However, things are not so simple. The dictum of “tell don’t show” “show don’t tell” often paralyses a writer, who thinks that he must always come up with imaginative and new ways of showing everything. But please remark how the very telling sentence “he loved her very much” can become very showing by a slight change of perspective to “he used to say that he loved her very much”. The flat telling, clichéd sentence suddenly becomes filled with irony and doubt, and although we know too little about him and her to really know anything, it shows us a much more interesting situation. Did he use to say it because he didn’t mean it? Or because he meant it too much?

Regarding the Iranian blogosphere

Global Voices today has an excellent interview with Danish researcher Caroline Nellemann, who has written her master thesis on the Iranian blogosphere. It is well worth a read, and I’m not only saying this because Caroline was my companion on my recent journey to Iran.

A little snippet from the interview:

I believe that blogs are a way of opposing prejudice. The blogosphere enables a pluralistic exchange of opinion and contributes to the eradication of prejudice. Most of the bloggers I talked to explained that they are participating in the blogosphere regardless of whether they agree or disagree with the blogs they read. This indicates that the blogosphere is not just a free-for-all for ideas, but at the same time promotes networking and allowing people to be better informed as well as more politically conscious citizens. Reading about everyday life in Iran and seeing pictures on a photo blog from Tehran might change a lot of Western idea about Iranian society. One of the Iranian bloggers I met developed a more nuanced view of the hejab after reading about women who actually wore it voluntarily.

However, the conclusion is realistic rather than optimistic. I think that if Caroline wrote her thesis again today, she would be more realistic (read: pessimistic) about the Iranian blogosphere’s potential for changing Iranian society. Some people read blogs, most don’t, and to cross from the virtual world to the real world is hard, especially when you live in a society with limited freedoms. Unfortunately the Iranian regime keeps a tight control on the Internet and on blogging, making it dangerous to take political action with blogs, and that is not going to change any time soon.