August 20th, 2007

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Proust Questionairre

One of my co-workers has been leaving her old mags with me and when I saw this questionnaire from Vanity Fair's back page, I thought it would make a great LJ post.

What's your idea of perfect happiness?

A luxurious nap.

What's your greatest fear?

The future of life on this planet.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Quentin Crisp. (Bwahahahaha.)

Which living person do you most admire?

Overall, probably my mom. There are lots of other folks, too, including well-known figures and friends of mine, but Mom wins.

What is the trait your most deplore in yourself?

In conversations with friends or anyone else, I am really bad about asking people questions, but tend to wait for people to offer snippets and then piece things together on my own, sleuth-style. I don't why I have such an aversion to being direct, but I certainly do have it. I'm getting better, but I'm still pretty bad at times.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Lack of sensitivity.

What is your greatest extravagance?

In a whole collection of extravagances... perhaps my full-lengthy black velvet opera cape, complete with fake fur collar. From Norstrom. It is NICE.

What is your favorite journey?

Train from London to Stafford. Not only am I visiting Storm, but I'm in England, the scenery is sometimes very nice (canals, sheep, green hills) and the snack bar is stocked with things like Walker's crisps and delicious yogurt. And there are always cool old ladies to enjoy.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Being like everybody else.

(To quote Quentin Crisp: "The time comes for everyone to do deliberately what he used to do by mistake... If you are effeminate by nature, you have to find some way of telling the world that you know you are, otherwise they keep telling you."

On what occasion to you lie?

When somebody wants to know why it's taken me a month to return their phone call.

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Clean Air

Over the past month the air quality in my home has improved markedly. First I got the air fixed so now it's cool and filtered. Next I started running the oscilating fan so that the air is circulating around a bit more and feels fresher. Then I started running my two air purifiers on high and noticed that the filters need cleanig every week or so, there's so much junk flying around. Then yesterday I got the new vacuum and one quick sweep of the house filled the whole thing -- cat hair, bird feathers, fluff & food, timothy hay, dried parlsey bits, dust. I'm glad it's bagless or else I'd be getting a bag a week! This morning when I got up I noticed the air actually felt fresh and clean in my bedroom, which is *huge* since I often feel like I'm suffocating amid the heaps of dust. Of all my allergies, the dust allergy is the worst, so it was pretty stupid of me to think that using a dust wipe, washing the linens and using an anti-dust mattress cover was going to help enough to make a difference. I anticipate my head clearing up quite a bit.
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Article - How Propaganda Works

Intro to article:

"It's not hard to understand how propaganda works. You don't need a college degree, or to even to read any of those thick textbooks everybody hates. Everything relevant can be explained in one not-particularly-long article. And, I guarantee you, you must understand how propaganda targets you, to immunize yourself against the attempts."

read more | digg story

Personal Note:

Although I admit that like everybody else, I've been manipulated by propaganda, thankfully the school system I attended provided several courses which addressed this issue head-on, which brought me to consciousness about the issue early on in my life.

In seventh grade I took a special course that studied advertising, propaganda and group-think, analyzing advertising, looking at propaganda campaigns and reading stuff like Animal Farm and Kurt Vonnegut.

In ninth grade the English and World History courses ran an interdisplinary program called "Facing History and Ourselves" that was designed to explore genocide, the Holocaust, and mass psychology, among other major topics, through fiction and non-fiction readings, visits from Holocaust survivors, movies, history books, etc. We got to see a lot of propaganda and went over tricks of the trade like dehumanization, blaming the victim, etc.

Later on I had a course (my favorite) which among other things studied China and Russia; that course also included a lot of analysis of propaganda.

In college I faced this issue a lot as well, as it was something we covered in several journalism courses as well as a women's studies class that examined "images of women" and the messages of the media about women. That's another kind of propaganda.

Yet I still fall for it!