Feb 17 2014
I was recently prepping a meal to the soundtrack of my new favorite song, “Some Nights” by the indie rock band Fun. Suddenly, I realized the breakfast-for-dinner eggs were burning, and I was transfixed by the YouTube video streaming from my nearby laptop.
What was it about lead singer Nate Ruess that drew me in? Sure, he’s conventionally attractive. And his voice is a force—at once strong and lovely. But it was something else. How different he looked from anyone I knew. With those defined cheekbones, blue eyes, slightly upturned nose; he’s no Yeshiva boy.
It only made me want to know him more. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 12 2013
Just like with the interracial family Cheerios ad controversy, my mailbox promptly filled up with friends wanting to know what I thought about Paula Deen, her allegedly racist remarks, her mea culpa tour, and her subsequent exorcism from TV, cookbooks, etc… (Once again, I understand why I’m most people’s go-to-person for such issues.)
Unlike with the interracial Cheerios ad controversy, however, in Ms. Deen’s case, I know very little about the story beyond what I summarized above. I haven’t followed it except via unavoidable headlines, and so I really have nothing to say.
But, it did get me thinking. So, so many things get me thinking. (There was a saying in Stalin’s Russia: The less you know, the sounder you sleep. Explains why I’ve never been able to do so, I guess.)
When my mother and I returned to the USSR in 1989, 13 years after my family first emigrated to America, I met with some former friends of mine, now in college. One of them explained to me how the African students that were brought over to study in Soviet universities were “no fun at all. They don’t want to party or have a good time. All they care about is hitting the books and getting their university degrees.” Read the rest of this entry →