Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let's Jump!

It's a leap year and today is the 29th of February.

I'm ready to jump, are you? Are you ready to let go of all things holding you back? Are you ready to focus forward, always forward? Can you feel that buzzing at your feet, that tingling of your spine? Even your cells know it.

You're ready. So take my hand, let's do this.

Let's jump.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Drama Experts

Television has been part of my life in various ways. The Philippines is the sole American 'colony' in Southeast Asia and American popular culture has always fascinated Filipinos. My friends and I grew up with (and loving!) Sesame Street and the Electric Company's lessons and entertainment.

As a communications professional, television remains a fascination, a source of insight, a form of education and a diversion. As I watch TV, I find myself shifting between someone engaging in content and someone evaluating what the content is saying about our culture. Why some shows or genres do better than others is telling us something about ourselves. Why certain personalities gain greater traction and recognition than others sheds light on what the population looks up to, even aspires for. The staying power of  'reality TV' and the shift towards a sensationalized approach to presenting the news are telling us something: Drama is here to stay.

Studies say the average person watches 4 hours of television a day. That one half of the work day, one sixth of a 24-hour period. If we apply Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule this means that seven years of consistent TV-watching will make us experts. Experts in what, you might ask? Drama. Consider the way elections are presented, or the nature of popular political discourse. Consider the precocious nature of programs targeting  young audiences. Consider the fact that the Whitehouse crashers were also Reality TV personalities. Consider the inappropriate celebration of toddler beauty programs. Consider the disconcerting displays of excess in housewife and real estate programs. Is this really the best we can give ourselves? Do we really want to raise drama experts who thrive on pettiness and hide behind caricaturization?

Sesame Street and The Electric Company opened my eyes to a world that was inclusive, compassionate, musical, cultured, ethnically diverse, articulate and curious. Words were carefully chosen, stylistic choices were made to enhance the content and not compensate for the lack thereof. There was nothing trashy, there was never dumbing down.  I am not sure when the bar was lowered, or indeed how low it has shifted but I am beginning to see signs of hope. I am seeing an influx of well-written programs, complex characters and compelling plots coming onto the small screen.

Perhaps the TV industry is reclaiming their power once again. Perhaps they found their way back to Sesame Street. Perhaps they are gonna turn it on and bring us the power.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

In Praise of the 140 Character Form Restriction

Verse, rhyme and meter have been among my favorite companions since as far back as I can remember. One might attribute my open-mindedness to verse, rhyme and meter. I always get such a rush when I play by rules of rhyme, form and meter with the unadulterated liberation of language. 

For me, twitter’s je ne sais quoi lies magically in this tension. It’s why I get such a head rush when I dive the endless possibilities that lie in 140 characters or less. 140 characters demand clarity and conviction. They expect a point of view from you. They force you to make choices.

From the fall of 2010 when I followed my mom-blogger sister’s lead and got into twitter in earnest, it’s taken me all this time to figure this out. At the heart of my twitter conviction is a bit of smugness. It’s that part of me that says, "I can be articulate and speak with conviction in 140 characters or less. What have you got for me?"

As the twittersphere expands and the tweeting becomes mainstream, know this: Just because you are tweeting doesn’t mean you are actually saying anything. So whether you’re planning to tweet, shit talk and engage in the space remember this: Speak with conviction, take a stand and enjoy the ride.

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's Friday, I'm in Love

I remember really looking forward to Fridays when I was in school, and I suppose this is where the rhythm of my week started. So here we are, it's the first Friday of February and I still can't get over how quickly January whizzed by.

Hello, Friday. Hello, love. Yes, love. Take your cue from The Cure. It's Friday, you're in love. Oh yes, you are. You are.