Archive for May 2010

“Shallow and Pedantic”

May 26, 2010

Every time I sit down or take time out to write something on wordpress, it feels like I’m trying to be Zach Braff on Scrubs. Preachy, pedantic, and just esoteric really. I think it’s because I haven’t really had an original thought.

That actually sounds a little hard on myself. I think a slightly better way to say it is that I feel like I haven’t ever really had an original thought. Among the many innocuous debates and oddities I like to think about is the fact that most things have already been thought. Many places of inspiration have been tapped by someone, somehow. Through photographs, through stories, through other works that have already been widely published. Thoughts and ideas are also, as someone put it (I think it was a Green Brother of the vlogbrothers), not scarce. It’s like the only thing that doesn’t deplete if consumed. It then gets into the whole thing about intellectual property and heavy topics, so I stop thinking about them. But it’s something that I visit a lot, especially when exposing myself to pop culture. Movies don’t seem to have a single original story or joke anymore. Most songs are about the exact same things (booze, booty, and parties). And everybody on any social networking site logs and regurgitates information found through someone else.

It surprises and frustrates me to find out how little originality there is in media. It seems to me that originality isn’t a treasured thing anymore. I just keep hoping that someone is able to prove me wrong.


“The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, something to hope for.”

May 18, 2010

-Allan K. Chalmers

I have several very unusual hobbies. One of which is to watch the commencement speeches at College Graduations. I have seen several of them and read the transcripts of a few more. Steve Jobs at Stanford, J.K. Rowling at Harvard, David Foster Wallace at Kenyon in recent memory. And on the whole, most of them speak of the value of following your passion, valuing imagination, or believing in your gut. Basically, a lot of them are idealistic. Which makes sense. Graduation is a time of hope and excitement for the future, for thinking of the things that you have yet to accomplish in your life.

I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but I find there’s another reason for these lofty speeches of ideals and dreams. It’s the last time most people will think in such a idealistic way. I have yet to graduate from college (and that is assuming that I make it to the end of my fourth year), but it seems to me that after the joyous occasion that is College Graduation, the immediate next step is monotony and boredom. A majority of what I have come to expect after graduation is the rat race or to look for more money.

It’s already quite prevalent now. I, like many of my peers, have had to switch majors. I used to be a Biological Sciences major and I switched to Economics. Not because Economics was my passion, but because I was disqualified from studying Biology. I had failed a prerequisite class and was barred from the department. And I was not alone in this change. The familiar faces I had seen in Chemistry or Engineering Math I was reacquainted with in Macro Economics or Statistics. Many believed they weren’t cut out to study hard sciences. Others thought they had a better chance of earning higher salaries immediately out of university. But nobody I know that made this transition made it because it was their passion or destiny.

I am also a supporter of TED Talks. One of my favorites was given by Mike Rowe, the host of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs. Sorry to spoil it, but he states that there need to be blue collar workers. Plumbers, Construction Workers, Sanitation Engineers don’t need college educations to perform. And there is a general consensus that these jobs are undesirable. More people are leaving the blue collar world for the white one. And the quality of this country’s infrastructure is failing because of this shift.

Reading it all over, it may seem like I’m saying that college is a useless institution or that your passions are worth jack. I have my own passions and dreams I want to pursue. I want to be an animator or storyboard artist. I support small time independent artists pursuing their passions. I want to travel the world, or at the very least, move to New York. I want to do many things with my life, some of which is more realistic than others. What I think I’m trying to say is that Asian parents have the right idea that dreams don’t exactly pay the bills. I just think it’s incomplete. People discredit the worth of hard work because of the shift towards a service economy. A college degree has gone from a luxury to a demanded commodity by employers. But become a country that shifts to a total service economy, the garbage will stay in the streets and indoor plumbing will be a thing of the past.

  • Never think you’re too good for a job. Do it and do it well.
  • And never look down on the garbage man. Because their job is secure. Yours may not be.
  • And while everybody can and should pursue their dreams and try to turn their passions into professions, don’t quit your day job because it 1) pays the bills and 2) keeps everybody going.