In a semi-recent interview with the Washington PostGeorge Lucas confessed that he has avoided the Internet for 15 years much like our dear pal (but also maybe child molester so not that dear of a pal), Woody Allen.  According to him, this avoidance is partially due to an attempt to avoid negative feedback about famous franchises like Star Wars and Indiana Jones: He claims he stays off Facebook, Twitter, and email in an attempt to hide from angry fans. I can’t help but wonder, though, how does he get any work done without use of email or Google Drive? Is he still using a codex? What is a codex?

I understand the need to disconnect from all the extra stuff. (Or, I would understand if I didn’t NEED to know what color Kylie Jenner’s hair is at any given time of the day.) But, does George Lucas understand how much Star Wars and Indiana Jones Internet gold he is missing out on every day? If not, I present this, a list of seven example of online fan-love he is missing out on, as a plea to George Lucas to reconsider the Internet. Unfortunately he doesn’t use the Internet so he will never see it… but maybe someone can write it out with an ink quill and attach the list to carrier pigeon? We’ll figure something out.

1. Handmade Gifts On Etsy


Black White Art Deco Posters, $45, Etsy.com

How great would this homemade art look in the study of George Lucas’s beautiful California ranch? It says “I read” and “I created some of the greatest characters in movie history” in four breathtaking images. Too bad George Lucas can’t buy this, because he doesn’t use the internet and therefore Etsy. On an unrelated note, is it wrong to thing that Darth Vader looks kinda sexy in this print?

2. The Wonderful Memes


Once upon a time, we lived in a world with no internet and therefore no memes. Thank The G-ddess that’s not the world we live in anymore. George, come join the world again!

3. Joke Twitter Accounts

Hey George, sure, Twitter might have a lot of trolls and all around negativity. Some of Twitter is definitely on the “Dark Side”, if you will. But on the other hand, some of Twitter is hilarious! Like the above-mention Twitter account  of @Yoda, which may or may not be the real Yoda tweeting. Because Yoda is real. At least in our hearts.

4. Pictures of Storm Troopers Doing Various Tasks

Every once in a while someone creates a series of images with figurine storm troopers doing various task. It is literally delightful every time. This set of images featuring Storm Troopers setting up a Christmas tree is brought to you by Kyle Shearrer via Reddit. Thanks Reddit. Thanks Kyle!

5. Fan Fiction Websites


George, this is a WHOLE WEBSITE dedicated to fan fiction of YOUR franchise. Doesn’t that make you feel good? Doesn’t that make you want to dip your little toes back in the deep, caressing waters of the internet? Personally I can’t wait to read some Shortround-themed poetry at TheRaider.Net!

6. Star Wars-Themed Music

George, did you know that kids who grew up with your movies are now writing songs that have Star Wars themes? You should be so proud of yourself! Are you proud of yourself? Give some of these songs a listen sometime, buddy. You can listen to “The Force” a song by SuperDuperKyle on Soundcloud to start out and test the waters, but there are more out there you just have to use Google (which is a search engine, a term I’m not sure if you are familiar with)

7. The GIFS

via GIPHY
Alright so Georgey, buddy, there’s this thing called a GIF. It’s a bitmap image format that is easily sharable. No one knows how to correctly pronounce it. Now that I’ve given you a little background let me explain: you are missing out on SO MANY GREAT GIFS in praise of your work. I chose this one specifically because it portrays my favorite Nazi death scene in any movie (followed swiftly by the movie theater Nazi massacre in Inglourious Basterds) Kudos for that George, you really are great.

Now George, just get back on the WWW. and you will be THE GREATEST. I mean, besides all the other directors and producers out there who also don’t suck. I just don’t really want to offend anyone, let’s be real. But you are great. I mean besides your work on the prequels, which we just won’t talk about. Ever. Again. Please. Thanks.

Images: Tumblr/geekybasketGiphy

Ask Israeli students what Masa Israel Teaching Fellows are doing in Israel and they’ll tell you that Fellows are there to make learning English fun.

Masa Israel Teaching Fellows are tasked with improving English learning outcomes of elementary and middle school students in low-income neighborhoods throughout Israel. As high English proficiency is an admissions requirement for many Israeli universities, knowledge of the English language plays a major role in social mobility in Israel.

While Fellows assist teachers in some of Israel’s most overcrowded classrooms, most of their work takes place outside of traditional learning spaces. By working with small groups of students outside the classroom, Fellows help to decrease class sizes so students can get more individualized attention from Fellows and teachers alike.

“It is more fun to be with them than it is to be in class with a teacher because we learn in a fun way and have fun outside the classroom,” said May Levy a fourth grader from Petach Tikvah.

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May with 2014-2015 Masa Israel Teaching Fellow Desiree Eslamboly

The opportunity to leave the classroom to play games and work on assignments in a less formal setting give students a break from the monotony of the school day.

May’s older sister Tahel explained that English class with her teacher felt like any other class day — it’s something she has to do. “However, with them [the Fellows], we are more interested in learning.”

The relaxed environment changes the dynamic between students and Fellows from that of student-teacher to one that more closely resembles a big brother/big sister mentorship. “The students respected me like a teacher, but treated me like a peer,” said Jamie Gold, a Los Angeles native who taught English in Rishon LeZion in 2012-2013. “They knew it was a privilege to get to hang out with me.”
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Jamie Gold in her hometown of Los Angeles, California

Most Fellows join the MITF program with little-to-no education experience. It is only after an intensive orientation period, which includes pedagogical training designed by the Israeli Ministry of Education, that they begin working in Israeli schools.

Those Fellows who come from the education world enjoy exploring alternative teaching methods and witness the difference it makes for the students. “I saw myself as the lead member of the English language hype squad in which my main mission was to make learning fun, and to talk about Justin Bieber and Beyoncé as much as possible,” said Jennifer Blitz, a teacher from New York who spent the 2013-2014 school year teaching in Petach Tikvah. “The kids were curious and engaged in learning.”

From pop culture to lessons on holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, Israeli teachers also recognize the benefits of Teaching Fellows’ outside perspectives that they bring to the classroom. “They expose the children to current and fluent English,” Carni, a first through third grade English teacher in Petach Tikvah said. May and Tahel agreed, noting that they and their classmates enjoy asking questions and learning about Fellows’ lives outside of Israel.

Carni also pointed out the important work that Fellows do with those students who have special education needs and learning disabilities. For example, one of her students started the year off not knowing any English letters of the alphabet. After several months working with Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, he not only knew the alphabet, but was also starting to learn how to read.

20150803_MITF_Community-Testimonials_Carni-Josh-Desiree-e1449850730353

May with 2014-2015 Masa Israel Teaching Fellow Josh Klein

For some Fellows, this work goes beyond their teaching hours and becomes their self-designed service project. Max Unger of Arlington, Texas currently lives and teaches in Ramle-Lod, where he and an Israeli teacher have set up a tutoring program for struggling students to continue their English studies at home after school. “In class, they’re less comfortable in front of the more advanced students and don’t want to be made fun of,” Max said.

In the school and in the community, Masa Israel Teaching Fellows raise the bar on English education in Israel. Teachers and students agree that they are invaluable assets to the schools in which they work.

Masa Israel Journey is currently accepting applications for the 2016-2017 Masa Israel Teaching Fellows. Spots are limited and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Start your application now.

The following is sponsored by Masa Israel Journey

As the son of a Conservative rabbi, Daniel Hammerman, 22, grew up surrounded by all things Judaism and Israel. “I felt very connected at a young age,” the Stamford, Connecticut native explained, in discussing his decision to participate in a Masa Israel volunteer program focusing on Arab-Jewish coexistence. “Growing up with this knowledge made me want to learn more and become more active.”

During high school, Daniel was the Vice President of Israel Affairs in his USY chapter. While earning his BA in International Relations from American University, he studied the Arab-Israeli conflict, became active in numerous pro-Israel groups on campus, and interned with both AIPAC and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Dan-Hammerman-Headshot-1024x683

In the spring of 2015, with graduation looming, Daniel searched for a job to fit his interests and desire to impact Israeli society. Soon, Daniel learned about the Yahel Social Change Program‘s new track in the mixed city of Lod. “Working with Arabs and Jews on the ground to make positive changes seemed like a great opportunity,” Daniel said.

The program’s location also appealed to Daniel, as he is currently engaging with a new side of Israel. He notes that it’s a more complex experience than he’s had during previous trips to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem because Lod is a truly mixed city where he finds himself surrounded daily by Jews and Arabs.

“I want to give them a hopeful reality for the future.”

Through Yahel, Daniel has shaped his Masa Israel experience to fit his passions and interests. In addition to his volunteer work in a community garden and the city’s young adult center, Daniel spends his mornings volunteering at an Arab elementary school. This is a truly unique experience for both Daniel and the students as he is the first American and non-Israeli Jew that most of the children have ever met. “I’m a fresh face, so they want to play with me and hang out with me,” Daniel explains.

He is also happy to answer his students’ questions and indulge their curiosities because he aims to show his students that Jews and Arabs can be partners and live peacefully together. “I hope they can carry that positive perception of Jews and Americans with them,” Daniel said. “I want to give them a hopeful reality for the future,” he said.

AmitproDuctions-43-1024x683

In the teachers’ lounge Daniel makes a point of building relationships with the Arab faculty at the school. By talking to each other about the current matsav, or situation in Israel, Daniel and his colleagues found themselves “bringing people together and standing together against violence.”

Additionally, Daniel is working to organize a music program to help the children of Lod learn English through song. A lifelong singer, Daniel sees music as a tool for both learning a foreign language and for peace-building. “Music as a whole is a language of expression,” he said. “It’s so easy to share feelings through music and create bonding.” He believes that music education will allow students to share their feelings and create positive change.

“Bringing people together and standing together against violence.”

Last month, Daniel participated in the Masa Israel Global Leadership Summit, which challenged him to be more independent and built upon his existing leadership capacities. The Leadership Summit also introduced Daniel to the broader Masa Israel Community. “I’ve been able to make friends from different countries and build strong relationships that will last throughout my time in Israel,” he said.

Though only a few months into his 10-month Masa Israel experience, Daniel plans to continue working in the field of coexistence. Between his volunteer work through the Yahel Social Change program and opportunities provided by Masa Israel, like the Global Leadership Summit, Daniel is confident in his abilities to lead change and make Israel a stronger society.

Inspired by his story? Learn more by visiting masaisrael.org

This is our Month

The Duckman —  12/07/2015 —  Comments

nicejewishguys

We finally reached December! And you know what that means. IT’S OUR MONTH! You may remember like ten years ago or something, we posed for Nice Jewish Guys and their wonderful calendar. We had to sit through every month this year. But the wait was worth it!

On New Year’s Eve in Manhattan, Kansas, or “The Little Apple” as it is affectionately known, the citizens and students hip enough to not go home for the holidays gather on the corner of Manhattan Avenue and Moro Streets in Aggieville to ring in the new year. Aggieville is a really adorable part of town full of collegey gift shops, restaurants, and bookstores, so named because of the agricultural school at Kansas State University. One minute before midnight, the locals, led by Kansas dignitaries count down until their “ball” a paper-mache apple falls to the ground, There is a laser show, a DJ, and a full-on block party.

Manhattan is a small college town. Everybody seems to know each other. Kids grow up in Manhattan, go to college in Manhattan, get jobs in Manhattan, and raise their families in Manhattan. But despite this or perhaps because of it, the town is quirky and has a lot of character. I tell you about the “apple-drop” in Manhattan, Kansas because it shows what a funny little town Manhattan is. I need a good ole view of mountains or my heart breaks, but Manhattan is aight.

We spent 2 nights in Manhattan visiting the family of a friend of Christine (my travel partner and photographer on this journey). The Coffeys were delightful and did the best to show us a great Kansas time. We even went sailing. Which is pretty rare in the Midwest, you know, with the lack of oceans and whatnot. But we did it. And if you can steal a sailboat from a wealthy relative you should do it to. But maybe not in Kansas.

Sailing

In the words of Samburg, “I’m on a boat”

Two nights and one day was an adequate amount of time to get a feel for the place. I saw the prairie, I saw Aggieville, I had a good look at Kansas State, and I sampled the delicious restaurants of Manhattan. Manhattan, Kansas is seriously a mecca of good food. We dined at Tallgrass Taphouse, and that bar food was better than any bar food I tasted in Philadelphia. No offense to my favorite Philly joints. In conclusion, I determined that Manhattan wouldn’t be the worst place to go to school if your parents would visit every so often and take you out to dinner. Especially if you just like hanging out with white people, because Manhattan is full of ’em.

Kansas brewery

Glorious flights of Kansas beer

The prairie is really incredible in a very flat way. All of those gosh-darn grasses. I read something on a prairie overlook that said there are hundreds of grasses, and wooded plants. I think of teens stuck in Kansas dreaming of more, feeling crushed by the weight of all that flatness, but then looking at tall those grasses and being OK with it. “Hey this sucks, but at least there are a lot of different types of grass here…it makes me feel like I live in a magical place.”

prairie grass

Home, home on the range

The best thing about Manhattan, besides the mind-blowing prairie grass, is Varsity Donuts. VD is located in an old drugstore in Aggieville and still has the interior of a drugstore. Doughnuts are delivered to baked college students by vintage bicycles. I wish there was a Varsity Donuts in whatever town I live in for the rest of time. It is delightful. Just look at those windows.

 

Varsity Donuts

What a dream

In case you haven’t figured it out/care, I did not actually just leave Kansas. I am currently residing on a very comfortable couch in Los Angeles. But let’s all just keep pretending we’re still on the road. Let’s go back to the days Pope Francis was in Philadelphia. Because that was the weekend I  was in Kansas. I gotta say, it would have been nice to walk the car-less streets of Philadelphia, but I had such a great time giving the Mid-western lifestyle a side-hug for a little bit and walking the also not-crowded streets of Manhattan, Kansas. I ended up feeling like I wasn’t missing much. Philadelphia is a great city. Any idiot who says differently is just someone who can’t see beauty in mildly dirty places. That being said, I’m done with Philly and ready to get sucked dry by Los Angeles. One could say I tried so hard to escape the Pope, I moved all the way to California. Stay tuned to hear about my adventures in Colorado, a place mostly run by three things: outdoor activities, beer, and marijuana.

Escape the Pope

Serious about Escaping the Papacy

Travel Tip: Budget in some time for a train to block your route. I waited about almost fifteen minutes for a train to go by. It was whacky.

 

Omaha.

All I knew about Omaha before I went there was that steak was a big deal there and the pig in the movie Gordy was going to go to a factory farm there before he was rescued because he can talk or do magic tricks or something like that.

After I left Omaha, I learned a few things about it.

  • there is a brewery in Omaha called Upstream, Let me just tell ya, an Upstream beer was just the ticket after the long still-not-quite-as-flat-as-I-was-expecting drive to Chicago.They have Omaha steaks if you’re trying to go big or go home, but if you ain’t, get yourself one of those falafel sandwiches. Admittely, I stayed away from the falafel because of some sort of Yankee snobbery. But when my SUPER AND AMAZING HOST Santi, let me taste his falafel, I was so grouchy with myself.  I can’t remember what I ordered, it was nothing, unmemorable. The falafel is the one that got away. Don’t make the same mistake as me.
  • The Omaha Zoo and Aquarium is DOPPPPPPPPE. I have very conflicted opinions on zoos, harboring such thoughts as, “Is it OK to hold those animals in captivity?, It kinda seems like they’re feeling OK at least they have food.  But freedom is so important.” It’s a real whirlwind. The zoo at Omaha almost made me forget all my concerns. Most of the animals at the zoo had large enclosures… I am no zoologist, but they seemed like they were doing OK. There is a desert dome and a rainforest and soon they are going to have a savannah situation that will have elephants and giraffes.

The Omaha biodomeDamn it’s hot in the deserts of Omaha

  • There are a whole bunch of hospitals and medical schools in Omaha. So if you’re a hypochondriac who loves zoos…might be the spot for you.
  • People are really into pork. Which is a pretty common theme in the Midwest, but in Omaha i ate my very first skillet and i must say never have I enjoyed pork quite so much. For those of you who don’t know, a skillet is a meal cooked in a pan all together one swoop: this one had home fries, and tomatoes, and eggs, and that oh-so delicious pork. If someone else was crazy enough and would go with me, I would drive back to Lisa’s Radical Cafe in Omaha right now just to taste that glorious pork once again.

skillet

You blurry, traif masterpiece.

I don’t want to poop too hard on small towns in this series. I understand that some towns can be just as interesting to live in as cities. I understand that as a city-dweller I am a snob. Even knowing all this, I gotta say there is not much going on in Omaha. Sorry, Omaha.

Well, America, tune in next time when I tell ya all about Manhattan, Kansas and further try to convince you that the midwest is sweet. In a very, very boring way.

  NebraskaHalfway there!

Travel Tip: Traveling is tough when you want to drink a lot but you have a budget. I suggest always selecting beers with a high alcohol content. IPAS will give you more bang for your buck.

I’d like to start of the Chicago portion of this process with this fun fact about Chicago: according to some Chi-town residents, Chicago is not called the windy city because it is next to a giant and crazy amazing beautiful lake which causes great winds but because of the hot air of the politicians. All I have to say about that, is politicians are windy everywhere. But not every city has a ginormous, bluer than the bluest blue, lake of wonder.

Lake Michigan

Only Mildly Edited for Instagram!

After a long journey between the abysses (plural of abyss? I don’t know.) that are Ohio and Indiana, in which I listened to hours upon hours of some sort of true crime show on XM radio, I made it to Chicago right during rush hour. Nothing like a rush hour when your bladder is full, am I right? My goal for the day was to make it to Chicago with enough time to settle into my friend Sean’s home and then speed off to an improv show at The iO Theater. I was lucky enough to see Bunk Seven, a Harold team comprised of several talented individuals including a few buds of mine from the olde Temple U days. I used to watch these kids perform in sketch and improv all the time back in the day and it was really exciting to see how they had improved in their craft over the years. If you’re in Chicago and searching for a good improv show. I’d head over to iO.

The first half of Saturday I spent cruising Lake Michigan with My Sweet Genevieve. I’ve definitely got a thing for bodies of water, when I travel I always try to hit one up, but Lake Michigan may have marked it’s space in my heart as my favorite. I spent most of the time at Lake Michigan just wandering Lake Shore Drive but I did spot a delightful trapeze school and Belmont Harbor Dog Beach. Aaaand parking was free between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Magical place, Chicago.

Belmont Harbor Beach

The one on the left is kept trying to mount everybody.

The next half of I headed over to Evanston, where Northwestern University is located, to meet an old high school buddy who I hadn’t seen in five years after we got into a small fight over nothing and I told him “I would never speak to him ever again”, Joel. Apparently when I need a place to stay, I’ll forgive anything. We walked around the cute little town where there was some sort of art festival. In the few months that it’s warm in Chicago, there are a lot of art festivals in Evanston so if you’re headed that way, take a gander. It’s also worthwhile to head to Evanston for the cute shops/restaurants and beautiful Northwestern campus. While I was walking through there I couldn’t help but think “this could have been my life…why didn’t I transfer to Northwestern when Joel did? I’m a fool.” But then I remembered that Chicago is freezing and everyone here thinks they are the next Tina Fey and I decided Philly had been a good choice of place to grow into the fledgling adult I am today. Besides, Tina is from the Philly area so if I want to be the next “her” I’m just as on track as the Chicago kids.

The next day Genny and I headed to brunch at Tweet, near my one true love Lake Michigan, with some Chicago buddies and the lady who would be joining us on the rest of our travels, Christine. Tweet was everything: the decor was cuter than a place Cinderella would spruce up, the food was yum yum, and the cocktails were works of art. Meanwhile, the staff was really accomodating, allowing a gazillion of us to sit outside at a huge table and providing complimentary coffee while we waited to be seated.  The only downside was that Genny had to sit on the outside of the gated seated area, something her anxiety-ridden little brain could not handle. She spent most of the meal whining at me with her paws propped up on a flower basket attached to the iron fence.

Flower Pup

Like so.

After brunch, Christine and I stopped by Lake Michigan for a brief photo-taking session and then went on to Wicker Park.  Everybody told us Wicker Park was cool, so we went for it. And it was pretty cool. The actual park at Wicker Park is nice and it’s fun to walk in a specific neighborhood in a city because I like the ungodly combo of people-watching/architecture. I was slightly disappointed that most of the stores seemed like chains, but who am I to make comments about window-shopping? The only snag in our little Wicker Park journey was was that we missed The 606, which is an abandoned railroad track turned aboveground park. Right after I returned from Wicker Park, one of my friends informed me this park existed and I was sad. So sad.

That night Joel took me out with his Chitown buddies to Rosa’s Lounge, a jazz and blues club.  I had been told that Green Mill Cocktail Lounge was the jazz venue I wanted to see, once frequented by personal heroes of mine such as Al Capone, So at first I was a little bummed we were going to some place I had never heard of. I proceeded to get more grouchy when the cover charge was $20 when it is usually $12. But they served $15 pitchers of Stella and the music just got better and better as the night went on. The crowd was whacky: full of locals who have been going to the bar for decades, couples who were making dance babies on the floor, and the occaisonal crew of young music enthusiasts such as ourselves. The bartenders seem to know everyone at the bar and I ended up getting a free shot from one of them for some reason.  Around 2 in the morning after dancing for an hour straight to the riveting tones of a man who sounded a lot like an Evangelical minister, we decided it might be time to finish the night. I later found out you aren’t allowed to speak at all during the sets at Green Mill, so in hindsight I’m pretty stoked on Rosa’s.

This is a video I found on Rosa’s website

The next morning, after falling asleep at the ungodly hour of 4 AM, I woke up at the even ungodlier hour of 8:30 to pick up Christine and make our way to Omaha, where we have a friend in medical school. Im going to just throw at this pro-tip that driving in unfamiliar traffic when you are exhausted is not actually the best idea. At one point I made a grievious traffic error in which the backseat of my car toppled onto Genevieve after a very ferocious jolt. Thank G-d my veterinarian prescribed the pup some Xanax or she would have heavy-breathed her way across America after a seat attack such as that.

With Chicago under our belts, we began the not-as-flat-as-i-was-expecting journey through the Midwest. Stay tuned for Omaha and Kansas, the midwestern hot-spots that I will try to convince you are not as terrible as they sound. It’s going to be a blast.

Mission from God

“We’re on a mission from God”

Travel Tip: Never travel during vacation season so you can always find free parking wherever you go.

am-appy

The beast isn’t totally dead yet, but American Apparel, Dov Charney’s brainchild and onetime outfitter of hipsters everywhere, is going through a public disintegration that signals the end of a fraught relationship between the hip and the company that tried to capture their money. AA filed for bankruptcy last week. It was never about the clothes, and probably to the company’s detriment.

The fact that AA was helmed by a seriously notorious pervert was never a secret, but the marketing almost celebrated the crassness of an owner who is now being pelted with lawsuits from former employees. Even when business was not awful, the transparent sexism of AA completely overshadowed the fact that they were using American labor to manufacture the clothes. Does diverting money away from international sweatshop exploitation make up for sexual harassment here in the States? What about the persistent rumors of discriminatory hiring practices in the storefronts? How about the fact that even the mannequins in the front of the shops were at one point decorated with comically heavy amounts of pubic hair in service of the CEO’s preferred aesthetic? The sheer amount of ways the sleaze overwhelmed their pro-worker policy doomed the experiment, even maybe along with hiring a unionized, American factory. Yet admitting defeat and saving overhead by shipping all of the manufacturing to the cheapest bidder would have been an indictment of the entire US manufacturing industry, especially the garment industry, and may never have been on the table. Still, Charney being the worst creep in the country other than Terry Richardson (and go figure, hiring Terry Richardson for a few photoshoots) did AA no favors.

Now, after vacillating between kicking out Charney and bringing him back over a period of several months, the tagline of using American workers is getting smaller and smaller at AA. And the affiliated workers are holding pro-Dov demonstrations, beating up an effigy of new CEO Paula Schneider. Stock prices are at an all time low. I guess what I’m trying to say is, once you start seeing AA clothes in your local thrift store, they’ll be worth double their usual hipster points. Be sure to be on the lookout.

Hey gang.

Some of you might not know that this very blog, this sweet lil aseemblage of the written word we all love so, had its beginnings as a travel blog. If you’re a recent bandwagon baby or only just stumbled upon Hipster Jew while googling “hot Jewish MILFS”  and were unaware of the HJ  genesis, that’s OK I also didn’t know. When I was informed of the babyhood of the blog I hold dear, I did some cyberstalking research and found some old travel content: a series on Chicky’s Birthright adventure. I just want to make sure you are all well-rounded readers of Hipster Jew content (even the Jewish MILF Googlers).

Anyway, at Hipster Jew, we like to party like it’s 2010 all the time (“heyyo someone pass me the jungle juice,”Did anyone bring the speakers for my Ipod”) so it should come as no surprise that we’re bringing the travel blog back. This time, your friendly neighborhood Schlitz Lipz is going to be sharing an extensive series on my travels across these Americas. That’s right, I left the bitter Northeast for the bright lights and broken dreams of Los Angeles and now you get to hear all about it. Or you can just read this article from The New York Times about New Yorkers fleeing for the West. it’s basically the same thing I’m writing but much, much shorter and with ten times better grammar. See, I care so much about your literacy…it’s almost humbling.

Continue Reading…

Guys. I’m feeling very.

very,

very,

conflicted right now.

At first I watched Taylor Swift’s new music video in collaboration with director Joseph Kahn, Wildest Dreams and I was blown away. Not only is the song pretty OK for the genre of pop, but I’m a sucker for old Hollywood. Give me an old-school film camera, a female lead with a head scarf, and some wide shots of a beautiful foreign landscape and I’m sold.

Savannah Swift

Oh My G-ddess there’s a GIRAFFE!!!!!

Then, I made the mistake of heading to my Facebook timeline. All my liberal activist (or at least social media activist) friends were NOT PLEASED with Taylor’s colonialist-loving, Africa-troping video.  Why? There aren’t any black people in an ENTIRE VIDEO about Africa (Edit: In a Washington Post article defending the video, Joseph Kahn explains that there are black people in the background of some shots he just didn’t cut to them for closeups) Also, it harkens back to colonialism, which pretty much nobody but those of white European descent can say was a good time for their ancestors. Furthermore, Africa is a HUGE COUNTRY (ahem CONTINENT DUH) with many, diverse nations so to portray it as if it is just Simba’s playground is offensive to all those nations.

THe Lion King

Offensive maybe, but damn, it looks like a good time. Hakuna Matata anyone?

Here, I describe the stages of feeling that went through me:

  •  DENIAL: Everyone needs to chill out. Why can no one ever make anything artistic without being criticized for being racist or anti-feminist, etc?
  • ANGER: Oh god I’m racist. I’m a privileged white girl who will never understand the struggle. I didn’t realize it was racist. HOW DID I NOT NOTICE THERE WEREN’T ANY BLACK PEOPLE. IT’S AFRICA!
  • BARGAINING: I just really like lions and zebras is that so bad? Oh god I’m racist.
  • DEPRESSION: Taylor Swift is racist. I’m racist. The world is a horrible place where people get murdered for no reason and babies are aways hungry and then they die.
  • ACCEPTANCE: Well, at least Nutella is still a thing…oooh oh and bananas. Bananas and nutella! And chocolate chip cookie dough icecream! Hold on, let me go to the fridge and see if I have those things.

It is literally impossible for me to come up with my own opinions anymore (thanks internet!) so I take you to the The Atlantic with an article that hit the nail on the hammer. Writer Spencer Kornhaber points out that the video is a nostalgic look at a world that clearly doesn’t exist. The makers of the video are looking nostalgically at movies  (not reality) that focus on the African savannah, and yes these films feature white people and white crew members because that’s what was done at the time.  The Atlantic continues that this is just nostalgia but even nostalgia can piss some people off, because in the nostalgic past, sh-t was f-cked up. Thanks again, white and WASPy ancestors.

I’m just left wondering, if everyone gets offended all the time and no one can make any sort of art without pissing someone off then where do we go from here? Do we just keep arguing on the comments sections in Youtube? I thought writing this post would make me feel less conflicted and sad about the state of the world, but here I am, one blog post down and one and 1/2 gin and tonics in and still very confused and sad.  Life is strange, guys.

Taylor Swift Brunette

The only real lesson I’ve learned from all this is that T Swift looks good with any shade of hair. Bitch.

And in a final note, can we all agree that it’s not a bad thing that Taylor is donating the proceeds of the video to the African Parks Foundation of America?  Maybe there are other causes, but geez, good acts shouldn’t be pooped on. Even if they are publicity stunts.