On Fear

 

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
H.P. Lovecraft

Recently, I was asked a rather intriguing question by my tea bag1: what are you most afraid of? While the question itself might be straightforward, the intriguing part was that I found myself having great difficulty answering it. Continue reading “On Fear”

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Taking a moment

 

Whether it’s on a grander ethical scale or in a more day-to-day sense, we’re always catching up with technology: we can only figure out how to deal with it once it’s already there. Today, it’s the same with the proliferation of the steady stream of stimuli from smart devices: many people, including me, are still figuring out how to best respond to the information flow[i]; having such a device at the ready at all times makes it unnecessary to ever be bored.

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The Dreaded 30

It is impossible to pass through life in a university without hearing someone complain about aging. Almost every time someone announces their birthday it comes with a sigh and a disenchanted remark about the passage of time. Judging by the students’ expressions and words, you would think they had just been at a syndicated American political debate, a Russian herring cannery, or a late-night strip club in Paterson, New Jersey; not the comfortable streets of Amsterdam, full of people offering congratulations. Indeed, their reaction is the exact opposite of the elation, happiness, pride and expectation birthdays offered in their earlier days: they feel fear, dread, discontent and pain, as well as annoyance, exasperation and irritation. And the strange thing is that this abstract feeling seems to come with a definitive timestamp: the age of 30.

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Hidden Cultures

The term ‘hidden cultures’ might make you think of various religions and nationalistic customs. That’s not what I would like to talk about, however. I’d like to make an observation about hidden worlds which are often linked to a profession or hobby. Lately, I’ve been discovering a few societies which were previously unknown to me. Societies like these can be local, but they can also be scattered across Europe or the world as a whole.

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Magazines: the ultimate hand guide for women?

 

Elle Woods: “I bought you some necessities—some Calvin Klein 720 count sheets, the entire Clinique skin care line […] and the Bible.”

(Holds up a copy of the Cosmopolitan magazine)

Brooke Taylor: “You’re an angel”

The above quote is from the popular movie Legally Blonde. The main character, Elle, is a lawyer who has to defend her friend Brooke, who has been accused of murder. While Brooke is in jail, Elle brings her some “necessities”. One of these necessities includes the “Bible”; Elle isn’t talking about an actual religious Bible here, but about a popular magazine. Magazines have always been an important part of a girl’s upbringing in popular society. The importance of these magazines to girls and women is oftentimes highlighted in the media through movies like Legally Blonde. But what are the effects of this unofficial “hand guide” on women? And why don’t we see men reading magazines as often as women do? These are some questions that have been passing through my mind and that I will aim to answer for you. Continue reading “Magazines: the ultimate hand guide for women?”

I Feel Therefore I Am: Wes Anderson, Donald Trump, and New Sincerity

 

Let’s talk about Wes Anderson’s H&M Christmas ad and Donald Trump because the two may have more in common than you might think.

The Christmas ad shows a train struck by bad winter weather which means that the passengers will unfortunately not be able to get home for the holidays. As luck would have it, train conductor Ralph (Adrien Brody) has a few tricks up his sleeve and manages to literally scoop up a few Christmas decorations from passing train stations to create a small Christmas brunch. After all the passengers left their coaches for the brunch, a small boy shyly walks to the dining coach to find a small gathering of people and a modestly decorated Christmas tree. As the passengers gather around the tree drinking their hot cocoa, the ad finishes with the text “Come Together”. Continue reading “I Feel Therefore I Am: Wes Anderson, Donald Trump, and New Sincerity”

Pebbles

 

New Year’s resolutions. Some people hate them, while others seem to swear by them. Of course, there is the strong argument that resolutions hold absolutely no direct link to New Year’s day. One could resolve to do good deeds or abstain from bad habits any day of the year. But I do get why we do these resolutions at New Year’s. I think that after the indulgent month of December, people feel the need to cleanse themselves; not only of the excessive amount of chocolate they ate (yes, I’m looking at myself here), but of a whole year of ups and downs. Especially regarding this particular year, where it seems that drama was even more abundant than usual. Continue reading “Pebbles”