Monday, December 8, 2008

I don't know why...

By Alec Horowitz
But I love this quote from the Ned Vizzini short story "Beauty" on the online literary magazine 3AM Magazine.

"I have a secret: my iPod headphones are not attached to anything..."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Emo Lit Part 2

By Alec Horowitz

I thought maybe I didn't give a good enough of a reason for the books I suggested, so here's some of my favorite quotes from these novels I have posted pictures of under the Emo Lit piece.

    "Bridget who is crazy said that sometimes she thought about suicide when commercials come on during TV. She was sincere and this puzzled the guidance counselors."-Perks Of Being A Walflower.
    "Whatever Cool is, anyway, I missed it, and now I'm stuck observing these machinations of sex and status and dancing and parties and people sucking at eachother under bleacher seating like some kind of freak when I am not the freak"-Be More Chill.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Emo Lit

By Alec Horowitz

So, I have been called "emo" by a friend of mine. Another friend called me "Post-emo". My writing has been established by friends of mine as definitely influnced by the emo culture. I suppose the way I look at the world has been influenced by the emo culture. I guess my fansiciation with high way kids and rainy days is a bit emo.
Maybe the fact I used to stay up late and watch infomericials and think about what is says about America or that I listened to the song "Working" by Jimmy Eat World an found it insiripiring enough to write a play is bit emo. So, maybe I am a bit emo. Time to make peace with it.
My friend has been termed as "post hardcore, my other friend has been defined as "alternative" and me as "post emo". OK, fine, maybe my fascination with Greenday is a bit emo. Maybe getting drunk and singing along to "Understanding in a Crash" by Thursday is a bit emo. Maybe writing things in my notebook about how the highway, gas station and night's sky make me feel is a bit emo. So, maybe I have to make peace with this term emo. Maybe I minus will make something of this new term I have to make peace with. I turn up the band "Thursday" while I write this. OK, there's emo music, emo fashon, so maybe there should be a emo lit catergory.
So, many genres have sub genres. So, I guess this would be a sub genre of the YA books. So, what books would count? I suppose that "The Perks of Being A Walflower" by Stephen Chobosky, which is a book that features a more sensive version of Holden Caufield, would be a classic to this genre I just created. "Catcher In The Rye" would be agrued to be let in but I feel the book is too classic and I feel if Holden Caufield came about in the 80's or 90's, he would be hardcore instead of emo. I could see Holden Caufield listening to screaming music with a black t-shirt on and spikes in his face. He might actually call the emo kids "phonys" but Charlie, the main charater of "Perks" is basically a emo kid (and if you read the book, he kinda has good reason) so lets put "Perks Of Being A Walflower" as our classic book of emo lit.
The book is beuitafully written in the form of letters to the reader. Charlie, as he stuggles with his new found teenagedom, talks about family, rape, parties, relationships and a werid obession with his aunt, leaving the reader asking if he admires her or prehas something werid happened between her and him? "Be More Chill" is another book (and a comedy, unlike "Perks" and basically the plot is a lighter version of the dark science fiction YA novel "Feed") that might be a emo lit classic. It's about the stuggle of being cool verses being yourself, a constant stuggle of emo kids. The main charater Jeremy is a kid who gets stuck with an computer chip in his head dicatating how to be cool.
"Death To All Cheerleaders" by alternative journalist Marty Beckerman is his first book and pure emo. It's actually a collection of essays by a emo kid stuck in Alaska (If I ever met Sarah Palin, I woud give her a copy of the book). So, tell me, is emo lit acutally a good sub genre idea? And please, sublist your list of books you feel should go into this new emo lit genre. As for me, I guess I have to make peace with the fact that yes: I might be emo (or post emo as I am now older).
My friend defines the difference between a emo kid and a hardcore kid as this: a emo kid says "shit" and a hardcore kid says "fuck". A hardcore kid goes for it. A emo kid is sad that he doesn't have it. The hardcore kid listens to a hard version of metal. A emo kid listens to the lighter version. Maybe they are both breeds though of not being able to cope with American life. Hardcore, metal and emo all have this in common: they are ways of coping with no being able to make sense of what surrounders someone. Am I supposed to be happy with this? Or am I being forced to be happy with this? Is this really me or what they tell me is supposed to be me? Prehas that is anwser to alternative genres in American culture. And oh yeah, leave me alone. I'm going to write a poem about a flower.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Review: James Bond Gets In A Traffic Jam

By Alec Horowitz

Two stars

If only James Bond knew the trash talk I was going to give him. I might become an enemy of the fictional British government and have a fictional gun to my head. Well, it’s OK because I own a fictional light saver Luke Skywalker gave me on my fourteenth birthday. It’s going to be quite a battle, but not one the readers needs to see so lets start the review: "Quantum of Solace" is a picture I don’t really know what to say about. The picture does have some positives including being beautifully filmed. Action sequences are well done. But it's really sloppy with the plot. In fact, it seems like someone just threw together some Bond scripts they had sitting around.
Daniel Craig is still good at his role, but I felt like this time around we really kind have of lost Bond. The film isn't as bad as a Brosna picture, but it's not anywhere as good at 'Casino Royale'. This movie becomes Bond basically following clues in a way that doesn't really flow. He goes to a lot of places. Though, we never really get a sense of any of the places he goes. He goes to way too many places. Too many fast cuts and too many subtitles telling the audience where he is now. In "Casino Royale" we did get a sense of where Bond was. Maybe it has to do with the new director being Marc Forster instead of Martin Campbell. Daniel Craig is a good choice to play Bond. He is a major improvement over Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan's 'Bond' felt like an action figure not the classic film noir character we had come to expect with Roger Moore and Sean Connery.
When Brosnan got to be Bond, Bond had become a fast car driving sex machine with no sense of plotting or suspense. 'Die Another Day' the 2002 picture was a messy picture that became about basically stupid product placement, pointless sex scenes and a theme song and cameo by Madonna. Daniel Craig is a return to form as he plays Bond as he was meant to be: a thug who killed people for his duty, but a thug that Craig played with class. It wasn't Brosnan's 'Bond', it was the classy old fashion Bond, who was cool in his suit and tie, smoking a cigarette at the card table, just giving the villain a look that said "You know your in trouble." The movie ironically doesn’t spend enough time with either the Bond girls (of which are two and I kind of wished they just stuck to one). Camille. (Olga Kurylenko) is the most boring Bond girl ever? Her only function throughout the movie is to tell Bond to get in the girl in times of danger but wait, there’s also this other Bond girl (model Cemma Arteton) who Bond constantly tries to save. She’s basically a girl in danger.
She comes in and out of the movie, making the plot kind of confusing. Hey, also her name is Strawberry Fields (all together now: huh?) The movie has way too many places. It almost felt like Bond was just raking up fliquent flyer miles. The movie seems to be cutting to way too many things for me to even quite get a sense of what his mission was. I guess it had something to do with the water supply but it could have been helped if maybe a sense or two were Bond unveiled what exactly he is fighting. The film has way too many fast music video cuts for the audience to really get a sense of just what Bond is doing.
I agree with Roger Ebert who has recently complained that they are trying way too hard to make Bond an action star when he is something different. He is a savvy secret agent for the British government who bends the rules with a sense of class, but will be a thug when he has to. I have a feeling the movie already set up for 2010 is going to be better. This film felt like a confused set up to the squeal. Within the first five minutes of the film when your in the mist of a car chase, you already feel like the film is headed towards a obvious squeal, which is a shame because that means this is a weak entry in the Bond library that can’t stand on it’s own. If Bond is anything, he is a man who can stand on his own and achieve his goals. This film is no Bond.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anyone Got A Match?

By Alec Horowitz

I noticed a lot of people in New Paltz smoke, so I wrote a piece about it.

In 2006, Kurt Vonnegut told Rolling Stone Magazine “I’ve been smoking Pall Mall unfiltered cigarettes since I was 12 or 14.” Vonnegut had a lot of thoughts on smoking, calling it a “classy form of suicide”, and planning on letting it be the path to his demise. In 2007, he fell off a ladder and died that way. Though, I’ve noticed a lot of people I know smoke. Maybe it’s because a lot of people I know go to art school. English majors have that image of Mark Twain sitting over his deck with a pipe in his mouth. Journalism majors have an image of Hunter S. Thompson with a long plastic cigarette holder sticking out of his mouth.
Maybe it’s a simple act of rebellion. All one needs to do is put the cigarette to their mouth and inhale. Than one walks through the night watching the little light at the end of their cigarette, as smoke rises up into the night’s sky. I would be lying if I didn’t say that it looks sort of classy and cool, even in this age of what we know about the negative effects of smoking. Many of the smokers I know say they started to smoke while a teenager. Than, maybe of them warn against the dangers of smoking to others while at the same time they marvel at the spell that the little steam of smoke coming up from the end of the cigarette going up into the sky. It’s almost like something out of a fantasy novel when they breathe smoke out of their mouth in the middle of the night as it hits the outside fence of a bar. Even today when we know the effects of smoking, with the risk of lung cancer looming, there’s something about it. There’s magic to it and trashiness to it, and this mix makes smoking appealing to those who are young and artistic.
Many people I have admired have smoked. Some people want to shorten their lives. Maybe it’s understandable for some. Why commit suicide when you can do it slowly and do it with a community of people standing outside between classes and jobs and looking up at the night’s sky or the foggy day. So, what is the appeal of smoking? Well, a friend of mine who has smoked and quit said smoking makes one “feel like they have something like they have nothing”. Another friend of mine who smokes says they started smoking cigars when they where younger. A clerk at a local store I spoke to who smokes complained, “I pay for the roads here. I should be able to enjoy my cigarette”, referring to how much cigarettes are taxed. They cost seven dollars a pack. Ironically, the cheapest brand is Pall Mall. The red package behind the counter of Convenient Deli, with those New Roman Times font on the red package and a Latin saying under the two lions with their crowns “In Hoc Segno Vinces”, which ironically means “in this sign you will conquer”.
Every day I see them sitting by the bench with a cloud of smoke going up from their bunched together cigarettes. The contrast can often be ironic. I see these college students smoking and they smoke for mixed reasons. Some are understandable, of which they are stressed out from work. My addiction is coffee and something’s I get a headache and shaky if I don’t have a cup. Though, a coffee addiction isn’t going to give you cancer. It will give you a stomachache. Yeah, I smoke too, so maybe I guess I shouldn't be looked at as some sanit or something. Lets just take that note there. One time, an annoying kid with his girlfriend came up to me in the middle of the night as I smoked by the Deli on the side of the freeway telling me they perfer to be healthy. Can this cirgiratte make people like you avoid me? See, it does work for something.
Anyway, I see both the arty types who are in college smoking and see the construction workers smoking. They both seem to be on opposite ends of the ladder. Different universes and different ways they smoke. The workingman and the college student both brought together though the long paper wrapped around tobacco. Vonnegut said he was going to sue the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company because he was 83 years old and “those lying bastards promised to kill me on the package!” I guess in a way the English people and the Journalism people share a bound over the smoke. I have an imaginary drink code for the two types of writing.
I always describe journalism as coffee. Straight and to the point, the caffeine is obvious and bitter. The taste is real and keeps you awake and alert. Tea is English. Tea is sweet, and the steam coming from the cup makes one feel like they are in a Japanese shop, in a fantasy land or in a peaceful state. Though, most beautifully written pieces have an underlining state. That hard caffeine is the realistic meaning behind those nicely written letters. Smoke, though, is bad for you and makes one smell bad. If I ever want to kill myself in a way that's not painful, I'll buy a hundred pack of Pall Malls and smoke them in one day till my heart gives out. Makes one’s teeth yellow. It’s a weird mix of hardhat workmanship and what a friend describes as “serenity”. Serenity indeed. A serenity that goes up into flames. As for most people, don't smoke. For the rest of us, pick your poison.