Saturday, November 12, 2005

Yoko Okay

Sometimes I tell people not to "go Yoko on me". Like if my friends and I want to go to the movies and somebody crosses her arms and says she'd rather stay in and watch a movie, that's a Yoko move. Or if I'm working on a project with a friend and he says we should take a break and pose nude in an awkward position on the cover of Rolling Stone, I tell him "you're such a Yoko". Then I break down and do it. Twice.

Anyway I was thinking the other day about how hurtful this expression is. But for me it's kind of like calling someone a "Chatty Cathy." You know how stupid it is but at the same time, it's a dumbed-down cultural reference that is likely to be understood.

I guess lately I've been thinking about John and Yoko and people who think she broke up the Beatles and manipulated John. I don't buy it. I think this theory is insulting to John, Yoko, and the band. John loved her and to say in hindsight that she ruined him and used him is so tragic. John invested a lot of himself into his relationship with her so saying that she didn't really love him is terrible. That's like saying that everything he believed in with Yoko was a sham. That's harsh. All you need is love, right? John and Yoko had it. It was bizarre, it was happy, it was seedy and unclean at times, but most love is like that. Except for maybe the "seedy and unclean" part. But it was a different time. We have Mach 3 razors and Irish Spring now.

Alright enough of that.

It's been awhile since my last post. I'll do penance if you like. No? Good because I haven't had much time lately to do much of anything, barring my usual obligations. A major change in my life occured last week when I agreed to write a column for our official college newspaper, The Exponent.

The conflict is that I am a staff writer (and future editor-in-chief) for The Maelstrom, which is my college's unfunded alternative news publication. Sort of like The Onion, sort of like The Paris Review, a little bit Daily Show. It's the most personally rewarding thing that I'm involved with at school. Because of The Maelstrom I'm able to write weekly satire (the dream), I've made friends with a nice pocket of cool, smart, like-minded folks, and I'm so proud of the work that I do for it.

Anyway our official school paper is kind of a joke. It's mostly school news about events that happened last week, a few poorly organized editorials, and a few bright spots interspersed among a lot of muck. It's hit-or-miss basically. Anyway my friend Shawn who also writes for Maelstrom, is the A&E editor for the Exponent. We've often talked about the conflicting values/content of both papers and whether or not it's hard to balance working for both. In the end, I think Shawn does it for the paycheck and to get practical experience writing/editing a more "professional" publication. He's a brilliant writer and plans to make a career of it and "paid editor for college paper" sounds a lot better to most than "writer/idea man for underground satirical magazine laid-out in Microsoft Word." I respect him for making this choice.

Recently, however, Shawn asked me to write a short column called "This Week in Pop Culture." I wrote it in the style of the dude who does the Celebrity News in the Plain Dealer. Sort of a Weekend Update-in-print deal. Some of my punchlines were cut out because of space issues I think, and some because I couldn't get out of Maelstrom-mode and might have gotten a tiny bit racy. Last week he asked me to write a review of "Bee Season." I obliged.

I have mixed feelings about "selling-out." I get a decent stipend for my work on Exponent. It's not hugely significant, but it is in a sense that it's the first money that I will get for my writing (besides scholarships and stuff like that.) I sort of feel like I'm growing. And I think I'm growing in the right direction. I'm still in love with Maelstrom and my artistic values remain intact. And Shawn means a lot to me and I'm happy that we can share this thing with both papers. I think he kind of helped me open the door and grow up a little bit. We can't be totally bohemian forever. Maybe in heart, but in pocket a little stipend is sort of important if we want to stay alive.

Out for now.