Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Spent a lot today with household chores… tidying my room, a big shopping trip, doing my laundry. Then a bit of cooking – and eating obviously: okonomiyaki, some fried squid (someone tell me a good way to do this) and banana cake.

While I was cooking I had the telly running. And it’s a sad fact that there seem to be documentaries on 24/7. OK, documentaries aren’t bad per se – and there are also rockumentaries and mockumentaries and other fun things – but most of those on telly, particularly commercial telly, just aren’t documentaries that deserve that name. They are at a level that’s suitable for kids, just with more commercial name dropping in there. Everything has to have a little technical spin and big numbers attached to it.

There was a ‘documentary’ about ‘gourmet’ food, where the main focus was on checking best by dates when the food came in and on how many kilos of meat the machines can process per day. So what has that got to do with nice food? And which decent chef would need best by dates?

However, later, on French-German arty farty channel arte, there was a documentary about literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki. He published his memoirs recently and is very influential. Perhaps he likes being in the spotlight a bit too much, but he has a lot of stories to tell. And many sad and moving ones as well, considering that he was in the Warsaw ghetto. He told this anecdote about the guy helping him and his wife to escape: On being asked why he helped them, the guy replied You see there’s Adolf Hitler, he’s the most powerful man in Europe and he decided that these two people are going to die. And I’m a simple Polish printer and I decided that these two people are going to live. Now we’ll see who gets it his way.

Talking about culture critics, I also read my flatmate’s music magazine. OMG, so much crap in there. Why is it so hard to write good music reviews? Why do most writers only pile up stereotypes in a way that tells you nothing helpful about new albums? This always leaves me with the impression that the only thing qualifying them to do the job is that they get review copies of the albums before everyone else (something I’ve spoken against already, of course). And then, why do music magazines try to be hip in giving every interview a ‘special’ layout. Just that it’s at most average and hard to read.

One other thing that was notable in the magazine is that companies as Sony are having lots of ads for their music services and players – even tying in with the magazine’s ‘top ten – yet when you’re reading the articles or interviews the only thing that’s ever mentioned is the iPod and iTMS.

Further reading: Migration and its consequences. And something about corn.

August 22, 2004, 1:30

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