Saturday, January 12, 2013

A post of randomness

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Now that winter break has only a week left, I am faced with the depressing realization of how many things remain on my to-do list. Especially the number of blog posts I was hoping to write up here and never got around to it. Mostly because I've been busy. Also because I got the flu last Monday, fought it off for the most part, and then had it spring itself back upon me on Friday. I feel pretty crummy but writing is better than staring off into space wishing my coughing and general malaise would disappear. So I think I'm going to take the opportunity to write a post to cross-off a bunch of topics from the "to write about list" that don't really have anything to do about the usual theme of this blog and to distract myself from being ill. Let the randomness ensue:

1) I/O Psychology

I mentioned in various posts my immense dislike for Industrial/Organizational Psychology and mentioned at one point I would write about why. I/O Psych is different from the other psychology classes I've taken in the way that it deals less with people and more with businesses. The great finding had by I/O psych researchers in the early years of the field was that humans aren't actually machines and work places should be reflective of this. The fact that we actually needed to create a field of psychology in order to tell us this sort of saddens me. With rosy retrospection taking hold, I/O psych wasn't that bad of a class - I really liked the professor and the material was fairly interesting. I just really didn't like how it dealt with people. Which is a problem, because psychology is all about people. I/O psych, because it's psychology in the business world, has a focus on white-collar work and has a sort of unkind bias to lower-level workers and/or blue-collar jobs. The way lectures and studies talked about certain jobs and certain groups just seemed really... dare I say it... bourgeois. There just wasn't a whole lot of respect or concern for jobs that don't involve office settings or corporate ideas of leadership and communication. Also, the part of I/O I was more interested in - "organizational," which is a little bit more like social psychology and deals with hired workers (where as industrial deals more with hiring workers) parts of it are known as the "touchy-feely" side of I/O because it deals with emotions and feelings and sentiment.

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbcl83sS9J1rpi6r3.gif
Excuse me for liking sentiment. Maybe it's my university, but it seems the farther I get in psychology, the more obsessed with empiricism they become. Which is funny, because empiricism is all about explaining things through sensory experience, but man, if you have to account for something without numbers, a nice little graph, and maybe a meta-analysis, psychology thinks you're not as legit and soft and "touchy-feely." Long story short, I don't like how psychology (which the rest of science sees as a soft science - not a bad thing, but some people think it is) is trying to become a hard science by privileging a certain form of empiricism over another. Calling one part of pscyh as more "touchy-feely" than another is kind of dumb because psychology is about people and people are pretty "touchy-feely" overall. But this stands out pretty boldly in I/O because a lot of time you're talking about corporations, not people (yes, yes, corporations are made of people, but trust me - there is a difference) and it's a very "cog in the machine" or "another brick in the wall" sort of feel. I/O is trying to fix this, but when companies are focused more on profit than on making workers happy... it's sort of a problem. Regardless, out of the many psych classes I've taken, this has definitely been my least favorite (except for stats. But that wasn't a psych class; that was a class of Satan).

2) $ellebrity

I came across the trailer for this film a while ago and thought it was... interesting.


I really don't know how I feel about this movie. I think it's an interesting topic, but I'm torn between hoping that it'll actually be a substantial documentary that takes an opportunity to really look critically at the paparazzi and the chance that this is just a chance for celebrities to appear onscreen and complain about how hard it is to be famous. Darlings, we know being famous is not all it's cracked up to be. But why are you appearing in a film about it? Don't you think that's kind of a part of what led you to the paparazzi madness? It's more than just the people holding the cameras following celebrities around - it's the way Hollywood treats celebrities in the first place, how even talk shows and interviewers treat them, and even how we think of the idea of celebrity in general. So I think complaining in a film - a film doesn't stand out from other films (you still have to go to a theater to see it, I mean, as apposed to distributing it on Youtube or through Netflix or something) - might just be perpetuating a vicious cycle and making the paparazzi look all bad instead of considering what sort of system both sides are working in.

Also, I'm sort of wary about this film because I worry about it overlooking the difference between those who are trying to make money off of celebs and those who are their fans and just trying to get a photo with them or an autograph. There are great differences between certain members of the press, certain paparrazi groups, and certain fans. But I sense that a film like this might end up lumping them all together and label them as "the crazy obsessives that make our lives suck." Which I don't appreciate. Some press members and some paparrazi members are kind and courteous. Most fans are especially so. I worry that a film like this would come off as really pretentious and whining rather than actually having a serious conversation about this sort of thing.

Then again, I haven't actually seen the movie so.... consider everything I've said completely hypothetical. If I get the chance to see this, I'll get back to you and we'll see how far off I am.

3) Minneapolis

I have a mad amount of love for the city I live in and just feel the need to share this photos. I don't really talk a whole lot about Minneapolis, but damn is it pretty:

 https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151276211969626&set=pb.224447869625.-2207520000.1354630243&type=3&theater
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/artdept/artblog/schwartzman_00197.jpg

4) Writing non-bloggy things

I intend, very soon, to write briefly about my personal fanfic writing (in the scope of discussing something else). But I've realized that I don't think I've ever let on that I've been writing other fiction as well. If I can actually get stuff done this coming week, I might actually finish my novel. It's not too far from the end (though how exactly it's going to end is a bit fuzzy yet). If it does get finished, I'm going to proof read the hell out of it and try to get it self-published before I graduate. Can I do it? I sure as hell hope so.

You'll probably want to know what it's about, but I'm notoriously bad at describing my own work. I personally like to describe it as glorified Frankenstein fanfiction. It's a modernization of Frankenstein with the main character being a pre-med student who discovers that her mentor is keen on building a human being out of dead matter. I don't think it's totally terrible, which means it might actually be pretty good. So here's for hoping I can actually get it done :P

Well, that's all for now. Since I've got this junk out of my draft box, I'll be back to writing the usual posts next. And that'll either be on evil villains or Oscar nominations, depending on which I feel more motivated on. :)

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