Monday, December 29, 2008

random roundup

1. Via OrgTheory, an incredibly interesting first-person account of the Madoff scam by one of its victims--who also happens to be a psychology professor and expert in trust and gullibility.

2. The comments thread to this Crooked Timber post on the responsibility of Western feminists to be careful to avoid adding xenophobic fire to Islamophobia when calling attention to human rights violations in non-Western countries is really fascinating. I come on the side of bringing attention to human rights violations. I would do the same with my own non-Western backround, despite occasionally coming off as a cultural difference apologist. But some things are too terrible not to decry, and the Pakistani Taliban threatening to kill all girls who go to school is exactly that sort of thing.

3. This Dada-esque sociology satire/hating-on/pie-throwing blog is completely incomprehensible and I never understand the point of anything they write. And I'm a fan of the theatre of the absurd! That they're obsessed with Scatterplot and Jeremy is very weird. I almost wish that there was a weird Dada-esque law satire/hating-on/pie-throwing blog, but then again so many out there are unintentionally self-parodying.

4. The wedding yesterday was super beautiful and really fun. I cried, seeing the girl I knew at 14 somehow transform in a day to this beautiful bride. It was a traditional Catholic ceremony followed by a Chinese banquet reception. But everything was really elegant and non-traditional. By non-traditional, I mean that the venue was completely lacking in red and pink, was not at Seafood World in Garden Grove, and instead of the bad Vietnamese cover band (Lipstick on Your Collar at my brother's first wedding, no joke) a jazz quartet led by a college friend. It was all so elegant and beautiful. I actually danced. I had the prettiest date at the wedding--The Journalist. TD is currently in Mexico (no, I'm not bitterly jealous). I cried. I ate. I danced. Good times. I still want the smallest and lowest key wedding possible though, like a small garden ceremony or City Hall, followed by some chill barbecue or catered whatever. I love big, beautiful weddings (and this was actually a small wedding), but you know, to attend. Big parties are great, but only when the attention is focused on someone who is not me, and too many people in one room is an incredibly enervating experience for an introvert. Supposedly weddings are not for the bride and groom though. When I get married, I want a short dress, a chuppah, that stepping on glass thing, and a chill party with food where I can actually talk to my friends.

5. I went to an engagement asking celebration today. This is a traditional Vietnamese ceremony, in which the groom's side formally asks the bride's family for permission, and both in-laws and the betrothed pray to the ancestors for permission. There's lots of little rituals, from the lighting of the candles on each side of the altar by both sides of the family to show that the families will be blended into one, to the presents the groom's family must bring to the bride's family (a roasted pig, sweet sticky rice, lotus candy, etc.) and the future mother-in-law gives the bride a gift of a bracelet and necklace, but it's a special kind that is like a stiff bangle and collar. They remind me of shackles. Needless to say, while I adore some traditions and occasionally kick it old school, I do not want this antiquated patriarchal ceremony.

6. All of this wedding and family stuff make me want to life-delay even longer. Ironic, no? Even as all of my friends are getting married and settling down, I'm kind of enjoying taking the time to catch up.