Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves
This week, we turn up three very different Freshly Pressed posts united by their incisive exploration of unexplored, long forgotten, or unexpected experiences, experiences that have been made somehow peripheral by time, geography, or culture. They’re posts you’ve responded to, and that we hope you’ll find resonant.
I started to think how long I’ve been doing this, this whole writing thing, and how it had taken until my mid-thirties before I could really conduct myself in public where I could hold two opposing ideas in my mind at the same time: 1. that I was a writer and 2. I was me.
We’re all familiar with the idea of digging through old journals or photo albums. But what about the digital detritus we leave behind? The social networks we moved on from, the notes-to-self scribbled on digital stickies, the email accounts left for dead? In this post, writer Daniel Nester decides to dig into his long abandoned Hotmail account, and finds within it a fractured, but coherent, narrative of his experiences as a fledgling, and later published, writer.
It’s a story that could only unfold now, and plays out like a contemporary update to the Bildungsroman; a numbered sequence of telling moments captured, frozen, in emails and the folders they’re nested in. It’s a tale of remembrance, but also of delayed revelation, and if you haven’t trawled your own digital missives recently, “Notes on Email” is likely to make you consider doing so.
Today, many of the Kurdish youth use hip-hop as an outlet and a bridge to build a community across their diaspora. Just as MCs in America have raised consciousness on social issues, Kurdish MCs, such as Serhado’s “I am Kurdistan”, make hip-hop in order to discuss geo-political realities and provide hope to those Kurds in search of a united Kurdistan.
For a lot of us, the first thing that comes to mind when asked to picture the plight of Kurdish people probably isn’t so much rap battles as it is a history of much more direct conflict, and that’s part of the beauty of this expectation defying look into the nascent Kurdish hip hop scene. We learn that, while the odds are often stacked against the DJs and MCs of Kurdistan due to popular notions of the values attached to the musical form, their efforts to unite, express, and fight for their rights are very much in keeping with a trend toward making change through ideas, rather than conflict.
As Abdullah Occalan says, in perhaps this post’s most memorable quote, it’s “Time for the guns to fall silent and for ideas to speak.” “Hip-Hopistan: Inside Greater Kurdistan’s Nascent Hip Hop Scene“ offers an insightful look into unexpected, culturally repurposed uses of an art form that itself has roots in repurposing and empowerment of the disenfranchised.
I wish my father were a drug junkie, pathological liar, conman criminal, violent psycho or at least a loser of some kind
My father isn’t a drug junkie, pathological liar, conman criminal or violent psycho. He’s an easy-going old Jewish man from New York who definitely stops for pedestrians in the crosswalk. He’s the kind of man your mom approves of, because he’s nice and he loves you. He’s the kind of man everyone thinks is safe. But he wasn’t and now what am I to think?
Now granted, we’re suckers for a sizzling headline, but this is a post that plays with our expectations, just as it leaves the author grappling with uncertainty and unexpected feelings about a situation, a question, that has no easy out, no easy answers.
We’re used to life measuring up to expectations. The good guys do good, the bad guys, not so much. But so often life, and memory, exist outside of the dichotomies that sell newspapers or keep people coming back to movie theaters year-on-year. What happens when our past resurfaces, but we have no simple moral compass to tell us how to feel about it? “I wish my father were a drug junkie, pathological liar, conman criminal, violent psycho or at least a loser of some kind“ explores that question, and others, in a deeply personal meditation on how our rules and expectations don’t always hold up to life as lived.
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