Archive for August 2008

Being a teen sucks, #3-4

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#3: Underage clubs as entertainment.

Underage clubs, or I should say, sad gymnasiums and Jewish Community Centers that host dances for sweaty teenagers once a month, are not cool. I live in San Francisco, a city that I understand has a pretty decent club life (though as a minor, I’ve only been able to get into a few places). So I’m actually kind of surprised that there’s only one crappy teen club here, the Glow, whose mission statement is “For you and your friends to have a Safe and Fun night out,” capitalization original. Even if the establishment is trying to suck up to parents, it should really know better than to market safety to a group of teenagers. Like, “Hey, Ron, do you wanna do something Safe and Fun tonight? I heard that Glow has a great reputation– it even enforces a dress code!” What allure. Anyway, because they check every bag and kick you out if you act too loopy, Glow has not exactly become a hot spot among my peers. Not to mention the music never strays from whatever’s on the Top 40.

#4: Energy drinks.

Glow and its siblings serve two main beverages: soda and an energy drink called Red Bull. First of all, I don’t know why one would ever want to serve this shit. You group a hundred hormonal teenagers together, the majority of whom are already tipsy but not drunk enough to raise any suspicion at the doors, and now you want to make them hyperactive? And the logistics are just bad. At 80 mg of caffeine per serving, Red Bull gives you about as much energy as a small cup of coffee with milk. So of course you have to drink three or four cans of the stuff, and then not only do you have to pee, but you also might have a stroke! If they’re looking to make their visitors jittery, I don’t see why teen clubs can’t serve espressos; exploiting South American plantation workers is almost preferable to experiencing the sickeningly sweet taste of carbonated teen juice.


Written by jane

August 31, 2008 at 3:24 PM

Being a teen sucks, #2

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#2: The Twilight series.

When I first heard a couple of my peers talking about Twilight, I thought they were referring to the Twilight Zone. “Cool!” I thought. “I’m not the only person under fifty who tunes into the SciFi channel!” I was sadly mistaken. For those of you who are not familiar with this particular literary travesty, Twilight is, according to Wikipedia, a series of “vampire-based fantasy/romance/horror novels by American author Stephanie Meyer.” I think the description speaks for itself.

Basically, Twilight is the smutty story of Isabella Swan (…), a high school girl who falls in love with Edward, a vampire from a couple centuries ago. Of course, Edward just happens to be totally harmless– he’s a “vegetarian vampire,” meaning he doesn’t drink human blood. I can’t decide whether this makes him incredibly progressive or just decidedly non-vampirian. Anyway, Edward is a complete Mary-Sue: dark, handsome, smart, and perpetually young (he’s frozen at seventeen). The series consists mainly of Isabella fantasizing about Edward and the occasional Vampire!Drama. Here’s an excerpt from the back cover of one of the books:


Edward’s soft voice came from behind me. I turned to see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair windblown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, just like he had in the parking lot, and kissed me again.

This kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mineā€”like he was afraid we had only so much time left to us.*

How the hell is this book a New York Times #1 Bestseller? I have nothing against romance– in fact, most of my favorite books are love stories– but this is simply too cringe-worthy. In fact, I could only get through the first half of the first book. Teenagers looking to broaden their reading horizons should check out 1,001 Books, which includes some classics as well as engaging new reads like Jefferey Eugenides’s Middlesex. And few of these works are very complicated; Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is probably no more difficult to read than a Harry Potter book.

* This back cover excerpt belongs to Stephanie Meyers.

Written by jane

August 31, 2008 at 1:51 AM

Being a teen sucks, #1

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#1: Being a teenager = being lumped in with those who write poetry.

Over the course of my public schooling I’ve come across several teachers who have urged me and my classmates to write for leisure. “It’s a creative outlet for your feelings,” they said. I don’t know about you, but I never liked to write poetry. In elementary school I read Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot and was appropriately horrified when I learned that the musical Cats is based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, but that was the extent of my interest. And while I respect those young adults talented enough to have written themselves into the New Yorker, the majority of us have absolutely no gift for poetry and should not write it, ever.

However, it seems the shallow pains of high school are simply too great for my fellow teenagers to refrain from writing. I browsed Xanga, a blogging host with a mainly juvenile audience, for poems that support my argument against teens writing about their feelings. Here are the highest quality (read: correctly spelled) pieces I could find:

Poem by Nostalgic_Worries*
My life is filled with empty dreams and sleepless nights
I look at you eyes wide with fright
As I start to turn out the light
And face the monsters in the night.

Laying here alone and cold
You turned your back on the lies you told
Walking away with my heart in your hold
Making a statement that’s so very bold.

As my eyes begin to cry
No longer strong enough to try
Oh, how badly I want to die
Spread my wings, take off, and fly.

A good example of rhyming for the sake of rhyming. I really want to turn this into iambic pentameter (“My life is filled with empty dreams and nights“).

Untitled by Rcknrollangel__quotesx0x*
Every time you spoke
I could almost choke
with how much I wanted to believe
that you really did love me
you were such a lovely liar
and my need was dire

There are so many depressed teenagers in America, I almost feel bad for mocking them. I mean, trivializing others’ pain is a jerky thing to do, and I suppose it’s better that teens write than watch bad tv or hang out at 7-11. And yet… reading poems like this, I’m embarrassed to be part of the 13-20 demographic. In fact, I think my poetry assignment from fourth grade, which I rescued from the basement last week, is superior to these wallowings of self-pity. I had to write about an animal and came up with this:

The Lion
I am the Lion! I am fierce! I have teeth and claws that pierce!
If you meet me, you better run fast! Or else you’ll be my breakfast.
Run like the wind or you’ll be in fear, for I’ll eat you if you come near!
I’m a lion– I’m a big cat!

I labored for so long, especially over the spelling of “pierce”, and still couldn’t come up with a good rhyme for “run fast.” I mean, that was Fred Durst (rhyming “here” with “here”) caliber. The experience turned me away from any poetic endeavors; I don’t think I’ve attempted another piece since. But I still think “The Lion” and I could take poems by Nostalgic Worries or Rcknrollangel in a fight, any day.

For further reading, visit the hilarious blogring WRITE YOUR TEARS IN A POEM on Xanga (my one stop for everything teen). The group description reads, “Poems of pain. Poems of heartbreak. Poems of suicide. Poems of death. Poems of anguish. Poems of love. Poems of hate. Poems of tears. Poems of memories. Poems of blood. Poems of everything you have ever had to deal with.”

* Reprinted without permission.

Written by jane

August 30, 2008 at 6:07 PM

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