Not a Happy Camper

You know what would be a good idea? If we spent the night under a tarp with people we hate and then we can all sleep in body bags, fermenting in each other’s odor, providing feast for infectious insects and incubators for their young. And if we are really lucky, we will wake up moist after a night of aggravatingly catchy out-of-tune sing-alongs still seeing spots and eardrums throbbing from the storyteller who had to blind you with a flashlight while screaming and jumping around to compensate for the lack of actual plot suspense in their fireside tales.

No, it is not! Who ever instated the tradition of family camping trips should be held down, severely paper cut, run over by a lawn mower and then tossed into a baby pool of feasting piranhas, because that is how they make me feel.

Luckily my family is now what I would call Eddie Bauer outdoorsy-with all of our twenty-first century gear, we might as well be rolling the woods in a little, plastic climate-controlled bubble taking pictures. We stay in 21st century (made to look rustic) cabins with running water, electricity and doors we can close on each other. Sporting terrain-appropriate hiking boots and rain repellent garb, my little park ranger mother never allows us to enter the scary dark forest null of bug repellant, bear whistles, toilet paper, sanitizer, water-purifying kit, ponchos, snack rations, a week’s supply of water, a machete, collapsible food preparation station, flare, tranquilizer gun, pepper spray for “all the rapists” she seems to think lurk within and, of course, the infomercial-worthy bottomless fanny pack that manages to fit it all, and will be the cause for my hip-replacement.

But, there was a time, in their youthful parental ignorance when they tried to cling to the nostalgia of their own childhoods and impose their corrupted view of fun upon me. I was so scarred I have yet to face family camping trips again. I’ve gotten invites over the years from friend’s families offering to take me camping, and I always respectfully declined because, well, in all honesty I would rather eat hot pockets and watch VHS tapes of bird watching all weekend.

It was August 1999, a sweltering month when the units loaded up the four door Saturn like it had the capacity of an RV and wedged me onto a booster seat of stale hot dog buns. Prone to carsickness, I swayed, pale-faced upon my throne of generic brand camping food for the whole trip down to Arkansas, actually appreciating the frequent stops my parent’s un-synched urination schedule allowed. We arrived at the campsite at dusk and in my parents’ fury to set up before dark, they really sacrificed quality set up. Tired from traveling, we only did the bare minimum to get the site ‘functioning’ and then hit the hay, or in our case, the disintegrating 12-year-old sleeping bags that felt like lying in wall insulation. I itched my soft skin as I fell into dreams of the adventures to come, or tried to, but unfortunately the serrated rock bed my dad pitched the tent on was making that difficult. I now assume he did this on purpose so I would be awake to hear the rabid raccoon assaults on our tent. While little devil boys might find this appealing, to a six-year-old girl who’s hyper-allergenic skin was inflamed, was sleeping on a bed of rocks and just recovered from her fear of gremlins, it is cause enough to be launched into a full tantrum of psychosis. Just as I was about to scream, “How could you be sleeping?” to my ‘parents,’ a flash of lightning erupted and a boom shook the ground as rain began to pour into our Dollar Tree tent. My parents frantically packed up the gear as I sat in the back of the car soaking wet, gnawing on soggy marshmallows and wondering if this trauma could get me a pony. Never again.

SPOILER ALERT: I also have strong feelings towards conventional  fishing methods. Yes, this may appear to be a Kodak moment, but the real Kodak moment came minutes later when pole was in tree, Dad was caught in line and I was in the stream catching fish with my hands! I am sure Mom would have photographed that if she was not too busy untangling dad.

“Lindsey catch fish, rawwwwrr.”

 

Also, if you enjoyed or better yet, did not enjoy this blog please consider the follow:

 

 

 

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Adventures in film

I talk to people every day. I meet new people every day. I meet new people and I talk to them every day. I also take pictures. I probably take them  every day. So meeting new people and taking their picture should be easy to do on any day…..or it could be utterly terrfying. Yes, it was utterly terrifying.

A couple months ago I got a film camera, enrolled in a photo class and jumped into the art of photography. While there truly is extensive technicalities to shooting and developing film that I a far from mastering (and for which my own stupidity and clumsiness really set me back) I have found the real challenge to photography is not mastering art of the camera, but the art of people.

Photographing people, or more precisely people you do not know, is a surprisingly  difficult scenario to navigate. The photography that I am particularly interested in closely tangos with the art of journalism because its priority is the documentation of life. I am most enthralled by and strive to create photography which captures reality. But, capturing someone else’s reality does not come easy because it requires a level of intimacy many people don’t even establish with those they interact with on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, the realities I often find most necessary or interesting to capture are those most difficult to approach.

I have always loved the oddity and uniqueness that lies in the spectrum of humanity, but how do I photograph that without making them feel like a spectical. How do I make them feel comfortable, and not that I am taking their picture because I think they look cool?

I am also a proponent of the untold story, the marginalized individual and the forgotten soul. There are so many stories I want to tell and plights I would like to document with my lens, but how do I enter those worlds? Whether it is politically correct or not I find myself constantly terrified of looking like the often resented “white middle class suburban girl” who probably just wants to take cool pictures for her fancy photo class.

Unfortunately, I have not figured out the answers to these questions yet, but I get the feeling I am just going to have to dive in and experience it for myself. Which is part of the reason I am choosing to follow in the footsteps of Mary Ellen Mark for my final photography project. As one of this centuries best photojournalists imitating her work will force me to shed my anxieties, strip my insecurities and, relying on my kindergarden capabilities, meet someone new.

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Considering the student of student newspaper

Experience is simply a resume worthy synonym for mistake. Learning is a lifetime of tripping over our own feet, forgetting to look where were going and simply making dumb decisions. It is this series of mistakes that will eventually qualify us to do something in this world, to know better than another person what not to do. Abby Spudich has gotten a bit of a head start crossing some of those ‘what not to do’s’ off her list, but that should not end or impede her journey, nor should she be stoned and ridiculed along the way.

For those of you who are unaware, Abby Spudich is, or was, the managing editor of the University of Missouri’s student run newspaper, The Maneater. The Maneater recently published an April Fool’s addition under the masthead “Carpeteater.” The edition included many articles with the derogatory terms cunt, bitch, slut and whore.  While Spudich did not write all of the papers content, she did come up with the masthead “Carpeteater,” and has since taken a very commendable step in assuming responsibility for the derogatory content produced by other members of The Maneater’s staff as well.  To clarify, Spudich was not aware at the time that carpeteater is a derogatory term for lesbians. In an attempt at good humor, she choose what she thought was a less-harmful innuendo that was a clever opposite to the typical “Maneater” masthead.

The decisions made in producing the content of the April Fools addition were thoughtless, crass, ignorant and could have been avoided, but that is not what I am here to hype on. Spudich and The Maneater have received local and even national critique and humiliation. Spudich had written a very respectable apology letter outlining the steps The Maneater was going to take to prevent this sort of offense from ever occurring again. However, that was not sufficient for the public and she was recently forced to resign. And now, the MU is conducting a hearing to debate possible expulsion for Spudich.

What I would like to take the time to remind everyone of is what The Maneater actually is. The Maneater is a STUDENT newspaper and Spudich is a STUDENT managing editor. Yes, she does have to face the consequences of her actions, and I do feel resignation is an appropriate action. However, I find even the consideration of expulsion to be an absolutely wrong on MU’s part.

Spudich did exactly what we were encourage to do from day we stepped foot in this university, get experience. Left and right we were told to take on leadership roles, to try new things and to not be afraid to make mistakes. By expelling or even considering expulsion of Spudich MU is setting a very disappointing precedent. MU should not be discouraging the strive for experience by instilling such a great fear of mistake.

Spudich  did not act with any malicious intent. Her actions were not a hate crime against women or the LGBT community; they were simply a lack of good judgment. She is 19-years-old and running a paper also staffed by 18 and 19-year-olds. Spudich took this position not because it was required of her, but because she wanted to gain more experience as an editor.  Does MU have the right to revoke that position and require an apology letter? Of cores, their reputation is at stake here too. However, expelling someone for a mistake is counter productive to the ideals they are attempting to instill in us. We are taught to learn from our mistakes, but how can we do that if our resources for learning are stripped because of our mistakes?

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How to Induce a Facedown (Facebook breakdown)

 

Instant messenger bullying is so last decade. Yes, I will admit I used to frequent Internet chat rooms becausenothing pulls you out of funk like belittling and degrading random strangers via the persona SexiLexiKittyKat19. And I must confess I would get a sick sense of satisfaction out of answering the solicit a/s/l (age/sex/location) with 45/in limbo/behind you. But, I have learned to channel my addiction to the greater good. I like to think of myself as somewhat of a digital Dexter.

Facebook has spurred my desire for online vigilantism, targeting those inept Facebook users who’s abuse of the public forum places me on the brink of taking down my firewall, unplugging my surge protector and craving the Blue Screen of Death.

In response to this frustration I have constructed the ultimate retribution plan, five steps to Facedown (Facebook breakdown). However, I do want to stress the extremity of this attack. Do not implement lightly.

In order to prevent abuse of the Facedown I have included some examples of appropriate activity to target. All scenarios are actual Facebook activity posted by real Facebook users.

Statuses intensely asserting your satisfaction with your life: Woke up early this morning feeling sexy and was getting ready and saying bye to my gorgeous amazing boyfriend when he randomly confessed his love to me.

Itinerary statuses explicitly detailing your entire years plans and emotional reactions, especially when grammatically slaughtered: Well sitting at home as of now. Getting ready to go eat and than go work out and get my Zumba freak on its been forever since i went and worked out and let me say i really need to bad. Done with guys for awhile im tired of them being mean to me for no reason so ima live life to the fullest and just do me. Guys are pigs and always will be.

Photos including but not limited to: romantically gnawing or attacking a significant others face or other body part, holding dead, dying, or mutilated animals and doctored, planned or adjusted idyllic times captioned to create the allusion you are always uniquely happy, majestic or chic.

Playing Farmville or even worse, failing at Farmville: Ariel needs some critter milk to heal her wounded lamb.

Obsessively liking mundane activities and every-day commodities: Lan likes cookies. Lan likes water. Lan likes goingoutside. Lan likes lamp.

Liking unreasonably long and dumb statements: Tara likes “when a girl walks into a room with no make up on, third degree burns, and missing a leg and asks her boy if he thinks she is pretty and boy puts down the Xbox controller, causing him to loose four weeks of progress and says, ‘I don’t like you with no make up on and physically mutilated, I love it.’ Then boy pulls out banjo and begins to serenade her with, I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.”

Now that you have reviewed the evidence and acquired your subject let the physiological warfare begin.

Five Ways To Facedown:

Inescapable friending purgatory With extreme cases, where deserving subjects can be identified upon friend request, leave them in Facebook purgatory. Neither accepting nor deny their friendship will cause hyper-anxiety.

Wall-post schizophrenia: Sporadically delete all of their posts on your wall. For optimal effect alternate between instant deletes and day later deletes.

The Selective de-tag: De-tag yourself only from the photos of you and that person in albums where you are pictured and tagged with their friends.

One click retribution: Attack them in the post passive ways possible, the poke and the like. Poke them, obsessively, everyday. Then like everything you should dislike. This includes all status they post that detail their personal despair and misfortune. If you are successful at this you may even reach the point where you are liking passive aggressive status directed at you!

And that is all folks — five easy ways to Facedown. Enjoy!

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Nick Offerman hams it up at MU

Shirtless and screaming Nick Offerman ran across the stage of Jesse Hall Wednesday evening. Offerman visited MU as part of his American Ham tour. MU student David Stevens became aquatinted with Offerman the same way many others did, through his reoccurring role on Parks and Recreation as Ron Swanson.

“I have loved Nick Offerman ever since I started watching Parks and Rec. If Nick is half as awesome as his character Ron Swanson this will be a great show,” Stevens said.

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Offerman made the audience laugh with his list of 10 things for prosperity and smile with his performance of a song originally written for his wife, Megan Mullally, “The Rainbow Song.”

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Hank for Senate

Who is Hank? Well folks, Hank is a cat, and Hank is running for Senate from the state of Virginia next fall. While Hank is not the first cat to run for public office he is one of the few to create  a counter cat fight, under the slogan “More Facts Less Fat Cats.”

Hank, a thick furred Maine Coon from down south, is running as a moderate  and prides himself on being “the voice of reason in a time of extremism!”
Okay, so we all know a cat is not going to be a Senator, but this viral spectacle has just the mockery of the current political status quo that I can get behind. Our current situation has become a joke, a never ending mad lib of political discourse. And, I appreciate that people have begun to speak out on this issue in the best form of protest, humor.
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Kony 2012, A Ugandan Bedtime Story?

Want to know how to create a viral sensation of bipartisan, politically ignorant glad-handers, shuffling half-turned spin from one dunce to another? Turn the indictment of a war criminal into what sounds like a Presidential Campaign and simplify the plight of a country into a bedtime story.

I would like to begin with my own initial reaction to the hype that is so misleadingly dubbed ‘Kony 2012’, because it is a quintessential example of what I believe to be one of many flaws in this campaign that bombed every social media platform without mercy.

During my adolescence, I came across the war in Uganda during a research project, and soon after got involved with Invisible Children. I became aware of Joseph Kony who, even by this point, was not at his height of power. That being said, when I first heard about Kony 2012, and all the uproar it was causing (before looking into it myself) I was under the impression Kony had produced a video, and it was a campaign created by him or his supporters. Stick with me — I don’t believe that is a ridiculous presumption. Kony 2012 sounds like a damn Presidential Campaign.

So, of course, when I then found out that Kony 2012 was an activist campaign created by Invisible Children I was quite confused as to why they were taking this approach. And then I saw the video.

“To make him famous,” the video said. To make him famous? My brow furrows at this notion. While I do respect and revere the mission of Invisible Children, and the fact that they have managed to pull to these atrocities to public discussion when many people had no idea were happening, the question remains: Is this the right approach?

Some critique is rooted in the fact that only 10 percent of the revenue from the “Action Kit” the video supports goes to “direct services.” And, while I personally have some issues with this sort of approach to aid, it may not be a fair critique. Invisible Children is an activist organization, not a direct aid organization and they’ve never claimed otherwise.

However, there are other issues at play. The LRA are not the power they were when most of this footage was filmed.  Joseph Kony, while still alive and active, is not current in Uganda, nor by any means the entirety of Uganda’s strife. Kony does need to be indicted, but the problem goes far beyond that. Invisible Children is creating this “ultimate goal” which will by no means solve many of the difficulties Uganda faces — and what happens after that? What happens in 2012 when this “video expires,” whether Kony has been arrested or not? Is the cause forgotten? Do we move on to our next heroic mission?

The people of Uganda are not helpless. Yes, there is no question that I believe we should be providing all the assistance possible, and yes it is an atrocity that their plight has gone unknown for so long, along with a plethora of African causes that tragically make better t-shirts than grass-roots campaigns. After all, it’s still a half-microwaved bowl of European imperialism. But, by painting them as helpless we are only taking away more of their power.

The intentions of Invisible Children and all active participants I believe are sincere, but I also think we need to take time to fully consider the consequences, outcomes, and end effects of this approach to aid and awareness.

I believe this campaign is very ethnocentric and could possibly be doing harm in the long run. This video takes a large and complex body of issues and lumps them all into one story with villain and one hero, (though every Facebook participant in the galaxy now thinks they qualify for the latter.)

But, while I have my opinions, I concede the following: I am just a 19-year-old white girl from good ol’ Miss-ur-uh.  I am incredibly under-qualified to speak on this subject with any authority, but I do want to elicit a little more critique on issues as complex as this, with careful thought, before jumping into the hype of it all.

And on that note, I will gladly direct you to more credible critiques:

Rosebell Kagumire, an award-winning Ugandan journalist with a Master’s in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies:


Adam Branch,  senior research fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research, Uganda, and author of Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/03/201231284336601364.html

Arthur Larok, Action Aid’s country director for Uganda, with a Master’s Degree in Governance and Development and nine years of service as the Director of Programmes at the Uganda National NGO Forum: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/reality-check-with-polly-curtis/2012/mar/08/kony-2012-what-s-the-story#block-4

Anywar Ricky Richard, a former child soldier in the LRA and director of northern Ugandan organization Friends of Orphans

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/03/09/kony-2012-a-view-from-northern-uganda/

Probably won’t be seeing this pop up on the Facebook newsfeed anytime soon…asdfghjkl

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Seattle’s Best

No matter the local, family vacations all seem the same to me. My mother insists on picking a place where we can “equally experience both the city and nature.” But, in all reality she just wants to be able to pretend to be outdoorsy yet return to civilization by nightfall. My family has always been what I like to call “Eddie Bauer outdoorsy.” And this sense of “Eddie Bauer outdoorsy” has led us all over the Mid-West, but not last summer. Last summer the destination was Seattle, Washington.

Seattle had never been somewhere I particularly wanted to go. Maybe it was its reputation for the rain, maybe it was the long list of aviation museums my mom had already prepared, but my level of enthusiasm was struggling to reach apathetic.

But in the same way that a swamp can harvest the most exotic orchids, the streets of Seattle foster lunatics of a gentle breed, lost in the city and in their own minds. Dope-peddlers in torn leather jostling with the elderly, nine-hundred pound behemoths cradling tiny violins. The skies weep with understanding, not disappointment, upon the heads of every gnome in plaid, every dog wearing a hat.

Portland has found its niche as a meth-pumped psycho-pit of dreadlocked pandemonium, folksy to the outside eye but riddled with inner chaos. Seattle toes the line with much more charm and idiosyncrasy than allowed to be crammed into Northern Pacific expectations. Cobain is dead, Soundgarden fell apart, Pearl Jam sold out, and yet the underground still pulses with damp flannel and spit….and I love it.

Folks, here it is! A piece of Seattle’s Best:

VIDEO: http://s1180.photobucket.com/albums/x418/Lindsey_Wehking/?action=view&current=064mp4

 

(Please note, date on image is off due to incorrect camera settings)

 

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Pro-Life? Pro-Choice? Pro Civil Conversation.

“The hallmark of civil debate is when you can acknowledge that which is good in the position of the person you disagree with.”                                   –Sidney Callahan

A couple years back, NPR’s On Being with Kristen Tippet did an extended project called Civil Conversations. This project was a series of radio programs, and online tools to help facilitate conversation about tough topics in both families and communities, and provided ideas and tools for healing our disrupted civil spaces.

http://being.publicradio.org/first-person/civil-conversations/

It is rare these days that political divides and contested ideologies are actually discussed with open minds and sensibility. I believe this is what conversation should be like in everyday realm, but it seems these debates are discussed with no more tact than shock jocking. I found one program in the project, Listening Beyond Life and Choice, especially influential on my approach the the issue. The piece features Frances Kissling, activist, ethicist, former Catholic nun and former head of Catholics for Choice. It did not focus on the actual issues so much as how to talk about the issues and more productive ways to discuss deep-rooted civil disagreements.

“I don’t understand how you can work on an issue for 35 years as complicated as this and never change your mind.”  –Frances Kissling

“Dialogue requires an enormous amount of discipline. You have to put up with things you don’t like.” –Frances Kissling 

For the full conversation: http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2011/ccp-kissling/

I have always found myself very intrigued with the debate on abortion in both the legal and ethical realms. My own thoughts and opinions aside, it is quite amazing to see the dedication, passion and fury people both invest in and polarize this debate with. When coming back from taking pictures at the winery I discovered the Pro-Life Planned Parenthood protestors were back out. I had not seen them since winter began and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture them.

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Despite that I don’t necessarily agree with these individuals tactics or stance I found it incredibly easy to maintain a neutral presense. Although, the man in the first photo asked me a question when I was finishing up photographing him that had such genuine inquiry and good intent it  took me aback:

“Do you think we are helping at all?”

While I believe that to be a matter of opinion, I also think it is the strive to bring about greater utility that must be respected on both sides of any debate. Acknowledging that which is good in an opponent or adversary is the vital if one ever hopes to obtain a greater understanding of the other.

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Happy People Buy Things

Laughing releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy and happy people buy things.

I got up early today with the intention of accomplishing things. I always convince myself when I go to bed that I will get up early and do things because I AM A GODDAMN ADULT! But, then my alarm goes off, and failing college seems like less of a calamity than the frost bite I have convinced myself I will receive upon leaving the cozy covers. However, thanks to the wonderful spring weather (brought to you in part by ExxonMobil!) I was able to lug my carcass out of bed  by the time that 6:30 “Noir” alarm tone sounded. It turns out the cliche suspenseful film de noir sounds are not as “neat” to wake up to as I would have hoped, but it does seem quite effective! The roommates could ask for no better wake up call than my startled, phlegmy screams. Anyways, as I waited for the coffee to brew I thought I would start my morning out with a little stand up from good ol’ Maria Bam Bam (Bamford). Four YouTube recommendations later, I was watching the entire past two years of her “Crazy Target Lady” commercials. So I would like to take a minute to commend Target on their BRILLIANT advertising campaign. Not only did I watch, but actively sought out hours of Target advertising. I basically watched a full length movie worth of Target Commercials. Talk about effective, all current and prospective cult leaders and dictators should really take note. I have so may positive associations perkelating through my brain right now I can actually feel them.

Lindsey is tired, cold, and sad. Maria Bamford makes Lindsey laugh. Laughing Lindsey is happy. Maria Bamford is in Target commercial. Lindsey laughs and is happy while watching Target commercial. Target = Happy.

GENUIS. This one may be my favorite.

Because I had obviously already not accomplished anything I got up early to accomplished I decided to see what other positive product associations my favorite comedians could create for me. And, oh boy, has the gang been busy. Jim Gaffigan, Patton Oswalt, and Jane Lynch have all jumped into the scene.

As someone looking for a future in the advertising and strategic communications industry I want to be involved in creating this kind of marketing. While I am proof it is effective, I also believe it to be culturally benifical. This advertising has content and cultural relevancy beyond the marketing message. Despite the arguably positive or negative impact on future consumption I would say the content of the advertisement itself allows the consumer to take away something positive. These ads are not spent slandering competition, skewing statistics, or conveying blatantly false messages. Their main goal is to create a positive association and emotional branding between the consumer and the company.

Here are a few of my other favorite ads:

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