1 year anniversary speech

9:13 AM

Yesterday my little blog turned one! 

I might be exaggerating, but I think that calls for a celebration. So, as you read, imagine I’m spraying you with champagne, the way those pilots do after they win a Formula 1 race.

This could be the imaginary champagne talking, but I want to thank everybody for reading and supporting the blog. Your comments make my day and I’m thrilled to find other people that share my passion for culture.

***

You know, in January I was reading this article about a New Year’s detox diet

I used to be a big fan of detox diets. Just like the Cat Woman in that disapointing Batman movie, I would really like to clean the slate: she committed one too many crimes, I ate one too many ice cream sandwiches.

So, I decided to go on the New Year’s detox diet. I bought everything: kale, collard greens, apples, bananas, parsley... And that was all for one smoothie.

When I was almost dying drinking that, it hit me.

This diet takes a gigantic amount of will power and energy. And what for? Wouldn’t it be much more rewarding to go to all that trouble to detox my mind? I’m the Culture Enthusiast, after all. I ought to go on a cultural detox too.

And so I did.


My cultural diet, just like my regular diet of potato chips and coke, was unhealthy. I knew I had hit rock bottom when I memorized a Justin Bieber song (show you off…).


In my defense, I didn’t memorize it on purpose. It’s just that I listened to it over and over in stores, at the gym and pretty much everywhere. But still... Justing Bieber didn’t put a gun to my head and made me watch reality shows. I was the one spending hours consuming mind numbing, brain cell killing cultural material.

So, I got back on track. I picked up the dusty copy of Guy the Maupassant’s short stories. Did a little research on classical music and finally discovered the name of a composer I long loved. Revisited some of my childhood favorite movies.

In the beginning it took a lot of effort, but it was worth it. Much more worth it than drinking kale. 

Because it's much easier to go back to a healthy diet than it is going back to a healthy cultural diet. I don't want to sound drastic, but once you get used to a diet of cultural junk, there’s no telling you’ll ever come back.

I’m laughing right now, but it's dangerous exposing yourself to certain things inadvertently. 

The other day I saw that actress from Harry Potter saying she was watching a lot of reality shows to prepare for a movie.


She said:  "I was doing an English course [at Brown University]. So I would go from reading Virginia Woolf to [watching] Kim Kardashian. I kind of loved it, this mix of super-high and super-low culture. I think it was a nice balance." 



While I can totally relate to what's she is saying, I don't think it's a "nice balance", I think it’s risky business. It's not like math, where you can mix a high number with a low number and get an average number.


I see it as Kim Kardarshian pulling you from one end and Virginia Woolf from the other, as if they were participants of a Tug of War game where you are the rope and the prize is your mind.

Since it takes much less effort to go to Kim’s side, you might find yourself one day spending hours and hours with Kim and never wanting to visit Virginia ever again.

As they say, a mind’s is a terrible thing to waste. Cultivating good cultural habits involves effort, but it’s what feeds your intelligence and soul.

And that’s why I like writing for this blog. It's when I remember I have to educate myself because no one is going to that for me. It's an extra motivation to turn off the Tv and open a book. It's an encouragement to think and talk about things that I like and that really, really matter. Unlike my New Year’s detox diet.


Thanks again for bearing with me and here's to another year!

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20 comments

  1. Congrats on your one year blog anniversary! You're doing a great job with it and I've had a good deal of enjoyment and thought-provoking moments from your entries.

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    1. Thanks, Clarissa! I'm so fortunate to have intelligent readers like you who bring so much to the conversation.

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  2. *applause* many happy returns and to many more! xx

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    1. Yay! Thanks a lot, Trona. It's great to have come this far and I really hope I can keep writing here in the future. xx

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  3. Many congratulations on this milestone!

    I found this post exceptionally interesting as only a few days ago I was thinking about the very same things myself. I thought, why is it that I try reading and understanding classics (sometimes somewhat forcefully), not watch any reality whatsoever, and am very selective in choice of films and series. And I came to the conclusion that I'm scared. That very thing of becoming some kind of couch potato, staring mindlessly some reality shows and reading books that maybe give me fast adrenaline shot, but leave me with nothing afterwards. And in a way I am happy and proud that I have *decided* to be different kind of person and that I'm pushing through and, to extent, succeeding.

    And, it's not that I don't enjoy classics - they are very rewarding in the end. But it is also a fact, as you mention in your post, that it takes little effort to get into "mass culture", while reading a Dickens can be quite a bit of brainwork. But then again, you appreciate way more something you have worked for, rather than something that just falls on your lap.

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    1. Welcome, Riv! I'm happy to hear the post resonated with you and specially that you are selective with what you read and watch. You mentioned a good point: we do put more value into works that we worked for. I remember how rewarding it was finishing "Brothers Karamazov". Nothing compared to how I feel after watching, say... The Office. Thanks for your comment!

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  4. Congratulations, Paula! You're so right, we can easily become mentally lazy... I went through a Jersey Shore phase, it was not pretty. I convinced myself it was all good fun, but it almost made me stop watching more "complex" shows. I think it also applies to mediums - it's much easier to watch a tv show than to read a book. Far from me to imply that one medium is superior, but I hope you get what I mean.

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    1. Thanks a lot, Sofia! I absolutely agree with you, it applies to mediums as well.

      Oh, the reality show phase... We've all been there. I had a Project Runway phase.

      I've never watched The Jersey Shore so I googled it to see what's it all about and I read that the cast was on Barbara Walter's 10 most fascinating people list of 2010. Can you believe that?

      And that's very telling. It's not so much a matter of the Jersey Shore cast not being fascinating, perhaps they are, I don't know. But what does it mean for us to pick the cast of a reality show - from all the world's athletes, politicians, actors and starts - to be in the most fascinating people list?

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  5. Congrats for your blog´s first year. Cheers! Happy endeavor from now on. You´re very inspiring and well humored. I like very much reading your posts. Cheers!

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    1. Yay! Thanks for the kind words and your continuous support! I really appreciate it. xx

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  6. Happy birthday to you...r blog!!! You see, keeping the cultural balance is a very hard work. I am not the most well balanced person you can talk to, but it's ok. Hmm, Grieg is good (Gordon Gekko) - Hahahahahahaha!!! Ok, I know only the most famous pieces of Peer Gynt, but for an almanac personality like mine, it's ok. And, yes, you can't believe Barbara Walters at all. She's really NUTS!!

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    1. Ha, you made me laugh! Thanks ;)

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  7. Happy Birthday To Your Blog !! :)

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  8. 'In the beginning it took a lot of effort, but it was worth it. Much more worth it than drinking kale.' That bit cracked me up!

    I love the idea of a cultural detox diet. I find myself checking celeb mags like People and Us every day, even when I know I don't really care about what they feature there. It's just become a bad habit that's hard to break. Here's to a culturally clean diet! :)

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    1. Celebrity mags are tricky because they are so "in your face", like at the register in supermarkets - I always force myself not to read their headlines, but it's difficult because they are so enticing! I'm glad you liked the post ;)

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  9. Happy blog anniversary! Look forward to reading more posts from you.

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  10. Congratulations, Paula. *Raises toast* Here's to many more!

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Thanks for commenting! Do come back because I usually reply to comments here.

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