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  • theaptPORTFOLIO

    theaptSHOWS

    April 4, 2014

    i arrived in new york city in september 1989 from france with little idea about what america would be like; more importantly, with no idea how i might fit into this “grand experiment.” little did i know that over a decade before my unboarding from AF008, a man had made it onto the airwaves who would cushion the cultural blow i was about to receive, that man, i and millions of others would welcome into their living rooms, dens and beds, we would simply call Dave.

    my nightly routine back then was to settle in front of my tv at 11:30 with a box full of entenmann’s cookies (which by the way were not labeled “original recipe” back then because they were the original recipe!) and a carton of whole milk, something unheard of in my native land, to woof along arsenio hall as he introduced mariah carey to an unsuspecting world. that’s right, i woofed. and i am not ashamed. but the real reason was to keep me well fed and awake for the main event at 12:30, way past my bedtime… i was literally on the edge of my seat when waiting for bill wendel‘s special nightly intro or, better yet, the rare cold open…

    seemingly so removed from himself to really enjoy or take his job too seriously, Dave was a man of my time, enjoying the kind of wit and self-awareness i had heretofore only seen the Pythons display in order to elevate droning bbc interviews. see, on top of this post, what he was doing with steve martin in 1980? that is something seth meyer’s kids will never be able to come up with and deliver in such a skillful manner whenever it is they take over late night… but it wasn’t just the funnies, it was the comfort he filled his room with and by extension, ours. he had always said he played to the studio audience first so that we wouldn’t feel the pressure of being entertained but rather look in on something special happening somewhere else. and if the recent tragedy of reality television invading our screens morning till night is anything to go by, we LOVE peeking into something special happening somewhere else.

    by the time his first guest appeared, with cookie crumb all over myself and spit-taking milk, he had me wrapped around his little finger and could take me anywhere. from jack hannah to larry “bud” melman, from thrill cams to the roof from which all manners of explosions would take place, he introduced me to the rules and regulations of a country whose humor would be soon like his, witty, clever, dry and, perhaps above all, honest in the moment. they may have been introduced to the american public in other places but Dave introduced me to bill murray, to jerry seinfeld, to steve martin, to crispin glover, to bill hicks, to frank zappa, to harvey pekar, to george carlin, to andy kaufman and to, yes, jay leno. and through those people and their interaction with Dave, i learned how americans behave, what made them laugh, what gave them pause, what made them angry.

    it is often said that we here in america somewhat take our cues about how to feel about certain events in the world from public figures on television, to see what they, arguably more expressive about their feelings than we are, think about something before we form an opinion of our own. certainly, it was true on september 19th 2001 when dave came back on the air to sum up how we all felt, lost, disoriented and confused yet resolved to go on. if the funny man could be that thoughtful, we could be too…

    but i have to leave some stories out for when he actually dies so let me stop there. he was there from the time i landed till now and, like most habits, good and bad, he will be hard to shake.

    April 16, 2013

    girl

    can there ever be peace? can we ever get along? is it possible for israeli not to go after palestinians, for north koreans not to go after south koreans, for taliban not to go after who is not like them, for us not to go after who we don’t approve of? sadly, probably not before pepsi stops going after coke… everyday, as near as we may live next to others, we don’t really live with them, we cohabitate. it seems that we merely tolerate the presence of other life forms and mostly think about how we can stand on their shoulders in order to appear a little bit taller. whether we choose to eat them, display them in zoos, or try to go after their position, which we believe should have been granted to us, always we seem not to desire to exist together but to win. and win what? success? money? a v.i.p. seat in whatever you call heaven? i know our social contract wasn’t signed long ago but should we not have learned by now that toleration, at the very least, must lead the way to understanding? but that seems to be a tough request, whether the “other” cuts us off on the highway or represents different patriotic ideals.

    to achieve any form of peace, we must try interaction and leave reaction to the birds, we must try empathy and leave apathy to vultures, we must try because if we don’t, there will soon be none of us left. we must try because if we don’t, every generation, as it has for the past five thousand years, will sadly continue to have to explain to their children that our species does not learn from its mistakes. if we consider ourselves superior, let’s start acting superior, by learning humility, by being the bigger man, by embracing ourselves. pepsi, your move…

    December 17, 2012

    oped-new7

    imagining the unimaginable as a parent is thinking about not having to get your child ready for school on a sleepy monday morning through no lazyness of your own but because their lives were snatched away by a madman. as scolded as my wife and i routinely get by our kids’ teachers for so rarely getting them to school on time, i have to admit that today, we feel little to no qualms about dressing, feeding and squeezing them slowly and for a bit longer, emailed late-note be damned. to think that 20 sets of parents have to break the routine of hurrying their children along as they brush their teeth, pick out outfits and serve bowls of cereals this morning… my heart breaks as my tears muddle my shirt imagining that which i cannot, going on living without which has giving meaning to my last 10 years on this earth.

    mourning is not enough, action must be taken to care about those for whom life feels too hard to bear before they snatch another life. i have nothing more profound to say on the matter, no prescription, no advice to soothe even my mind, so sad i feel… let’s find a way back this week, together please.

    November 16, 2012

    the otherworldly juxtaposition of bossanova and the “iron dome” missile interception system in this clip from an israeli wedding is blowing my mind. and that’s very close to not being a metaphor… it is friday, the day we’re supposed to thank a lord of some sort for having allowed us to “survive” a work week presumably filled with “torture” such as returning that phone call to management, dealing with ann or working the extra hours necessary to do the job reasonably well, you know, torture. i’m sure that’s how both sides of gaza are thinking about their friday right now, i’m sure. a spark has been stricken, let’s hope the wind, or prevailing minds, put it out.

    November 2, 2012

    wow, i’m not feeling so tops today… maybe it’s because the kids haven’t had school all week and they have sapped my will to live or because i feel a little weird having electricity, internet and risotto while so many are hurting nearby. either way, maybe a little 90s-style joey bada$$ can help. maybe. doubt it though. please, all of you stay safe and a have a (re)constructive weekend.

    March 12, 2012

    as an avid watcher of media, as an active consumer of information, as a sensible customer of what they’re selling, as a user of the machine, as a shopper walking the aisles of the store, as the end user of a software i did not write but most of all, as a father of a daughter, i am absolutely responsible for changing the context i did not create. just because it is not my fault doesn’t mean i am not to blame. one of director jennifer siebel newsom’s best points, voiced by marie wilson, founding president of the white house project, is that “you can’t be what you can’t see,” a turn of events that is both surprising due to women’s superiority in numbers in the world and tragic due to men’s apparent generational blindness to the phenomenon. i do not reject the notion that the sexualization of anyone, or for that matter any thing, can be the source of enormous amounts of art and beauty but it is all of our responsibility to show the whole possibility of a person, any person, or for that matter any thing. the answer lies not in the elimination of a facet but the full and systematic exhibition of every side. the fact that we have collectively gone way too far in the singling out of physicality only belies the improper balance and the need to consciously complete the picture, not on behalf of women but of humans. would it be reasonable at this point to slow down the distortion by consciously curbing sexual images of women? perhaps; but i have never observed prohibition to be of much use when people are in play. as long as there are eyes, there will be selective vision but as long as a mind stays on top, there should be glasses to correct inequity. count me in as a mindful observer.

    have a considerate week!