Making a decision

We make decisions all the time: spending five more minutes in bed (or 30, who knows), taking a shower, putting off shaving one more day, heating up a slice of pizza instead of making an omelette, listening to On The Media rather than The Axe Files. I think you get the point.

Some decisions matter more than others, of course. Whether you decide to have pancakes or cereal—or both—for breakfast will be probably less consequential than marrying the struggling freelance musician—just talking about me here—or the Ivy League-educated, med school-bound white boy coming back from a year of self-discovery in Italy.

It’s difficult to know exactly where a decision will take you. You can make all the plans you want and take care of your part just fine. I didn’t know my resolution to apply for OPT—basically a limited work permit for those with F1 status—would result in the worst six months of my life.

All situations, though, come with myriad opportunities to make choices. Not the kind that will necessarily turn out good or change anything at all, but sometimes it’s not so bad to delude yourself into thinking something can be done—because sometimes, something, in fact, can be done.

My daydreaming has inspired many stupid ideas, and the idealist in me has forced me to put them into action before their novelty wears off. That’s how this and my new podcast startedThat’s also the way one of my top 10 “Stupid ideas I should not pursue but will anyway” came to happen: I decided that without a single political science course in my college transcript—one with a 3.9 GPA, mind you—I’d apply to several top-notch Ph.D. programs in political science.

In a turn of events I cannot quite comprehend, I was offered admission with fellowship to the program at Rice University in Houston, Tex. Maybe someone decided to see where one of their top “Stupid ideas I should not pursue but will anyway” would lead: what happens if we let a music major into our Ph.D. program?

Thanks to one decision, the steps I took to follow through, and who knows what kind of other weird factors,* I will be answering that hypothetical professor’s question for—hopefully—the next five years (unless I fail before then).

Lastly, I made a choice to go to Target and get some milk. I guess that choice will lead me to have cereal for breakfast tomorrow.


*God, too, of course. Hold your horses!

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Proud of my complexity, doubtful of yours

I am proud of my complexity. Sure, some days I think about my simplicity. Invite me to get some coffee and have a good conversation and you’ve made my day. Give me politics, classical music, and a novel, and my life may feel complete.

But I also enjoy trova; stories that will never resemble my conservative, I guess, lifestyle (but feed my curious mind); guilty pleasures like Gossip Girl; … and … I ran out of things to list.

Perhaps, I’m quite simple.

But, like many others, I am proud of my thinking. I tend to wave the flag of objectivism, of reason over emotion, naively boasting of my unbiased opinions with ironic passion and a pretense of composure.

I am proud of my complex thinking. I am proud that I can have an extent of loyalty to an institution or ideal without being blinded to its shortcomings. In fact, by talking openly I want to show that complexity. Not many can do that, right?

As a complex being, one holier than thou, I patronize you when I see you sharing blatant falsehoods throughout Facebook. After all, you are not a complex thinker. And that’s okay, not everyone’s gifted.

Becoming blinded by well-fed sense of superiority, I turned into an asshole who overlooks his own fallacies and gets into an unending, useless argument on technicalities. And, emotion triumphed over reason.

I, of course, can’t accept that. So, I’ll just keep being proud of my complexity and doubtful of yours. I’ll reduce you to a couple character traits.

I am keeping my dignity and taking yours with me.

#010 – Claudia Pech

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It’s been a while. We are bringing you some new conversations soon. But this time, we are re-releasing our episode with Claudia Pech. Back in December, we talked about Trump’s comments on Mexicans, the difficulties of being an undocumented immigrant, and the state of the conversation surrounding immigration.

After listening to a lecture by Sonia Nazario (Pullitzer Prize winner) on immigration for the E. N. Thompson Forum on World Issues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I decided to re-release this episode and go buy her bestselling book, “Enrique’s Journey.”

#016 – Pablo Colindres

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In this week’s podcast, Pablo Colindres joins us to discuss the election. Our guest brought an interesting gift to alleviate the confusion of talking about Trump and Twitter and why you shouldn’t vote for a third-party candidate.

Also, Pablo has a great show in the works. Click here to check out what he’s up to in his podcast “Mesa.”

This week’s book and film recommendations (check them out!):

Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness (recommended by Enrique)

Even the Rain (recommended by Slade)

Let us know what you think about today’s topic and share the podcast!

(iTunes Rating: Explicit)

Truth and Facebook conversations

Surely I’m not the only one tired of those “political” conversations, many that in all fairness should be referred to as social, but politics is a nice dysphemism we use to avoid them when convenient. And with those incredibly useful and thought-provoking conversations we initiate and carry on painful distances, it is rarely not advantageous to escape them.

The thing is you’ll never get it right, but the other person will. You see, you just haven’t read enough or formed your own opinions. Well, perhaps you have read a lot, but only the lies they’ve been telling you. They won’t tell you the truth, someone claims, so they can continue profiting off the situation.

The other thing is that those intellectuals do know where to get their information and how much to get. They know where the reliable sources. They know the lies and the truths like the back of their hand.

Sorry, you lose. Mostly because you end up frustrated and with wasted time behind you.

They, however, are not winners. They lost, too. They didn’t get anything more than a self-congratulatory pat on the back and their ego telling them, “Go get them, champ!”

So, the third thing is: we’re all losers here.

I’m left feeling powerless. I want to know when enough information is enough or what sources are trustworthy, but we have build an empire where distrust reigns. Any small suspicious action and we are ready to claim a source is forever lying to us for whatever Machiavellian intentions they have. Yet, we readily accept and repeat what the charming prince tells us. He’s charming, right? No, he just tells you what you want to hear—the oh so harmfully satisfying confirmation bias.

I know I don’t know enough, but I know I’m tired of all these straw man arguments. Beyond that, I’m tired of knowing you’re behind that screen honestly believing you got it right, that you are the sole—perhaps, if you are that vain—possessor of truth. If only we all had your outstanding, ivy-league-worthy reasoning and research skills.

So, for those Facebook conversations, just run away from them. The leftist with the superiority complex who fills your feed with piles of sensationalist media won’t get it—the pot calling the kettle black? Please, do not even think about replying to that annoyingly, stupidly reductive right winger. They won’t get it, either.

Una medallita para Virgilio y otra para Peña Nieto

Luego de que Enrique Peña Nieto (o, como diría Chumel Torres, Licenciado Presidente don Enrique Peña Nieto) supiera que la gente no le aplaude, las cosas se ponen un poquito más ridículas. Y es que sigue sin entender. Pero este acto de circo parece tan bueno que hasta puede merecer aplauso . . . y una medallita (aunque no es lo que busque).

Un gran actor ha sido Virgilio Andrade, quien fue nombrado por Peña Nieto como secretario de la Función Pública. Hasta ahorita no ha investigado nada. Bueno, no ha investigado nada de la casa de Las Lomas, pero sí de los recortes que tendrán que hacer por eso del recorte de presupuesto. Hay prioridades, señores. Pero regresando a lo otro, Virgilio quiere primero poner en marcha los reglamentos propuestos por Peña Nieto para evitar futuros conflictos de interés. Que mejor que iniciar con uno tan grande (sigan viendo como crece el asunto con Grupo Higa en el artículo publicado hoy en SinEmbargo.mx).

Para calmarnos un poquito, sí investigará. Antes de fin de año se concluirá la investigación. Primero se dijo que la investigación no incluiría las casas relacionadas con Peña Nieto, Angélica Rivera y Luis Videgaray. En otras palabras, no se iba a investigar nada de relevancia. Ahora, Virgilio sale con que la investigación irá a fondo “tope donde tope” y menciona que se darán a conocer los “resultados específicos de estos casos y no solo es la naturaleza de las casa sino de la relación”. ¿Será qué siempre sí investigará? ¿O ya encontraron manera de meter las casa y salir ilesos? Pues a ver si no se quita unos topes del camino (las casas) o se detiene en el primero. Cabe la posibilidad que, para la sorpresa de todos, sí tope donde tope.

Se culpará a alguien. Así, Peña y Virgilio, se podrán llevar medallitas, uno por su apertura y el otro por su gran trabajo que absuelve a Peña y Videgaray de toda culpa y la reparte por ahí. Sea como sea, la investigación tiene poca o nula credibilidad. Si el pueblo desconfía del gobierno, ¿por qué creería en una investigación del gobierno? ¿Vemos aquí otro acto de simulación? ¿Les damos medallita por esa también?

Y ahora Peña Nieto, quien no trabaja para colocarse medallitas.

Hablamos de una medallita en particular: opinión pública. Su popularidad ha bajo dramáticamente, pero él dice que el no trabaja para eso sino para que a México le vaya bien. ¿Si a México le fuera bien tendría bajos índices de popularidad? Peña trata de ofrecer otro discurso bonito que suene a que podemos ser su compa. Él no busca medallas sino una mejora en la calidad de vida de la población mexicana. ¿Si el pueblo notara una mejora en su calidad de vida tendría un bajo índice de popularidad?

Altos índices de popularidad no son un logro personal, mi querido tocayo. Son un reflejo del sentimiento de la gente. No es para que te sientas mejor. Es para que te des una idea de como el pueblo ve tu trabajo, tu proyecto de nación.

Buen intento de recuperación. Ahí pa’ la otra.

Tal vez The Economist sigue teniendo razón cuando opinó que Peña Nieto no entiende que no entiende.