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Editor’s Corner: Salad days
Andrea Gutierrez new

"Youth is wasted on the young.”

Whoever said that deserves a pay raise, methinks. But rest assured, readers, I am daring to buck the trend: these pollen-soaked sunny spring days of May are inspiring me to live more in the moment, to enjoy the fresh air outside instead of being cooped up in some office with insanely cold air conditioning (which will nevertheless become a necessity as we move into late June).

As an editor, I live in the world of deadlines, but even I take the time to prioritize mindfulness and mental health. Whenever I feel stressed out or overwhelmed, I like to sit outside in my mom’s old rocking chair that sits right on our balcony and just rock back and forth, back and forth, with a paperback book by my side, ready to be read (or re-read). I also enjoy journaling; I sometimes do daily writing prompts that I find from Pinterest and just write whatever pops into my head at any given afternoon into my Moleskine notebook.

Creative writing, believe it or not, wasn’t something I always enjoyed. In elementary school, the writing prompts my ELA teachers gave me were always either too personal or too boring; stuff like “what did you do on vacation” or “what’s your favorite subject in school and why” that simply don’t lend themselves well to interesting answers.

To make myself sound cool, I would often lie in these prompts in order to match up with what my classmates wrote about. If a girl next to me was writing about how much she loves her dogs, for example, I would lie and say I love my pet beagle too (I have never owned a pet of any sort in my life).

I think my young self did this because subconsciously I felt that I told the truth about myself and how boring I was, no one would ever like me anymore. (Conversely, I probably cared way too much about 4th grade English class writing assignments and most likely needed to play outside or something).

Boring bops

I read an article from the LA Times reviewing “Radical Optimism”, Dua Lipa’s latest album, and the author Mikael Wood made the excellent point that Lipa, the British-Albanian mega pop star and actress, has no “lore”, as the kids say. She has no backstory or personal narrative compelling enough to give her songs that extra attention in the media, in the vein of Taylor Swift’s melodramatic oversharing for example.

“Dua Lipa’s “Radical Optimism” has a hilarious album cover, two songs about illusionists and what may end up the year’s most succulent bass playing.

What it doesn’t have is the kind of detailed celebrity meta-narrative that’s come to define — and to propel — the superstar pop LP in music’s parasocial age.”

“So “Radical Optimism” raises an interesting question: In this era of the endlessly annotated “The Tortured Poets Department” — not to mention the downright scholarly “Cowboy Carter” — can a pop album succeed without functioning as a referendum on fame or as a work of musicology? Is it enough just to deliver a bunch of loosely connected bangers and bops?”

Is it enough, readers? I certainly think so! I may not know much about Dua Lipa beyond her Instagram posts, but to be honest, I really don’t want to. If she’s making catchy songs with addicting bass lines, I will stream her songs until the cows come home. Not every singer can or should create some persona of themselves in order to sell albums; sometimes it’s okay to just sing bops and dance well. Life is too complicated nowadays for much else.

Man v. Bear

For the readers of my column who are not chronically online to the point of dysfunction (which I presume are most of you), there’s this hypothetical question floating around Tiktok asking women would they feel safer encountering a bear or a random man while stranded in the woods.

Unsurprisingly, most women would rather deal with a bear than a man, including myself.

I don’t know the gender ratio of my readers, but I would like to imagine that the women who read my column would also agree that bears are statistically less scary than men, and I sincerely pray that the men who read my column don’t take this question too personally as an affront to their manhood (#notallmen, anyone?), and instead take the time out of their busy days to reflect on the sad realities of gender-based violence all around the world, and help work towards a brighter future for every woman, man and child.

(Also, bears are cute! Who didn’t like Winnie the Pooh growing up?)

Andrea Gutierrez is the editor of the Bryan County News.

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