Rave Blog

By: Ali Benz

I said I’d never go to the rave again, but then I definitely went to the rave again. And again. Strictly for research purposes, though. Music festivals are a dangerous place. Luckily, I was brave enough to go and can reveal my findings. All I can think about is how similar ravers are to therapists. I know that sounds weird af, but it’s true. Both are in my life and both are sending me love and light. I don’t really know what that means but I love to receive things, so send it.

First of all, can we talk about crystals? I mentioned that my neck was hurting and someone told me to just “throw some agate on it.” WTF does that mean? Apparently doctors aren’t a thing anymore. I don’t know who loves stones and crystals more, my therapist or everyone at Burning Man. Want good vibes? Here’s a crystal. Need a new car? Here’s a crystal. Want to murder your ex? Here’s a crystal! It’s amazing. The crystal industry is booming. Remind me to invest in Swarovski.

These festivals can also get very spiritual. People are always “realizing things”. Isn’t that the point of therapy, though? To discover yourself and have breakthroughs and sh*t? Pass the Ayahuaska . The only difference is psychologists deal with real Shaman whereas you probably met a guy in a headdress who calls himself “Starlight” and tried to sell you an Adderall. Tragic.

Both parties also have this fascination with dance. I’ve seen therapists do this energy/movement dancing. It kind of looks like a mating call but I dig it. The moves are proven to have huge mental benefits if you can get past looking like a tribal dancer at a human sacrifice. Don’t knock it before you try it. At least you’re not a shuffler at an Insomniac event. Don’t get me wrong, I think shuffling is cool and I’ve maybe done it by accident before (for research purposes). I just don’t like shufflers that are cocky. Like I get it you can stomp the ground hard in your Sketchers but like don’t be a dick about it.

If you don’t know what shuffling is, it’s this thing that was cool in 2012 that gave white kids the opportunity to break-dance to House music without having to appear in a Missy Elliot music video. Nowadays, it’s become another YouTube phenomenon where anyone can profit from recording themselves in their step-mom’s backyard on an iPhone4. People around the world literally post themselves shuffling and get more sponsors than a child-star on Ellen. These “shufflers” get so competitive with their stomping and such and then try to sell me pre-workout. This is not Crossfit. Please leave me alone. Just sell your Bang energy drinks and move on. At least all my therapist tries to sell me is her e-Book.

I know I’m acting salty. I swear I’m not mad. It’s just that I don’t know what costs more, a night at the Brooklyn Mirage or an hour with my shrink. This stuff should all be free. At either event, I receive unsolicited advice and a hug at the end. Maybe some tears, who knows. Music festivals can be an amazing experience, as long as you don’t get mono from sharing everyone’s Camelback. Therapy is also a great release. I just feel like, with all the wild/exciting stories I tell mine, she should be paying me. But this is America, so I will continue to pay $200/hour to tell someone about how I went crowd-surfing at a Diplo set and got in a fight with the man in the Halal truck at 4 am. Tragic.

Stop Selling Me Things

By: Ali Benz

Has anyone ever had to Venmo a homeless person? I have. Not having cash is no longer an adequate excuse. The ease of sending money makes everything super awkward, like when I have to donate to a cause on Facebook for a birthday every other day so I can sleep at night. Between Paypal, Zelle, and online shopping there are no limits.  You can literally sell anything. Whether it’s a product, an idea, or an app—someone’s buying. People want the next best thing even if it’s dumb af. You can literally put your trash on Etsy and call it a “Vintage Dream-Catcher” then suddenly some weirdo in Colorado is paying your rent.

I know everyone has seen those stupid Scooters around town for people who can’t afford Uber. That’s already pretty f*cking weird, but now I’m seeing pogo-sticks. You can hop your ass to work now. I was a professional pogo-sticker back in ‘02, but best believe you won’t catch me on one of those today. Pogos are absolutely not a method of transportation and make literally no sense. Imagine if you didn’t have the right backpack on—or bra. I’m so disturbed. Please, no more bouncing. Bring back Heely’s.

If you commute to work like a normal person, you probably need a decent night’s rest. Everyone has insomnia these days because it’s like, “in”. Super irritating considering I haven’t been able to sleep for years but now everybody wants to talk about it. Luckily, people capitalize on trends immediately and sell weird products on the internet to my mom. First, it was CBD oil. Now, it’s f*cking lavender? What? I told my mother I couldn’t sleep and she sent me a jar of lavender to lather myself in. It never put me to sleep but I do smell like a f*cking candle. Usually when I can’t go to bed my friends give me five melatonin and a Benadryl and hope I STFU. It doesn’t work either but at least I don’t turn into a plant.

Speaking of transforming, can everyone please stop downloading the FaceApp? Why are you so obsessed with posting pics of yourselves as old people? Your day will come. I legit never once wondered what any of my friends would look like at age eighty. Also, I don’t get why celebs insist on aging themselves in the app, too? No one cares what you look like Ludacris—I didn’t even know you weren’t that old. Please be more relevant. And seriously, Jonas Brothers? Why’d you do Kevin dirty like that?! He was already the least interesting to look at then they went and gave just him one of those creepy skin tags. Tragic.

When the internet isn’t targeting face-tuners, they pray on the over-weight. Forever 21 sent Atkins bars with plus-size orders as part of a master marketing plan that certainly wouldn’t be offensive. What do these people think, their XL customers will be flattered to receive subpar diet bars with their jeggings? That they’ll start buying Atkins products because the most disorganized clothing company in the world suggested it? Taking diet advice from a Forever 21 is like taking dating advice from Tiger Woods: It just doesn’t work.

Unfortunately, the FBI agents in our phones will continue to stalk us and bombard us with ads for exactly what we want. You can’t escape it. Instagram will target you. Amazon will find you. Don’t drink and Prime. You might just end up with two pashminas in the middle of July.

Stop Glorifying Mental Disorders

By: Ali Benz

 

A wise, bi-polar man once said, “I’m a sick f*ck, I like a quick f*ck.” Due to his trendy, mental disorder, Mr. Kanye West was able to rap this line for a whopping two minutes and produce a chart-topper. Tragic.

The only people that I hate more than people about to go on Birthright are people that have just returned from birthright. No, Rachel, I don’t want to hear about your new found love for falafel or how you got felt up by an Israeli soldier on the back of a camel. But my hatred of pre and post birthright talk has recently been trumped by a new category: Our generation’s obsession with romanticizing mental disorders. I think it’s great that people are finally having this conversation and normalizing these feelings, but it’s being minimized into a hip fad just like double popped Abercrombie polos and cargo pants that zip off into shorts.

 

Leave it to Kanye West to profit off of being depressed AF. Ye recently described his bi-polar as a “superpower”, which I think is admirable that he was able to reclassify a negative stereotype into a positive, but unless he’s about to lace the new Yeezy Boosts with Prozac, he needs to be careful. The rapper has a giant platform and a huge support network unlike most. Those struggling with a mental disorder should be taught how to address it without fame, and those that don’t possess one should know it’s not something you can just catch and release like mono freshman year of college. You are not going to get a record deal and a Kardashian just because you’re manic. Shortly after West and other celebs opened up about their mental state, I got a text from a friend saying “Do you think  I have bi-polar?” To which I replied, “No, you’re just annoying.” But I’m not a doctor.

 

Speaking of doctors, I saw my physician the other day for my yearly every 5 year check-up (whoops). At the end of the sesh, she handed me a paper and said we should do a quick, regulatory depression test. Just for fun, I guess? She turned her back (for maximum privacy) and I looked down at the multiple choice quiz that would determine my mental health. LOL. The answers consisted of five levels of smiley faces that ranged from aggressive frowning to psychopathic grin. It felt kind of like a trick test, so I filled it in the same way I did every scantron senior year, “C’s” across the board, except for a few questions I found judgmental like, “Are you tired?” To which I chose a rare “E” for “Yes I’m f*cking tired.” Next question. Anyway, my point is, these doctors are so quick to diagnose and prescribe. I guess I thought the “C” smiley was giving more of a flirty smirk than a slanty cry for help, and now I’ve got a brand new Rx.

 

The glorification of mental disorders needs to seriously chill. So many struggle with depression and anxiety that can’t just be cured by the “Ye” album, even as soothing as Kid Cudi’s humming may be. This needs to be an open discussion and not a scapegoat or ambition. Also, WebMD is not your friend, it’ll just tell you that you’re dying, just like every time you dramatically search the symptoms of the common f*cking cold. Relax. You need to pay a hot, young psychiatrist $250 an hour to talk about your sh*t for ten minutes. Or you can, like, see someone ugly on your insurance. Either way. Handle it.