Writer | Editor
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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Magic Eye Posters Are Still Cool, Right?

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: March 2015

Welcome, nerds! This is my last column ever… for Synthesis anyway. I’m sure with my impressive portfolio I’ll immediately be snapped up by one of the greats, like The National Enquirer or Dog Fancy. Actually, if any of you “know a guy” there, hook it up. I could write the shit out of a column about fancy dogs. Anyway, the question is now, what’s the best way to wrap up my eight year writing streak here? Let’s review my options, shall we?

Option #1: Briefly discuss the badly written piece in the CNR from last week which lobbed a few ineffectual and thinly veiled insults our way. I’m all for a good scathing retrospective, but if you’re going to go for it, don’t just toss the “aging hipsters” card in an underhanded throw over the plate. I mean, c’mon! You have so much better material to work with! Remember our Ganga Giri cover? That shit was terrible. Instead you brand us (and our readers) “aging hipsters?” Serious side question though, what the fuck is a “hipster?” That word is (almost) as overused and banal as the phrase “that’s so gay.” I saw “hipster” being heavily used a while back (and occasionally still utilized by those who were tragically born without an imagination) in situations where there are feelings of insecurity afoot. Specifically, feelings of not being “cool” enough, or thinking others are acting cooler than they really are. In recent years, though, the rampant overuse has watered it down so much that now it basically just means “white person.” But hey CNR, no need to be insecure! We’re on the brink of fading into obscurity, and now you can resume covering the hard-hitting stuff, like those riveting stories on local council members. Titillating.

Option #2: Admonish the denizens of Chico for not better valuing the creative output and endeavors of our town. Truly, if there’s something I hope sticks in your brain pipe after today, it’s the importance of voting with your presence and participation, as well as with your money. Since our inception 21 years ago, we’ve covered a pretty vast range of material, but the backbone of our publication has always been supporting the local music scene. We’re lucky here in Chico, in that there’s a strong intersection of enthusiasm and creativity, within a relatively safe environment to cultivate original projects. But I think we suffer from the delusion that Chico is a liberal place in which we can tread the proverbial water here, and all our favorite things will survive without our input or engagement. Even if you feel that the only good Synthesis news was regarding our impending collapse, if you live here it’s fairly safe to assume that at some point you’ve enjoyed local music, festivals or art shows. In short, this applies to you. I think with the onrushing of the technological age has come a sense that our world is boundless, which subsequently induced a feeling that our active participation matters less. Our attention is pulled in a seemingly endless number of directions, and we forget that to preserve Chico entities, we have to back them. Whether that’s supporting your favorite local bands by attending their shows, coming to art openings, or (cue eye roll in 3…2…1…), advertising in local print media, it’s important to show up for the things you want to keep around.

Option #3: Fill my column space with a Magic Eye Poster-style piece of me riding an eagle and giving you all the middle finger.

JK guys. In all seriousness, before I bid you farewell, I’d just like to say thank you. Thank you for reading, and thank you for giving us feedback (whether it was positive or negative), it was always genuinely appreciated. Zooey, out.

Arielle Mullen