Gen Y is a fascinating bunch, if we do say so ourselves. In that spirit, TNGG is proud to present a new, ongoing series in which one TNGG writer answers 10 Questions made up by other TNGG writers.
Name: Alex Pearlman
Location: Boston, Mass.
1. What book has most impacted who you are?
I’ve read a lot of books in my time, but Catcher in the Rye and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius both had a huge impact on me. When I read Catcher in the Rye, I was a little younger than Holden, I was sad, lost and in need of affirmation that I wasn’t alone. The latter impacted me because of Dave Eggers’ courage to put his life down on paper. I had fiddled with autobiographical writing, but it was that book that convinced me to go out and try to get published, which I then did.
2. If you unexpectedly received $100 today, what would you spend it on?
Probably booze and cigarettes, which is where most of my money goes. But I might also treat myself and a friend to a fancy dinner, meaning it would be a fancy place, and we would also wear fancy clothes – one of my favorite activities.
3. What are 5 brands/products that you can’t live without?
I cannot live without Boots lipbalm, my Black[Crack]Berry, Philadelphia whipped cream cheese with chives, H&M’s cheap accessories, and my iPod.
4. What are you most thankful to your parents/guardians for?
I was very lucky in that when I demanded I be allowed to take a year off after high school to move to Switzerland to find myself, my mom supported me financially. It was the best decision I ever made, and I’m so thankful for her incredible trust in me, which, at the time, was a leap of good faith.
5. What’s your favorite website/blog, and why is it so dang awesome?
Alright, this is slightly unfair, because I used to work there, but GlobalPost.com is reinventing the age-old idea of the foreign correspondent. The writers are embedded in their countries, they live there and work there, as opposed to commuting to the action from a bureau in Paris, Rio, or Moscow, and they cover everyday action on the ground with real finesse. GP is almost single-handedly bringing storytelling back to journalism. It is fucking awesome.
6. What’s the most “scandalous” thing you’ve ever done, that you’re willing to admit to the public?
When I was in my late teens (16-18), my friends and I used to break into other peoples’ pools when they weren’t home. We’d skinnydip and drink gross beer and listen to music. And, believe it or not, we were only chased by cops ONE TIME.
7. What have you done so far in life that you’re most proud of?
Well, I’m pretty damn proud of how this website is growing and how awesome it’s becoming. But on a more personal level, I’m really proud of myself for getting out of the small suburb I grew up in. It’s a goal that’s finally been really, truly achieved, after multiple attempts, starting from when I was about 11 years old.
8. What accomplishment (personal or professional) do you hope to achieve by the time you retire?
If I don’t have a Pulitzer Prize by the time I’m 65 years old, I’ll be pissed.
9. What is the #1 issue that you wish your peers would pay more attention to, or care more about?
Education. Ignorance is bliss, it’s true. But it’s unhealthy for a society and a democracy, especially one as volatile as this one. People graduating from university now have (on average!! Jeez, calm down!) what was an eighth grade reading level and sixth grade math level in the late 1960′s. We need to take charge of this and fix the system. We are apathetic and lethargic about learning and it’s depressing. To quote Aaron Sorkin, my future husband, “Education is everything. We don’t need little changes, we need gigantic, monumental changes. Schools should be palaces. The competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be making six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge to its citizens, just like national defense. That’s my position. I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet.”
10. What should older generations realize about our generation?
Despite all the pods and gadgets and headphones and ME ME ME attitude, we aren’t that different from you. Can’t you relate to The Breakfast Club? So can we. Didn’t you grow up with The Beatles and listen to them for the rest of your life? So did we. Aren’t you sick of bullshit politics in this country? So are we. Don’t you just want to be happy, make a contribution, and live your life well? Yeah. So do we.