It's September -- time for a new novel. Check out Mondegreen, first 10% already complete and worth a look.
This month it's all about the new novel. Check it out at http://mondegreen2.livejournal.com
me: I'm back into fighting with the creepy obsessive gay-friendly Torchwood people I was telling you about last week. The ones that think jerking off to boys-kissing manga or giggling about which household appliances the bisexual lead character might fuck means they're tolerant gay rights activists.
me: My friend that wrote the thing was like, "It's not armies of gay people screaming about this, it's like nine hysterical women on the internet."
me: Which is true, and they are all that lady. There is not actually a controversy here.
me: So I was like, "Hands up if you're NOT an overweight lonely internet loser who writes buttrape fan fiction."
me: "Got any fags in the audience? Shout out, brother. Daddy needs BACKUP." Silence.
me: They were like, "How DARE YOU. My cousin's sister WORKS with a gay guy!"
me: Okay, well he better get his ass on the internet because you are making him look BAD.
me: "Calling us 'hysterical women' is misogynist! I will not longer be illegally downloading his television shows! I am an ACTIVIST!"
me: Um, STOP BEING HYSTERICAL and then people won't LAUGH at you. It's not because you're a woman, it's because you're a retard who desperately needs friends that aren't in the TV or on the internet.
me: "I resent the implication that everyone having this hissy fit is a straight woman who writes fan fiction."
me: "If you are NOT a straight woman who writes fan fiction, again, raise your hand."
me: The entire internet is like, "I can't do that. BUT I AM VERY OFFENDED BY SOMETHING."
me: Guess I shouldn't have drunk half a bottle of champagne. I'm going to take a shower and hopefully stay off the internet.
I GOT A PROBLEM WITH TERMINATOR SALIVATION I'M LIKE PAVLOV'S DOG OVER HERE
he: okay let's make a date
he: can you wait till monday to see the movie?
NO. I can wait TWO HOURS to see the movie. So wrap it up.
he: I got three hours of sleep last night. I'm not good for much of anything today
John Connor needs you. John Connor doesn't wanna hear about no three hours sleep.
he: I know. John Connor hasn't slept since Skynet
John Connor knows that Robots Don't Sleep at all. They're robots. So you're three hours more of a pussy than robots. Those three hours matter. Thanks for killing America, Will.
he: I know, I know. tomorrow maybe?
No. The future called. This is John Connor talking to you: "Am I going to walk around and rip your fucking lights down in the middle of a scene? Then why the fuck are you sleeping right through it? Ah-da-da-dah, like this, with your cats. What the fuck is it with you? What don't you fucking understand? You got any fucking idea about, hey, it's fucking distracting having somebody sleeping in the middle of the fucking war against the killer robots? Give me a fucking answer! What don't you get about it?"
he: I was sleepy!
John Connor says, "Ohhhhh, goooood for you. And how was it? I hope it was fucking good, because it's useless now, isn't it? Fuck's sake man, you're amateur. McG, you got fucking something to say to this prick?"
And McG just shakes his head and looks at you.
And he's dead, because now it's the future. McG is dead because you couldn't pull it together.
he: but I have to reconsider all my prejudices about metal because now the new terminator movie is battlestar
I think it's going to be more like Funniest Home Videos.
"This robot was playing the piano and then got hit in the nards!" Awwww. "This robot tried to sleep on the people bed and use the people toilet. This robot pretended to play violin!" Awww. "Robots! They think they're people!" Awwww.
I just read your short review of Observe and Report on the American Idol recap, and I have to say I'm really disappointed. If by "Seth Rogen finds new ways to be wonderful, and heartbreaking" you mean "finds new ways to justify date rape", then I would agree with your statement. It's terribly depressing to me to see men loving this film, since it really does contribute to a rape culture where it might be okay to rape an unconscious woman because she a) drinks a lot and b) mumbles something about wanting it. For someone like Seth Rogen, who is intelligent, rich, and privileged, with a number of frat pack men referencing him constantly, it was an unfortunate move on his and Jody Hill's part to make that scene in that film. The movie isn't going to make someone who previously thought date rape was bad all of a sudden think it's good, but it might reinforce the area of "gray rape" a lot of sketchy men believe in.
And to see someone who writes recaps for a site that I often go to in order to see these large problem areas of our culture dismantled and analyzed, support such a film, is upsetting to me.
Thanks for your insight! Next time I rape a girl, I'll be sure to give Seth Rogan proper credit.
You fucking idiot.
Me: Yeah, that song is called "Truly Madly Deeply," and it's by Savage Garden. They also sang the chicken cherry cola song.
Him: That information, you accessed it very easily.
Me: It's one of the Leery/Clifton Nuptials songs.
Me: For when I marry Dawson Leery.
Him: That guy on your mousepad? That fictional guy?
Me: Um, yeah?
Y: I thought it would be, like, "Fade Into You."
Me: No, that's for when I dance with my Dad, at the wedding.
Him, Y, Me: ...Whoa.
Crazy Person Hatemail: Had to stop reading your latest full recap the second time you used "White" as an epithet. What's up with the anti-white racism? I know, I know, it's trendy. My nine year old kid already wants to know why movie bad-guys always look just like him - blonde hair and blue eyes.
Me, Too Wiped Out To Explain Why This is Retarded: Cry me a river, you bigot.
Crazy Person: Talk about projection. Fuck you too, dude. In spades.
Me, Possibly Not Making Great Choices, But Beyond Done: You know, it's hateful trash like you that give white people a bad name. I feel really sorry for your kid. Please stop bothering me.
Crazy Person: You defame people by skin color and call me a bigot? I make a point of not categorizing folks by race and that makes me hateful trash? Get some help, dude, seriously. That hostility can't be healthy.
So, in summation:
1) To call the established patriarchical structure "Old White Men" is in fact a hate crime.
2) Anti-white racism -- despite being a logical impossibility -- is not only "trendy" but prevalent. This results in such horrible traumas as reading the phrase "Old White Men" in your free entertainment...
3) ...And, worse, having to explain the painful truth to your blonde, blue-eyed male child that despite being automatically granted access to global wealth and authority on such a massively obvious scale that it's disgusting, nobody can protect him from that fact that blonde, blue-eyed people occasionally appear in films, and that in a fractional number of these cases well out of proportion to all fucking history, white people will sometimes be represented as the aggressor in these films.
4) Ignoring this inane shit -- or laughing out loud at it -- is a sign of unhealthy hostility.
5) That equating this with the struggles of actual fucking minorities is such a color-blind step in the right direction that you can claim with a straight face -- while emailing strangers racist bullshit for no reason from your K-Mart computer -- that you make a point of not categorizing "folks" by race.
Sometimes hatemail makes me wonder how I can be better. And sometimes, it makes me wonder how I can be worse. This one's inspiring indeed.
me: the wire
me: I need to watch S3 and I need a buddy to do so.
Andy: perhaps this coming week?
me: I'm been trying for the last hour to psych myself up to take a shower.
me: It might turn into a bath if my cold decides that being vertical is too much trouble.Andy: I gave up and am dirty today
me: We are a couple of sad dicks.
Do you believe gay and lesbian individuals are fairly represented in contemporary pop culture? Are there certain programs you find more successful at representing gays and lesbians? What about less successful, stereotypical, or damaging representations?
I believe that gay and lesbian individuals are represented in contemporary pop culture in the same way that they are experienced socially, and vice versa. If anything, the greater concentration of gay and gay-friendly writers in Hollywood means that more gay-themed stories make it under the wire. On the other hand, a savvy creator of Hollywood product knows that reaching a greater audience means including these themes in a way that won't be outright ignored by the majority of Americans. Often this results in facile or overly stereotypical representations of gays and lesbians, but just as often it produces an effect of more relaxed and personally understandable relatibility.
Harvey Milk said something like "They only need to know one," speaking of breaking down the social barriers and strictures on gay Americans; the most successful television and film representations of gay and lesbian Americans manage to create this sympathetic feeling without stooping to buffoonish or stereotypical cartoons -- or infantilizing the representations in question -- in this pursuit.
The latter is, I think, the major question we need to ask ourselves today as a culture: why are gay men in particular so typically neutered and rendered childlike in our cultural representations of them, and how does this interact with the behavior of real living gay men? The answers, and if necessary solutions, would I believe go further in creating tolerance and acceptance for gay men and women, as well as those of nontypical or unorthodox gender.
Have you seen an evolution in the representation of gays and lesbians in popular film and television?
I definitely think this is an ongoing project, but you can see a pretty heavy line separating the pre-Ellen (the talk show particularly), pre-Will & Grace trends in gay representation, and what came after that in our popular culture. I think Ellen and Rosie O'Donnell -- in representing themselves through the talk show medium, without any scripted storyline or plot points to get across, in a daily format that brought them into America's homes every single morning -- did more on their shows (and Rosie later on The View) than any other experiment in recent popular culture. Those two comforting, funny, self-deprecating, real portrayals of lesbian women have had long-term effects on the representation of gays and lesbians in other contexts; they are the very definition of "you only need to know one."
Another turning point in America would be the return to sexualized gay characters, like those on The L Word, Queer As Folk or Brothers & Sisters, who manage to retain stable, healthy same-sex relationships that manage to be palatable and relatable without the Bowdlerization or stereotypical shallowness of their earlier Will & Grace counterparts. Portraying sexually aware and healthy gay men and women is a huge part of overcoming the next phase in gay acceptance, which I see as a willingness to accept the fact that sexual identity includes -- or should include -- the willingness to involve oneself actively in sexual and romantic relationships. I see this evolution happening now, and I think it problematizes the infantilization of gays and lesbians in a healthy way for our culture.
Do you believe a correlation exists between gay and lesbian representation and mainstream Americas tolerance level for gays and lesbians?
I certainly do, but I think the qualities and traits of the portrayals themselves are more important than the mere fact of them. There have been representations of gays and lesbians in pop culture since comics and radio were invented -- were they helpful or harmful? I think the trap, for gays of the last few decades, is being so hungry for representation that any sort will do.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy did an admirable job in redeeming itself for what was essentially an unrealistic and stereotypical view of gays as Happy Homemaking Fairies playing second-fiddle to the true romance between men and women -- what would you say to a show in which stereotypical Asian students are brought in to teach white people calculus or organic chemistry? -- but, as with Ellen and Rosie, there are certain lines that cannot be crossed in that context.
The Fab Four barely have interior lives, and though their jeans are tight and they are very beautiful for the most part, it's hard to believe they have sex or home lives with partners like you and me. That's the danger of representing them as contingent on the lives of straight couples -- or, in the case of the daytime lesbians, as one-on-one friends with no more emotional or off-stage life than Martha Stewart. Difference being, Martha's ivory-tower Queen archetype is a choice she's made, while being a sexless daytime lesbian shooting rubber toys at the audience, or dancing goofily and alone, is the best of a limited number of options.
I believe that diversity is always good. However, to be content with quantity and not quality of these representations, and thus to condition ourselves to the more comfortable roles they create in society, is to walk a dangerous path. Social conditioning exists in order to rub off our rough edges and make us fit in better, and so I think a lot of us go along with the infantilizing Queer Eye or sexless Clay Aiken archetype, perhaps unconsciously, because our societal experiences have taught us that it's better to hide the adult, sexual parts of ourselves. A show that plays into those stereotypes -- Jack McFarlane comes to mind -- conditions straight and gay people alike to expect that behavior, while shoving all the messier and more abruptly sexual parts of ourselves aside.
Concerning "Brokeback Mountain" - how do you rate the film, as a film?
Brokeback Mountain is a beautiful, lyrical and literary film. The acting is first-rate, the emotions are unsettlingly relatable, it's visually stunning from the first moment, the characters are real and believable (to a detrimental degree in some cases!) and it accomplishes two very important things: First, rather than "just knowing one," we get to know two. They are both incredibly flawed and incredibly beautiful characters, who fatal faults lead to their destruction in a way that has little or nothing to do with sexuality. But at the same time, the sexual and romantic content of the film is unapologetic, starkly real, and travels the entire landscape of love and desire over the course of the film.
I think the beauty of the film can be traced to its classic motifs and structure, and the performances, while the excitement of it arises from the open-eyed treatment of its characters in as unromanticized, honest and compassionate a way as one could hope for any romance. I think the thing that sets Brokeback apart is that there is no subtext in its treatment of gay men, homosexuality or any other part of itself. It doesn't resort to a clear-the-decks trope of bisexuality, doesn't play into stereotypes or tropes, and yet we can easily sympathize with the characters no matter our own identity.
A major part of this is, I think, the attention paid to the other characters in the film: a great deal of queer cinema -- which Brokeback is not -- reduces its heterosexual characters to bit players and stereotypes as a way of foregrounding its gay characters, and that's not the case here. It's an equal dance between four very strong and indelible characters, whose separate tragedies amount to being in the wrong places at the wrong times, and falling in love. That's pretty much classic from Homer onwards.
Why do you think "Brokeback Mountain" gained the media attention it received? Was it warranted?
Pop culture media will always focus on high-profile gay stories, because much of the Hollywood press -- and infrastructure itself -- are made up of gay and gay-friendly people. Ang Lee is a well-respected, high profile director, who delivers beauty (at the least) every time. The story of the making of the film is a brilliant pitch in and of itself: blockbuster filmmaker develops a lesser literary short story by a woman known for quiet, often rural lapidary creations. You say "Gay Cowboy Romance," you've managed to intrigue pretty much every kind of person.
I don't know if the media attention was really all that centered on the quality of the film -- I'd be hard-pressed to say that the media attention even focused on the meaning of the film's existence beyond anything but the most facile, quasi-activist bumpersticker platitudes -- but either way it was awesome, and if all that jabber brought viewers to it, hopefully they learned something. About film, about love, about sex and gayness, and of course about themselves.
What do you think the legacy of "Brokeback Mountain" will be within popular culture - has it ushered in a new area of increased gay and lesbian story-telling, or was it a fluke, a lone "success" story?
More than anything, I would like to see the next large step take place in a world past the '70s stereotypes (drag, promiscuity, drug use, angst) we see in many of these stories. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist was a brilliant and lovely film whose central cast included three gay teen characters playing against most, if not all, of the usual stereotypes we usually associate with gay representation -- and even when certain well-trod ground was brought up, it managed to tell the joke or story in a way that definitely suggested a post-modern wink attached.
I always thought, in the late '90s, that the Blair Witch phenomenon was pretty worthless. Good movie, but not a doorbuster because it couldn't be repeated. The gimmick of that film can be reinterpreted, and can inspire other post-structuralist approaches to film, but the central throughline is a one-shot pony (unless you consider the most important narrative point to be the marketing for the film, which has been repeated every way imaginable and pretty much was created by that movie). So my question about classics has always been, "Is this repeatable?" For Brokeback Mountain, I think the answer is not only Yes, but that it absolutely must be.
If you're looking for the future of gays in cinema, you're looking at the stories of the next generation: Nick & Norah, even Brothers & Sisters take pains to portray gay characters as part of a larger world, in which the defining moment is not Stonewall or AIDS but Cobain's death, Clinton's and Bush's presidencies, the Iraq War. I think we're continuing to see our cultural references mesh and recombine in a way that wouldn't have made sense in the '70s.
For every exclusionist "Project Rungay" reference there are just as many ad hoc measures taken culturally -- such as the brief metrosexuality and Riot Grrl trends -- in which neither "culture" is absorbing parts of the "other," per se: just enjoying the same things without preferencing sexuality and sexual identity as a more significant difference than any other. Brokeback did it, and that is, I think the vector it will perpetrate. And that's the greatest legacy I can think of, frankly. To be not only viewed as adults, but to somehow cross the line of the Other are the two things that gays and lesbians must accomplish in the next decade, and it's going to take everybody to get there.
(To a 23yo college student who asked.)
What's actually hard to believe is that I still don't have a good answer. I figured once I got all my books onto the bookshelves and properly sorted, I would easily be able to make the list. Seven years later and I just bought bookshelves this weekend, so... This is off the top of my head. These are the things that come into play when I write about [the super-intense stuff she was talking about], off the bat. I should really make additions to this list and make it a blog entry so I won't feel so guilty about leaving the emails unanswered.
- My favorite fiction writers/essayists are David Foster Wallace (essays, short stories, Infinite Jest), George Saunders (everything), Douglas Coupland (most everything), Ursula LeGuin (particularly The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed), Gregory Maguire (particularly every single one of his YA and childrens' books, Wicked, Stepsister, Mirror Mirror and the newest one), Margaret Atwood (everything including poetry), and everything available from Erika Lopez, Philip Pullman, Anne Tyler, EF Benson, and Jane Austen. I steal liberally from the language and style of all of them about equally.
Girl by Blake Nelson and Harriet the Spy by Fitzhugh are two books I constantly revisit. There is a four-year intensive course in philosophy and sociology contained in that book, it's effing brilliant. Also The Secret History by Donna Tartt and anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald: they teach you secrets about the world that are true and will always be true. Oh, and you have to read something (or everything) by Walker Percy. Nobody knows his name except the people who do, and they light up all insane if you say it to them, because they know what transcendent literature is actually like. And John Barth andDon DeLillo if you like word games.
- Ninety percent of what I know, what I think I know, and the rest of the language comes from comics. If you can handle that, check these people out. Lynda Barry (all), Grant Morrison (Doom Patrol, Invisibles and, weirdly, New X-Men), Neil Gaiman (practically everything), Peter Milligan (Shade, Girl and Enigma all changed my life completely), Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan and The Authority), Jaime and Gilberto Hernandez, and of course Alan Moore. As weird as it sounds, most of my religious and philosophical beliefs come from these people. There were all these studies done in the '60s about how they tried to teach soldiers things in all these different ways and the best way they could remember complicated things (such as philosophy) was through reading words plus images: comics. Comics about killing people, taking over countries, etc. Point being that it worked. If you're completely weirded out by the world of comics, I would suggest Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, which is like a recap of the history of the form. I'm not so much a fan of comics as a fan of particular people who happen to write comics, I guess. (As you can see, I'm really defensive about this, which is one of the reasons I don't answer your question very often, but comic book writers tend to be closer to and shape my mindset, beliefs, etc than anything else -- and most of them are operating from being turned on by previous comic writers.)
- Actual nonfiction... You must immediately read three things. If you can't get through them, put them aside and try again soon: Ego & Archetype by Edinger (it's a fun read, actually), Writing Down The Bones/Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg, and Ursula LeGuin's translation of the Tao Te Ching.
- Subversive stuff: Anything by Disinformation Press, anything by Jason Louv if you can find it, Steal This Book by Hoffman; The Good Terrorist (Lessing) and Kathy Acker's fiction; Burroughs and Ginsberg; the movies V For Vendetta and The Nines;
- Know your mythology, that's a huge one if you don't already. It's not all Ren Faire dorks, it's actually the secret codes of the universe. First Greek, then Roman, then fairytales (Grimm -- originals, mind, the effed-up ones -- Han Christian Andersen, and Oscar Wilde), then everything else.
- Psychology/Sociology/Literary Theory: Joseph Campbell, obviously! Try to get through at least one Carl Jung and one Marie-Louise Von Franz anthology/easy-reader introductory survey; Robert Scholes is the greatest Reading teacher of all time, even better than Harold Bloom; Helene Cixous is a good adjunct on your way to Derrida, Foucault and the post-structuralists (Barthes, Kristeva and Lacan, but really Barthes is enough), but you can stop at any time after Scholes if you don't care about that stuff.
Then there's Goddesses In Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen, King Warrior Magician Lover by Moore/Gillette, Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Estes and Iron John by Robert Bly, which are all part of this '90s pop psych movement that people laugh at now, but they honestly do give you a good way into the thornier parts of that ... place where stories matter. The Men's Movement/Women's Spirituality time of the mid-'90s was huge, but we don't talk about it anymore. Oh, and if you can EVER find anything by James Hillman or Michael Ventura, grab it.
Til We Have Faces by CS Lewis and The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie are -- besides the shows we're watching on TV! -- the two best ways of demonstrating what mythical truth looks like in other clothes. Basically, anything that makes over myth or fairytales for our brave new world is good news, because it shows you other ways of making the connection to the enternal stories that have shaped your life -- like how Devil Wears Prada is a retelling of the myth of Aphrodite. Once you are able to see these echoes the stories give you a guide to what happens next, what will work and won't, etc.
I think that's it, actually. Those things plus experience and intuition, but yeah. Well actually that looks like a lot. But I would say those are all the things in my head when I sit down to write, which is what you asked, so... The rest is lyrics and music and interviews with musicians: Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, The Killers' Sam's Town, Radiohead, Metric, Imogen Heap/Frou Frou, Sufjan Stevens and the Britpop band Sleeper are the biggest ones off the top of my head that have made me think differently (separate from liking the music or not, which obviously I do anyway).
...Wow. That's way longer than I thought. Bored yet?
Edit one: Lipstick Traces (before the littleblackcats beat me to it) and Rabelais & His World, duh.
Angela Carter's fairytales and either Wise Children or Nights At The Circus.
"Goodbye Horses" is not that great a song.
I was thinking if I listened to it enough times, it would reveal its beauty to me like the tucked-in candy of a cannibal serial killer.
me: That's what I was just doing. Kind of the same deal really.
William: That's kind of how I felt when I met you Jacob
William: I was like "You have super human writing abilities. Extraordinary drinking skills. I know what you are."
William: "what are you some kind of pussy? are you scared?"
William: "Only scared of losing you"
me: OMG you are genius.
Dad: We were staying at a hotel halfway up Knob Hill. I don't like San Francisco particularly.
Shirley: Halfway up. And at the top of the hill there was this lovely fountain, and you didn't propose to me, even though it was the perfect situation…
Dad: Shut up.
Shirley: It couldn't have been more romantic, and I waited and waited…
Dad: Shut up. If I had known I was supposed to…
Shirley: But you didn't.
Dad: Shut up.
Dad: That hill was steeper than I remember.
Shirley: Maybe that's why.
Shirley: There was an effeminate gay man in the street.
Dad: Right in the middle of the street.
Shirley: And he kept yelling, "Leon! Get in the car!"
Dad: But he wouldn't get in the car.
Shirley: "Leon! Get in the car! Help me get Leon in the car!"
Dad: For hours. He wouldn't do it. Leon wasn't interested.
Shirley: We laid in bed. I wanted to shout. "Leon! Get in the fucking car!"
Dad: But instead we went to sleep. I don't think his name was Leon.
Shirley: It was something weird. Something San Francisco and gay, like Leon.
Shirley: That's not weird.
"...Death is lonely. You're the only one walking through that door. At some point, you retreat from the world and the people around you, and that's the moment you walk through the door. Into the unknown. Maybe nothing. Lonely."
This wasn't exactly comforting.
"But this little girl is there, with them. With all of them. She's there to say goodbye. They're lucky."
"Everybody dies. She's making it easier. And she'll remember them forever. Every single one of them. This is love."
"Palestine Berlin Jerusalem Lithuania Niger three teenagers in the alley after school they don't know it's live there's a girl in a bedroom writing goodbye in her diary there's a girl in a bathroom and her heart's about to stop…"
Tears began to run down the girl's face; she bent to her task, steeling her back against it, curling up in her chair against it. But she kept talking.
This is love.
I have this theory about television, specifically popular television drama. Shows that are wildly popular -- not cult programs, but seriously nationwide popular -- have a thing that they give us. You go back to the same restaurant twice a month because you expect a certain dish or a certain flavor, right, so what keeps people coming back? What is the quality it feeds? What it is giving up in favor of keeping that flavor?
Take Lost: the emotionless brainteaser factor, I think. I said once that Battlestar was the opposite of 24 because on that show, all the people act like robots and you don't care about their feelings, while with BSG, all the robots act like people and you do. I think it's true about Lost, too: a drama for the Asperger's generation, in which social cues and emotional responses don't really matter (although every show will have its shippers and hated/beloved characters) as long as you've got a problem to solve. Most popular sentiments of disillusionment with Lost have to do with the idea that they don't know where it's going, secretly, and that they're making it up as they go, which speaks to the feeling that the show is not providing the necessary positive reinforcement to say, yes, you're continuing to figure it all out, here's another clue. Press the lever and get a cookie.
Or, and this is key to the question I'm asking you today, take The West Wing. The one thing you could count on with that show was a feeling of hope. Pride, and the lush sharp joy of the language, but mostly hope, and pride. The concept that everything is going to be okay can be revolutionary, when things are not okay and seem to be getting worse. I think that TWW would do pretty well today, when we're all kind of caught in this Obama wave of trying to convince each other to have hope and not feel gay about it.
I mean, Buffy was a cult show, but it always grows in popularity all the time. I'm not sure what you get from that show week-to-week, but there's a disillusionment again in the sixth and seventh seasons that I think stems from Buffy herself becoming fallible. It's brilliant, and necessary, but in terms of the overall popularity of the show, I think that was the killer. One of the reasons the Christ myth is such a big deal is that we go through his life story on a constant basis: glory, betrayal, complete dismemberment. It's the reason every hero goes to the underworld, because it's telling our stories back to us. So when Buffy starts fucking up, as she does throughout the last two seasons, that's a lot like us fucking up, and who wants to watch that? Lots of people, but not as many.
So I'm going to be recapping Generation Kill for TWoP in a couple of weeks. Reason number one is that I asked for it because I liked the title. Reason number two I'm actually excited is that I've loved military stuff since I was a kid; it's one of the reasons I get so immersed in BSG when I'm writing about it. It's a headspace that can be hard to get into, for some, but it's something that makes a lot of sense to me. A lot of my most avid readers -- and thus avid fans of the show itself -- are ex-military. The few times I've gone to BSG presentations at the Alamo, you can see them in the audience, these silver brush-cut guys that show up alone, at midnight, and leave alone two hours later. That's love. And a lot of them have reached out to me, all through BSG and now to say thanks for writing about GK. I thought it was surprising for awhile, but now I think I get it.
Whenever anybody says something is "just good," with no qualifications or explanations, that's a flag that you're dealing with people's actual inside-the-head stuff. That hope, or that BrainAge-disguised-as-TV, or that quasifeminist messianic superhero.
Why do I like The West Wing? Because it's awesome. Why Buffy or BSG (or Gossip Girl)? Shut up, they'll say: it's because it's so great. What else do you need to know?
I'm reading the book GK is based on, and the books by and about the guys the story is about. But I never watched The Wire, although of course it was the first thing on my syllabus... And now I'm not sure if I should.
If it's emotionless like Lost, I'm not interested ... Five seasons of brilliant and hard-hitting gritty municipal politics starring scarred men with hideous underbellies. The Sopranos started boring me well before you might think. But if it's a West Wing... You see what I'm saying?
So to the Wire viewers reading this: what is the dominant theme of the show? What key is it written in? I don't care how intricate or realistic it is, I just want to know: are they robots or are they people? What is the nutritive thing that keeps people coming back to the show?
You're saying to yourself, "Jacob, you have gone crazy. What is this, Eurovision up in here?"
No. It is Annie. I am obsessed with Annie. Not as a gay, but as a person who is still addicted to her first album, which came out approximately a thousand years ago. She's like if you put Imogen Heap in that machine from Clockwork Orange and just left it running forever. She likes bright colors and shiny things: so do I! We are twins! She's like if you injected an adorable infant with advertising and that God stuff from Southland Tales. And that's exactly how she makes me feel: like a strange baby, driving drunk through a disco shopping mall that never ends.
Remember how wonderful you were in 1998, caught between this thing and that thing. Nobody was ever as ironic as you were in 1998. This is the result. I can't stop listening, it's like fucking Ginger Spice while Liz Phair smokes pot in the next room. I loved you then and I love you now. The mp3 is easy to find.
You are now officially never going to be the biggest asshole you know. In case you sometimes, as I do, wonder.
me: I am watching the most awesome movie right now, Will. I cannot believe how good it is. I want to watch it over and over.
William: what is it?
me: Normal Adolescent Behavior: Havoc 2. It is on Lifetime.
me: It is a non-stop trainwreck. It is so brilliant I can't even believe it. It's better than She's Too Young! It's even better than cyber seduction: His Secret Life. I wouldn't just say that. It's got Kelly Lynch! As a MILF that the little gay brother falls in love with. Kelly Lynch is all, "You can cook for me any time, Nathan." He's like 12 and already tried to go down on her son like five times.
me: Meanwhile his sister the main character is constantly fucking her five friends. One of whom is Stephen from Laguna Beach. A real person in a fake movie about a real life gang of people like this that got turned into a fake show! I can't believe it!
William: did you write this one night when you were drunk and forgot?
me: I KNOW RIGHT
me: I am not a genius though and I would not have had Joan Of Arcadia as the main character. That would not have occurred to me. I would probably have just assumed Bijou Phillips.
me: OMG "Remember when you used to cut yourself with a razor blade? You thought you were a vampire all through eighth grade! And Jonah and Robert have been sleeping together for three years! And what about how Ann's mother used to tie her hands together so she wouldn't touch herself anymore? And I pissed myself at the spelling bee in fifth grade!"
me: This movie is so amazing.
William: was that a quote from the movie you're watching now?
me: Yeah, that is the speech that Amber Tamblyn just gave in the middle of study hall. I almost peed! I'm downloading the closed-captions for it as we speak! I just put this movie on my Amazon Wishlist! I want to meet the writer/director!
me: This is identical to my own high school experience!
PS It's possible that this is porn but without the porn part. Mostly. Mostly without the porn part.
Chad says this is what all porn should be like. I think it's what everything should be like.
Play it now.
Well, my birthday was excellent. At the restaurant, and several times later, everyone sang the theme song of The OC instead of "Happy Birthday." Which was excellent in one way, but weird in another way because unless those people saw the gift bags and the candle burning, the whole restaurant would have no choice but to assume I am going on a long trip. I like to be center stage but not under the false pretenses of travel. Afterwards, at the bar, a strange man bought me a lemon drop, a crackhead tried to purchase Maura the Stove from me for one red rose, and a marvelous tiny coked-up crewman with large sideburns kissed me over the fence, and then threw himself into traffic, he said, in my honor. He shouted to me from the hood of a Hummer and then came running back for a kiss. Finally, I made a boy cry, which was pretty sucky, but it worked out.
rosmar RULES! Happy birthday to me!
Full episodes online. Just watch it already.
No, it is not:
My google skills are failing me. Please send help.
ETA: Found it!
It goes by many names, fittingly enough:
What's intriguing is that I remembered the wheelchair, the gay panic, and the beach banquet, but totally forgot all about the fact that she magically wakes up with a penis one day, and her dad is totally psyched about it, while her mom is not that into it. Kind of like Seed Of Chuckie in reverse.
The worst part is that, being a different movie, there's no sign of that mean blonde guy from Karate Kid who always plays bullies, as in Just One Of The Guys. Sad.
The best part? The lady in it is Pamela Adlon, a longtime favorite of mine. She's the voice of Bobby Hill and she was on Unscripted and she played the wife on Lucky Louie! So totally right on, that she would be a teenage boy inspiring gay panic...
Best Headline Ever Written
God, I'm fucking obsessed with NYM.
People seem to really be digging this story, if you're interested.
"...If perhaps that is what marriage always was, to me: the opportunity to be alone and simultaneously not alone. I wonder if maybe I'm not a terrible person for finding this concept tremendously appealing..."
On Knees Up, a review: