Last night I watched Whitney, because, you know, and live-tweeted the experience, which was a bad one, but not like, the worst one of my life or anything. I think the worst “entertainment” experience of my life was Sex and the City 2, where I really felt myself on the verge of tears at a couple points, probably because my hatred for everything that was happening was filling my heart with actual poison. Whitney is not as bad as that. The most amazing thing about Whitney is how incredibly tired it feels—not just because it uses a “live studio audience” (Whitney even told us that, in lieu of theme song? Which was very uncomfortable, it felt like a challenge) and its multi-camera format (have we all, by the way, read this CRAZY THING? Wherein the executive producer of Whitney whines that NBC’s other Thursday night shows are snobby and muses “It’s like somehow it became cool to stop trying to be funny” when actually IT WAS NEVER COOL TO TRY TO BE FUNNY), but because of its actual jokes. In the first scene, Whitney asks her boyfriend if he has her phone (“Check”), her keys (“Check”), and her purse (“Not that whipped.”) Are people still saying “whipped”? Is this still the formula we’re using to understand and contextualize our relationships? It’s 2011, Whitney. At some point we’re going to have to evolve from “Take my wife, please.”
Anyway, I wasn’t really angry at Whitney besides the rape joke, which again, was just dumb and kind of creaky. Later, Kevin (who did not watch Whitney) told me that Whitney was not my enemy. Which is true. Like, don’t hate Whitney Cummings; hate this persona that she has for whatever reason decided to embrace. And maybe because of his empathy and wisdom, I had a series of Whitney-related dreams (nightmares?) last night, most of which just involved watching the show again, but in the last one, I met the male lead at a coffee shop, and found him disarming and kind, and worried that he’d find my disparaging Tweets and be hurt by them. I woke up feeling pretty bad about it.
“Reading a coming-of-age novel at the time of coming of age is one thing. (I owe much, for instance, to J.D. Salinger.) But perhaps the real magic lies in reading or re-reading it later, when it serves to remind us about the people we used to be. The teenage years are probably among the first where we are really aware of the people we are, and, later, the people we once were. Perhaps childhood doesn’t matter so much, except as an entity to leave behind. We read those novels and then we remember what we whispered and what we screamed, and we remember what we felt, then, at that age when it meant so much to feel.”—"Girlhood, Womanhood, Friendship, and Loss," Iza Wojciechowska
This is kind of a 9/11 post. I have this itch to write something about that thing that happened ten years ago this Sunday, and I’m trying my best to suppress it, because if there are two things the world really doesn’t need, they are 1) another 20-something’s first-person account of experiencing 9/11 from suburban New Jersey, and 2) more stories about me crying in public. Suffice it to say that—this will come as a surprise to maybe no one—I prefer the sort of flip responses to the emotionally charged ones, and I know that not everyone does and certainly “More 9/11 jokes!” isn’t exactly the campaign I want to head, or anything. But maybe now is as good a time as any to admit that when I first heard that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, I laughed—“What a terrible pilot!” is what I said, out loud, to other people in my French class—and that was a source of shame once I realized it had been done on purpose, and then a source of much boring introspection a little later (encapsulating, as it did, the pre-9/11 innocence of not expecting people to fly planes into buildings on purpose?), and now again it is a source of laughter, because what a dumb little kid I was and what a horrifying day that was and how glad I am to not still be living that day. Ten years have clarified absolutely nothing about the universe for me, except for the fact that there are relatively few things we have any power over at all, but I do know that we have the ability to choose how we will process the worst memories we have, and it’s okay to weep and it’s okay to turn off the TV and it’s okay to navel-gaze a little and it’s okay to laugh, too. In conclusion, come on people now smile on your brother everybody get together try to love one another right now.
I hate the way 90% of people utilize the internet, especially when they are utilizing it to “raise awareness” for breast cancer in a way that neglects to use the words “breast,” “cancer,” or “awareness.” Probably we are all aware by now that our friends who keep posting Facebook statuses about being “x weeks and craving x” are not pregnant so much as they are under the delusional impression that they are doing a good deed by blatantly but cryptically crying out for the attention of others? If not, take heed: these people are not your friends. These people are no one’s friends. If I one day I get breast cancer and someone close to me “supports” me by writing like, “I like it doggy-style on the flowerbed!” or whatever the meme is in the terrible future, I will murder said friend with my bare hands because they no longer deserve to live and maybe never did.
Here’s this slightly deranged thing I wrote for Hot Metal Bridge about learning to be full of yourself:
If I have learned one thing from the two-thirds of a graduate degree in fiction writing that I’ve completed so far, it’s that the odds are against my living the exact life I want to live, which is that of a wildly popular writer of short stories who resides in a castle and is served a steady stream of sandwiches by her solid gold robot butler while she lounges beside her champagne pool, arranging the money she’s made off of her theme park into neat stacks. I don’t know what to blame, exactly—one gets the sense that the amount of readers in the world is dwindling, due to reality television or Twitter or something, but at the same time, I can’t help noticing how many writers are out there. There are simply too many of us, and only so many castles.
“It wasn’t magical, it wasn’t romantic; it was just the two of us, doing what we normally did, in more-expensive dresses. But when I remember all of this, it’s her I remember. More than anything else about my high school years I remember the several thousand times we rode around town in her car, going to no particular destination, circling around on the highway and singing. It wasn’t cinematic and it wasn’t glamorous, and the two of us were the nerdiest nerds who ever nerded, and we were treated as such. But that didn’t stop us from having fun. That’s the other lesson: there is goodness in all of this, too. Beneath the hideous disappointments, behind all the shattered hype, there’s always some kind of goodness. It just never looks like what you expect.”—I wish Sady Doyle and Rookiehad been around on my first day of high school, eleven years ago. Especially because I had just gotten a really cool haircut based off of Colleen from the first season of Survivor, and the realization that it did not look very good was gradual but devastating.