“You know what I do when I feel jealous? I tell myself to not feel jealous. I shut down the why not me? voice and replace it with one that says don’t be silly instead. It really is that easy. You actually do stop being an awful jealous person by stopping being an awful jealous person. When you feel like crap because someone has gotten something you want you force yourself to remember how very much you have been given. You remember that there is plenty for all of us. You remember that someone else’s success has absolutely no bearing on your own. You remember that a wonderful thing has happened to one of your literary peers and maybe, if you keep working and if you get lucky, something wonderful may also someday happen to you. And if you can’t muster that, you just stop. You truly do. You do not let yourself think about it. There isn’t a thing to eat down there in the rabbit hole of your bitterness except your own desperate heart. If you let it, your jealousy will devour you. Your letter is evidence that it has already begun to do so. It has depleted your happiness, distracted you from your real work, and turned you into a crappy friend.”—
“There certainly is what doctors call a “migraine personality,” and that personality tends to be ambitious, inward, intolerant of error, rather rigidly organized, perfectionist. “You don’t look like a migraine personality,” a doctor once said to me. “Your hair’s messy. But I suppose you’re a compulsive housekeeper.” Actually my house is kept even more negligently than my hair, but the doctor was right nonetheless: perfectionism can also take the form of spending most of a week writing and rewriting and not writing a single paragraph.”—
Joan Didion, “In Bed”
I feel sometimes that people forget how funny she is.
“Health tip of the week: I’ve been telling you how to eat your fruit for the best advantage for your health….. eat your fruit on an empty stomach or before your meal. You’ve heard the complain, “everytime I eat watermelon I burp…when I eat a banana I feel like running to the toilet, etc”….. This will not happen if you eat these fruits on an empty stomach….Fruit mixes with the putrefying other food and produces gas….Hence, the bloat….
Until next week, may the Lord bless you real good.”—
another point of disinterest from Ms. Mae Buice’s Sugar Creek News column. (This is the third consecutive week she has written about bloat caused from eating fruit on an empty stomach.)
Basically how I feel about TV shows getting canceled is how Louis CK feels about dating after a divorce:
"It’s hard to really look at someone and go ‘Hey, maybe something nice will happen.’ I know too much about life to have any optimism. Because I know even if it’s nice it’s going to lead to shit. I know if you smile at someone and they smile back you’ve just decided that something shitty is going to happen. You might have a nice couple of dates but then she’ll stop calling you back and that will feel shitty or you will date for a long time and then she will have sex with one of your friends or you will with one of hers and that will be shitty. Or you will get married and it won’t work out and you will get divorced and split your friends and money and that is horrible. Or you will meet the perfect person who you love infinitely and you even argue well and you grow together and you have children and then you get old together and then she’s gonna DIE." (via)
Potentially unpopular opinion: I would be okay with Mad Men just ending.
I think I would be, too. Part of it is that I am so used to good shows getting canceled that I’ve been bracing myself for that as an eventuality for this show, too. It’s sad to see great shows die before their time, but also? It’s sad watching great shows turn to absolute shit just because they’re widely beloved cash-cows. I’d rather see Mad Men get Freaks & Geeks-ed than The Office-ed.
“Sen. Barack Obama has previously said that HBO’s “The Wire” is his favorite show. But now Obama’s revealed another tidbit. In a story from Monday’s Las Vegas Sun, the presidential candidate said that the bold thief Omar is his favorite character on “The Wire.” “That’s not an endorsement. He’s not my favorite person, but he’s a fascinating character,” Obama said, who noted in an audio clip on the site that Omar, who is gay, is also “the toughest, baddest guy on the show.””—
“Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.”—
Joan Didion, “On Keeping a Notebook” (via tulletulle)
I am researching who can perform marriages in the state of Tennessee (apparently it’s called “solemnizing”?) and I am so baffled yet so charmed by this wording. The care of souls! Also I am bummed because I think the whole “more than 18 years of age” thing means we will need to delay the ceremony for quite some time so that our desired officiant can preside? Shit.
“Remember when Friday meant listening to Hanson and logging onto sketchy AOL chatrooms with your bestie who had dial-up, instead of drowning your feelings in Yuengling at a midtown happy hour where everyone’s just texting anyway? Remember when your parents would pay for stuff, like your ridiculous lo-fi music video? When “gotta have my bowl” referred to cereal?”—
“He remembers being particularly struck by a parody of “Dennis the Menace.” He told me, “It was a cartoon that showed Dennis coming into the house holding a skull, and the caption was something like ‘Hey, Mom, look what I found in Mr. Wilson’s head.’ That absolutely put me away. The next day, my stomach muscles hurt from laughing. I felt like I’d been worked over by bullies.” Meyer still admires that cartoon, because, he says, it led him to a significant insight about humor. “It jumps a step, and to me the best comedy always jumps a step,” he explains. “Dennis could have said, ‘Mom, I killed Mr. Wilson and here’s his head,’ and Mrs. Mitchell could have said, ‘Oh, Dennis,’ or something like that, and I still would have thought it was pretty funny, because part of the humor for me was simply that a kid had killed an adult. But, Jesus, what a great joke. Michael O’Donoghue”— the late writer for National Lampoon and “Saturday Night Live”—“used to say that humor has to be startling, and I agree with that. It has to reframe reality in a way that is exciting. It’s like seeing in two dimensions and then opening the other eye or looking through a View-Master and suddenly seeing in three.””—
This 2000 New Yorker profile on George Meyer is one of the best profiles I’ve ever read, and it is also a rich source of thought on the mechanics of humor. The quote above came to mind this week thinking about the Rebecca Black video. The video is so compelling in part because it comes close to seeming “normal” but key elements miss badly, that is what makes people laugh and brings them back to it. It’s also an earworm, of course, and a fun internet meme—and a fun song, even—but the part that makes you laugh has to do with the idea above, I think. It “jumps a step” and in that gap are the LOLs.
“Almost everything I’ve read about SXSW this year … revolves around anxiety and stress and the fear of missing out, the pure logistical pressure of picking a path through a ridiculously outsized mega-mega-festival that’s basically like 50 regular-sized festivals all happening at the same time.”—
Nitush Abebe, “SXSW diary: Pitchfork’s concert, 3D Wayfarers, and status anxiety”
Nitsuh, truth-telling (as always). This pretty much gets at why every year I realize I’m happy not to be at SXSW because it’s everything I hate—assholes, hype, lines, crowds, no sleep, running around like a headless chicken—but still feel a wee bit haunted by the specter of missing out.
The first two years I went to SXSW, I expended so much energy trying to stave off a full-blown panic attack that I didn’t have enough leftover to really get a grasp on what was going on all around me other than “I am surrounded by hundreds of strangers and they are all wasted and drunkenly sizing each other up and hopefully they don’t see me because then everyone will definitely find out that I don’t belong here and they will make me leave but I don’t want to leave because I am missing so much already what will happen if I’m actually not here to actively miss all those things except the thing I’m doing now which I am really only half doing because I am fielding a dozen texts/tweets on my quickly-dying cell phone?!”
But last year, while it was probably the most fun of the three years I went (all with Paste), it all just started to get to me. I’ve been to other festivals and had fun, and probably would’ve had more fun if I hadn’t been working them, for sure, but SXSW is unlike any of them, really unlike any other industry gathering I’m familiar with. There are always bright spots, and most of those bright spots involve free food, but mostly it just seems like a monumental racket.
Walking through the crowds, I have never felt more like I was actively being bought and sold— the marketing, the branding, the amount of money poured into sponsorships is insane, and it’s all totally unavoidable except for maybe if you go up to Central Presbyterian which is absolutely the best venue during the festival if you want to actually just sit in a dark, cool room and actually hear some bands play and not have to strain over the drone of rancid preening crowds and the snakeoil salesmen (looking at you, Five Hour Energy— nearly bit my tongue off when they sponsored the Paste day parties last year, such utter bullshit). One night last year I sat in there and saw band after band for something like five straight hours. My ass got numb on the seat and when I bought a cupcake from the church ladies at the concession table I had to go outside to eat it but it was completely worth it.
Not to be all precious about music— I fully believe it can and does thrive as a commercial entity and in tandem with commercial entities, duh!— but SXSW is such a clusterfuck of priorities that I’m not even sure the festival itself knows what it’s doing now.
Then again, maybe they do have a perfectly clear vision and it’s one I’m just not especially cut out for.
According to Publishers Marketplace, Ice-T’s wife Coco has sold a book “in which a beautiful woman awakens on a plane to discover it’s about to crash into the Hudson River; she can’t remember a thing about her life before the plane crash. Who is she? What is she? And why does she believe that she was murdered before she woke up on that plane in a stranger’s body?”
I have many questions about this, but foremost: Ice-T has a wife named Coco? Are their kids named, like, Lemonaid and Hawt Toddy?
“This doesn’t come naturally to me, which is the point. Sometimes I pretend it’s easy, to trick myself into thinking it’s fun. Sometimes I actually think it’s fun. Some days if I hear anybody else to tell me to eat more lean protein with grains and steamed vegetables I am going to go to CVS and clear out their entire snack aisle and roll around in it, sobbing, just letting my arm hair soak up the cheese powder.”—
A few months ago when I realized that Nellie, who I found and started following on Tumblr for some reason I don’t even remember now, and I actually have mutual acquaintances, it was like, YES NOW I AM LESS OF A CREEP FOR WANTING TO BE SO MUCH FRIENDS WITH HER IN REAL LIFE.
“Look, at the end of the day it’s OK that Gwyneth Paltrow hires a bunch of college freshmen to write a lifestyle newsletter under her name about platinum mid-century bathroom fixtures. It’s not actually HURTING anyone. But does she have to be SUCH. A FUCKING. LIAR about it? The new “issue” of Goop is up in which Gwyneth provides useful tips to WORKING MOTHERS like HERSELF. Oh good GOD. NO. FUCKING. WAY. NO. NOPE. She is fucking with us now, right? That is almost comically offensive! I’m pretty sure the publication of this issue of Goop is what happens just before the beginning of Children of Men. “People just stopped having babies. We don’t know why.” Yes we do. BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO BUSY BARFING.”—