“My God, where did you pick up this inferiority complex? You’d think having a bitching taste in books and/or being a cute redhead would be enough to negate that, but it seems this hasn’t been the.”—Something something something living in a culture predicated on dudes thinking they can just waltz in and tell a women she’s doing it wrong with no regard to context, compassion or manners mumble mumble case in point good luck dying alone (via pantslock)
“Those issue-oriented books do serve a valuable purpose though, as do shows like Dinosaurs, if only for the way they provide a way in to larger discussions about human behavior at its best and worst. But even parents who see the value in those teachable moments can’t help but feel a pang when they pop up. For a long time we try to create a safe little world for our children, where the lessons are more of the ABC variety, the monsters are all cute and fuzzy, and most mistakes can be remedied with a Band-Aid or wet wipe. And then reality intrudes, like a creeping chill.”—
Noel Murray on the Dinosaurs finale ep that scared the shit out of me on a kid. And knocking the larger context of the episode out of the park, as usual.
Edit: Oh, and there’s extinction fanfic in the comments!*
*I tried to link to it, but the link doesn’t work.
“Very early on, we did a show in Pittsburgh where I accidentally punched myself in the face. I was swinging my arm around in some crazy way, probably inspired by Billy Idol, and it was like an uppercut. I hit my some muscle in my cheek, and all of sudden I got a Popeye-like swollen face. My cheek just quadrupled in size; it was so freaky. I mean, I was a very hyperactive performer as a young man. I basically just jumped up and down continuously for the entire show. That was kind of my gimmick. Yeah, so I punched myself in the face. And I actually know the song I was playing when I did it: ‘Puppet Head.’”—
John Flansburgh, doing the dumb things he’s gotta do.
“AND WHILE WE’RE ASKING QUESTIONS, WHY DOES FUCKING SLYTHERIN EVEN EXIST!? Even the Sorting Hat’s like, ‘Ohhhh, if you’re brave like a lion, you can be in Gryffindor/And if you’re boring and a nerd, it’s Ravenclaw for you/And the rest of the people just go in Hufflepuff, because whatever/And for the evil fucks, let me direct you to our dark wizard factory in the basement called Slytheriiiiiiin!’ It makes no sense.”—
Say, friends! It has been a long while, since I used the Tumblr machine at you! And I am not using it now. No, indeed: This is a very special sort of post. A GUEST POST, delivered via advanced word-processing mechanisms to your Tumblr dashboard.
And why, you ask, would I write such a post at you? Well: WHY DO I EVER. The answer, of course, is that somebody paid me five dollars. Seriously, that is all it takes. But also: I have become aware of what the cool kids are doing, these days! And what the cool kids are doing are BLOG PARTIES.
“'LET MY NAME NOT BE FORGOTTEN.' For my entire life, I had viewed my name as a mandate handed down from the larger-than-life, Mufasa-esque vision of my father that had been growing in my head for as long as I could remember. 'MAKE YOUR MARK! BE SPECTACULAR! DON'T LET ANYONE FORGET THE DAY THAT THEY MET THE ONE AND ONLY AHAMEFULE J. OLUO!'”—The son of a deadbeat Nigerian immigrant and a white Kansan woman reflects on his name. It’s sort of like Dreams From My Father, as told by someone whose father’s dreams were pretty shitty.
My Netflix Instant queue is loaded with Criterion films and acclaimed independent dramas of the past decade, but I mostly just watch two things: BBC period miniseries and lady-oriented reality shows. The fact of the matter is, most of my intellectual weightlifting for the day gets done on the Web or in a novel, and I schedule viewings of the Important Shows (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Louie, etc.) with like-minded friends. When I’m alone and turning on the TV, it means that I don’t want to watch anything particularly challenging.
None of the lady-oriented reality shows are particularly good (they all have crazy-bad production values and hokey narration, for starters), but the one I really love is Say Yes to the Dress, which is a show about women buying wedding dresses. (I’m planning to write a really long essay about what I’ve learned from this show, but the only takeaway you need right now is that I am not wedding-obsessed in the least; there are other, more fascinating reasons to watch it.) I like Say Yes so much that when I realized I only have a few episodes left before I’ve seen the entire run, I started rationing them. So I had to find another lady show.
This is how I started watching Clean House, which is apparently the most popular program on the Style network. Basically, it’s Hoarders, minus the grossness, minus most of the intervention, plus a Trading Spaces-style makeover. There’s a little segment where they pay lip service to some of the underlying problems that create the featured family’s clutter, but basically they just get all of it the hell out of there, sell it at a big yard sale, and make over a portion of the home. It’s like a combination of the voyeurism of scoping out someone’s house for the first time, one of those trips to the flea market where you alternately laugh at and coo over people’s wares, and the satisfaction of cleaning up when your house was really messy.
Why do I care so much about people’s houses? I didn’t always care. Hell, I used to go bonkers with the level of cleaning my mom had us do when a lot of people were coming over (we’re talking dusting the floor molding with a Q-Tip crazy). But I guess that I kind of get it now? Having a nice-looking place is like having a cute new outfit or nailing a project at work: you get compliments, and you get an ego boost, and that’s worth it. (Not to mention it’s nice for you to live in, though that seems to be an ancillary benefit to most people.)
I think a lot of people haven’t gotten the approbation to make them want to have a nice house: their outfits are cool, they kill it at work, and then they go home and live in a pile of ugly and unnecessary crap. Did they just not get the message? I don’t think so; I mean, we didn’t have home-makeover shows 20 years ago, but there was still the social currency of going to someone’s house and seeing it all perfect and decorated. Is it a “Bowling Alone” thing, where no one comes over to anyone’s house all that much anymore, so why bother? Is it the result of the three-decade-and-counting financial squeeze, where you only have so much cash to blow on so many signifiers, so you might as well blow it on the ones people see more often? Is it because we’re moving around a lot more, so people don’t want to commit to building a gorgeous facade and then having to tear it down?
I really want the answers to these questions! But Clean House doesn’t have ‘em. It has a lot of corny jokes and time-lapse clean-up video, and a lot of “death/divorce came calling so I stopped cleaning and then it got out from under me” rationalizations, but it’s not looking for any underlying patterns beneath the web of sob stories. Obviously, I shouldn’t expect this sort of thing from a reality TV show. But I’d rather learn about it in something a little more digestible than an academic paper.