Working at ION
is a kick so far. These pieces aren’t my best work, but now that I have some freelancers on board to do the heavy lifting, this whole editor bag should only get better.
Epiphany: It’s fun to be on the masthead. It’s more fun to have people notice you’re on the masthead and get all complimentary about it. Not that I haven’t been on the masthead before, but in this instance, I’m really enjoying it.
In other not-so-important news: I’m addicted to that Sony BRAVIA commercial (and the Jose Gonzalez song that goes with it). I’ve been passing it on to everybody I know. The most irritating reaction so far has been from people who feel compelled to point out that the commercial wouldn’t be so good/beautiful/sad if not for the song.
No. . .really? Or should I say, obviously?
The other day, when I commented on how strangely sad the whole thing was, someone actually said, “Yeah, but it wouldn’t be if it weren’t for that song. Picture it with, like, ACDC playing or something.”
What I wanted to say (but didn’t, though three different people made similar comments) was “Why? Why picture it with ACDC playing? ACDC isn’t playing. This Jose Gonzalez song, on the other hand, is.’ Saying I should imagine away the music, perhaps in order to pretend at some sort of hyper media awareness, is like looking at a painting and saying, ‘Yeah, it’s good, but imagine if there was no red in it.’
Look, we all want to sound smart. And yes, the song is a big part of what makes the commercial sad. But pointing that out doesn’t make you special. The song is PART of the commercial. It’s all one carefully constructed piece of art. You can’t separate the film’s various components. Or rather, you can, but there’s no good reason to do so. The fact that the song is what makes the commercial sad means the team that came up with the concept did a good job creating a sad commercial. The fact that you feel compelled to tell everyone you noticed means you need to get over yourself.
I spent yesterday morning (10 a.m. to 12 noon) at a vodka tasting. I think that sentence actively conveys what was weird about it.
So as usual, I’m not getting on board on the ground floor, but at least I’m in the loop. In the space of 2 hours, I received three emails AND read a blog posting all singing the praises of the Sony BRAVIA commercial. If you haven’t seen it yet, by all means, you must. It’s… well, see for yourself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zOrV-5vh1A
Accidentally in love,
Considering my job (and maybe for all writers), it’s extremely bizarre to experience a week in which you are both prolific and totally unproductive at the very same time.
I spent the past few days writing. A lot. And yet, I didn’t actually get any work done. An interview I did on Monday is still yet to be transcribed (let alone written up) and I’ve got work emails piling up like crazy. I’ve been emailing and blogging my head off, though, which most people know is far from normal for me. I feel at once completely inspired, and totally professionally tapped at the same time. I also haven’t gotten any sleep in days. I’m addicted to Collapse (a Tetris-type game I’ve been playing online). The whole thing is weird weird weird.
I've been thinking about blogs and their misunderstood place in the world. In the December issue of Glamour magazine (US), there was a story entitled Women Who Blog by Julie Klam. The subtitle read, “Are they self-absorbed exhibitionists? Groovy free spirits? Or just plain bored? Meet them and decide for yourself.” I was struck by something as I read that subtitle. Julie Klam doesn’t get it. Most people don’t get it. I don’t think I completely get it. But now Glamour magazine’s millions of readers DEFINITELY won’t get it. And that bugged me.
Klam likens blogging to grade school diarising. She tells an anecdote about the time her seventh grade diary fell “into enemy hands”. In it, she’d written a list of prospective future prom dates (Matthew Broderick, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, etc.). “You get the idea,” Klam writes. “Nobody else was supposed to see this, and having it read was my personal idea of hell.” Then she goes on to say, “For thousands of women today, though, it would have been heaven”.
I’m sorry, Julie, but no. No no no no no. Did I say no? Cause no. I mean, come on. Do I do stuff like this? In my stories, do I ignore fundamental differences in the things I’m comparing in order to construct a snappy and adorable lede? Maybe I do. I don’t know. Maybe I’m the pot and she’s the kettle, but I’m going to complain about it anyway.
Klam’s whole story is predicated on an annoying misconception (and I said as much in the short letter I emailed to the magazine… and yes, I know I should have better things to do). A personal journal or diary is intrinsically understood to be private, while a blog is designed to be public. So OBVIOUSLY blog content is heavily influenced by the fact that bloggers know and expect their words will be read. Bloggers, like all public writers, self-censor. They’re self-conscious. A blogger’s persona is a complicated bit of social construction. Even the most confessional writers aren’t giving you the whole story. They’re not even necessarily giving you a true story. Why don’t people get this? When I was a kid, my Dad was always spouting the cliché “don’t believe everything you read”, and it sort of stuck with me, but the best way the idea has ever been described to me was in terms of photography. When you turn the lens on one thing, you turn it away from everything else. And in the end, all you see is the photograph. Everything outside the frame is unknown. I promise the idea was more eloquently put when I first heard it, but you get the general idea.
This isn’t important, I’m aware. And it’s giving me the willies anyway, so I’ll stop.
Professionally, I feel compelled to mention a couple of things:
1. I have another story coming out in Weekly Scoop soon. It’s about Paris Hilton. That’s hot, right?
2. I’m looking for a few freelance writers who’d be interested in doing some art-themed pieces for me. So, if anyone’s interested, they should drop me an email. I’ll publish you, baby. I have that kind of power.
One final thought:
In Melissa Bank’s story You Could Be Anyone, she writes, “after awhile, though, it occurs to you that even a perfect understanding of failed love is the booby prize.”
She said booby.
P.S. Maybe this is bitchy, but I just wanted to add that you're not really a writer if you don't get paid to write. If you're just a blogger, or you've written a bunch of stuff that's sitting in your dresser or on your computer, but has never been professionally published, you're an aspiring writer, not a writer. So shut up. Seriously. I mean, all the best to you and everything, but I'm so sick of people pretending to have jobs they don't have. It makes the rest of us look bad.
Well, colour me surprised. Whereas most of my blog entries go relatively unnoticed (and certainly un-commented on), yesterday’s ridiculous rant caused an absolute avalanche of commentary. I’ve never had so many people throw in their two cents. That’s what you get for being confessional, I guess. Then you stick your head in the oven.
My favourite comments so far come from Craig, who sweetly and supportively told me not to worry if the Internet makes it seem like people are getting ahead of me.
“People on the Internet can be full of crap,” he said. “Learn Oprah's A Million Little Pieces lesson ... writers lie (but not you, right!).”
I love him right now.
You know, I’m in a very Tegan and Sara mood today (thanks for the title, ladies). I also considered using “yes this is my life, and yes you should care”, or “who I am has benefited from all my cleverly planned meals”, but neither seemed quite right. Music matters. That thought brings me to mind another thing Craig wrote me this morning:
He said, “but if you live your life like Nick Hornby/High Fidelity, at least you'll have a pretty good soundtrack.”
Which is true. But if it’s really soundtracks that matter, we should probably all be living our lives to the tune of the gospel according to The OC. Now, I like punching people as much as the next guy, but I also believe wholeheartedly in eyebrow grooming. (Peter Gallagher, this means you.)
Get ready for this mo-fo. She's a big'un.
Why I Hate The Internet:
Okay, so I don’t hate the Internet. I love the Internet. I love the stupid Internet way too much, which, if you’ve ever loved anything too much, might help you understand why I’m saying I hate it. (What a lovely, clunky sentence that was!)
It’s one of those addictive personality things, I think. Like noodles, alcohol, fidgeting and cigarettes (never tried, but dreamed about… weird). It’s just so intensely, immediately gratifying. It lets you to do things you really shouldn’t be allowed to do. Like, for example, Google your way to the equivalent of drunk-dialing an ex. An inclination that used to be appropriately road blocked by, but not limited to:
Your friends. (Unless you were drinking alone. Sad.)
Manual dexterity. (Dialing is harder than typing.)
The mental capacity it takes to remember an old number. (No Google.)
Among other things.
Thanks to the Internet, doing stupid things is just way too easy. It’s too easy to find people you hate, and even easier to find people you like. Everybody and their dog is blogging, so it’s similarly too easy to pseudo-catch up with people you really have no business catching up with. And of course, what you find out is inevitably so patchy and encoded, you’re left frustratingly unable to get the real story, because calling the person you’ve just been spying on is, if not expressly forbidden, at least frowned upon. Which is how it should be. If it weren’t for the Internet, I mean.
Sigh. I think I’m in a bad mood. I spent the morning obsessively (like, I literally couldn’t stop for a full hour) reading other people’s blogs and bios, which of course has left me feeling sad.
Okay, it’s relevant tangent time:
Remember this? How to Break Up With A Friend? (You probably don’t, but let’s pretend you were supportive and following my career a year ago, shall we?) Anyway, I thought it was funny. Not everybody did, but I did, and in the end, since it matters more to me that I like my writing than if you do, that’s what counts. Anyway, it was a joke. A joke that I’ve actually put into practice in real life, but one that wasn’t particularly saddening, which is I guess why I made a joke of it. I thought that breaking up with a friend, as troublesome as it can be, was ultimately easy-peasy.
Now, let’s get one thing straight: I’ve both dumped friends and been dumped. When I was the dumper, I went the full disclosure route. I aired every grievance. Then I shut the door to further communication. It was a major power trip. In contrast, the time I was broken up with was fairly emotionally devastating, because it happened with no explanation, no aired grievances, and no warning. That said, the brush off was ultimately effective, and with the wisdom of a little perspective, I’d categorize it in J-Dawg speak as ‘harsh, but fair’. So when I recently found myself in the position of having to break up with another friend (who, okay, I briefly, but not seriously dated) I figured I knew what I was doing. I didn’t want to do a big grievance-airing brush off, but I didn’t want to be harsh, but fair, either. I was hoping to stumble onto some middle ground.
Silly, Jenny. Tricks are for kids.
Anyway, it backfired. I did the break-up email. I tried to explain, and I left the matter open for discussion so that the dumpee wouldn’t feel blindsided. Only, the dumpee didn’t accept the dump. The dumpee argued. In fact, the dumpee made such a good argument – an argument that negated all my carefully thought out and somewhat kindly worded explanations – I had no choice but to reneg on the whole thing and agree to give the friendship another chance. What is THAT about? It may well be the most mature thing I’ve ever done. Or, it may be the most stupid. I subscribe to the “you can’t be friends with everyone” theory, and tend to prioritize friendships (in a semi-bitchy way), so maybe I give up on things too easily. I don’t know. Anyway, the point is, the whole thing was weird. It put me in a weird mood. And as a result, I’ve been Goggling in the manner of someone who gets sad and eats a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s to compensate.
See? I told you it was a relevant tangent.
So this brings me to my rant about the Internet. There are a lot of people out there in cyberspace who I used to be friends with. And reading about them, via blogs, in their own voices, is just so overwhelmingly sad. It’s like a parade of failures. All the relationships I abandoned, couldn’t make work, or was booted out of are on display. I think I obsess about stuff like this more than most people. (Damn my need-to-please complex!) D doesn’t seem particularly bothered by such things. Probably because even the people he’s lost touch with still love him like crazy, which he deserves of course. I’m completely paranoid that people I’ve lost touch with hate me or have forgotten I ever existed, which may be worse.
None of this is helped by the fact that so many of my friendships past have been with unbelievably smart and interesting people. If I’m to believe the blogs, these people have remained unbelievably smart and interesting, while I, on the other hand, have remained whatever it is I was then. Which, while occasionally funny (not in a “ha-ha”, sort of way, but in a “wow . . . you’re funny?” sort of way) is maybe not as smart or interesting by comparison.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned here.
1. Covert voodoo is fairly ineffectual.
2. Living life according to a sort of Nick Hornby, High Fidelity-inspired manifesto is perhaps less than wise.
3. In Buffy, episode 118, Entropy, when Tara said, “Things fall apart. They fall apart so hard. You can't ever put them back the way they were," she was completely right. When she got to, “Can we just skip it?” she was genius.
I know what you’re thinking.
Jesus, Jen. Save it for your diary.
Well, I’m back from my week in Mexico. Am tanned, though I didn’t mean to be. Am spending the day welcoming in 2006, but last night was low key. I didn’t make any resolutions. Didn’t even celebrate, unless you count conking out at 10:30 thanks to the magic of Gravol a sort of celebration.
Saw The Family Stone
today. Good movie. It wraps itself up a little too tidily at the end, but that’s to be expected from anything that opens during the holidays. Was excited to see that the trailer for Tristan and Isolde is finally out, though now that I’ve seen it, I’m a bit worried that it’s going to be a little too Gladiator. On one hand, I think it’s good that Hollywood is into making epic/myth/history pieces again, but on the other, I think it’s bad that they’re making them all in exactly the same way.
On that note, I’m off to veg. To lie, like vegetables. I leave you with the funniest thing I’ve seen SNL do in ages. Let it load before you play it or the sound might not work properly.SNL Narnia Rap