Thursday, March 01, 2007

Why Doesn't Anyone Ever Know What I'm Talking About? I'm Hung Up On You.

I'm Hung Up On You: Live From My Portal

Dr. C always asks me the same questions, so I always give the same answers. Then at the end, he'll laugh (nervously) and make some completely out-of-left-field comment that will totally knock my socks off. Today, not only did he ask me 'Do you have any additional superlatives for me?' after I'd responded to the quality of my moods, sleep, anxiety, overall health, living situation, job, etc. as "Super!" , "fantastic!", "never been better," "magical," and "mind-fuckingly-unbelievable!" but then he followed up that excellent execution of vocabulary with:

"Black nails, huh? So are you--goth?"

(note: he said this in almost the exact same tone he used to ask me if I was bi, except, due to content, it felt decidedly less like a nervous sexual advance and more like a quasi-adorable question from a-completely oblivious-to-pop-culture hippie father. If that father was not a hippie and wore only Banana Republic and said things like "millions of people take [medication name here]. It can't be bad for you, if millions of people take it.")

"Yeah," I answered. "Me and Lindsay Lohan. Thus the studded dog collar and the Hot Topic platform boots. And the attitude."

(Side note: black nail polish is totally "over' and in fact I think verging on saturation/uncool-ness, so I love it even more now. i'll like it 4-eva, just like chuck taylors.)

"What's Hot Topic?"

I was suddenly roped into providing definitions for: Hot Topic, Goth, Emo (which I sub-divided into "Seth Cohen emo" and "pop punk emo").

These things mean nothing to me, but I know about them.

Which is what's so fucking weird about our world right now. We sit in front of identical machines that offer portals into absolutely everything. It's not our rapidly expanding ability to pursue niche interests or obsessions that interests me, but rather how there are things I can't even imagine avoiding on this machine--like Gawker, or like blogs in general---things that are SO CENTRAL to my universe and so completely out of the orbit for so many other people. We all know the media is sort of a circle-jerk, but you don't really realize the extent of that until, over the course of one week, you are met with a blank stare regarding the following topics: The James Frey debacle, "RENT" (the musical, the movie, the empire), NPR, Gloria Steinem, Raymond Carver, the Jim McGreevy scandal, the term "JAP" (Jewish American Princess), the "logo" television network, the Duke rape case, the concept of "independent" films, Jack Kerouac and "On the Road," Ted Haggard, the connection between the failures of our public education system and prison populations, and the political movement of people who think the Holocaust was a lie (it's encouraging, of course, that holocaust-deniers are not in the public eye as much as I imagined). Oh and also a clueless computer tech guy who, after M commented on her ravenous appetite this time of the month, actually asked if a period lasted ONE OR TWO DAYS. As in "One day? Two days?"

I was endeared recently to learn that there is at least one person in my universe who has never seen the music video for Madonna's 'Hung Up.' Living one's entire life without seeing Madonna gyrate in her pink leotard is super-tragic, though I'm not sure I would have been turned on to it were it not for melaina's blog and the gym. And I think I was working at then, and we had our pulse on the finger of bare thighed women in popular music. Also I go to the gym and there are about 10,000 TV screens there. It's like Sears.

Also, until last week, though I claimed otherwise, I did not know what made a Nintendo Wii different from other Nintendos. I don't understand why they keep making new Nintendos. How could anything get better than MarioKart?

Also I still don't know what "The Departed" is about, and, I realized, in conversation last week about why I don't like Russel Crowe, that I have not seen a single movie with Russel Crowe in it. Ever. No, not even Gladiator. Shove it.

I've accepted that there are many things that compose huge giant chunks of my consciousness, like literature, that don't matter to most people. I don't expect everyone in the world to know about Savage Inequalities (re: the American school system), the Jonathans (Safran Foer, Franzen, Lethem), Ani DiFranco, blogs, theater, The L Word, New York Magazine, Lorrie Moore or Christina Ricci.

But sometimes people really surprise me. Like not knowing about Freygate.

Or when I referenced the "George Bush doesn't care about black people" Hurricane Katrina "thing," and [redacted, because i was such an incredulous asshole about it at the time you probably wanted to flood my life with toxic water from the Hudson River] replied with a blank and curious stare and said they hadn't heard anything of it.

I guess because we are all sitting in front of the same machine, it's boggling how easy it is to bypass entire portions of it's content. Do we really have access to everything, or are these new filtering tools (like Google Reader, my playground lover) just enabling us to filter out everything, via tag, and increasing our limited knowledge of our limited world?

Also why doesn't my computer know the word "internet" yet?!! Stop highlighting "internet" every time I do a goddamn spell check. Waa.

I'm trying to work this stuff out.

In these cases, the "you" refers to the group of people who do not know about the chosen thing.
Why I Assume You Know This: If Gawker were a girl, she would never win homecoming queen but she'd sweep the yearbook hand-outs: "most popular," "most likely to succeed," "best style," and "best looking." Gawker would be really pretty, but like--interesting pretty. Gawker would be very popular but she would keep her loyalties few and select. When Gawker was in the room, you'd feel self-conscious. You'd feel simultaneously that Gawker was looking at you AND had no idea you even exist. You'd be afraid to talk to her because she might tell everyone what you said, or just judge you, silently, which would feel almost worse. She'd have a really distinct/enviable style and be known as mean and smart and cold and there'd be mysterious rumors about her home life (single mom? gay dad? raised by famous author? lives with punk rock headlining sister in a van down by the river?) that maintained your rapture though you knew/suspected it was all a lie. She would get into Brown but drop out after three years for a tempting job offer. Her crowd would be girls who had to copy each other to fit in, but she could just be intimidating and smarter than them and that would be enough to keep them at their heels. Every time she'd look at you, your heart would skip a beat, and you'd add it to your psychological sidebar. You'd kind of hate her though, underneath all that love and admiration, because she has all this power. And she actually deserves it sometimes.
Why you don't: You don't live in New York City and you don't like New York City or the media it produces and then congratulates itself for.
OR 1. You aren't in publishing or in the media. 2.You have a job that requires you to perform certain tasks in exchange for a salary and you can't spend the entire day blog-surfing and checking to see if they've put up the gold star motel yet.

Gloria Stienham:
Why I Assume You Know This
: You are an educated human being in the 21st century. You have, at one time or another, heard a little snippet about feminism. NOT about women who throw paint on fur and think all sex is rape, but like, ACTUAL feminism. The kind you shouldn't be afraid of, unless you are Ted Nugent or a Morman.
Why You Don't: Because I don't know who played in the Super Bowl. And because of the patriarchy. Because of most of the points she's ever made.

The James Frey Thing:
Why I Assume You Know This: You can either: 1. hear, 2. read, or at least you could last year. You like to use these senses to pick up newspapers or glance at television screens playing the news, or "surf the web" in search of additional news. You have conversations with people who read literary fiction or memoirs. You know about Oprah, for Christ's sake. Larry King. OPRAH?!!! Oprah. Everyone knows about Oprah. And if you don't, you are amazing, and I love you and forgive you.
Why You Don't: This story was more insulated to the world of publishing than I thought, I guess? I mean, I couldn't have avoided hearing about it thirty times a day, but then again, I missed The Olympics.

Why I Assume You Know This: You are alive in the nation called America, and you've heard of a thing called "radio."
Why You Don't: I really don't know. I'm not saying I think you should listen to NPR, I'm just saying you should have HEARD of it. (pun intended) Because I am an elitist boho bastard with no connection to the American people? Because I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and you grew up in Buttfuck, Nebraska? Actually, that would be hot, if there was a city called "buttfuck." And actually, then, I think, there would be NPR there. I don't know. I'm being honest, I think it is because I'm an elitist twat. That's fine. If it wasn't for Krista, I would have missed a lot of things that happened in politics. Now that she's in New Haven, I probably do.

Some Things I've Been Called Out For Knowing Absolutely Nothing About Recently:
"Lost" (TV), "American Idol" (TV), John McCain (i know a little. but not a lot), the i-phone, the aforementioned Nintendo Wii, any movies that have come out with guns in them, Pan's Labyrinth (?), football, some cop-shooting thing, "The Sopranos," pretty much every TV show on TV that's not on "The N" or on at the gym in the mid-afternoon or not "The L Word" or "The View," why Dean stopped running in 04...also, i didn't get that youtube thing until like, 10 years after the rest of y'all.
I never saw TV as a kid, too. Like Facts of Life (?), and um, whatever else was on that people keep talking about. A Different World, or Different Strokes, or Different something something. Whatever. Shows that were on between 1980-1992. Didn't see them. You Can't do that on television? Me neither.


There's a lot of stuff I don't know anything about. A lot. So I'm just as uncool as all of you. Except for the "One Day? Two Days?" guy. I'm cooler than him. Also he asked "so do you just stick something up there when you think it's going to come?" (REMINDER: his convo, NOT mine, which I could not BELIEVE we were having), and I said "Uh, like a tampon?" and he said
"Yeah. You could call it that."


Rachel said...

I heard two things about that departed movie. That it was horrible, and that it was excellent. I never saw it though.

In class we sometimes listen to the radio, on which there are announcers who say things about town goings on and weather, and that broadens my world. I think that is amazing evidence towards my complete and utter reclusiveness.

I know what Hot Topic is. I used to shop there. Don't tell people that. I don't watch music videos, but sometimes I see them at other people's houses when the music itself is muted and I sort of stare at them fascinatedly while the residents of the house are talking to me and I am tuning out.

I know Jonathan Safran Foer and The L Word and blogs and Lorrie Moore and the American school system and why Howard Dean stopped running, or at least, I know that everyone started hating him because he got labeled as a southern bible-thumper. But I liked him.

I know gawker because of you.
I've heard of NPR.
I did know about the wii because I'm a nerd and I knew about youtube but I'm still not that into it and obviously that guy has not had a girlfriend for even a month so that's depressing and most of the population is (hopefully) cooler than him.

riese said...

i know i was like 'have you EVER HAD a girlfriend??!!!!'

and he was like "um the longest relationship i've had was 6 weeks," and then i asked about his sister and he said no, no sister, and then I was like, okay, I can't ask about his Mom. Obviously this guy is missing some links.

Oh wait, this is the best part.

"What about health class"
"Oh yeah, we watched this video. And then, randomly, the lunch lady came in and talked to us about it or whatever."
"Why the lunch lady?"
(thinks really hard) "come to think of it. it was right before lunch."

I used to shop there too. Its ok.

Rachel said...

He should obviously be caged and researched.

nyradical said...

Hi you. Surprise surprise. It's 4:39 am; can't sleep. So figured I'd come over and like, just go off like a madwoman. Or not. Whatevs. It's 4:40am.

Hi again. Er. Okay ... comment.

I think you give Gawker too much credit. To me they were always like, the uncool high school person who grew into their hipster own during college. At like Bard or Vassar, or RISDE, perhaps Brown. Yeah. Um, my fucking brain is like on fire, can't think at all whatsoevs. Hi. How are you? Me? I'm good. Fucking so good.

Sweet dreams.



P.S. Dude like, leave me MySpace comment, obvs.

ash said...

"You could call it that?" Seriously, where did he grow up? This planet or his own entire universe?

riese said...

re: the guy. should be locked up and studied for sure. and he grew up in new jersey. it gets weirder, the more I talked to him. His defense was that he doesn't like to talk about those things. I don't like to talk about hunting and fishing, but somehow I know that you use guns to kill animals because i just know. I mean,it's just out there. IN the world.

t.b.: Of course I'm too nice to Gawker. I'm scared of them. I mean...(in actuality)...they were the kids that weren't cool in high school, right? But if high school was now? Maybe?

And...How am I? Good.
Really, really fucking good.

p.s. did it, obvs.

Tara said...

no u shove it....

i actually remember this..along with the rest of the night.....

go figure!