Tag Archives: the onion

Justin Bieber + James Ellroy BFF <3 xoxo :P

I was doing some paid hair modeling for a Vidal Sassoon workshop yesterday.  And that may sound glamorous, but two things to understand are (1) the pay is not impressive and (2) my hair stylist was a 50something-year-old named Bill who was absolutely lovely, but had a distinct smell and a distinct combover.  Still, he was easy to talk to, which is my favorite quality in a hair stylist.

Anyway, while I was waiting for the hair cut to begin, I was reading another interview in “The Onion.”  This time with author James Ellroy.  I felt almost assaulted by his opinions in the interview.  Which makes for a provocative read.

I especially liked what he had to say in response to this question, “You said you don’t read newspapers, you don’t have a computer, and you don’t go to movies.  At what point did you feel like unplugging from contemporary culture?”

Here’s part of his response:

I can’t stand dipshit, tattooed, lacquered, tarnished, depilatoried younger people talking their stupid shit, stage-sighing, saying ‘It’s like, I’m like, whatever,’ and talking in horrible chiches, rolling their yes when they disapprove of something.  I saw that the culture was pandering more and more to this kid demographic…  I began to see more and more billboards for vile misogynistic horror films, white-trash reality-TV shows, neck-biting fucked-up vampire flicks, and stoned-out teenage-boy pratfall comedies.  Bad drama, bad comedy, that portrayed life preposterously, frivolously, and ironically and that got to me.

On the one hand, my reaction is, wait…I’m technically one of those younger people “talking their stupid shit” that he’s talking about.  And on the other hand, I completely agree with him about culture and its portrayal of life.  It’s draining on the psyche, the soul.  Too much consumption of that kind of culture makes me more likely to talk in horrible horrible cliches and such.

It’s a real danger of contemporary times, I think.  For instance, today, I got sucked into a few episodes of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”  And after awhile, you start identifying with those people, rooting for those people, and you’re no longer watching it ironically to shake your head at their lifestyle.  Their lifestyle becomes normal.  And that’s not okay.

As consumers of contemporary culture, we need to hold on to our critical eyes.  That’s why I think it’s great when the media puts out articles like this one on Lady Gaga.  And that’s also why I think this YouTube comment is great:

@JU5TlNBIEBER judging from your username, your opinion is invalid.

Could not. Agree. More.

Hey, read this thing I read! And watch this thing I watched!

I was reading “The Onion” yesterday during my commute. And I got so engrossed in an interview with Jonathan Franzen. I’ve never read any of his books, but this dude has shit figured out, so much so that I’ll have to seek out his work. I really like what he has to say about reading and writing and communicating electronically.

I couldn’t trim this down, it just all speaks to the core of my being:

I think novelists nowadays have a responsibility—whether or not my contemporaries are actually living up to it—to make books really, really compelling. To make you want to turn off your phone and walk away from your Internet connection and go spend some time in another place. I’m trying to fashion something that will actually pull you away, so I’m certainly conscious of the tension between the solitary world of reading and writing, and the noisy crowded world of electronic communications.

I continue to believe it’s a phony palliative, most of the noise. You have the sense of “Oh yeah, I’m writing in my angry response to your post, and now I’m flaming back the person who flamed me back for my angry response.” All of that stuff, you have the sense, “Yeah, I’m really engaged in something. I’m not alone. I’m not alone. I’m not alone.” And yet, I don’t think—maybe it’s just me—but when I connect with a good book, often by somebody dead, and they are telling me a story that seems true, and they are telling me things about myself that I know to be true, but I hadn’t been able to put together before—I feel so much less alone than I ever can sending e-mails or receiving texts. I think there’s a kind of—I don’t want to say shallow, because then I start sounding like an elitist. It’s kind of like a person who keeps smoking more and more cigarettes. You keep giving yourself more and more jolts of stimulus, because deep inside, you’re incredibly lonely and isolated. The engine of technological consumerism is very good at exploiting the short-term need for that little jolt, and is very, very bad at addressing the real solitude and isolation, which I think is increasing. That’s how I perceive my mission as a writer—and particularly as a novelist—is to try to provide a bridge from the inside of me to the inside of somebody else.

Whoaaaaa. I posted this mainly because, as a writer of stuff and reader of stuff and user of electronic communication devices and stuff, I want to come back and refer to his words, like, every day of my life from now on. Especially when I’m sitting at my laptop and I’ve been sitting there for hours typing and clicking and scrolling around Facebook and I start to feel like a shell of a person:

Too Much Quirk?

There are too many publishing jobs on Craigslist requiring knowledge of that damn Quark software.  There is also a soft cheese called Quark that hails from Eastern Europe.  I’ve never tried it, so I can’t say if there can be too much of that, but too much cheese is usually never a good thing.  Oh, this is exciting–“The Quark” is the narrowest segment of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland.  Its only claim to fame is there being very little of it, so it’s really not in its best interest for there to be too much more of it.  And then there are those quarky subatomic particles, but I digress.  What I’m getting at is, there can indeed be too much quark, but no, there cannot be too much quirk.

I’ve been itching to dedicate a post to Zooey Deschanel lately.  Every time I see a trailer for Yes Man I remember how much I love her.  In this week’s Onion Keith Phipps reviews Yes Man and describes Deschanel as a “go-to quirk-provider.”  Reading that was a bit of a revelation for me because I have a strange obsession with quirkiness and it’s gotten worse since I’ve graduated college for some reason.  It’s to the point where I can’t pick up a book unless it’s at least as quirky as something by Tom Robbins.  Same with films.  If it’s got Bill Murray having a life crisis of some kind, I’m there.  Anyway, apparently I look for quirk in my leading ladies, too. 

I haven’t seen everything she’s been in, but Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy makes me cry it’s so perfectly quirky.  I really need to read the actual Douglas Adams books.  Also, she was pretty much the only redeemable thing in Failure to Launch, that ridiculous Sarah Jessica Parker/Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy.  Then, thanks to Pandora, I came across her music:

 I want to make music like that.  Dammit.  Except the tone of my voice is more comparable to, say, Bing Crosby’s pa rum pum pum pums in this quirky duet with David Bowie:

Okay, that might be more awkward than quirky.  Anyway, one final Zooey Deschanel clip.  Probably my favorite.  1. Because she has such a good voice, and 2. Because she’s naked.  Okay, really just because she’s naked.

Six Decades of Bedding Starlets and Wardrobe Girls and Counting!

Here’s a gift idea for anyone on your list who recently wrote a blog post that referred to Captain Von Trapp: Christopher Plummer wrote a memoir!  I thought I read about it in the AV Club section of The Onion, but when I googled “Christopher Plummer The Onion” all that came up was an old review of that Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock movie The Lake House.  Yeah, I rented it.  No, I didn’t realize that Christopher Plummer played Keanu’s architectural genius father.

Publisher’s Weekly says of In Spite of Myself:

Plummer drinks and parties his way through a six-decade career; beds starlets, prompters and wardrobe girls; and endures countless mid-performance indignities and pratfalls. (Lesson repeatedly learned: actors and stagehands should not get drunk right before the show.)

Sounds like a good read for the holidays.  Take a break from James Stewart lassoing the moon for Mary and Bing Crosby making out with George Clooney’s aunt for a dose of drunken thespian reality

New celebrity-related tangent: I walked into Rite Aid a few days ago.  I had to use my debit card to get cash back for the laundry machine across the street.  I usually end up buying a candy bar in situations like this because they’re cheap, but I still wander around the store for 30 minutes just in case I spot something that is equally cheap that I actually need. 

Long story short: Diana Ross and The Supremes’ “I Hear a Symphony” was playing.  After walking around for 30 minutes I resigned myself to the check-out line and the candy bars and decided upon a Hershey’s Symphony bar because my mom really likes them.

It wasn’t until I was crossing the street, humming “I Hear a Symphony” and opening up my Symphony bar that I even realized what had happened and I began to wonder if I bought it because I like them and they remind me of my mom or because Diana Ross sung a song about a symphony in 1965…

dianaross2

I’ve Been So Happy Since Tuesday Night

THIS is why I love the ridiculous genius that is The Onion. Right after I devote a post to the time-space continuum, they go and devote an article to not only the time-space continuum, but to how “skyrocketing consumer prices coupled with stagnant wages have forced many Americans to work a fourth shift in another dimension in order to make ends meet.” It’s so silly and satirical and subversive and it makes me so happy.

I read it on my commute home from work yesterday/earlythismorning and probably disturbed quite a few 3am Flushing-bound subway sleepers. I never officially announced not being unemployed anymore, but that’s just because I still kind of feel poor and unsure of everything. I’ve been thinking about taking the GREs, but that requires something like $140 and…I don’t even know what I want to go back to school for or when or even if. I’ve entertained ideas of getting my master’s in a different country. Canada, Australia, or North Korea. Still deciding. Australia has Hugh Jackman, but North Korea has this guy–

Too gorgeous for his own good.

Too gorgeous for his own good.