Cameron Esposito, y’all. <3 <3 <3
Lindy West reacts to a new book by the authors of The Rules with the correct amount of “What the everloving fuck?” (h/t Bitches Gotta Eat)
“So, essentially (according to these jokers), online dating is a forum where you put yourself up for auction and then passively watch while men compete for your silent company by bidding varying amounts of pork tenderloins and tennis bracelets. Whatever you do, don’t express an interest in or attraction to anything. The worst thing you can do for your romantic life is to play an active role in your romantic life. Also, Fein and Schneider say, once a man does contact you, under no circumstances should you let him know that you’ve looked at anything on his profile. Keep yourself vague. Because there’s nothing hotter than a woman-shaped blob of nothingness.
Or you could ignore all this speculative, baroque, antifeminist bullshit and just be a fucking human being.”
Yo, should I dump this asshole? should cut into my traffic & inbox significantly. I agree with the author that people who self-describe as “feisty” are to be avoided. See also: Quirky, zany, and madcap. Always avoid the madcap. Though, on that topic, I liked this piece at The Gloss taking down the overuse of the word “crazy”:
“You know, it’s funny, generally when men refer to their exes as ‘crazy’ what I keep hearing is ‘she had emotions, and I did not like that…’
And when men do this on a regular basis, remember that, if you are a women, you are not the exception. You are not so cool and fabulous and levelheaded that they will totally get where you are coming from when you show emotions other than “pleasant agreement.”
When men say “most women are crazy, but not you, you’re so cool” the subtext is not, “I love you, be the mother to my children.” The subtext is “do not step out of line, here.” If you get close enough to the men who say things like this, eventually, you will do something that they do not find pleasant. They will decide you are crazy, because this is something they have already decided about women in general.”
A good friend and collaborator once told me I was the first and only non-crazy female director he’d ever worked with. He meant it absolutely as a compliment, I am sure. It’s not a compliment, and it took me a little while to figure out why it sat so badly with me. So then I gave him a piece of my mind about it that started with “Actually, I have a mental illness, so I AM technically ‘crazy,’ and if we’re going to work together again I need you to think real hard about whether you have a different standard for what’s crazy when a woman does it vs. a man.” People paid Stanley “I need the clouds to be just right” Kubrick, Werner “Yeah, we’ll need to carry that over the mountains” Herzog, Terrence “I can only shoot at the Magic Hour” Malick to direct movies. Meek, ever-agreeable and self-effacing is not actually a good quality in a director. Or a girlfriend.
Work/Career Advice: Bitch Magazine’s post on 10 Things That Would Have Been Good To Know At and After Graduation is pretty spot-on. Congratulations, class of 2012, especially my beloved students and former students. This speech from Neil Gaiman about making a career as an artist is what I wish I could tell all of you. This advice about How To Get and Keep A Mentor is pretty useful as well.
Got any recent great reads you want to link in the comments? (Shameless self-promotion is allowed).
Oh, before I forget, yesterday I spotted honest-to-god FEELINGSART/FEELINGSMAIL outside my CTA stop:
Dear Captain Awkward,
Are there times when the FU should not be silent when telling people the STFU? If so, do you have a combat guide for mild-mannered ladies who wear pearls and read a lot of Jane Austen?
Wanting to Get out the Sticks and Stones
Oh, my ladylike friend, one day you will be on the subway and a creepy strange man will be leering at you and trying to talk to you, and where before you may have just tried to focus extra-hard on your book or retreated back into your happy place of recalling last night’s ball at Netherfield or mentally cataloging your spice rack, something will snap inside you and you will say “Listen, you creepy, disgusting motherfucker, why don’t you take five steps back from me because I just cannot handle your goddamn bullshit today” and it will feel fantastic.
Not everyone curses like a sailor in an extremely unprofessional manner, when, say, teaching a class on lighting for film and finding that every single light in the kit I’m using to demo is broken in a slightly different way. Invective might not roll off the tongue for you, which is okay, because people who are just learning to cuss end up sounding kind of cute when they try. It’s especially noticeable from novice actors and directors who attempt Mamet or Mamet-like (Mamet-ish? Mamet-y?) dialogue. They overemphasize the swears because the little kid inside them gets excited about saying them or they want to be dramatic, so the rejoinder to Creepy Subway Guy (above) comes out as “Listen, you creepy, disgusting MOTHER (pause) FUCKER, why don’t you take five steps back from me because I just cannot handle your GODDAMN (pause) BULLSHIT today.” Amateur hour.
Thankfully we have Miss Julia Sugarbaker to turn to in times of crisis. Look, it’s been a long time since I’ve watched an episode of Designing Women and I have no idea what she’s so mad about in this clip but I’m pretty sure I agree with every word she’s saying.
You might have to age into that some to get the right mix of patrician elocution and crazy eyes, but that just means it’s something to look forward to! Does anyone know if Dixie Carter attended some kind of Auntie Mame-training academy and, if so, can I go, too? Maybe there I can learn to cultivate pointed silence in the face of vapid absurdity.
If you want to ride down the middle of the road and can master a sufficiently cutting tone, here are some all-purpose phrases that might get you through a trying conversation if you’ve exhausted “Really,” “Wow,” and “What.”
- “Well, I’ll be doing the opposite of that, but thanks for your opinion.”
- “It’s amazing that you think that’s your business.”
- “Let’s just pretend this never happened. It will be less embarrassing for you.”
When I am rich and dead, teenage girls will get copies of The Portable Dorothy Parker and The Handmaid’s Tale* from my dead rich lady foundation, so that they learn exactly how depressing and terrifying life can be and develop the necessary sarcasm and drinking skills to cope. Dorothy Parker could bring the pain.
“So, you’re the man who can’t spell ‘fuck.‘”
-Dorothy Parker to Norman Mailer after publishers had convinced Mailer to replace the word with a euphemism, ‘fug,’ in his 1948 book, “The Naked and the Dead.”
Have you been watching Downton Abbey? Because Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess Lady Grantham is delightful. When I use the word “cunty” to describe her character’s amazing ability to deliver a backhanded compliment, please believe that I mean to convey only respect and awe.
Lady Grantham: “You are quite wonderful the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal.”
Mrs. Crawley: “I take that as a compliment.”
Lady Grantham: “I must’ve said it wrong.”
It seems what is required is to just remove one’s filter. Strip it right off. Why wait for dementia to set in when you could be enjoying an unfiltered life right now?
I hope you found this educational and improving. Shall we take a turn about the room?
*What else (besides Auntie Mame, can’t believe I left that off) should we add to the curriculum for the Academy for Wayward Girls Who Want To Stay That Way?
I like this post about how to promote yourself without being a jerk. I’ve been linking CaptainAwkward.com hardcore on the Book of the Face and the Twitter. This is a good reminder that you have to self-promote your work (no one else will), so don’t feel ashamed, but also don’t be such a Dalek about it.
Penelope Trunk is brilliant about “thinking outside the box”, as in, it is a phrase that generally means “I don’t like any of your ideas” and the people who are great at innovating are the ones who spend a lot of time thinking about the box itself.
Sady Doyle has a baseline of being a pretty great writer, but sometimes she even transcends herself. I recently read a critique of feminism right now “a bunch of bloggers writing about the pop culture that’s oppressing them,” can’t remember where, except…it was posted on a blog. Sady writes about how stories shape us and warp us and sometimes save our lives. Here are three great recent things:
1. Running Towards Gunshots: A Few Words About Joan of Arc: “And I don’t know if I believe in Jesus, but I believe in Joan of Arc… I ended up finding the trial transcripts online. Because I’d never read them before, and I was over the whole religion thing, but I ended up finding out that she was a real person. This real, live, bitchy, funny, charming, smart, obstinate/contumacious/disobedient, gender-inappropriate, charismatic, determined person, who somehow managed to happen, a really long time ago. I don’t know what I believe about the God thing. But I believe that we’re human beings, and that the range of human possibility includes Joan of Arc.”
At a certain point, you have to ask yourself why certain stories are so important to you. Why they become, not just entertainment, but myth: Something you use to explain yourself to yourself, or to explain the world. A thousand times, on Dr. Who, the lady Companion insists that the Doctor will save them, and every time, the people are all “BUT PERHAPS THIS TIME HE WON’T AND WE ARE SCREWED THOUGH,” and every time, the music swells and the Doctor comes and he saves as many people as he can. And you love it, every time it happens. Because that’s the story you need: There is someone out there, someone good and wise and kind, and he will always come to save you. I mean, I get it. Some people go to church for less.
But for me, it’s always been about the girls. Specifically, the Strong Woman Action Heroines: Scully and Buffy, Starbuck in the “Battlestar Galactica” reboot, Ripley and Vasquez and, hell, even Tasha Yar. I love this; I need this; I eat it up. And yet, my relationship with the Strong Woman Action Heroine is… complicated? Let’s say complicated. And let me take a minute, or several, to explain how.
“We wanted Betty to read The Feminine Mystique and get her mind blown and rise above; or, we wanted her to stay a victim, so we could relate to her better, or at least keep feeling sorry for her. But sometimes, people just get damaged until they start damaging. Sometimes, people are lost. We hate Betty now because she’s not going to stay a victim, but the truth is, she’s also not going to be saved.
It was the scenes with the child psychiatrist that did it for me. Some will argue that January Jones is a terrible actress, and to them I submit: The scenes in the child psychiatrist’s office. She became an entirely different person for those few minutes of film; you could see her getting softer, and sweeter, and more human, every second. All because someone — a woman, older than her, an authority figure — talked to her gently, and quietly, and responded to her worst, yikesiest statements only with, “that must be a terrible feeling.” You know: It really must be. All of Betty’s feelings must be so, so terrible. But it was clear, even then, that this woman was scared of her, and scared for her daughter. You could see the potential for Betty to heal, in those few scenes. But that wasn’t the message of the scenes themselves. The message was that her chance was gone; she wasn’t a child any more, and she had to be judged by adult standards. She still needs love, so badly, but she just doesn’t deserve it any more, and giving it to her is just too risky. Help came too late. And how many stories is that, really?”
And finally my good friend Manboobz has been making milk come out of my nose with his descriptions (with examples!) of what happens when men who really hate women try to date them.