I’m a hater of haters
The main thing that strikes me about all the chatter about “having it all” and “opting-out” or even “leaning in” is that it is not only extremely gender specific, but it also willfully ignores the fact that while a certain segment of society deals with a tyranny of choices (do I work? do I stay home? do I get a nanny? do I use daycare?), the majority of people in this country would view those choices as a luxury. There’s no two ways about it; it’s a privilege to feel stunted because all you do is sit around and bake cookies and organize carpools to and from your kid’s swim meets. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a worthwhile discussion to be had about whether or not women in high-powered careers should feel obligated to stay put for the good of their future or even for the greater good of a society that desperately needs more women in positions of power. Of course, there’s room for that conversation, but, well, that conversation has been ongoing now for at least a decade. Where is the conversation about the women who can’t afford the choice of opting out, who work minimum wage—or not much better—jobs and don’t have—never had—a partner to help them out? Those stories are easily as representative of American society as ones about women who went to Brown and Harvard and fell back into a successful career the moment they so much as thought about it.
There’s also this Kendrick Lamar effect that people don’t talk about. When you compare Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City to everything that came out afterward, it’s just frightening. I wouldn’t have put out Magna Carta, I wouldn’t have put out Yeezus. If I was J. Cole, I wouldn’t have put out that shit J. Cole put out, because Kendrick just dropped some shit that should make y’all never put out an album until you can get close. But tell me, teach me, you’re smarter than me. You think J. Cole is boring right?
but have you ever had a crush on a character in a television show? You know you have. Think about what a limited amount you learned about that character—just a few hundred lines of dialogue, of course presented in the physical form of a very attractive Hollywood actor. Now that you’ve called up that memory, imagine if that character could have interacted with you, had long and frank conversations, and was programmed to be charming, understanding, affectionate, or whatever else might be most appealing to you. Couldn’t you develop feelings for that persona that were much more meaningful than what you felt for your old TV crush?
My all-time favorite moment in the book occurs about midway through. By this point, Nattie had pretty much fallen in love with “C” after many days and evenings of telegraphic courtship. Then one day she gets reverse catfished. A creepy dude shows up at her telegraphic office and claims that he’s “C”. This isn’t true; he’s actually someone who worked alongside “C” in “C”s office, and who learned about Nattie and decided to pay a visit. But at this point, Nattie doesn’t know this. He’s such a creep that Nattie shooes him away and falls into a funk. How, she wonders, could somebody be so delightful “on the line” and so nasty in person? (Again, wow: How modern a moment is that?) The next time she runs into “C” on the telegraph wire, he’s nice to her and tries to talk (he has no idea his associate visited Nattie and pretended to be “C”), and Nattie brusquely cuts him off, saying she wants nothing more to do with him. He’s totally baffled, and keeps on trying to talk to her, but she won’t talk back. Classic romantic-comedy, mixed-up identity stuff! This is straight out of Shakespeare, or possibly Three’s Company.
The conversations in The Canyons are vapid but pretty true to life for a certain faction of entertainment business aspirant. They sound like the echo of talk overheard in L.A. coffee shops every day. The aimless blather about upcoming projects, fuck buddies, agents, and juice cleanses that tourists always overhear (because it is usually overly loud) and mistake for being the whole makeup of L.A. And that is the crux of my complicated relationship to Bret Easton Ellis’s work. On the one hand, I respect him for accurately portraying a certain subsection of overprivileged Angeleno (super rich kids with nothing but loose ends), but I also always resented his work, and Less Than Zero in particular, for popularizing an image of L.A. as incredibly shallow, purporting to show an insider’s point of view. But mostly I resented it because I was so deeply in denial that the superficial, fame-seeking, drug-addled, sexually licentious but spiritually empty world he depicted in his work even existed at all in Los Angeles, which, duh, it totally does. He accidentally ended up glamorizing the thing he set out to satirize (50 million Patrick Bateman fans can’t be wrong).
It’s rare to find a man who really charms you.
The other comment men like to make is another winner “My maid just loves your books”. Really, well thank God for her.
Last month the Supreme Court ruled on an obscure little case called Horne v. Department of Agriculture, brought by a California raisin farmer who claims that by requiring him to pay into this so-called raisin reserve, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is illegally confiscating his private property. The case didn’t attract much media attention because the unanimous ruling was just a logistical one—it was kicked it back to a lower court—that was dwarfed by the gay-marriage and voting-rights decisions, which, understandably, are much bigger political issues than dried fruit. Still, for most of us the discovery of a governmental raisin hoard will count as a question-raising surprise. Where are they kept? Why are they kept? Is the American economy in danger of being thrust into recession by an avalanche of underpriced raisins? What other piles of fruit are out there, and, more importantly, can we eat them? “There is no Uncle Scrooge’s nickel bank of raisins,” says Dr. Mechel Paggi, director for the Center of Agricultural Business at Fresno State University. “No one storage unit full of raisins. The rules are not quite so draconian as that.” Darn.
Dangr33: did you let a boy take off your party dress? (h/t elvis costello)