Friday, June 23, 2006

Summer Ruins Chocolate

In my humble - no, make that awesome - in my awesome opinion, summer is a bastard any way you slice it. It's all hot and stupid and, yeah, well, that's about it. I've written about this at length elsewhere on the internet. Oh, you don't believe me? Fine, jerk, here you go: JERK. That's a link, pal.

I've since thought of things that make summer even WORSE, however. I also hate spring because spring pretends as though it's summer's version of what fall is to winter but it ISN'T EVEN, because fall is actually respectable in its behavior. It's not too cold. It's actually quite nice. It's chilly enough to remind you YOU'RE ALIVE!! but it's not freezing-ass cold, like the winter coming after it promises to be. SPRING, on the other hand, is this sonofabitch bastard who might as well be summer except with more rain. It just gets stupid hot without any warning and it's like, hi, what the hell? Anybody ever heard of SUBTLETY? ASS? FUCK??

But this is not the problem at hand. The big problem here is that SUMMER RUINS CHOCOLATE. It's true! Most of my favorite candies have chocolate as their base component and I can't even properly appreciate them come summer (or "spring") time!

I just got a Symphony chocolate bar. I had it in my room for like five seconds before I realized it was bendy like a goddamned pipe cleaner. "GOOD LORD, THIS ISN'T CHOCOLATE THE WAY I REMEMBERED IT!!" I quite possibly screamed, but you can't prove it. What happens then?! What CAN happen?! You have to put your chocolate in the goddamned fridge or freezer! THIS IS NOT HOW CHOCOLATE WAS MADE TO BE CONSUMED, MY FRIENDS. The consistency changes! All cold and hard and funky! You either have to eat pipe cleaner chocolate or this hard nonsense! Plus, if it gets too cold it turns whitish! WHITISH?! THAT'S NOT HOW CHOCOLATE IS MEANT TO BE!!! BAH! A travesty!

I was in New York City two days ago and I bought a black and white cookie. It was a damn fine one too, by the way. I put it in the paper bag the lovely store clerk person gave to me with the intention of eating it later. Little did I know...IT WAS SPRING, which, as we've discussed, is just summer hiding behind a bullshit false title. By the time I got home, my cookie was all smushy and the frosting (some chocolate, some vanilla, to be fair) was melted onto the plastic wrapping. GROSS. I couldn't even unwrap this if I didn't want basically The Holocaust - Part Deux - The Sequel to occur right then and there. I swear it would have been THAT BAD.

I had to, what else?, put the louse in the fridge. I ate the cookie later and it was adequate, I suppose, but, really now, this isn't the way my brown and white circular cake-thing is supposed to be handled. It's wrong, and it's not good, and it's bad, that generally agreed upon as being the opposite of good.

Anyway, summer and it's bastard twin brother, spring, suck. Everything is hot and dirty and sweaty, even my chocolate. I don't think that this is right and I implore you to stand with me, and, I dunno, help me blow up the sun or something. I'm sure nothing would be too negatively affected in performing such an action.

Get it? I'm being facetious. Yeah, this is the first time I'm trying it out. Boy, it's great.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Crazy Always Wins

Although I may not be so inclined to admit to it, there's a very good chance that my sister is smarter than I. At the very least, she has a hell of a lot more common sense. It's occurred to me that, in many of the debates I have with her, she is frequently the one to establish her arguments far more concretely and I usually have to acquiesce to her reasoning. Plus, she reads a lot faster and a lot more than I do.

In my post yesterday, which made little to no sense and as much of a point, I briefly compared two authors or, rather, their physical attributes. (Comically enough, it is basically the polar opposite of this post.) Now, you listen good.

I just finished Koren Zailckas' book, Smashed (my sister completed it before me in record time). It's a memoir about the problems with alcohol (not alcoholism, just alcohol) that have plagued the author since her youth. It's a decent read, and Ms. Zailckas is a fairly talented writer.

The only major issue I can really say I have with the book is that it's ultimately kind of uneventful, not that it shouldn't be. The fact of the matter is, Koren Zailckas recognizes this. It's not a book about her struggle with a horrible, alcohol-fueled childhood and adolescence. It's what seems like a basically standard story about a girl discovering the sauce during her teenage years (much like many teenagers) and then having it essentially dominate her life throughout college (much like many college students) and a bit beyond that.

Koren Zailckas openly acknowledges the standardness of her story but also makes the claim that this part of the average young woman's life has not been hugely focused on in past literary works. In other words, she is writing about something that happens all the time that nobody discusses happening all the time. It's true; there are a lot of drunk girls, but most of them don't write books.

On the other hand, we have Elizabeth Wurtzel and her more well-known memoir (it was turned into a movie starring Christina Ricci), Prozac Nation. I've only just started the book, but it's clear that, unlike Koren Zailckas, Lizzy Wurtzel isn't out to represent the everygirl. Although her experiences in this book have been touted as being a fairly accurate portrayal of the Generation X behavorial model, and the author has herself said that she's since discovered that there are quite a lot of people who dealt with similar issues, it's clear that Elizabeth Wurtzel's only real intent when writing was to talk about Elizabeth Wurtzel. Elizabeth Wurtzel is, incidentally, a very unstable woman.

Now then, about a week ago I was tagging along with my sister and her boyfriend (they said it was okay, okay?) and I had my copy of Zailckas' Smashed in tow, as I had traveled with it on the subway and really had nowhere to stash it. So funny so funny, we actually ended up going to an outdoor bar, so the book sat on the table as we drank, the cover depicting a girl sitting sloppily with her hair over her face, looking rather fucked up. I turned the book over at one point, because it's not the most beautiful picture and I didn't feel like seeing it the whole time we were there. This left the back cover exposed, with the picture of the author(ess) staring up at us.

Not much later, my sister turned the book back over stating, "I don't like her picture." Her boyfriend and I commented that the opposite side was worse. "I don't care about that one, I just don't like the pose she's doing. It's stupid."

Here is the author's picture as it appears on the back of the book:

I agreed that it was a pretty stupid pose, but I was screwing around and said, "Man, you hate her so much, don't you?"

"No, I don't hate her. The book's fine, it's just a stupid picture. Why'd she have to pose like that? I mean I can see if you're an actor or something, but she's an author. She doesn't need to look all hot and cool and mysterious."

"Well, it's standard practice," I said, although I also noted that J.D. Salinger never did it, being a bit of a recluse as I understand he was. "Is it all author pictures or just hers?" I asked.

"I don't know, I don't see the point in it. I wouldn't want my picture taken if I was an author. I wouldn't want people to know what I looked like."

Her boyfriend and I argued that people probably do get curious, this being a very visual society and all that, and might like to see a picture of the author. I believe we also threw in that, theoretically, bands never had to put their pictures in album inserts (not all do) or make music videos (not all do). Both of these things happen to be true, I suppose, but at the same time, hey, why not take a picture?

My sister left it alone for awhile and then shot back:

"Actually, it is just her. I don't mind just a regular picture or one where they're smiling or something, but you don't take a picture posing like that unless you think you're cute. She never mentions in the book that she thinks she's ugly (for the record, she considers it once out of the entirety of the work). She's always jumping between different boyfriends. Someone who thinks they're ugly wouldn't have taken that picture."

Her boyfriend noticed the photographer's name and said that maybe it was his fault. My sister argued that Koren Zailckas probably had final say on the photo (which I'm not convinced of) and that she didn't have to do that pose anyway (which I suppose is true). My sister said if a photographer asked her to pose like that, she'd stick her tongue out. I then joked that if one saw that photographer's portfolio, it'd probably be all of people making that same ridiculous face.

"The book's okay, but the picture made me think I was gonna hate her," she said.

I saw her point. The photo basically implied "trying too hard," sort of like when Kurt Cobain posed for the cover of Rolling Stone with a homemade shirt on that read "Corporate magazines still suck." An attempt at being cool and interesting-looking backfires completely, causing the subject to instead come off as shallow and cheesy. Really now, if you were so mysterious, should that not come through in your work enough without a superficial addendum?

Now then! I just started reading my sister's copy of Prozac Nation. It's already more interesting than the Zailckas book because, horrible as this sounds, she's WAY more disturbed. Now, before I even got through the prologue, I decided to look for the author's picture in the back. Pathetic as this may seem, subject matter becomes instantly more engrossing (at least to me, and I'd warrant, a fair percentage of most heterosexual males) if it was created by a hot chick. I discovered that there was no photo or, for that matter, an author's bio whatsoever (which sort of makes sense as the book's content covers her background pretty damn well). However, this is the cover of the book:

Skeptical that this was anything but some unhappy-looking girl who modeled for the cover, I quickly, using internet powers, searched for "Elizabeth Wurtzel" on Google. As it turns out, she is, indeed, the one on the cover and she has, in fact, posed for the cover of nearly all her works and, in my opinion, she's a bloody fox (my sister doesn't agree!).

I showed the book to my sister as an example of someone going way overboard with trying to look weird and mysterious and said that I thought the "arm over the head" was more over the top than the "head pointed downward, stare of deepness."

"Oh," my sister said. "I didn't even know that was her."

"Yes, but wouldn't you agree that," I put my arm over my head, "this is worse than," I put my head down and widened my eyes, "this?"

"No, because it makes sense. She's crazy and it's about her being crazy so she's on the front looking crazy. If the other girl had posed for the drunk photo on the cover of her book that would have been fine, but she took an author's photo trying to look cool and hot."

I followed up my last statement by saying that Elizabeth Wurtzel clearly has a lot of pride in her looks, as she's posed on nearly every one of her covers and, on her second book, went topless, no less (flipping the bird, no less!):

(Her nipple was airbrushed out, for those curious, and I know most of you are!)

I also explained how, although Prozac Nation made her a hit, most people noticed that her following books did nothing but continue on her path of self-absorption. The book that the above cover is from is supposed to be a celebration of famously aggressive women but, apparently, also eventually degenerates into discussions of how Ellie Wurtzel went about scoring ritalin.

"Well, she's crazy. As soon as you pose naked on the cover, you know you're crazy. The other girl is a normal girl, she was in a sorority, she knew what she was doing. She could've taken a normal picture. This one's crazy."

My sister was saying, in other words, that Elizabeth Wurtzel gets a pass for her attempts at trying to look like a weirdo because she is a weirdo. It actually makes an assload of sense. People complain about how her work is self-obsessed blather. Well, her mother and father split up when she was two and she was ricocheted between them for the rest of her childhood, neither of them having any exact idea how to be a parent. She entered into a deep depression at the age of eleven (during an era that clinical depression, especially at such a young age, was not really recognized, or not recognized in the same fashion) that alienated her from other kids and, really, just about everybody.

Of course the woman is self-absorbed. Of course she prattles on about herself. She didn't have the attention she needed at the time she needed it most from her parents or her peers. She must be psychologically stunted in so many ways! She might be whiny, she might be complainy, but, really, Elizabeth Wurtzel just wants somebody to listen to her.

People might find it despicable that she makes money off of the fact that she had a fucked up life but, hey!, at least she had the foresight to write it down. She had to deal with it, at least she can get something back from it now. It's better than over-embellishing because your life isn't fucked up enough to sell books, like Mr. James Frey, or inventing a more jostled persona because you're actually just some middle-aged woman with little to discuss of your own, like "Mr." JT Leroy. On top of which, Elizabeth Wurtzel looks awesome doing it and, if you ask me, is, at least judging from Prozac Nation, quite talented. As far as writing ability is concerned, I find her prose a lot more inventive than Koren Zailckas' (although I notice a few similarities as well).

The bottom line is that Koren Zailckas is a relatively normal girl trying to look like more than that in her author photo. Elizabeth Wurtzel is utterly mad (and utterly sexy! Ho ho!) and looks the part. Does this mean that posing as she does (topless or un-topless) on her covers is a good idea? No! It's just an understandable one because she's a goddamned nutter! And not just any nutter but a nutter what can write!

Crazy gets to do whatever Crazy wants because Crazy brings in money. Normal, Drunk Girl can keep her money too, because she's also talented, but she's also normal. Normal, Drunk Girl can show off her talent, but she should also not try to be more than she is as it rings false. It's just James Frey on a lesser scale; a less impacting form of falsfication. Unfair as this may seem, Crazy has proven herself to be truly Crazy, so Crazy gets to go as crazy as Crazy wants.

"So, what you're saying," I said to my sister, "is Crazy gets to pose naked."

"Yes," she said. "Crazy beats everything else."

"Crazy is a wild card," I said.

"Right," she said. "Crazy always wins."

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Thanks for Wasting My Time

Stupid people need to stop making stupid contributions to society, in turn, making it stupider. You come out with retardinatorshit and you tell me it's mas bueno? It's not! It's totally not even! I disagree with your assertion that it's an improperly phrased Spanish statement that implies something good, more or less.

For those of you keeping track with me, yes, I am still working on saving the world. It's just taking a little longer than I had originally anticipated it taking and I'd appreciate just a wee bit of patience on your part. I really don't think that's too much to ask, do you, skinflint? You just get to sit back while all the earth's problems get solved, okay? Like I need your lip now too, huh? What? Huh?

A lot of people seem to hate Elizabeth Wurtzel. I have trouble understanding this. Mostly because she's so hot.

You see what I'm saying here? I also think she kind of knows how to write...about herself.

Now understand that I upgraded from Koren Zailckas' Smashed to good ol' Lizzy's Prozac Nation, which shows you that drinking is a gateway drug to the harder stuff. Shows you that hardcore! Also, you upgrade the prettiness. See, here's Koren:

She's cute, sure, but she's no Wurtzel! No Wurtzel at all!! Although Ms. Wurtzel's also about forty at this point, but, well, whatever.



This is easily the best post I've ever written. I hope you are all mystified or mortified or possibly spellbound, depending on what season it is that you are reading this during.

I'm sure we all had a ball here today.