Here we are again… weathering still another week of not-so-subtle brutalities of the world. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to bleach the image of Steve Bannon as some kind of auto erotic yogi from my mind’s eye.
Since last we spoke, the nation has no doubt unclenched its universal anus over the scary healthcare repeal, the Mooch has come and gone faster than New York Fashion Week and with a far less pleasant finale. Who in his right mind blow-dials The New Yorker? The whole script strains credulity and possesses all the trappings of a melanin-deprived telenovela.
Of course, telenovelas and soaps are governed by the three T’s: trauma, talk, and tears. Something big happens to a character. She or he texts/calls a frienemy to recount it. The two make a rendezvous to review the particulars again upon which tears ensue. Then, the director shouts “Cut! Everybody safely back to one,” and they go again. The one rule of the telenovela writer is to TELL, don’t bother to show, primarily because telling is fast (and cheap) to crank out on a daily basis. And yet, the above bottle does not seem quite big enough for even the fate-and-fury writers of the current Whitehouse.
Yes, all the telling and retelling inoculates us from trauma, which gives some solace, because no one in a telenovela is ever permitted to be content for more than oh say… 3-5 minutes. If you meet your soulmate in a soap script, he’ll be in a serious accident and not recognize you the very next day. As soon as he recovers his memory and haltingly utters your name from the hospital bed, his identical long-lost cousin will arrive on the scene to set him up as the Patsy in a hideous crime, only to have another guy who has secretly adored you for forever but whom you’ve kept in the friend zone, selflessly sleuths his way into getting your amnesiac soul mate exonerated, just as you then instantly become the target of Russian oligarch money launderers.
Things repeat until you hit a critical mass of tens of millions of viewers all mesmerized by a narrative wrap-up that somehow satisfies their deep collective longing all while morphing into a new set of miseries. Sometimes the tears get extra-physical and you even have Joan Collins and Linda Evans fight-clubbing it out in a lily pond… that was something to put the kids down early for.
But doesn’t all of it make you homesick for another world? (not the soap opera itself) but an actual other world? Hello, Brian Greene? Where is string theory when we need it?
I’ve been trying ever so hard to see the world through book-colored glasses since I am unable to run away to France with its nation of cheese geniuses and handsome statesmen who appreciate older blonde ladies. With this in mind, I’ve been reading Ottessa Moshfegh’s collection of stories with the same marvelous title.
These existential vignettes are like going to that dirty old dive bar out on the far edge of town, the one you never stopped loving. Maybe you found your name scrawled in a bathroom stall there with some pithy, nasty hyperbole that did you proud. Maybe it’s the kind that serves up a sweet-bitter cocktail with just enough orange oil in between laugh-out-loud rants. Moshfegh’s voice is a dark, funny razor cutting away at oh-so-human foibles. The characters are pimply, brash, wildly sullen and then whisper-sweet-tender. It’s uncomfortable at times, but there’s also a quietude in this book that runs completely counter the current melodramas of our world. You’ll fly through reading it and you’ll remember how you are all the good and all the bad rolled up in one. You virtuous, tasty taco, you.
As I write this, something else crazy is probably happening. I can’t look without another round of George Benson. Some of you have written to ask if I have forgiven McCain for his voting acrobatics and the short answer is: I haven’t. I don’t want any one white guy having that much power over our healthcare… not now, not ever.
Stay rad, Lovelies – xoxo – GG
P.S. Is this not the best business card ever? These were the real mavericks of last week.