Thursday, January 28, 2010
Have you ever stopped to consider the true meaning of the word "ennui"? First of all, moron, it's pronounced "ahn- WEE", not "EN- yoo- ay." This is how it sounded in my head until I said it out loud to Zoe one day, and she quickly corrected my ignoramus pronunciation, because I generally don't hang out with people learned enough to use this term in everyday conversation. The majority of of my friends are illiterate, stumped by common street signs and baffled by shiny objects.
The literal translation of ennui from its original French equates to "boredom." Go figure, the French are such bores. But it contains so much more than boring. Really, it also suggests weariness from the mundane and disenchantment from the formerly enchanting. It means getting exactly what you thought you wanted, then taking a moment to look around, to shrug your shoulders, and say "is that all there is?" It's like ordering the Baked Alaska, or if you're me, having sex.
Here, Peggy Lee explains ennui in a lecture- song. Only individuals like Peggy Lee and Barbra Streisand can pull off this genre of half- sing/ half- intimate pillowtalk (thank you Zoe). Seriously, click on this link! I can't figure out how to make this go from that internets to this internets.
Aren't you thrilled and relieved by the fact that there exists a noun so elegant and precise to sum up your nebulous existential angst and everyday malaise, and it's only two syllables?
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't believe in "boredom," just as I refuse to accept "shy." "Shy" is a euphemism for "sociopath." If you're an adult and live in the world and are forced to engage with humans on a daily or at least weekly basis, then get over your shit, look someone in the eye, and SPEAK! If the norms of social interaction prove challenging for an individual, there are always apologists who pull this, "Oh, Sabrina. She's just shy." NO! If you can't at least do the little song and dance of meeting and greeting, then you are a bonafide weirdo. Shy, my ass...
I don't believe in boredom, in theory at least. Although I bemoan its persistence in my life on a daily basis. No curious person should ever be bored, because the world is full of so many delights and things to know, there are infinite books to read, gratuitous blogs to write, and new opportunities abound wherever you look. In the words of another hero of mine, Betty Draper, "Only boring people are bored. Go bang your head against a wall."
But alas! I betray my own ethos again and again. I am bored as fuck. And I'm boring, but you all knew that already. Seriously, I've extinguished every TV series available on Netflix (except the Wire. I don't dislike the Wire, I loathe the Wire. I know, I know, you find me even more reprehensible now, a feat you thought impossible, I'm the only person on God's green earth to ever make this claim, blah blah blah. I mean, McNulty's kind of hot or whatever, but I cannot keep these plots straight! And what with all the cops- and- robbers talk, if I only half- listen it sounds like they're speaking Arabic or something, and I can really only deal with shows that require half- listening, as I usually fall asleep within the credits of anything I'm watching after 6pm. I endure this affliction, which is a congenital disease know as "Fernitis," for my grandmother, a lowland German peasant, who fell asleep the moment she sat down on any stationary surface in the evening because she worked on her feet from sun up til sundown. I'm just lazy.)
I even started on Grey's Anatomy, which is possibly the most boring show in the history of TV. I experience ennui when I while those plucky interns fall over each other to observe unorthodox medical procedures, and even more ennui with the cold realization that I've watched the last episode and there are none left to fill my days. These dark, dark days. Oh well. But then I remember that there exists a word like ennui, so perfect in its little chrysalis of vowels, and then I feel slightly less anguish upon my brow. Then it's all, "enn- WHEEEEEEEEE!!!!"
Saturday, January 23, 2010
But when it comes to living, breathing literary crushes Nick Flynn wins this highly coveted prize of Zenaida Baby Daddy Numero Uno. The prize is autographing a restraining order against yours truly, followed by identifying me out of a lineup, which is easy because of my unusual body shape.
Flynn looks like he crawled out of a forest, he is primordially handsome. His cheekbones are up to his eye balls! These pictures do not do justice, because I know you're judging me all like, "That guys looks like he should be strumming an acoustic guitar in a subway station begging for pocket change! Why don't you finally remove your head from the depths of your rectum and get some taste?" Whatever!
Friday night I found myself adrift in a sea of earnest bespectabled, behoodied and bebackpacked caucasians (fuck I hate Brooklyn) to feast my eyes on Flynn and feel his gravely voice resound through my cells (I wasn't kidding about the restraining order). Prior to his reading, a three- piece group performed a few songs in some Cyrillic language, which were actually covers of "one of the most important singers of the Soviet punk movement." I couldn't make this shit up. After this awkward slog through musical stylings in a language that should never really be spoken let alone sung, Flynn shared a few delights from his new book the Ticking is the Bomb. Flynn has a special forte for naming books, and I'm wicked pissed at him for stealing the title of MY memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City.
So other than working it as a full- time hotmaster, Flynn is a pretty good writer too. His latest genre- bending journalistic memoir-y thing the Ticking is the Bomb looks at the use of torture in the Iraq war and Flynn's childhood, which I love because I can make ANYTHING all about me too, like I am now in this post. Appreciating Flynn's biography makes the link between Abu Ghraib and growing up on the North Shore of Massachusetts a bit more believable, what with his single mom who ultimately commits suicide and a con- man deadbeat alcoholic jail bird father, Jonathan Flynn, who I'm not sure is supposed to be funny but I found pretty hilarious at times in Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. Not the homeless parts, of course, but his original nicknames for friends, like "Eno the Beano," and his flawless check forging scams. Robert De Niro will portray Jonathan Flynn in the film adaptation, so I foresee De Niro doing funny- sad just right, Travis Bickle- ing all over Boston.
Did you know that Nick Flynn is married to Lilli Taylor? I hope she's not as much of a domestic ball buster as she was to Nate on Six Feet Under. If she is, pretty Nick, you know where to find me: outside digging through your garbage.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I stated a few weeks ago that outings to the movies are my current raison d’etre, which is a euphemism for a sociopathic misanthropy and lack of interest in real life humans. This is slowly but steadily resulting in a Unabomber- esque lifestyle/ appearance. If this keeps up I’m going to have to start a satellite blog called “Let’s Go to the Movies: The Unraveling of a Bottle Blond with Weight to Lose.” Or maybe this recurring column synecdochially represents the whole: me, alone, in a darkened room, buried under empty snack wrappings with popcorn in my bra, crying.
But how will I ever rejoin “humanity” and get back to my modeling career when movies like Crazy Heart are playing at a theater near you? Well, maybe not near you, this gem probably hasn’t come to your bullshit town yet, where they’re still playing “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.” Once Jeff Bridges wins best actor (That’s right! I’m calling it! You heard it here first! I’d like to thank the Academy!) it’ll probably show alongside the Method Man vehicle “How High is Too High When My Homeboy Christens Himself Big Baby Jesus."
Holy mackerel! This movie is good. Paloma Zenaida is a little bit country after all, and will only speak of herself in the third person from this point forward. Crazy Heart is a resplendent tale of a washed up country singer named Bad Blake, and boy is he bad! He’s a- drinkin’ and a- smoking and a- effin old lady butterface party moms until an angelic but not cloying aspiring journalist (I can categorically relate) played by Maggie Gyllenhaal saves him from himself but then he fucks it all up because he’s a psycho and a wino but all is not lost for our anti- hero as he realizes that redemption doesn’t always come in the form of narcissistic romantic relationships but rather from doing good deeds and fishing with Robert Duvall and cleaning off the cigarette butts and collection agency notices the floor of your scumbag jack shack apartment and making art and whatever and there you have it! I allow that the story lends itself better to the big screen, if you can believe it.
There are two parts of this film that make it a modern classic other than Jeff Bridges stumbling around, simultaneously hilarious and tragic, or tragicomic. One is the T-Bone Burnett soundtrack, especially the catchy tune “Funny How Falling Feels Like Flying,” to which I am writing a companion piece called “Funny How Falling Feels Like Falling Directly On My Ass.” The other is the shots of the great American southwest, the grizzled, withered, desolate landscape reflecting Bridges’ character. There are so many shots all the seedy motels with half- filled pools that make me doggone patriotic and restless to hit the ol’ road with nothing but my expired driver’s license and childlike wonder. It depicts a down-on- your- luck world that feels almost foreign on this smug little island, a world where the Angelika crowd (impatient, aging hipsters) walks out of the theater saying, “Oh well isn’t that sweet, poor white people have culture too! I’m so glad I just saw this independent film to broaden my limited definition of personal triumph over addiction and Nashville’s hegemony over country music.”
Friday, January 8, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
I've been going to the movies with remarkable frequency lately. I tend to go at least once a week, but since it's the depths of winter in New York City and I've managed to alienate most of my "friends" through unorthodox behavior in public (random outbursts of song and dance, did I mention I'm also, like, way into musicals too?! I've never been the same since purchasing the soundtrack to A Chorus Line), I have no choice but to disappear into the dark bosom of the most sacred of all sanctuaries, where for $12.50 plus some thirty- odd dollars on snacks one can spend an afternoon alone and in fantasy land with wild abandon... the movies!
Walker Percy said it best in his existential and imaginatively titled novel the Moviegoer. The hero Binx (!) ruminates during an outing to the cinema with some numbnuts girl who clearly doesn't understand his broody essence and says:
"There was this also: a secret sense of wonder about the enduring, about all the nights, the rainy summer nights at twelve and one and two o'clock when the seats endured alone in the empty movie theater. The enduring is something which must be accounted for. One cannot simply shrug it off."
To endure. To endure! Is there anything more noble than enduring? I wish I could marry going to the movies. Well, I sat my rotund bottom in one of those movie theater seats this past Sunday at a picture show from another southern gothic dandy, none other than Mr. Tennessee Williams! "Wait a second, how can he make movies when he's been dead for decades?" Now, now, don't think yourself into another dizzy spell, dear philistine reader, with such questions of time and space and mortality. He wrote it fifty years ago, and the screenplay has subsequently been DISCOVERED which is EXCITING.
Tennessee Williams is the Pedro Almodóvar of the American south, because he loves women on the brink of nervous collapse and he is gay. Tom Wolfe is kind of like a modern Tennessee Williams, because he is a fine southern gentleman but he much prefers to write about dudes, except for in I Am Charlotte Simmons, which should be required reading for any homegirl who dared attend a private university. And Tom Wolfe is our contemporary Truman Capote, obviously. Whoa! I'm giving myself a literary gay analogy migraine!
Anyway, the Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is currently playing at the Quad Cinema, which has the size and charm of a Mexican bus. If you chose to overlook the marquee, you would think you stumbled into a McCain town hall meeting in Boca. The elderly and infirm LOVE this movie theater, probably because there's no stairs (bad for the joints) and no escalators (confusing). Old people are really annoying because they do all the things for they condemn the young for doing. They talk loudly, and throughout the movie. I gave the whole audience a big SSSHHHHH from the back row during the previews because I knew what was in store from these geriatrics. This is the "unorthodox social behavior" I referred to earlier, because it actually managed to embarrass Brooke D, something I imagined impossible prior to this moment. She found herself even more humiliated later in the day when we went to Victoria's Secret and I demonstrated the generous proportions of her cup size by putting a bra on my head. The bra covered my eyeballs and almost my nose.
So in between the coughing fits and shouts of "What did she say?! I can't hear anything!" resounding throughout the theater, I reveled in the fetid, festering 1920s Delta this movie portrays. All the classic hallmarks of the grotesque preened on the silver screen: live oaks, creepy twins, flasks of whiskey in coat pockets, a lady's descent into madness, assisted suicide, and the unintentional murder of sharecroppers by a carpetbagger industrialist! The main character played by Bryce Dallas Howard has a crazy name (craizer than her own) that only unhinged southern women with a flair for the dramatic can carry off- Fisher Willow! Ooooo, and there's class conflict too. Just like the relationship in After Miss Julie, Fisher entraps a hottie mcbody peasant into a romantic dynamic with an intoxicating asymmetry of power in which the dude ends up hating her because she's so insufferable and spoiled and retarded but OMG did I mention what a hotmaster this Jimmy Bovyne is?! Holy mackerel, I want to play a parlor game with him!
Alright, so Fisher Willow is no Blanche DuBois or Maggie the Cat, but Williams is Williams, southern gothic nourishes the soul and we need to take whatever morels we can scavenge in the withered, frigid northeast. Beggars can't be choosy, but someone needs to go tell the rest of the audience from the 3:15 show to go home. They're still wondering what the characters are saying on the darkened screen. To enduring!