31 May 2006

commenting on things i haven't read

james actually uses the word 'blogosphere.' like conversationally. so. i decided to be a proper resident of the blogosphere this afternoon, and followed salon's gossip page to gawker, which i started perusing, which led me to a wonkette story, which let me to a comment, about which i will presently write. the salon gossip was about katie couric's last day, about which i so completely don't give a crap that, until this came up, i was going to write a blog post that said, 'i so completely don't give a crap about katie couric.' (i also so completely don't get her appeal. she has a weird voice and smiles too much.) in browsing gawker, only five hundred years behind everyone else with a computer, i came across this response to a piece in the washington post. seems, as gawker and wonkette and probably lots of other people* have pointed out, the washington post decided to devote a four-page arts & living piece to this new phenomenon, "the wingman." point being, for the snarkfest, that wingmen** have been around for ages. wonkette also implies that the piece is moronically written. but, for those of you who haven't read the title of this post, 'commenting on things i haven't read,' i didn't read the washington post story. don't really feel the need to.

in case you're getting lost: the washington post story; the gawker piece; the wonkette reaction.

since everyone'd already taken care of disemboweling the post story, and since i wasn't going to read it anyway, i will actually be responding to a comment posted on wonkette:

Washington Post:MTV::Wingman article:My Sweet 16.
quoi? 'rudy' goes on to say, 'both are life-draining train wrecks that are bearable only because you know you're a better person than the subjects.'

whoa there. i may not have read the post story, but i know my "my super sweet 16" (and get the title right, bud), and i really don't think so. (i also think the analogy is wonky. doesn't it make more sense as 'washington post:wingman article::mtv:my super sweet 16'? and is he saying the article, which i haven't read, invites the reader to feel superior to the wingmen?!? show a little respect!) it sounds like the wingman article is a life-draining train wreck for a couple of reasons: the fact that it treats wingmen like some newfangled invention; poor writing/construction; and a generally offensive treatment of youth culture ('at college, a good wingman has been as important as a popped-collar shirt. this is a generation that, in large part, dismisses the idea of courtship. many move fast through relationships: face-booking, instant-messaging, text-messaging.' wonkette says, 'OH THE KIDS TODAY WITH THEIR UNTRADITIONAL METHODS OF COURTSHIP AND MESSAGING.' i say, 'popped-collar shirt?')

"my super sweet 16" is, first of all, not a train wreck. many of the young ladies on the show are train wrecks, but that's a very different thing. the show itself is a smartly constructed, deliciously perverse confection. second of all, in case you couldn't tell already (i don't think i've ever used the word confection before in my life.), "my super sweet 16" is far more than bearable. it's awesome. i mean, it's horrible, but it's soo good. maybe it is like a train wreck in that sense - more a car wreck - that it's horrible but you just can't look away. but no one (i hope) enjoys the carnage of a real wreck like you do this show. it's schadenfreude to the max - because not only are you getting pleasure from other people's pain, but you, or i, don't feel guilty about it, because the pain comes from such ridiculous indulgences. yes, the girl's freaking out because the pet shop is closed so she might not get to wear a boa constrictor as she makes her grand entrance to her party. but she's only upset because, at some point, she decided she needed to wear a boa constrictor as she makes her grand entrance to her party. or the girl who was devastated that her dad didn't, for her sixteenth birthday, buy her a second car. (don't worry - at the end of the show, he did.)

i realize this makes me sound like a horrible, shallow person. but if i'm willing to be that horrible and shallow in the privacy of my living room, why not here? no shame. i love that show, and i admit it. (it's just writing out why that i start to feel kinda dirty.)

but i think we can agree that rudy, in his comment, didn't mean train wreck as in carnage that you can't look away from, but as in total messy disaster. (as in, how james used the word to describe the movie of the phantom of the opera.***) "my super sweet 16" is not that kind of wreck. and it's more than 'bearable' - it's awesome. and even if its awesomeness were only bearableness, it is not just from feeling like a better person than the subjects. one: it's fun to watch all of that opulence because, hey, we want it, too. sure, the girls are brats, but those are awesome parties. two: the guilt-free schadenfreude mentioned above. yes, enjoying watching them suffer, but it's such silly, frivolous pain. three: the drama. even if it's frivolous drama, these girls are upset, and that's compelling. and four: yes, the superiority. we would never be that shallow, selfish, wasteful, indulgent, and we sure as hell won't be such lenient parents. (anyone read the new yorker piece on the dog whisperer? lay the smackdown, and good.) so basically, rudy's wrong. and dc sucks.

i realize i'm unnecessarily hatin on rudy, innocent dc blogger and, from a super-brief perusal of his blog, maybe clever and not a moron. (hatin on dc probably doesn't really hurt rudy too much, as his blog address is 'whyihatedc.blogspot.com,' and his mission 'to mercilessly mock anything related to life in the washington metro area, using as much profanity and sarcasm as possible.'****) i also don't actually hate on dc. it's just that new york is so much better. and we have such better stuff to blog about. like, did i mention that i saw sarah michelle gellar shooting a movie last night in the village? (somehow, after two years, my first run-in with a movie shoot. have i actually not been in nyc all this time?) rudy seems like a smart enough guy (lady?), and dc's perfectly nice. (i guess. it was really really cold last time i was there.) but i like to imagine that there's this vicious ny-dc blog blood feud. (which i also like to imagine myself being a player in.) like, gawker vs. wonkette. because 'unhealthily obsessed with beltway scandal' doesn't even come close to 'reporting live from the center of the universe,' and never will.

*do gawker and wonkette count as 'people'? isn't wonkette two guys now?

**shout out, diresta.

***and hey, how about emmy rossum playing juliet at williamstown this summer. i think i hate that idea, but i'm not sure.

****though i find anyone who has to declare their intention to use lots of sarcasm and profanity is often trying too hard. show don't tell!


Kate said...

ok. i mean, i'm new to this and all. but i think, and don't take this too much to heart, your blogs are just far too long. i desire to read them, i really do, but two paragraphs in and i'm fading fast. short, sweet, super. pretty soon the "comments on things i haven't read" will refer to your blog.

John said...

I am not only a wingman - I am a wingman who uses the phrase "dramturgical roller-coaster."

PS: Do you want to go to Six Flags at some point this summer and sing the closing song from Spring Awakening on Batman?