Thursday, January 24, 2008


There's this long protracted scene in the book I'm reading, Meyer by Stephen Dixon, where the protagonist lists the circumstances, in block paragraphs, of all the calls he's gotten in his seventy-some years alerting him to the deaths of loved ones. Heath Ledger died two days ago. Back two weekends, I saw a couple making sex across the street, then the woman's silhouette walking into the bathroom while the dude cleaned off his penis with his hand, sitting on the bed. That's kind of just what it's been like lately.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Like most women of my generation, I've seen all 19 episodes of My So-Called Life. I went through an intense fascination with it when I was a senior in high school. Re-reading an old Open Diary (ha) entry the other day, I was struck by the propensity of my high-school self for sincere self-reflection, how free of irony (almost alarmingly so) my dialogue with myself was. It's not surprising, then, that I saw MSCL as revelatory during this period, in the way that I simultaneously loved Joni Mitchell and watched the hours-long Woodstock documentary and "The Last Waltz" with nothing short of open-mouthed LOVE. I'd love to think that these loves had to do with more than just feeding myself morsels of trite girl-wisdom, but who knows. At least I never had to deal with boy-things, then. I barely paid attention when boys talked about anything other than, well, me.

My So-Called Life is out-dated now--so much more than I expected it ever would be. What it observed about high school--normalcy!--has nothing to do with "My Super Sweet Sixteen" or "Gossip Girls" or "Rich Girls" or "Laguna Beach." Right? I mean, that's obvious, I guess, but who knew that '90s nostalgia could hit with such force in 2008, and that it would be so much about Innocence? At a concert last night, Nick said that he felt '90s nostalgia was really the "zeitgeist," which is such a hilariously ironic and accurate description of our generation's fixation on the various Cools of the past. Angela Chase, in 1993, represented the last authentic moment of the '90s, for teens. Her zeitgeist just eluded me and my peers, who were in elementary school when the show came out, and when Kurt Cobain killed himself. I mean, I don't even remember knowing who Kurt Cobain was. By the time I was in middle school, big pink seventies flowers and bell-bottoms were "back," and there was nothing creative in the translation of the sixties-and-seventies pop aesthetic to the late nineties--it was literal, and boring, and had little personality of its own. Rayanne Grath and Clarissa Darling, though? They had style--a kind of individual aesthetic that would never be celebrated on television, now.

Last year I saw "Bridge to Teribithia" in the theaters, that terrible film version of the great children's novel, that comes off as both timeless and authentically seventies on the page. I was so annoyed by the way the movie presented Leslie Burke as this Avril Lavigne-esque "alterna-girl," SO pretty and wearing fingerless striped gloves! Leslie is supposed to be independent-minded, exempt from the real world, and Weird. And a Tomboy. When was the last time you saw a female character on television showing anything close to personal style? I miss Blossom, even though I'm too young to miss her. I'm too young to miss a lot of things, and I think that's what we--Generation Whatever--feel so strongly. Nostalgia for something we never inhabited! How depressing! Yup.