Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Socialist Television

I love the advent of television on the internet.  Speaking as someone who definitely has scheduled an entire school curriculum around when television shows air, I love the newfound freedom that television on the internet (and TiVo) has afforded me.  I love the fact that while plugging away at filing what seems like sometimes endless amounts of paperwork, I can catch up on The Office or 30 Rock, on Gossip Girl or 90210.  I love that I can download Glee to my iPod for $1.99 and watch it on the bus on my way to work.  When I was in college, I would choose 8:00 AM section over 8:00 PM because the night time sections always interfered with my TV shows.  I would get calls from my roommates, panicked that they weren’t going to be home in time for Dawson’s Creek or Gilmore Girls, and requesting that a video tape (remember those?) be put in to record the show.

Ah, aren’t we glad those days are behind us?  Working until 11:00 PM?  No sweat, I’ll watch my TV tomorrow, or this weekend.  I’m hearing so much about Mad Men, but am now three seasons behind?  Whatevs, I’ll catch in on DVD.  But even with these great innovations, I find that there is something missing.

Last Wednesday I went over to my old roommates new house.  We had dinner, played a little Beatles Rock Band (which I love, even though I can’t stand the Beatles…please, do not email me about that assertion, I know what you all are thinking), and watched Glee.  Whether or not you like Glee (and I’m judging you if you don’t), whether or not this sounds like a great way to spend an evening, I realized what, exactly, was missing from my TV on the internet: the social aspect of watching television (I can hear my mother groaning right now).

What I really loved about the whole, scheduling my life around television, is that all my friends and roommates scheduled their lives around television as well.  I mean, sure it was a pain in the ass when you wanted to go out, or do something else, or if you got hung up at work or at school, but I don’t get the warm fuzzies I used to get when I’d walk into a house with three bright, shiny faces huddled in the living room waiting for the refrain of a really bad Paula Cole song.

At a time when good television is better than it’s ever been, I find it sad that the way I watch TV the most is huddled at my desk with a pair of headphones on, suppressing my chuckles, blinking back tears, and trying not to make any gasping noises when something particularly shocking happens.  And I’ll admit it freely, I miss watching TV with people.  I miss commenting on wardrobe: ‘what is that outfit?’ was a refrain often heard in my various apartments in college.  I miss sharing the joys, the pain, the laugter and the ridiculousness of some stupid television show that you just can’t get enough of with other people who can’t get enough of it.  For me, coming from a group of TV friends who are as passionate, if not moreso, than I, it is hard to quiet down and just watch.  It’s hard not to react, not to reach out to others.  Much like in life, Television begs human contact, some sort of consensus must be reached about character arcs and plotlines, about wardrobe and hair.  I mean, people used to knock on our dorm room door because we reacted so loudly they thought there was something wrong, people heard us yelling from down the street outside apartments and houses as we wondered why certain fictional characters were behaving as they were.  Now we’re relegated to text messaging or instant messaging one another: ‘I love chuck and blair,’ isn’t as satisfying as a face to face conversation about the merits of a relationship that is doomed not to work out.

I’m realizing as I write this, that I don’t just miss the missed opportunity for communication, and I will say that often television is a way to open up about crap that’s happened to you, even if it’s just putting your two cents in on a situation that you’ve experienced (can’t argue that one mom, how many discussions about drugs and sex did we have after an episode of 90210? A Lot!), but I miss the socialization.  I miss the fact that every Thursday for three years, my friends and I found a way to get together and watch The O.C.  That every Thursday in our house meant fish tacos and margaritas, or one of our pizza delivering friends would bring pizza and beer.  I miss that 20 minutes prior to a show when people just started arriving at our house, that the TV show was a way to keep up with friends, a way to continue the bond that may have been left in the library or at the roadside of endless reading.  I miss that many of my friendships now could use a little jump start from a weekly TV watching party.  Even if it’s just two or three people on a couch, the bondedness of experiencing a show together, laughing together, crying together, commentating together is going away.  And I miss it.

Peace, Love, and Social Networking,
Julia

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Book of the Face

I joined Facebook a little more than a month ago after much shit from everyone I know, and I must say, it stresses me out.

First off, I live in a near constant fear that someone I don’t want to talk to is going to try and friend me (ahem, certain ex-uncles I have no care to chat with), and I’m going to have to ignore them, then run into them randomly and have them be pissed at me (don’t you wish you could be inside my head?).  Then, of course, is the fear of the people I try to ignore whenever I’m in Santa Cruz.  But mostly, my stress comes from the constant pressure of the updates.  That’s right, I said it, the updates raise my blood pressure.

I mean, come on, they have to be funny and provocative, interesting yet not completely telling, and most of all, they have to be short.  And I’m not going to lie, I check to see how many people have ‘liked’ my posts, how many people have commented.  Not to mention the fact that I can get all this on my blackberry, so I can check on things like this.

So, one might ask, why the hell would I want to subject myself to this?  Well, my brits did guilt me into joining.  I’m certain the phrase, ‘we could keep in touch better if you joined facebook,’ was used once or twice, but really the fascinating and shocking (to me) thing is, I actually do like Facebook.  I like being able to keep up with my friends and family without having to talk on the phone (because I really hate talking on the phone) and I like seeing people’s pictures, reading funny updates.  I like the political debates that rage on different posts.  I like hearing what everyone is up to on a regular basis.

For all it’s merits though, I think the Facebook/MySpace phenomenon begs the question, what did we do before this?  I mean, I definitely talked on the phone in high school, but not any more than I do now.  Did we just not know what was going on in everybody’s day to day life?  Do we need to know that now?  I’m guess I’m wondering, did we have more friends or less?  Did we really know more people and now we just kind of know them, or did we know just as many people, but not as well?

The thing about Facebook is it’s a censored version of yourself.  I mean, we don’t get to go on there and say, ‘man, I had a crazy night.  Got drunk, did something stupid with someone I didn’t know, crazy night.’ or  ‘God, that was some good weed!’  Our families get those updates, our parents, our aunts, our cousins.  No one needs to know things like that.  I don’t even tell my friends things like that.  At the same time, I think that Facebook affords us a look into the people around us.  We get to hear about their day (whatever part they choose to share), we get to hear about the random thoughts that appear in their heads, about the issues they choose to share.  And maybe that speaks more than anything else can.  Maybe just the feeling of being more connected is more important than whether we’re actually connected or not.

In any case, you can bet I’ll be fretting about what to write next.

Peace, Love and Facebooks,

Julia

September 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Confession

So I have a confession to make.  It’s not easy for me to say, and you might not be that shocked, but I, Julia Rose Callahan, am a hipster.  Yep.  That’s right.  I’m coming clean.  I’m a hipster.  I love irony, I wear old clothes, I own records and I listen to NPR.

The term hipster has been bandied about for quite a few years now, and I’ll admit, when I first heard it I had no clue what it meant.  So let me define, in case you’re out of the loop.  Basically, a hipster is a young person, usually in a large city, who wears skinny jeans, ironic t-shirts, and greasy hair.  Men often sport obnoxious mustaches and mullets, women often also sport a mullet-like hairstyle.  Women are often seen sporting old granny dresses and sweater sets.  Tattoos are also a big part of hipster style, usually the tattoos are ill-planned and somewhat ridiculous, but funny.  Hipsters also tend to be smart, artistic and politically savvy.  They read, they listen to NPR, they can’t get enough of indie rock (though they only like the bands that you and I are too unhip to know about yet), and they love movies that are so bad they’re good.  (If you are in the Bay Area, hipsters are almost anyone under the age of 30 living in San Francisco, especially in The Mission).

You see, not only do hipsters like irony, they also like being the first of their kind to do anything.  Thus, they will often move into semi-dangerous neighborhoods and start the gentrification process that seems to be sweeping almost every urban area in this country (with the exception of Detroit).  Hipsters were the ones moving to Oakland when it was still super dangerous, they moved in to Brooklyn and Downtown Los Angeles, while they were still considered the ghetto.

But Hipster has had a negative connotation ever since I first started hearing it (all the way back in 2004).  As I moved into Los Feliz, arguably the most hipster neighborhood in Los Angeles next to Silverlake, six months ago, I started thinking about this phenomenon of Hipsterness.  Was it really all bad?  I mean sure, there is a vain element to it that I would not consider myself a part of (though I do have numerous tattoos and wear obnoxious jewelry), but really, hipsters embody a kind of ethos that I can’t say I’m opposed to.  In fact, I’m all for it.

Coming from a generation where Beavis and Butthead reigned supreme, it’s acutally kind of astonishing that many of us now pride ourselves on the vast knowledge we are able to acquire.  Sure, it can be annoying when faced with someone who knows fucking everything, but isn’t it better than having to deal with Bill and Ted all the time?

Above all this though, hipsters are also in to helping the envirnoment, they ride bikes and take public transit.  They shop local.  Basically, hipsters are the new hippies (and usually they smell better).

So all this being said, I’m claiming my identity as a hipster.  I’m embracing the ridiculousness of having a set of lips tattooed on my left butt cheek.  I’m embracing the fact that I love the soft lisp of Ira Glass.  I’m embracing the fact that I think a man with an ironic handlebar mustache is sexy.  I’m declaring myself a hipster in all its greatness and all its ridiculousness because of all the ridiculous things to be in our modern world, I think hipsters are the least ridiculous.

Peace, Love, and Represent,
Julia

September 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Can’t Hardly Wait

So a few months ago I wrote about Glee, and what a great show it is, and the time is finally here.  After a long hard summer the Fall TV season is back (and thank God it is, there’s only so many reruns of CSI one can scroll by before gouging ones eyes out).  As I watch the sneak peeks available on iTunes, I started to realize what, exactly, Glee has done and they’re changing everything.  

 

The musical T.V. show is not a new thing, it’s been attempted a few times, and failed miserably every single time (I mean, who can forget Cop Rock, where cops actually broke into song).  The problem with this formula in the televisual format is the same that befalls sci-fi and fantasy shows: it’s hard for the vast majority of the T.V. watching public to suspend disbelief for 22 hours per season.  They can do it for a 2 hour movie or a 3 hour play, but to suspend disbelief for an entire season (let alone 6 or 7) is a completely different matter.  Sure, some of us are willing to take trips on the Enterprise for years on end or get up close and personal with demons and vampires, but pretty much all sci-fi/fantasy shows (excluding the X-Files) are cult hits.  

 

Glee, on the other hand, is poised to be a huge smash hit.  The pilot had 10 million viewers and buzz just keeps growing and growing.  So here’s what Glee does right, and why I can’t wait for Wednesday night: 1) it takes modern songs like Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey, Rehab by Amy Winehouse, and Gold Digger by Kanye West and makes them show choir standards.  Along these same lines, Glee doesn’t go down the road of High School Musical or Cop Rock or any other musical for that matter, in that the kids don’t randomly burst into a fully choreographed song and dance number when they are blue or in love or in need of expression in some way, instead the songs come from the actual performing of the pieces.  It’s genius really, they avoid the ridiculousness of musicals and instead capture an audience of people who like the songs that are getting made over glee-style.  

2) Lea Michele’s character of Rachel Barry combines the best of any good drama dork with Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon’s character in Election).  She’s that oh-so-annoying girl that was always better than you at school, was always class president and got into a better university than you, but what she had in smarts and determination she lacked in social graces.  3) Glee is the anti-High School Musical that just might win over all the lovers and the haters at once.  I’ve written many many times about the atrocity of High School Musical, but this show has the potential to unite the two factions (plus, people actually make out and like, can act in Glee, imagine that).  

 

Basically, what we’re witnessing here folks is a potential change in Television.  It’s never been done before and it looks like it’s going to be a huge success.  Beware of next year’s t.v. season  when we see The Office: The Musical, Football: The Musical, and CSI: Broadway.  It’s all downhill from here.

 

Peace, Love, and Glee,

Julia

September 5, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment