Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Cultural Snobbery 101

I’m writing under deadline today.  It’s the first time in two years (i.e. since college) that I’ve had to write under deadline, seeing as I have a job (or three) that a well trained Chimpanzee could easily perform…in fact, I think G.W. will become a P.A. as soon as he’s done with this White House gig.  Anyway, like I said I’m writing under deadline.  No, this is not what I need to turn in by a certain time.  I actually have to finish a screen play (I actually have to write about 25 pages) before 7pm tomorrow.  But I have to work tomorrow, so I actually have to finish tonight.  Now, this is nothing new for me.  I’m nothing if not a world class procrastinator.  Yes, I have been known to start and finish a 10 page analytical paper on the opera Carmen a mere 7 hours before its due time.  In fact, in that particular instance I had a major movie moment where I sped to school, parked illegally and sprinted to the door, which the secretary was just about to lock, miraculously turning my A paper in on time.  And yes, I really did receive an A.  In fact, it was one of the best papers I’ve ever written.  In any case, that’s not really what I’m going to write about today, you see, over the past week or so I’ve come to a major life decision.  I want to be cultured.  No, I don’t want to sip dry martinis (though I won’t say no to that) and talk about the merits of Proust’s ‘Remembrance of Things Past.’  I mean, I did try to read the first volume once, got 100 pages in and didn’t know the protagonists name, so I’m leaving Proust on the back burner for now.  This big epiphany came to be while I was reading Diablo Cody’s (writer of Juno) book about her year as a stripper.  Now, you all may or may not know this, but I do love to read the stripper/porn star/sex trade bios.  It’s endlessly fascinating to me.  In all fairness, I also love to read the rockstar bios, the drug addict memoirs, all that shit.  Basically, my theory is that these lives in no way resemble mine (except at one point some of the drug addicted memoirs) and thus are endlessly fascinating.  No, I’m not planning on hitting up the Body Shop for a job.  I never intend to work for Vivid Pictures.  In fact, I presume I’ll never get into a pair of leather pants and a sequined top and belt out anything on stage.  I’m quite content being holed up in my meat-freezer of an apartment and staring endlessly into the black eyes of my macbook, wondering how a place in Los Angeles can be so fucking cold.  And where the hell did I put my gloves because I actually can’t feel my fingers right now (thus explaining any typos).  But I digress.  Basically, as I was reading Diablo’s book, I a) was struck by how similar to me she seems in the book, and b) how much different popular cultural crap she references.  Now, I, for one reason or another, have always aspired to be one of those Dorothy Parker-esqe ladies whose tongue is as sharp as a knife and who always has some sort of obscure referential to throw out in any given situation.  I actually, now that I think about it, kind of attribute this want/need to Clueless.  I always thought it was great how quickly Murray called Christian and Oscar Wilde reading, Streisand ticket holding, friend of dorothy.  I mean that paints a pretty vivid picture, and as I have previously stated, I do love intertext.In any case, I think this desire to employ, as Seth Cohen calls it, ‘pop-culture laden bromide’, was helped along the way by Gilmore Girls, The O.C., Dawson’s Creek, Grey’s Anatomy, to name a few.  Amy Sherman-Palladino is the goddess of pop-culture laden language, as seen in Gilmore Girls.  It’s remarkable really, the crazy things she does with words.  But it’s not just about speaking in a way that only an elite few can understand (and yes I’m aware of how ridiculous and, for lack of a different word, elitist, that sounds, but I’ve always been in the pion group so I wanted to be elite somewhere, and if that made me incomprehensible, so be it).  On the other hand, even though I’ve always publicly detested pretentious people, especially pretentious New Yorkers, I, as a small town girl, always sort of envied them.  Sure at heart I’ve always been a big city lady, but really I grew up a million miles away from anything that resembled an intelligent and cultured environment, with the exception of my actual house, and even then spend 5 minutes with my father and it seems as though you’ve entered some sort of distorted reality that greatly resembles National Lampoon’s Animal House.  I also have recently realized that I spend an unhealthy amount of time talking about Movies and T.V. when really my interests, even within the entertainment industry, go far beyond that.  Funnily enough I actually got some great advice the other day from someone who said that the best thing a writer can do is make a name for herself and then get the fuck out of Los Angeles because really there isn’t any interesting fodder in L.A.  Now, I don’t know if I agree with that completely, but there is some truth to that statement.  I know I don’t want to spend my life writing about movies or television.  I mean, I’m content to do that a little, but there are more important things to write about.  So I started reading some Dorothy Parker.  And yes, I’ve read her before, but I started reading her again.  I realized that if I am going to get some culture in me, apart from the West Coast culture I already have, I’m going to have to suck it up and make nice with the pretentious New Yorkers.  Dorothy is a good way to slowly slip yourself into that kind New York is the center of the world and the only great city in America kind of bullshit that just makes me want to scream.  But today was a banner day.  Today I decided that I would give The New Yorker magazine another try. Now, I had a subscription to the New Yorker in college (the logic behind it was ultimately the same, smart, sophisticated people read and write for The New Yorker).  Of course, this was an ultimately stupid maneuver seeing as I double majored in Literature and History and barely had enough time to read street signs, let alone a weekly literary magazine.  But now, as I sloth around my apartment in between working 60 to 100 hours a week, I want some reading material.  I have a ton of books, but this is a great way to stay plugged in to my literary roots.  So today, I went to the newsstand and picked up a New Yorker. If you still think of me as you’re sweet little girl, which is misguided, but ultimately fine with me, you might want to plug your ears for this next bit because it’s the real me.  I just couldn’t help myself on the other magazine I bought.  You see, for weeks now, at Booksoup, we’ve been discussing porno mags.  I don’t know how it gets brought up, but it ultimately usually does.  In any case, my side of the argument has always been that Playboy is maybe the best magazine of all time because the articles in it, as cliche as this is, are really awesome.  I mean this month’s issue has a short story by John Updike, an interview with Tina Fey (comedienne extraordinaire), and an article about John Muir, among other things.  Sure there are naked ladies in Playboy, but I just read it for the articles, I swear.  Actually, my opinion on the matter is that men (and smart women) truly do read Playboy for the articles.  If it was all about the naked ladies, they’d buy Hustler or one of those other dirtier magazines that my small town girl eyes generally avoid.  So if you haven’t gotten where I’m going with this here it is.  Today, for the first time since my eighteenth birthday, I bought a Playboy.  I’m contemplating getting a subscription to both Playboy and The New Yorker because, unlike the pretentious New Yorkers I refer to, I get that being cultured means more than Proust and William Burroughs and Kofi Annan.  I’ve read Dickens and Shakespeare and Ron Jeremy and I loved them all in their own right and they each taught me something different.  So I’m going to go write the kids movie I’m supposed to be writing.  Maybe in five years you’ll see it on screen.  Maybe you won’t.  Maybe Miss Diablo Cody and I will follow similar trajectory (not with the stripping because we all know I don’t have the body to strip, but if I did I could see it as a lucrative way to make money) with our writing careers.  Maybe I’ll become a professor of pop culture studies at UCLA or Berkeley or Bowling Green, OH.  In any case, I’ll be cultured in the fullest sense of the word.Peace, Love, and Playboy,Julia

December 18, 2007 Posted by | Books, Culture, Education, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Politics, Porn, Ron Jeremy, Sex | 2 Comments