About Me

My photo
I am a blogger who specializes in using blogs to blog.

Monday, June 30, 2008

If Only, If Only

It's Monday. You realize that with a start as you fall out of bed onto your piles of clothes, papers, and general stuff covering the floor. It's 10:30. The alarm never went off. In all this adjustment to being awake, your eyes get used to the sun, your mind gets used to pure thought, you answer the world with a simple and eloquent message.

What the hell?

After getting up and blindly reaching for a bathrobe, putting your contacts in, and shuffling downstairs, you decide to wait, and take a shower at eleven. By this point, you're on your second batch of nearly botched up, burnt toast. It's here you remember that not only can you not cook, but that you told yourself you were going to have cheerios this morning to make up for the trip to Pizza Hut the night before.

You open the cereal cabinet. There's nothing there. You end up making toast.

So much for having a plan.

You scour the internet for a while, take a shower, do some laundry, listen to the radio, have an intimate and thought provoking discussion with that cabinet you ran lines with last summer, ignore telemarketers. All the time you move about, from room to room, hallway to hallway, with the same underlying knowledge that this is the life you've always dreaded leading. The typical, the mundane, the shuffling of feet from one aspect of a day to the other, the lazy and restful aspect of leisure. You are a typical teenager, the very definition of restless, desperate to see things, go places, utterly terrified of living a carbon copy of your parents' lives for reasons you can't quite place and probably wouldn't understand.

The clock on the wall moves a second forward. You take another step, and sigh.


This is your forth day in a row at work. To most, this seems like nothing special, but to you, whose dramatics have a habit of working against you, and who can neither tolerate or accept endless, uninteresting repetition, it is a recurring nightmare. You've been working at the Hardware Store down the road for nearly four months now, ringing things up, checking it out, returning, stocking, asking people if they have Ace Cards, cleaning counters and calling for propane. It's a right of passage, you are aware, every functioning adult you've ever met has spoken of the part time jobs of their youth, the similar feelings they had then, and understand now. You'd like to believe them, of course, you'd like to think the endless stream of people who come to your register might actually relate to you in some inexplicable way, but as you are a teenager, very Hamlet-esque angst is rampant. Who could possibly understand you, the sulking cashier with nothing to immediately look forward to apart from the chance to do returns on your next shift? Who could ever really comprehend the immensity of it all, your problems and your fears? Who could ever understand?

Right. Because you're clearly that complex.

You sigh, and absentmindedly fiddle with the pencil next to your register. You're really very simple, very average, and as painful as it is to admit, naive. You're young and restless, constantly being told you have endless possibilities ahead of you, with not the faintest idea what to do with them. You know what you want, you think of it often, but you constantly belittle it. Of course you want to live in a city, you've lived in a town your whole life. You want to travel across Europe and Asia, hike Mount Vesuvius, visit Stratford, stand and gape before a pyramid, obviously, you've never traveled farther than Canada. Your farthest endeavor was Alaska, your most profound, Washington DC, it makes sense you'd be restless, it's typical you'd want more than what you have now.

You are nothing more than stock character, an interpretation of a very simple genre that anyone can, and everyone has endured.

You ask your latest customer if they have an Ace Card, and in your head, you repeat it in three different languages. Someday, you'll escape this. You may be forced to play a mime for two years, or spend half your life as a Starfish in Disney World, but someday, your red, over sized, Ace Hardware polo shirt will be nothing more than a distant, laughable memory. This is the thought that keeps you going, the thought that makes the broken alarms, burnt toast, piles of laundry, and endless stream of returns worthwhile. Though you lack a script to rehearse, lines to learn, and a character to portray, the thought that someday you will, someday you will have more, helps.

And you hold onto it harder than you've ever held anything in your life.

Your Blog has recently turned two. As you re-read your very first entry, one in which you lament about your boredom, your lack of anything to do, your forced role as babysitter to your sister, you realize things haven't really changed. Oh, you're writing's a bit different, you're a bit thinner, a bit calmer, a bit more mature, your hair's a different color and your clothes are a bit more comfortable, but overall, the events remain the same. Summer will always seem endless, always a repeat of the last year with another year of generic classes you don't care about looming in front of you. You will always sit and wonder if your problems are really problems, and will always decide that they're not, even if, sometimes, they really are. There will always be those endless days of nothing followed by those endless days of something.

And then you remember. You're a senior now. Another year older, one year left. How do you feel?

Brilliant and terrified.

Just where you should be.

Cheers for another year, all. Happy Second Anniversary.


Sunday, June 08, 2008


Ok, so this is just a general "Nelly-needs-to-vent" kind of post. Like, I know I haven't written in a while, and I should be writing about Mother Courage (which went well, by the way) or The Chocolate War (which also went well, if a bit too quickly) or having to deal with rampant dance moms, or the fact that my cousin just graduated today, or even the fact that I'm going to suddenly find myself another year older this weekend, which I only just realized this morning and am only slightly shocked by. I know I should write about these things, these somewhat major events happening around me, but I'm not.

Instead, I'm going to rant about tabloids.

I hate tabloids. Not the kind that tell you we're all going to die in ten days, Bigfoot's living on Mt. Washington, and Oprah's actually an alien god. No, those are funny. Those you can look at while you're waiting in line at the grocery store and laugh hysterically while the guy in front of you gives you a funny look and then tries to hit on you. You can clearly separate those kinds of tabloids from reality. You can go to Mt. Washington, not see Bigfoot, and all will be right with the world.

The ones I'm talking about are ones like this:


David Tennant. Time Lord playboy. He's been on dates with several different people in the last few years, he's clearly the biggest slut that ever had the opportunity to play Hamlet.

There have got to be more pressing matters to put into print.

Not if you're a tabloid, apparently. Googling the world "Tabloid" comes up with a list of a few different tabloids, one of which is called "Star" Their cover story? CELEBRITIES WITHOUT MAKEUP!!!


And you know what, I look far, far worse than the people they have on the cover. Make-up doesn't work miracles, it just pronounces what you already have. And as I haven't got very much to pronounce in the first place...well, Miley Cyrus tops me any day, really. Even with the half-naked towel shot.

I find it interesting to think, though, that between David Tennant's amorous escapades and a few famous people deciding they didn't feel like having to take a ton of make-up off at the end of the day, that there must be people out there who are really into this. Obviously, as tabloids still exist, there is a demand for them. That's basic economics class. And I'm sure the vast majority of the people that buy them are only casual readers. But there are some, as further Google searching revealed, who are really, really into rampant celebrity gossip and "entertainment news" There are some people who will buy every single tabloid they can find while waiting in line at the grocery store, and who will sometimes buy them as opposed to actual groceries.


Because they're fun.

Seriously. It's like watching Gilmore Girls, the appeal of that show, apart from the clever, hyper-speed diologue, is following the relationships of the characters. You watch one week, are left with a cliff hanger, and tune in next week to see if Lorelei does, in fact, get together with Luke. It's simple. There's no shame in it, nothing to worry about. They're fictional characters, it's nothing more than a story, and it's perfectly reasonable to want to find out what happens next in the story. You can be riveted by it, follow it's every move, every plot-detail, wait and wait and wait in suspense because, in the end, it's all just a story, and they're all just actors. Waiting to find out who hooks up with who on a TV show is no worse than waiting for the next Harry Potter book, all you want to know is what comes next in the story.

With tabloids, it's the same principle at work, just without the whole "not real"part. Here, we have the stories of real people, unfolding right in front of you. It's ok to follow the relationships of Lorelei Gilmore, why isn't it ok to follow the relationships of David Tennant? Because David's real and Lorelei isn't. Oh, really? YES!

This is what people forget when they follow celebrity gossip.

These people are not just characters from a book. They are not Snow White, they're not the Gilmores, they're real people, with real lives, just trying to get on with it. We treat them as if their lives are nothing more than clever plot development, the more scandalous it gets, the more we want to read about it. It's not a bad thing, it's not the "darker side of human nature" at work, it's just basic entertainment. The more interesting something is, the more interested people are in it. That's why tabloids appeal. We forget these people don't have to live purely for our own enjoyment, we forget their reality.

It's like Brecht. There's an alienation, a distance that has to be created with people in the public eye in order for them to maintain the privacy needed to stay sane. Tabloids lose this. They rip down that privacy, and throw it at our faces, enchanting us with tall tales and stories, and keep us waiting for the next chapter. Because people, for the most part, admire celebrities like they do literary characters, they want to feel like they're a part of their story, when really, they're just outsiders looking in. They're just trespassing. They're breaking the fourth wall.

So what it really comes down to, is this; do we really need to know? Do we really need to know that David Tennant's been on multiple dates in the past few years, in an attempt to find, perhaps, find a life partner? No. Do we need to know that without make-up on, a most likely exhausted Miley Cyrus actually looks, physically tired? No. We don't need to know any of this, we only look at it because we want to be entertained. The same can be done with books or TV shows, soap operas and cheap supermarket romance novels.

So why aren't we just reading those?