Here’s the bio that has been up on TV’s Twitter Page ever since I started it like a year or so ago:
One day I got up and walked away. My owner wasn’t watching me anyway. The first thing I wanted was some Pop-Tarts. They look good.
So I always planned for it to start with Pop Tarts. Those commercials… man.
On a completely other note… I have really been enjoying Erin McGathy’s podcast “This Feels Terrible.” I like the way she puts it all out there, doesn’t edit for the sake of listeners sensibilities, she gets seriously, seriously honest. Scary so. Sometimes in a gross way. Brave.
You know how right now we are in a backlash against the age of irony? If you hadn’t noticed, we are. Irony and sarcasm are becoming uncool again. The new age we have moved into is The Age of TMI (TMI is short for “Too Much Information,” just in case you aren’t hip with the kids). There hasn’t been an Onion Article written about how it’s the Age of TMI yet, I don’t think, so no one has named it, but I’m calling it right now. We are.
I think the patron saint of The Age of TMI is Louis CK and its John the Baptist was Marc Maron. These two dudes are probably my biggest heroes in public life right now, so if you think I’m naming this present moment as a precursor to criticizing it – I’m not. I like the age of TMI. I practice the TMI gospel. I think it’s good. If there are things that are taboo to talk about then there is probably something in those topics that we as a culture need to deal with.
So let’s talk about them.
Let’s deal with them.
Erin McGathy’s podcast goes at those topics in a real and honest way. I like it.
In her recent episode with Kimber Hall, though, they vacillate a lot about this concept of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. It’s an archetypal modern movie character that has been popping up in film recently and chicks have had a big backlash against it. Women writers hate categories and any time anyone names a category there will always be a bunch of writers who will rip into it.
I only recently heard about the concept of a Manic Pixie Dream girl and I heard about it on mic, during a taping of this recent episode of The World Exists podcast, led by Hillary Rea.
To McGathy and Hall’s credit, they are very ambivalent about using the term. A wise ambivalence. They use it, because they seem to think it describes a truth of some kind, but it also makes them a bit queasy to use it. They end up trying to come up with a new term but… in coming up with a new term, aren’t they kind of admitting that the term names a thing that is worth naming?
Anyway, in the global Brady Dale philosophy, I think it’s a waste of time to worry language too much. When you do, you are committing The Sin of Plato – the worst of all philosophical sinners. Plato’s great sin – the sin for which we should ban him from all schools of Philosophy or only teach him after folks have studied contemporary philosophy and have a defense against his simpleton nonsense – is the sin of conflating language with reality.
Language is a tool. It’s a clumsy tool we use to understand a universe that we barely comprehend. We should worry about how well we understand the real universe, and not worry about these silly words we use to clumsily feel about it with.
So I like the podcast and I mostly like the episode (because they spend most of it talking about real stories and trying to decide whether each of them did the right things in the course of those stories). And that’s all to the good. But McGathy asked her listeners what they thought about the issue of the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” so I wrote her. I don’t imagine she’ll read anything I wrote on the podcast (especially since it was several eps ago) and I’d hate for all that writing to be read by only one person. So here’s what I wrote her in response to the question:
I guess my take when folks flip out about a category is: chillax.We are all many things. If we are named as a thing that doesn’t mean anyone thinks that’s the sum and total of who we are.I am, for example – a geek, an activist, a romantic failure, a boyfriend, a dude, a jerk, a Kansan, a Coastie, a dilletante, a wannabe, a gym bunny, a metrosexual, middle-aged, artsy-fartsy, a leftie, a yuppie and a snob.Those are all categories. None of them completely describe me. If anyone picked one to describe me I couldn’t argue. I would agree that they do all describe an aspect of my life.Do any of them pigeonhole me. I guess… not a lot but I guess.When folks see an archetype in a movie and say that is a real X or that isn’t a real Y kind of person I’m like… a movie is 2 hours long. A movie is not going to completely describe a whole person. All we are ever going to understand is a sliver of a number of characters’ lives.Even if some girls are at times manic-pixie-dream-girls… or are for a certain part of their lives, that doesn’t mean that’s all they are.I’m not sure the trope would keep coming up if it didn’t describe some truth, tho, if not the whole truth.And I appreciate the fact that you guys seemed to acknowledge that at-least-partial truth.The only part I seemed to object to in your conversation with Kimber Hall was when you seemed to say that guys don’t get stuck in categories that are confining. I guess it’s because I am a part of geek culture, but I see it all the time.The Comic Book NerdThe Video Game GeekThe LoserThe MeatheadThe Also RanAlpha MaleBeta MaleDudes I think tend to get defined by what they do or have tried to do whereas women are more defined sexually.You can talk about what that means. That’s fair.But I don’t think it’s right to say that guys aren’t stuck into categories that end up limiting them. They are.At times categories suck for everyone but I think it was Confucius who said, “Stereotypes save me time.”And there is also some truth in that.
Panel 2. TV is looking in a cupboard full of dry and canned goods.
Panel 3. A woman walks toward the kitchen and sees TV standing there with a box of Pop-Tarts.
Panel 4. The woman turns to look back over her shoulder while TV is still standing there.
Woman: Honey... Our son's television is taking Pop Tarts our of our cupboard.
Panel 5. A man is in the foreground sitting in an easy chair with TV and the woman still at their stand-off in the background.
Man: That's okay. We should probably get him a flat screen by now anyway.