I think I’ve mentioned here before that one of my college classmates was Peter King, now a bigfoot sportswriter at Sports Illustrated. Another was Jay Mariotti, this guy. You should read that link; apparently life has taken a turn for the former Chicago Sun-Times scribe, who quit the paper in a huff after becoming convinced the web was the future.
Things have gone downhill from there, as the Gawker post points out. It’s so hard to reconcile this image of Jay with the guy I knew in 1978, whom I recall as quiet and hard-working. Well, things change.
Another classmate, one who yearned to be a famous sportswriter with every fiber of his being, was this guy. He wanted it so bad he sued the Plain Dealer for racial discrimination, although it never went anywhere. Now I see he’s landed on his feet, having published a book about cereal:
Even the most miniscule detail about breakfast cereal impacts Gitlin and his passion for pouring bowls.
About 20 years ago, he said he sat down for a spoonful of Alpha Bits and, much to his horror, Post had removed the sweetening.
“I was stupefied,” he said. “I went in my room and cried. Very soon after that they took Alpha Bits off the market, and when it returned it was pre-sweetened again. Post understood the error of their ways.”
That story’s from the Plain Dealer. Good to see they don’t hold a grudge.
What a long, tiring day it was. Spent most of it at a conference in Lansing. I still have to write about it, so I guess I shouldn’t say too much, other than this: The lunch was very good, the lunch entertainment even more so — a rapping organic gardener. No, I am not kidding. Did you know farmin’ ain’t easy? Did you know he gots to have his kohlrabi, spinach and chard, and the rest of the rhyme probably included the word hard? It so happened I’d just listened to an interview with Ice-T on NPR on the way in; he has a documentary film about the birth of rap and hip-hop he’s promoting. I wonder what rhyme Ice-T could do for kohlrabi. The rappin’ gardener:
And then I get home and discover the real news in Lansing yesterday was in the state legislature, which silenced a female representative for a day after she said the word “vagina” on the floor, and no, I’m not kidding about that, either. I encourage you to watch the video and tell me if you think she was out of line. My only complaint is a technicality; the male legislators pushing this bill don’t want to be in her vagina, they want to be in her uterus, but as we’ve discussed here before — we’ve discussed everything, haven’t we? — a lot of people like to throw the word vagina around, and many of them do so incorrectly. As L.A. Mary once said, “We’re really talking about the vulva, aren’t we?” If Lisa Brown had said that, however, I’m sure the entire House of Representatives would have burst into flames.
The lege isn’t exactly covering itself with glory in recent days.
But while we’re talking about ladyparts, I must say, I’ve grown to like “Girls,” after its somewhat rocky start, and I think this Onion AV Club piece gets the show (along with “Enlightened”) exactly right. If nothing else, I admire Lena Dunham’s willingness to bare her highly imperfect body week after week after week, knowing the sort of shit that’s talked about her on the internet:
The world of entertainment still, all too often, values women only as objects of beauty to be placed on screen and ogled. I have no problem looking at a beautiful woman, but the world is full of other women who have profound, intelligent, often hilarious things to say, and Dunham is very quietly making a space for those voices on TV, in a way that’s revolutionary both in terms of the show’s gender politics and in terms of its presentation.
Or look at it this way: If this show was called Guys, and its showrunner/protagonist was in every other way similar to Dunham/Hannah—a dorky, slightly overweight guy who bumbled his way through Brooklyn, trying to find his purpose and working his way through a calamitous love life—would any of these criticisms have popped up? Would the people being uncharitable toward Girls have been uncharitable toward that series?
Lena Dunham’s body is no worse than that of Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jason Segal or any number of young male protagonists we’re expected to believe are sexually successful with women who look like Elizabeth Banks and Mila Kunis. And her love interest on “Girls” is actually in her league, in many ways. So fuck all that.
But that’s no note to leave on. So let it be this: Great weekends to all!