Tuesday, August 12, 2008

embarassing admission alert!

there've been a few of them around here at casa lagerfeld lately. here's a list:

1) i've been saying "unequivocably" instead of "unequivocally" for longer than i'd care to admit

2) i was listening to the one and only episode of "this american life" that i've been able to sit through so far a few weeks back. it happened to be about people holding onto misconceptions well past the point where they should or past the point of rational, reasonable plausibility. so they talked to a woman who thought that unicorns were real (into university) and another woman who had been fed chicken for every meal all her life at home and didn't realize that there were people out there who had varied and ever-changing dinner entrees. then ira glass goes, "there's also people who believe that misled is pronounced 'meyezled'" at which point the low-watt fluorescent i'm running in my occasionally dumb-dumb head flickered slowly to life and i realized that all this time, i had differentiated between the sound of the word "misled" and the textual representation of the world "misled." so, in some part of my brain, when i heard the word misled, i understood it as the past-tense of mislead. when i came across it in books, i had pronounced it in my head as "missiled" (imagine adding a past-tense "d" sound to the word missile) as if you've been "missiled" into believing something. *tugs at collar* eeks.

3) this weekend, i realized, during a conversation with my friend's boyfriend about gaelic football, that when someone says "aussie rules," of a sport (usually football) they're referring to the australian form of the game in question and NOT to ozzy osbourne. oh yes. all this time, i've thought that when people said "aussie style ___," they meant "sports played in the style of ozzy osbourne" which i naturally translated to mean, "sports played in a no-holds-barred, crazy, anarchistic, animal [the muppet]-like way." pretty brutal.

in order to redeem myself in the eyes of my (admittedly limited) readership, today is going to be a culture round-up day. i've been backlogged lately...stuff's come up and i haven't had the time to do proper book reviews. so here goes:

i read two guy delisle comics. "shenzhen: a travelogue from china" and "aline and others." similar to "pyonyang," "shenzhen" documents a period of time delisle spent in a foreign, culturally and economically isolated city in a culturally and economically isolated country while fulfilling his duties for an animation studio.

he has a simple, naive line style that favours lots of shadowing which in turn underscores the gritty, oppressive, industrial, grey character of both those places and the lives of their inhabitants. my chief complaint is that the "fish out of water" technique can be a trifle patronizing to the citizens of the cities and also lends itself to some self-pitying "i'm so lonely!" "no one understands me!" "look at the comedy of errors that results from my inability to speak their language and their inability to speak mine!" "the food is so weird" whinging that just makes you want to say, "MAN UP, BUDDY." get over it! he fails to immerse himself in his experiences the way joe sacco (probably the most brilliant comic journalist) does. i will say that he is extremely effective at evoking (whether justified or not) his perception of the loneliness and drabness of life in shenzhen.

"aline and others" was a bit of an odd duck and kind of distasteful. aline, and the 25 girls that follow (each with a name starting with the next letter of the alphabet) each get a series of mostly wordless panels that depict first dates gone wrong, or the comeuppance of men and women engaging in stereotypical flirtations. the results are frequently sexual and have all the grace and panache and wit (that is to say, not much) of those little one panel comics in like, playboy magazine or something. i don't really understand why or how this was deemed worthy of publishing...they seem like a series of sketchbook train ride diversions in both content and execution.

i also recently finished aaron mcgruder's collection "a right to be hostile: the boondocks treasury." the comics have been turned into an emmy-award nominated cartoon series. it follows the exploits of huey (intellectual, angry) and riley (wannabe thug) freeman, who live with their grandpa and move from chicago's south side to an affluent, mostly white suburban community. comedy ensues. in all honesty, i didn't find it very funny and it felt like a bit of a trial to get through. it's a little ham-handed (michael moore wrote the introduction...'nuff said) and lacked a lot of the subtlety, timing, and breathing room that makes political satire intellectually engaging and entertaining. i forced myself to finish reading it and really, that kind of says it all.

right now, i'm re-reading sarah dessen's "just listen" and falling in love with it all over again. i could read and re-read that sucker like you wouldn't believe. the writing is so top-notch! i feel like i could honestly flip the last page, read the last line, then open it up at the beginning and start all over again with no problems at all. the depiction of teenage life and the characters and story just bloom in a naturalistic, relatable way that speaks to some memory or projection of my high school experiences. it's like that show "undergrads" (we were talking about it this weekend at the wedding)...that totally spoke to a whole generation of my peers' experiences in university and college...i totally LIVED that. even though sarah dessen handles some weighty stuff in her books, in my weakest moments i have to admit that what draws me is the romance stuff. she strikes the right balance. it's not sappy, damsel-in-distress stuff (which is what i suspect stephanie meyer's "twilight" series to be like - if you haven't heard of it...it's sweeping the nation, and a whole generation of vampire obsessed women and their daughters by storm -); it's not overly pop-culture heavy, snarky, "this is NOT your parents' YA" book stuff; it's not weird email-y and text-message-y diary formatted stuff (a la gossip girl)..it's just an honest approximation of what it feels like to feel yourself start to have those feeling in high school. when you're waiting for that first kiss to happen and the air is heavy and thick with expectations and tension and possibilities...when it could really go either way, dissolving in the unknown bliss of that first, tentative, kiss, or the embarrassed, awkward, fumbling of a missed moment.

i might be more into it than usual because the dotytron's mater (momma d) found our grade 11 yearbook and gave it to him and we had a hoot poring over it on sunday. if i get my act together i'll scan a choice pic i found of karl lagerfeld, esquire, aged 16. it's hilarious.

i'm doing errands on the way home, picking up munitions for the cottage that i don't expect the local didier iga to have up in cottage country. and maybe packing. i ended up breaking down and packing my clothes and linens last night. tonight i might tackle kitchen tools and sundries. we're probably ordering pizza for dinnie.

fin.

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