Rock On

Everybody drills into you the importance of watching the news, reading the newspaper, scouring blogs, being informed, aware, blah blah blah. I've grown up thinking this is important, and am always baffled by people who avoid the news because it's "too depressing." Of course it's depressing, we live in depressing times, but it's a matter of responsibility. If you don't know what's going on, you don't get to complain about it. And right now, complaining is very important. Everything in the news sucks, especially politics. I've found that I get my news online and can't stand to watch it on television--except for the Daily Show. My information sources are blogs and Comedy Central, but that's fine, since you can't really understand current culture without watching comedy, particularly television comedy--if you don't know Dave Chapelle or Ego Trip, you don't know race relations, if you don't watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, you don't see the full picture of American politics or broadcast journalism. Eddie Izzard has his own special class of relevance--he's relevant because he's said so, and it works. Nothing is real until it becomes a Simpsons reference; the South Park paper dolls are still dirty, still sensible. Every joke is taken to its logical extreme on American Dad and Family Guy; Bernie Mac is as close as you can get to an heir to Bill Cosby. And, if he gets the movie he deserves, Chris Rock will win an Oscar in the next decade. Everything I learned about feminism and female friendship I learned from I Love Lucy and Absolutely Fabulous. Everything about New York I learned from Seinfeld. No other comedy dissected our foibles quite so neatly, putting them all on hilarious display. And for those who like gross-out and the extreme, the vomit gags and masturbation jokes, there's Drawn Together. I feel really bad for having seen more than one episode of those show, but not as bad as I should. At least there are always people out there pushing the boundaries of good taste. I would worry if there weren't any.

Television comedy is what rock music used to be, the only remaining ource of rebellion and refuge for the otherwise thoroughly defeated American leftie. And even it is not invulnerable--I really think the neocons conspired to get Arrested Development canceled. It was the only show with consistently incisive, consistently, corrosively funny running jokes about Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi War, American "peacekeeping" and Abu Gahraib. Stop laughing at me for a minute and just think about it. There is no other way to explain why that show is no longer on the air.

So sue me if I read the news and the only newstory on Yahoo news I follow up on is about the giant squid going up on display in London's Natural History Museum. I've been fascinated with the giant squid forever, although they've found a colossal squid that's even bigger, since I saw it wrestling with the sperm whatle in the Submarine Ride at Disneyland. Twenty-five feet long is scary enough, I mistakenly thought the eyeball was three feet in diameter, and spent my adolescence having surreal dream-mares about a giant eye floating outside my window. This is either Freudian, Hitchcockian or Dali-nese, I'm not sure which. But it does make me want to go see the exhibit, even though I don't like dead animals and it will probably give me more day-mares.

Lots of Literati

Having finally finished the rewrite of Wicked Women, I have been going out a lot. And it's all been very literary--lots of writers, would be writers, former writers. Friday was spent in the company of Opium Magazine, headed by one T. Zuniga, offering literary humor for the deliriously captivated. Don't ask Todd what this means; he'll just tell you it looks good on the sign. The writers of Opium are rowdy and delirious, and generally captivating, so maybe that's a clue. We ended up where First meets First, the true center of the universe, where I had yet another uncomfortable encounter with someone I always have uncomfortable encounters with. I really, don't know why this happens; it's based on nothing and is very Seinfeld. Does he hate me? Does he think I hate him? Why can't we just do small talk, like normal acquaintances?

Saturday was spent in plummeting temperatures with the pop culture savants of Entertainment Weekly, where I learned much about the various parts of the magazine. Though they offered apologies for that later, I actually found it all very interesting.

Upcoming literati events include another of George Whipple's literary salons, as well as a lively debate between Norman Mailer and his son John Buffalo Mailer at the New York Center of Ethical Culture. This is highly recommended as they have just written a book together entitled The Big Empty: A Dialogue on Politics,Sex, God, Boxing, Morality, Myth, Poker and Bad Conscience in America. Mailer Pere is known for his bluntness, and I can vouch that Buffalo is likewise not shy about his opinions, so it should be a fun event...for those of you in NYC this Thursday, click for details here.

Can Indians be Goths?

This is a question that I have pondered since high school. I didn't go for the seriously Goth-y music--nothing crazier than Nine Inch Nails and no thanks to Manson--but everything else (books, movies, stories, fashion) I loved. Of course, being brown, it's hard to go fair and I was never one for white makeup or anything that would ruin my skin. I consider myself more of a fashionable goth--perhaps even a corporate goth, if you will.

Think I'm the only one? Think again. At, goths who work in the corporate world discuss how they individualize their outfits in even the most fascistly fashion-less world. I would love to see the fashion tips get more attention, so all you corporate or Indian goths out there, check out the site and post.

Goth culture is so endlessly's no wonder that teenagers love it...

Great Moments in Movie Sex

A very pleasant day spent wandering around the city. I am days away from finishing Wicked Women, and I have no other book idea in sight. Can I take a break from publishing? It's so...addictive.

Prowling around in the Columbus Circle Mall made me want to shoplift badly. Street Law taught me to look for holes in security and it's not too hard to figure out. But if I were to shoplift, it would have to be something big, a la Winona Ryder. Only I'd plan it much better. And wear a better outfit--something between Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million and Angelina Jolie in Gone in 60 Seconds.

Have been walking around with stringy goth hair. Blue hair, okay, but stringy blue hair--I can't make it work. I've seen at least five men in the last weekend who have better hair cuts than I do.

What does all this mean? I am still trying to unravel it. In the meantime, go read my article on Great Movie Sex . My valentine to my one true love: le cinema.

Comfort Zone

Looking around my room now, it's clear that an agorophobic lives here. But for me, agorophobia is more a form of laziness; I have never outgrown dorm years where everything circled outside my door. I love Brooklyn, but go there barely twice a month; these days just leaving Hell's Kitchen is a challenge. I've gone through periods like this before, and I think they're inherently part of being a writer--and inherently responsible for some very over decorated bedroooms. Seriously, it's starting to resemble a teenager's room, with posters and scribblings and Christmas lights. Even I'm starting to feel it's becoming a little...theatrical...

Because that's all I seem to be doing now--nesting, redecorating, rearranging. The challenge is to do it without spending any money, a challenge that I'm finding incredibly irritating in my thirties and as my tastes get more expensive. In between nesting, I write articles I've promised people, I edit Wicked Women, I go to the gym and I walk dogs. The gym is in my building; the dogs are on my block. I leave only on weekends, and am starting to feel like those old ladies with small dogs. In fact, I think I'm starting to overdress just like them, only instead of wearing a head-to-toe lavender Chanel and walking a King Charles Spaniel, I'm in head-to-toe black H&M and walking a finicky Daschund. It's all a little terrifying.

I do have a life on weekends, when I get blind drunk with my girlfriends at literary readings and flirt with shamefully with very talented authors. But for the most part, the internet and the phone and television connect me to the world outside my high-rise. And within the high-rise there are friendly, gossipy doormen and a fair number of good-looking yuppies for me to have half-hearted crushes on. There's neighbor's mail to be collected and bonding to be done in the gym, cats to feed, and endless, endless, endless laundry, and lots of dogs and babies to fuss over. I have created a miniature Manhattan, all at one address, 52 stories high.

I'm not sure that's particularly healthy, but what writer is?