Skip to main content

"I am just going to be polite and silly, and point at cool things," I decided.




I want to write about Moranthology. I'm slightly worried about doing it justice, as I was up late last night attending my former professors' discussion about their new book, which has an awesome cover and is about Mad Men. I don't watch Mad Men because why would I want to watch sexism if I don't have to, but TO EACH HIS OWN. Also, again. Nice cover.

SO. Caitlin Moran. My journey to you has been tortuous -- NOT torturous -- and filled with lengthy detours consisting of other minor British personalities and now I am here and I like you but am also a bit wary, as one generally is with people who express their opinions rather extremely strongly. (UNLESS THEY INCLUDE GIFS RIGHT?)




Despite the awesome Laura from Devouring Texts sending me Moran's How to Be a Woman A YEAR AGO, I instead have ended up reading her essay collection, because it was from the library and an eBook. These are the life choices I have made. BUT I do quite like essay collections. One might even say they are my favorite. Because they leave you with such a sense of accomplishment and, for the dumber among us, they provide very handy resting points.

"Oh, this essay's done? And it was only three pages? BRAVA ME, I deserve to watch some Surreal Life on Hulu."

The book mostly consists of columns she's written for various publications, and since they're columns they're pretty much all delightfully short. I take forever to finish books (as some may know) and I think I read this in like two days. I do like her a lot. In a 'I will read more things you write and probably agree with most of them and laugh quite a bit' way. Which, if you think about it, is a pretty good way.

Quotes? Why, sure.

On why comedic writing is so much more important than serious writing:
[H]ow many penetrating insights into human nature do you need in one lifetime? Two? Three? Once you've realized that no one else has a clue what they're doing, either, and that love can be totally pointless, any further insights into human nature just starts getting depressing, really.

On Downton Abbey (er, spoiler for season one, but if you haven't watched it yet, let's be honest, you're not gonna watch it):
This is, after all, the drama where an evil, chain-smoking maid caused her mistress to miscarry by deliberately leaving lilac-scented soap on the floor, which she slipped on. Yeah, that's right. She killed the unborn Earl of Downton with soap. This is a plot twist not even Dynasty, at its most gibbering, considered. 
He even gets around to telling Anna his plans for their future life:'I want to open a little hotel, in the countryside,' he says, holding her hand outside the scullery.The Bates Hotel? Really? That's honestly his plan?
And on traveling:

Every time I think of some distant wonder I might quite like to see--Sydney Harbour at night, for instance; or Venice from a bridge--I ask myself, 'Do I want to see it so much that I would take my shoes off at Heathrow security at 6:55 AM?'  
And every time the answer comes back, 'No. I would rather keep my shoes on and watch a documentary about them instead, thank you.' 

Really it's all quite awesome. She even gets in some serious bits about feminism and Amy Winehouse (not...in the same essay). 


Plus there's the greatest essay about libraries, which I believe Laura touched on in her review back in the day. She talks about how growing up in a little nothing of a town was ameliorated by the presence of the library. Which reminded me of my hometown's library, which used to be the most hideous 1970s aluminum thing (they have since demolished it and built a beautiful one), but I loved it SO much because it had microfilm machines and biographies of Debbie Reynolds and opera recordings that came in old plastic bags because they had to include the libretto. It was the only thing of any note I was permitted to walk to from my house. It was the first place I went when I got my driver's license.

Anyone who writes a gorgeous essay in support of libraries earns a fivefold increase in my estimation of them.

So read this. It's funny. It's insightful. It's quick. And then we'll all read How to Be a Woman and DISCUSS. Because I want to know if I can finally rid myself of my guilt over loving the song I Enjoy Being a Girl as ridiculously much as I do.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.


You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:


We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.


INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Yes, Frances Willard was as gay as Oscar Wilde. But in a lady-way.

Yup. We're gonna do it. We're gonna talk about Frances Willard and gayness. Look, it's not a major part of her life, and it's definitely not the main thing she should be remembered for, but the fact that a line is being put out that she was totally straight is complete hogwash and it upsets me.




The thing is, I get when people say it's anachronistic to put the cultural concept of "gayness" onto a person from a century other than the 20th/21st. I get that. And usually agree with it. But Frances Willard is one of the gayest people in history. I have zero problem labeling her with that. The fact that she didn't have the language to describe what she was experiencing is upsetting, but she managed to have a seemingly full and satisfying life anyway, so I am happy for her.

And for people annoyed when gay people say that someone from the past was gay, here's the thing: When you're completely whitewashed from history, it is a matter of TOTAL DELIGHT wh…