Veronica Mars: Patron Saint of Snark. You know what they say - she’s a marshmallow. If I could Freaky Friday with any of my favorite fictional badasses, it would be you, Veronica. To spend a day in your gum-shoes, exchanging quips with your quippy father, capturing cheating spouses in the act at the Camelot, and hate-flirting with Logan Echolls? Count. Me. In.
But seeing as Veronica Mars isn’t a real person (and neither are magical body-swapping fortune cookies), here is a list of tips and tricks I’ve picked up from the pint-sized private eye herself:
1. Don’t Let the Man Get You Down. So your boyfriend dumps you, your best friend is murdered, and the rest of your so-called friends treat you like the scum between their teeth? Just cut your hair, shorten your skirts, and fight fire with crime scene photos. And if you’re not up for all that, just keep your chin up, say “FUQ THA H8ERS,” and always be prepared with a snappy comeback. Because life is full of assholes, but that doesn’t mean you have to let them ruin your day.
2. Surround Yourself with Experts. Computer hacking is tough, but making friends with computer hackers is super easy! Life is too short to learn how to do everything yourself, so just make sure you’re BFFs with the leader of the local biker gang, a deputy sheriff, a computer genius, and a bunch of super rich kids. Easy!
3. Invent Your Own Style. The best way to set yourself apart from a crowd is to take a good, long look at what they’re doing and then do the opposite. Trade in the pink cashmere and long, silky hair for some chokers, leather boots, and mini-buns. You’ll be turning heads in no time.
4. Cry in Your Car. It’s okay. Let it out. There’s no crying in baseball, but there’s totally crying in private investigating. Just don’t let the bad guys know they got to you. Emotions are cool, and in no way do they make you weak, but sometimes playing it off like John Travolta is the best way to move on.
5. Just Don’t Leave it to Beaver. This one is fairly self-explainatory. And if it isn’t, then watch the damn show already.
-Taylor Brogan, Contributing Editor
Robert Pattinson is my future husband. I understand that some people think I’m kidding or that I’m being hyperbolic for the sake of the internet’s sense of humor. Those people are wrong. Okay, we are betrothed. It’s going to happen.
Like with all great romances, RPattz and I have our obstacles. There’s KStew, for one. A lot of people have been hating on her for her lack of facial expression diversity and for that time she cuckolded my beloved, but honestly, I think she’s a pretty rad chick. So she touches her hair all the time and says a lot of bad-awkward things. Who doesn’t? Like, we are the people of Tumblr, and she is one of us.
The biggest obstacle we face, though, is not his serious long-term girlfriend. It’s not even the fact that I’ve never met him and probably never will barring some kind of extreme stalking situation that I totally have not devoted a lot of serious thought to…
No. The biggest obstacle we face, dear readers, is Twilight.
People don’t care that he is genuinely one of the weirdest and funniest guys alive. Forget the fact that nobody hates Edward Cullen as much as Robert Pattinson does. He was in TWILIGHT. That is downright UNFORGIVABLE.
And I get it. I think the romance in Twilight is about as bad as it gets. Bella is a terrible role model for adolescent girls, and Edward is a glorified stalker. But Robert Pattinson is not Edward Cullen, and because I am so fond of lists, here are 7 Things I Love About RPattz:
1) He still doesn’t have a publicist. Maybe he’s exaggerating, but I don’t know. According to the hilarious interview he did post-cheating-scandal with Jon Stewart, he’s too cheap to hire somebody to deal with all of the publicity crap for him. Hey, I’m too cheap to buy tupperware! It’s a match made in heaven!!1!
2) He is incredibly bad at fitness. Whenever anybody mentions Taylor Lautner’s abs, Rob starts to laugh and comment on his absolute lack of them. And while his face was certain sculpted by the gods of jawporn, he really does have a sort of average joe thing going on. This is good! I hate exercise! We can stay inside and watch Netflix together and joke about how much we hate ourselves! Here he is talking about going to the beach in Australia and generally just being self-conscious.
3) He buys his cars used. And on Craigslist. No seriously. He just like, shows up at peoples houses and buys things from them on Craiglist. He even barters, because he’s cheap. WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME YET.
4) He has a magical friendship with Reese Witherspoon. I was never a huge R-Spoon fan, but they seem to have this very cool, weird, mystical bond. I don’t know why, but this interview is one of the rare moments when he talks about REAL things, and it kind of made me cry a little bit? I don’t know. Leave me alone.
5) He’s actually really weird and awkward. In almost every interview, he says something inexplicable, bizarre, and/or completely uncalled for. Here is a screenshot of the google image search for “robert pattinson derp,” which sums it up pretty nicely, I think.
6) He hates cats. Or maybe he doesn’t? But I’m taking this as confirmation. Hey, I’m totally allergic to cats. We can hang out in our cat-free trashcan together and adopt dogs and name them after serial killers or whatever you wanna do honey boo boo.
7) And okay. He is really handsome. And he can sing like a motherfucking angel. And he wants to have a bunch of children. And I could keep going, but I’ll leave it here because I’m having trouble breathing.
Honey, if you’re reading this, I love you. Please don’t ever date Taylor Swift. KBye.
-Taylor Brogan, Contributing Editor
Hey boys and girls. It’s time for an episode of Introversion for Dummies! I thought today we’d dive straight in to MY favorite topic:
That’s right, kids. There’s a difference.
1. Not all introverts are shy. I’m a “writer,” which means I’m also a bartender. When people come into my bar, I’m all like, “HEY, WHAT CAN I GET FOR YOU, YEAH THAT’S GREAT, AWESOME.” It’s a job that requires me to be very much the opposite of shy all the time. I also happen to be incredibly, painfully introverted. But how can that be? How do I interact with hundreds of drunk people every Friday night and live to tell the tale? Of course, it is entirely possible to simultaneously dread socializing and also be socially capable. I’m not about to go dance on a table, but that has less to do with my shyness and more to do with the fact that I really just don’t want to. Talking to people takes energy! Energy that I would much rather spend on my writing or my Netflix account or whatever.
2. Not all shy people are introverts. One of my best friends is the perfect example of a shy extrovert. She loves socializing, loves going out and meeting people, loves talking just to say something. But she also gets anxious and self-conscious every time she goes anywhere. She wants to be the center of attention and to get to know EVERYBODY, but she also struggles with some degree of social anxiety that makes it hard for her to socialize unless she’s been, uh…socially lubricated. Ladies, you know how it is.
3. Introverts are not necessarily socially awkward. While it’s probably true that most of the socially awkward people you will meet will be introverted by disposition, this is probably just due to the fact that introverts are less inclined to go out and practice those social skills. At the end of the day, though, that’s what it’s all about. Practice.
4. Extroversion and introversion have everything to do with how you prefer to function and nothing to do with how you actually function. Is the horse dead yet? Should I beat it some more?
Thank you and goodnight.
-Taylor Brogan, Contributing Editor
While I’m a little ashamed to admit that I never got into Dawson’s Creek, one thing is for sure: “I Don’t Want to Wait” is one of the most easily identifiable theme songs in the history of theme songs. I mean, is there anything better than the brooding & braless babes who made my childhood 800% angstier than it needed to be? Honestly, why did I know all the words to “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks by the age of seven? Honestly.
Whatever. Here is my carefully-curated list of the most glorious, grittiest, gloomiest music videos from my favorite 90s songstresses. Viva la crop top!
Okay, so I’ll be 20-years-old by the end of this week, which means that I am now an Official Old Person. This also means that I get to give you advice, and you have to listen to it because I Know What’s Best and yada yada.
A lot of people on the “INTERNET” have been giving you impressionable young girls “ADVICE” on how to deal with high school. Mostly, this advice is pointless. Some of it is really good. But I’m going to cut the crap and stick to the stuff you need to know to not only make it through the day (gurl I’ve been there I know) but also to graduate on top without going crazy, because lord knows that Netflix Instant beats your Algebra homework 9 times out of 10.
1. Find a role model and cling to her/him like life itself. High school is easier if you’re able to look at someone like, say…Rory Gilmore, and then use that person to motivate yourself. I did very well in school academically, and I’m telling you that like 80% of that is because I looked up to Rory. There are plenty of great high school role models, though. Hermione Granger (for the frizzy-haired, nerdy types), Buffy Summers (female empowerment wooo), okay maybe I’m just listing my favorite fictional characters. I don’t know. Just find SOMEONE.
And if role models aren’t your ~thing, just watch a bunch of classic high school TV and movies: My So-Called Life, Clueless, Boy Meets World…Heathers? Just romanticize high school. Romanticize your own experience. This is step 1.
2. Teachers are friends, not food. Uhhh, unless you’re Shia LaBeouf? I mean, unless literally every single teacher at your school is Adolf Hitler. Spoiler alert: this is not the case. I can think of at least 10 teachers or administrators from my own high school who I considered my “friends.” Obviously, they weren’t my BFFFFFs, but I could hold a decent, intellectual conversation with them. And most importantly, they were SUPER UNDERSTANDING when I made mistakes. It’s a lot easier to get an extension on a paper or to get an extra credit opportunity from a teacher who likes you and knows that you genuinely want to succeed.
3. Argue with your teachers. But only if you’ve already established yourself as a nice, hard-working student. There was one teacher in particular I argued with all the time, and it was one of the best things I did in high school. He and I had very different political beliefs, so whenever he said something that I found objectional, I SPOKE UP. Now, there’s a fine line between respectful, lively disagreement and being “That Kid,” so test the water a little. But at the end of the day, your teachers are likely to respect you a whole lot more for showing interest.
4. Stick up for yourself. This is related to the previous two points, but it needs to stand on its own because reasons. Arguing with a teacher about politics or a character from a book is one thing. Arguing with a teacher about the organization of the class is another. Let me tell you about my government teacher, because I argued with her about grades and test questions ALL the freaking time. Like, I would find typos on her tests or she would give us a pointless assignment, so I would talk to her after class and say: “Hey, I understand that you can’t make exceptions, but this question was unfair and here are some reasons why.” Just approach with caution, be humble, and make a good case. They might not bend the rules for you, but if you level with them and behave like a logical human, there’s a good chance they might.
5. PRIORITIZE. Enough of this talk about teachers. Let’s talk about NETFLIX. I’m going to share with you the Secret to doing well in high school without going crazy. Ready? JUST DO THE BARE MINIMUM, BRO. I’m not telling you to slack off. I’m telling you to set standards for yourself and then do exactly what you need to achieve your goals. You want straight A’s? Okay, but you don’t need to get straight A+s. Study for the tests you need to study for. Turn in your assignments. Go to class. But if you can afford to zone out or to keep up with the Kardashians instead of studying, just do it. The trick is in how you prioritize. There will be classes that will kill you, so focus on those classes. This seems like common sense, but you have to make an effort to actually figure out what you need to do and what you can let slide. And when you do, it will make life so much easier.
6. But actually take stuff seirously and stuff. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. High school is hard, and the above tips and tricks of deception and deceit can only get you so far in life. It’s one thing to go easy on yourself sometimes and to bend the rules so you can have your cake and eat it, too, but you can’t get by on your natural charm forever. Do your homework, be nice to people, blah blah blah. If you’re trying your best and you’re still not doing as well as you’d like, that’s okay. Learn your strengths and stick with them. I was always really bad at history, so I made a point to study until I was like, in the fetal position on my bathroom floor at 1 in the morning.
7. Be spontaneous. Ignore all of my advice and skip class to wander the hallways. Break the dress code. Go skinny dipping on a school night. Run around on a roof and say things like, “I’m on a roof!” These are all things that I did, and I managed to graduate without ever getting detention ever. If you’re already following my “teachers are friends” advice (AKA THE GOLDEN RULE OF HIGH SCHOOL), you can probably get away with stuff if you get caught misbehavin’. While it’s important to do well in high school so you can like graduate and go to college in another state and be like LOL BYE TIME FOR LIFE, the best thing about high school is just doing stuff and being a stupid teenager sometimes. So do things! Be a stupid teenager sometimes! I mean, don’t be anasshole and vandalize or drive while you’re drunk (NOT COOL NOT COOL), but you’re allowed to have fun. YOLO.
-Taylor Brogan, Contributing Editor
I got a chance to ask Ashley Clements - aka Lizzie Bennet of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries - a few questions about acting, Austen, and adaptation. Stay tuned for our “Book Issue” this September to see the full piece, which also features actress Mary Kate Wiles (Lydia Bennet) and writer Rachel Kiley.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Clint Eastwood emerged from the womb a grown-ass man.
As my designated ~*~DrEaM mAn~*~ a screenshot of a google image search for his face has been my twitter background for at least a month and a half now, and I have no plans to replace it in the forseeable future. You’ll understand, then, when I say that I have spent a lot of time thinking about this guy’s countless expressions, and I have gone so far as to caption a few for the LOLs. Ready? Go.
At first I was like, “what a sweet cute indie movie!” And then I was like, “ew, no, Zooey Deschanel is the worst.” But then I thought, “wait a second, this movie is literally perfect.” And everyone who left the theater thinking, “Summer sure was a bitch to Tom” was completely missing the point. Including me.
This is the part where I talk about Manic Pixie Dream Girls and how I disagree (to an extent) with the Zoe Kazan interview that’s been making its way around the internetz. For the TL;DR crowd, I’ll skip to the good stuff. Kazan told Vulture:
(1) ”[“Manic Pixie Dream Girl”] is a way of describing female characters that’s reductive and diminutive, and I think basically misogynist. I’m not saying that some of those characters that have been referred to as that don’t deserve it; I think sometimes filmmakers have not used their imagination in imbuing their female characters with real life. (2)You know, they’ve let music tastes be a signifier of personality. But I just think (3) the term really means nothing; it’s just a way of reducing people’s individuality down to a type, and (4) I think that’s always a bad thing.”
I really want to focus on the bolded text, because, while I agree that the term itself is harmful, especially in application to real life people (hey!), I also think that it can be a beneficial trope. Which brings me back to (500) Days of Summer.
(1) “MPDG” is reductive, diminutive, and basically misogynist: Kazan is spot-on here in her analysis of the term. The characterization of any ~quirky young woman as a Dream-anything necessarily reduces her to a collection of ideas inside someone else’s head. She is no longer a cool, spunky awesome individual; she is somebody’s dream. The term is not merely reductive - it strips women (and less frequently men) of their agency. In that sense, the label is indeed misogynist. It says, “your identity depends on mine,” and that’s really not okay.
In the movie, we see on a number of occasions that Tom’s own perception of Summer is very different from reality. The “expectations vs. reality” scene is probably the most obvious example. Based on all of Summer’s past behavior, including her admittance that she isn’t ready for commitment and her continued disinterest during the relationship, Tom still EXPECTS her to want him. He expects her to greet him with love and affection after all that time, because he’s just the nicest guy, you know?
In reality, she’s just a smart, thoughtful twenty-something who knows herself well-enough to know that this guy is not the one for her. She initially turns him down, which should have been the Big Damn Signal of Truth and Destiny (“dude, she’s just not that into you”). But Tom is persistent, and she is, presumably, lonely.
Another great example is the conversation between Tom and lil’ sis Chloe Moretz, when she tells him to basically get over it and grow up. Here we clearly see just how much Tom had been projecting his own Manic Pixie Dream onto Summer. I mean, look at how quickly he vilifies Summer for what he had preivously found praise-worthy about her. Her birthmark is now disgusting, her knees too knobby, her smile crooked, her laugh obnoxious. People see what they want to see, and this movie is all about Tom’s perception.
(2) Music taste as a signifier of personality: Again, Kazan is spot-on. The now infamous elevator scene is the greatest example of this issue, and it’s one of the reasons I hold (500) Days so high. Summer and Tom share an elevator. She sings along to the song on his iPod. Tom falls head-over-heals infatuated with Summer. It doesn’t really matter that it’s a Smiths song (Morrissey is king, and if you think he is obscure, I pity you). All that matters is that Tom thinks it is important, and that Tom uses it to project all sorts of bonus girl-points onto Summer (because he just met her and this is super crazy).
(3) The term means nothing: Ehhhhh…I disagree. I obviously don’t think Zoe Kazan is trying to say that when combined, the words Manic, Pixie, Dream, and Girl are actually rendered meaningless; instead, I think she’s trying to hit home the point that the term, in application, does not define the girl but the perception of the girl. And I can get behind that! But I also think it’s counterproductive to claim that the term itself lacks real meaning. Because, boy, does it pack a punch.
The term means everything. I mean, it says literally everything that needs to be said. The “Manic” and “Pixie” allude to the whimsical, carefree, quirky nature of the girl it typically describes. She doesn’t actually need to be whimsical, carefree, or quirky, but she is perceived as such. “Dream” tells us that the label depends entirely on perception. “Girl” tells us that she is…a girl. That’s exciting! So, without knowing anything about MPDGs in pop culture or their vast tradition of perceived unobtainable perfection (reaching all the way back to Katherine Hepburn), a person can know that the label refers to a girl whose identity has been imagined.
(4) “MPDG” is always a bad thing: Again, I disagree. I think that the term can be a really, really good thing, but only if it’s being used to actively showcase the problems caught up in the label. Like I’ve said, (500) Days is a fantastic movie, and there are two basic reasons for that:
While I despise the last three minutes of this film with all my heart (seriously, Autumn?), I love, love, love that Summer and Tom don’t end up together. If Summer had not gotten engaged to someone else (someone we never even meet), the movie would have lost all meaning. She defies all of Tom’s internal logic (which is also largely the logic of the film, because we’re dealing with his perspective), and she does what she effing wants to do. The first time I saw this movie, I was like,
Now all I can do is *headdesk* when people say they wish Tom and Summer had ended up together. This movie is precisely a good, beneficial use of the MPDG trope, because it takes our own prejudices and expectations (that Summer is flighty and cute and ultimately predictable) and turns them upside down. Summer is intelligent and independent, and ultimately, she is the person in charge of her own life and decisions.