In Defense of Rory Gilmore

gilmore-girls-netflix-revival-rory

Alexis Bledel as ‘Rory Gilmore’ in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”; photo taken from Hypable 

I wrote the following after seeing multiple posts on blogs, Tumblr, and legitimate news sites basically slut shaming Rory Gilmore in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” for decisions she makes regarding men.  Some of it isn’t actually slut shaming, some of it is simply die-hard fans who, like me, have probably watched the original series many times and have a romanticized idea of what Rory is like and how she should behave; they are disappointed, these fans, that thirty year old Rory isn’t making the same decisions as twenty year old Rory.

I think there are many factors to consider before judging Rory too harshly.

First of all: it’s been ten years.  No one dates exactly the same way they did ten years ago.  She’s in her thirties now, she’s less inhibited, less shy, more open to experiences.  As humans grow, we change, see things differently.  Rory is going to have a different mindset at 32 than she did when she was nineteen.

Secondly: We don’t know what her dating experience has been since leaving college.  Previous relationships have a great affect on how a person treats future romantic partners.  It’s possible she’s had one too many terrible boyfriends since Logan.  Also: Rory’s a bit of a nomad, it’s difficult to maintain exclusive relationships when you’re constantly moving.  Believe me, I know.

Thirdly: As a person ages, she becomes less idealistic.  Young people often have a rigid sense of morality, Rory certainly did.  This is why kids will often (foolishly) write off friends for not meeting a certain moral standard (see Veronica Mars).  But as we age and mature, we realize there’s a lot of gray in the world, and we are not the ultimate voice of right and wrong in the universe.  So we sleep with that guy we met at that party, and we drink the tequila, and drive to NYC to watch an SNL rehearsal and get a hot dog just to turn around and drive home again the same day.

Fourth: People also become less optimistic.  Which seems strange considering people become less cynical (unless you’re Louis C.K., or a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker) as they get older, but when it comes to relationships and dating, single, straight, American women seem to become more pessimistic about relationships.  Consider this Garfunkel and Oates song.

Fifth: We don’t know what sort of relationship Logan has with this French woman.  Maybe it’s an open relationship?  Maybe he has the same deal with her as he has with Rory?  The French are way less puritanical about sex than Americans.

We, especially those of us who grew up alongside Rory, want her to be a sort of moral beacon since she’s just like us only better, but really she’s not.  Rory is just as flaky as we are, she’s just as confused, just as meandering, just as flawed.  She is searching for her place in the world the same way we are.

And, as with all things, the viewer brings his or her own experience to the story.  All my girlfriends who are married, engaged, or in long term relationships had the same reaction: “Rory has had ample time to find someone new, loving, and stable, why is she back with old boyfriends and making these decisions?”  While all my fellow single girlfriends in their early thirties looked at Rory and said: “Yeah, nope, that’s exactly right!”

This post is edited slightly from the original post on Tumblr.

Wham! George Michael follow-up post.

Because, obviously, after listening to Faith all the way through I’m listening to more George Michael/Wham! songs popular in another country when I was a very small child.  I like the fun ones; Club Tropicana, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, I’m Your Man, etc.  But the rest are so tortured!  His woman is either not sleeping with him, has done him wrong, or looks down on him, or all three.  A major theme of inadequacy screams from a number of songs: Everything She Wants, and Monkey.  Then there’s Father Figure…. what the fuck is that?  Is he adopting a child?  What is this song about?

Seriously, though, George Michael is the Dolly Parton of British Pop Singers.

(Have you ever listened to Jolene? Go listen to that album.)

There’s also a whole lot of snapping in these songs…..

Ages Unknown

I wrote this a few days ago, irate that Boko Haram is using abducted girls as suicide bombers, but it’s not quite right.  I don’t know exactly what it needs.  So I’m asking you, friends, for any feedback regarding style or form.

Ages Unknown

Today, my niece,
Age 6:
Gets up;
Eats breakfast;
Brushes her teeth;
Asks her mother
deep questions about
how the world works;
And gets on the
school bus.

Meanwhile I sip my coffee and read the news,
horrified by what I learn.

Today, my niece,
sporting her Ramona Quimby bob,
plays with her friends:
they build imaginary nests
under the playscape
pretending they
are dragons
roaming the countryside.

Meanwhile I wonder what makes a person believe
actions such as these could ever be acceptable.

Today, my niece,
curious like the cat,
learns beavers
eat wood and bark;
“tabs” are better for trees
when supporting tree houses;
and before the invention of lip balm
people used ear wax.

Meanwhile I am sad for the mothers and aunts
who might never know if she was one of them.

Today, my niece,
bright eyed, and full of life,
“borrows” my headphones and ipod
to listen to 2CELLOS.
She looks at books
while bobbing her head
to covers of Michael Jackson,
U2, and Nirvana.

Meanwhile I marvel at how
World Leaders,
quick to help those
who don’t need it,
are able to leave the powerless
unaided, in the dark,
subject to such a fate.

Today my niece
eats hot dogs
and macaroni and cheese
for dinner;
she runs around the living room,
jumping on the couch
even though she’s
not supposed to;
she reads her school books,
slowly sounding out
the words
she doesn’t know.

Meanwhile, I read:
Girls,
ages unknown,
kidnapped from their schools
months ago,
are loaded into a car
strapped with explosives.
Their charred remains
indistinguishable
from each other
now decorate
a village square.

Today I ask my niece,
age 6:
“If they said you could
skip first grade,
would you?”
She tells me she wouldn’t,
because
she “wants to learn more”.
Just like those girls,
ages unknown.

Boston, December 29, 2013, 11:55 pm

Pulling into South Station –

The platforms are empty of people,
only barren trains sleep beneath
lamps that look like paper lanterns
illuminating the concrete rows.
I imagine dozens of couples,
women in long gowns, men in tails,
dancing under the paper lanterns that
aren’t lanterns at all.

They secretly waltz where hundreds of
people trod earlier
thinking only of making it to their destinations,
getting window seats, losing luggage,
giving no thought to dance.

The couples glide majestically,
unconcerned they were not
considered by their predecessors.
They move in the silence:
Step, step, slide.
Step, step, slide.
No music is as lovely as that heard, collectively,
in their minds.
The only sound, a monkey
tapping time
against a piling,
echoes across the
empty space.

Text by me, Bex; photos taken from Daniel Lampariello at Boston to a T until I can go back and get my own photographs which will never be as pretty as his.

Nerd Alert!

Confession: I once sought out the guitar chords for “The Hero of Canton”.

Sci had their marathon yesterday (and I watched a lot of it) but today might be the day I crack open those disks and watch the episodes I missed.

Inspiration from the Grammy’s?

We watched The Grammy’s the other night.

I have never watched the Grammy’s.

It was weird.

But the Fella and I were invited to a friend of his roommate’s to watch The Grammy’s and “The Walking Dead” (another program I have never watched).  And the roommate’s friend was going on and on about how much she hates Taylor Swift and how amazing Adele is and how Adele’s latest album is so spectacular because she drew from her own pain after a horrible relationship/breakup and wrote those amazing songs.  While I’m not arguing with her entirely plagiarized assessment of Adele’s music, this is what makes “21” so powerful – the music is amazing and the lyrics mean something to the person singing them, and nothing is more powerful or moving than raw emotion, but it got on my nerves and it got me thinking about Life Experience.

Taylor Swift writes bubblegum pop country music mostly not based on her own life experiences.  She’s twenty two and she’s been working in the music industry since she was fourteen and she started trying at eleven.  How much real actual life experience did she have before she became famous?  Probably not all that much.  Her early stuff is very high school.  “Picture to Burn”, “Teardrops from my Guitar”, “Love Story”…. they’re little more than a teenage girl’s angsty, dramatic fantasy.  I haven’t really heard any of her newer stuff, hopefully she and her music are maturing.  Only time will tell.  But she’s still a sweet, unassuming girl who certainly doesn’t deserve the criticism of a bunch of assholes shoveling back chili and beers in a NY apartment while she’s performing at the Grammy’s.

But that’s not the point: the point is, the best songs out there are based on real actual life experiences — doesn’t matter if those life experiences were silly or sophomoric or juvenile — if it happened to the person who wrote the song/is singing it then has power.  The entire bus ride home from NYC I listened to female singer/songwriters starting with Adele and moving to Ingrid Michaelson, Bess Rogers, Jenny Owen Youngs, Allison Weiss, Garfunkel and Oates, and Leigh Jones.  Most of these women, I am convinced, write music because they can’t not.  They write to express themselves.  They write to share their emotions with the world.  And I thank them for it.

Leigh Jones has a song called “Old Guitar” in which she says she wishes she were his guitar, holding her in his arms.  She wishes he’d touch her, love her like he does his instrument.  I certainly hope its based on a real crush she had once in her life because it feels real, wistful and hopeful when you listen to the song.  Allison Weiss writes most of her songs based on actual events in her life.  She even titled one the date it happened.  On her live albums she shares the stories and events, somewhat reluctantly, that inspired songs such as “July 25, 2007”, “Time” and “I Don’t Want To Be Here”.  Bess Rogers’ song “Favorite Day” is very clearly about some dude she dated.  Garfunkel and Oates sing about a guy who always brought his buddy on dates in “Me, You and Steve”.  And Jenny Owen Youngs couldn’t have captured the shocking feeling of realizing you’re in love in quite the same sarcastic way if it hadn’t happened to her.  I love these songs and these ladies who wrote them and their impact on me.  They are honest and fair and true.  I highly recommend each and every one of them whether you’ve heard of them or not (whether you can find them or not).

What does this have to do with me and my writing…. I started thinking about these women, many of whom are younger than I am, and how amazing their music is because of life experience and how I didn’t go to Grad School for writing or anything else because I realized at twenty two that I had no Life Experience outside of academia, and I had nothing to write about.  I decided then that I needed to start doing something in my life and gain some knowledge of the world so when I write I am actually saying something, not just writing silly school girl fantasies.

It’s five years later and I have worked for four different companies, dated a few different guys, lived in four different states, made a ton of friends who are scattered across the world at the moment, fallen in love, fallen out of love, had my heart broken, and learned more about myself than I did the twenty two years previous.  I feel now that I can realistically comment on life and growing up and growth and society and injustice and everything I see around me because of what I’ve experienced.  For example: There was a college girl on the bus on my way to New York this past Friday who, amongst other things, sounds like she’s in a Dude Situation very similar to one I let happen to me a couple years ago and it was all I could do to not reach forward and give her some unsolicited advice.

I’ve come to realize a thing or two about myself and how I relate to both the world around me and how I interact with other people.  At the moment I live with a couple in their 30s and their 2year old son.  They are not where I am in my life.  This weekend I spent it with early/mid 20s in grad school and extended adolescence.  Neither are they were I am.  I am somewhere in between and I am happy about being somewhere in between.  I am happy to have had the experiences I have had and I’m happy Grad school hasn’t been one of them yet, I’m happy “the dating scene” in a large city hasn’t been one of them, I’m happy living in NYC hasn’t been one of them.  And I am happy to feel inspired to write again…. all because of a weekend trip to see this man I like and watching the Grammy’s.