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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


I don't care what anyone says, I still like you.

I used to have a friend (co-worker) who would say that all the time. He was a hilarious, brilliant guy, but desperately unhappy. One thing that was particularly charming about him was that he was always scheming and coming up with ideas. He had an idea for a sitcom called, "That darned Shrinky!" I would be the girl-next-door type heroine of the sitcom, and everyone revolved around me. I was kooky, eccentric, charming, and had a collection of even kookier friends. He would play my next door neighbor who was hopelessly in love with me, but who could never admit it to me. Anyway, every week, he had concocted a new episode.

Perhaps this is partly why I kind of liked "Ugly Betty" (sorry ppb!). America plays Betty, an awkward, gawky young woman (reminiscent of Chelsea Clinton in her early teens, replete with braces, though minus the super frizzy hair). She gets a job working in the fashion industry, and because she is not thin and beautiful, she is thought to be a half-wit by all the beautiful people. Yet, we know she is not. She has a nephew who loves fashion, and likely is next in line to take over "Pink is the new blog." He's fairly adorable, and most likely gay.

The NYT said of Betty that she has the audacity to actually eat, which makes her automatically a leper in the world of fashion. Isn't that enough to love her? And sure, almost every joke is at her expense - she wears a Guadalajara poncho, because she thinks ponchos are "in." She gets tricked into wearing skimpy, latex clothes, and everyone laughs as she attempts to create sexy poses. She walks into the lunch room, and everyone stares and laughs. Yes, the jokes are at her expense.

Which makes it even better. How many of us feel like the ugly, pudgy one in a sea of gorgeous, thin, stylish people? How many of us can remember times when we thought everyone was pointing and laughing at us? How many of us worried that because we didn't fit in, we would never be able to be successful?

But, in the end, Betty is successful. She is smart, she handles herself with aplomb, she wants to do good work and have good relationships - yet she is not exactly a doormat. She seems to feel good enough about herself inside that others' beliefs about her don't seem to shake her. She is sturdy likely due to a strong family, and a strong educational background. She is who I wishh I could be when all my inseurities are triggered.

And maybe the show will be horrible - but again, as the NYT says, give her a chance. She may surprise us. If nothing else, why not support a show with a non-skinny protagonist who is also hispanic? We need more diversity of images on tv.

And onto something else I like... why have you not read my new favorite book yet? A boy detective fails is a charming, charming book. One of the amazon.com reviews calls it "surreal." Don't let that put you off, it is surreal in a way that brings you in - not that keeps you at a distance. Says one reviewer, "
I tried to describe it to a friend. I said something like "Well, if you took The Tick, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Lenore, X-Files, Hardy Boys, Girl Interupted, and Catcher in the Rye and mixed it up, this book is what you get." Just go read it."

I concur.


At 11:50 AM, Blogger LaKisha said...

Ugly Betty is so cute.

I am going to send A Boy Detective Fails to one of my friends because it sounds like she'd love it.

At 10:07 PM, Anonymous ppolarbear said...

I'll look for the book, too.


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