My humble little book made it onto Insane Clown Posse theater! #whoopwhoop
At the time, the gulf between where I was and where I wanted to be appeared impossibly vast. I had no idea how I would be able to transform an angry, seething, violent morass of ideas and experiences and anecdotes and ideas and crackpot philosophy into a book that would be publishable, let alone that people would want to read.
This last friday, however, I sat down at Chicago’s WBEZ studios at Navy Pier in front of a bottle of Mountain Dew opposite the hippie engineer lady who never knows how to pronounce my last name and discoursed high-mindedly on culture and musical subcultures to the velvet-voiced host of ON POINT alongside co-panelists Kathleen Hanna and Alex Ross of the motherfucking New Yorker.
In that moment I had an epiphany: there was no inherent contradiction between the terrified person I was and the seemingly sane and self-confident figure I represented on Friday. The same overreaching ambition and manic hubris that got me into such a terrible mess was the same drive that led to my career as an author.
I realized that the ostensibly sane and together grown-ups called upon to make sense of a seemingly insane world on NPR are probably just as terrified, scared, overwhelmed and broken as I felt during the summer of 2011, or have been in the past. Like me, they just do a passable job of imitating a whole and mature adult who knows what the fuck they’re talking about when called upon to promote their work.
So do not envy or romanticize those gentle, wise voices on National Public Radio. Chances are, deep down, or even on the surface, they’re just as fucked up and riddled with anxiety and doubt as you are: they just do a better job of concealing it while on air. And there’s something beautiful and reassuring about that. We’re all goddamned messes inside, even the sophisticated folks we imagine know everything we don’t.
In praise of tacky promotional plastic cups
As a movie-mad kid, I remember zealously coveting collectible McDonald’s cups commemorating the release of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. To my 11-year-old self, the cups were more than just flimsy plastic storage units for carbonated beverages; they were a way to own a piece of a movie, to be closer to something I dug. I treasured those tacky little artifacts because they were a way to bring a movie I loved home with me.
I’ve retained that weird fondness for promotional cups throughout the decades. In the summer of 2011, for example, I had three goals: to finish my book about Phish and Insane Clown Posse, to finish my coffee-table book about “Weird Al” Yankovic, and to compile a complete set of commemorative Hangover 2 cups from 7-Eleven. One of these tasks seemed easier to accomplish than the others, yet I thought of the summer of 2011 as my “triangle summer,” because it was fiendishly important for me to accomplish all three objectives.
I returned to my 7-Eleven cup-collecting ways later that summer and picked up more commemorative Cowboys & Aliens cups than anyone could possibly ever use in one lifetime. Though I had no interest in Cowboys & Aliens (which is weird, considering that it’s a film that involves both cowboys and aliens), every time I used one of the Cowboys & Aliens cups I thought about the movie, however briefly, and felt connected to it in a tacky and ephemeral but very real way. Granted, my fondness for Cowboys & Aliens promotional cups did not motivate me to actually see Cowboys & Aliens, but it nevertheless brought back that childhood feeling of wanting to connect with movies on a physical level, even if that just meant being briefly reminded of Cowboys & Aliens’ ridiculous existence every time I open my cupboard and pour myself a Diet Mountain Dew. —Nathan Rabin
Man, it’s gonna drive Ken nuts that I made partner before he did.
People watching Mad Men on the East Coast need not participate.
Otherwise, ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY.
That is all.
How many college kids can we stuff in this phone booth? I’m about to find out! #college #youthfulhijinks