Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Nothing Is Impossible
"We all know who the real number one is. Quite frankly, I'm the best in the world....I've been writing, but I haven't been writing. In my mind I've been saying I want to write, but I haven't actually physically picked up a pencil and started writing...So that is my next challenge, to actually to sit down and do it. No (not my life story). A screenplay. Nothing is impossible."-- Serena Williams
One night during my freshman year of college, when I instead should have been living the life that Asher Roth --anti-Christ de jeure--celebrates in his brain-grating ode "I Love College", I found myself watching the television program Friends with a dorm-mate. We got into a spirited debate about the import of liking characters in order to like that in which said characters appear. I advanced the theory that we need not like characters (in books, films, etc.) in order to like the larger works in which they star -- in fact, only lesser intellects would think that. And I don't mean "like" in the moral sense. No one likes Hitler, but we'd all read a book about him with a sense of intellectual curiosiity, I suppose. I'm talking about like in the sense that their lives interest us. I am talking about things like the show Friends, which was, as we recall, peopled by a stunning array of unlikable characters, three of whom could drop dead on screen and I would carry on without a sliver of remorse; Rachel's selfishness when she and Ross were on a break, her pettiness, her impossibly cavernous West Village apartment, her astonishing careeer success (barista to Ralph Lauren), Ross' inexplicable sexual successes, the subdural itch brought on by Phoebe's "quirky" personality , the lot of it made me want to reach out and throttle those three. But still, I liked this show. (Look, we're all going to have to get over ourselves: it's okay to like things that are popular).
While I would have taken garden shears to Jennifer Anistons tips, if only to murder the cultural chatter surrounding her inane haircut, Lord Christ in Heaven above, I fell out of my seat when she accepted Joey's mistaken wedding proposal. Note I am not talking about hate-watching here (e.g., of the kind done with regard to those two human shaped turd sculptures on MTV) -- that's a phenomenon popularized later by reality television and Elizabeth Hasselbeck; I'm talking pure unadulterated hate for characters in a narrative that one otherwise loves. I am talking about hate and love coexisting. My friend with whom I was watching the show that night could not understand my theory -- for him, Rachel was sex on shapely legs, Ross was goofy and funny, and Phoebe was so quirky; he loved them all. And thus he loved Friends. And if I didn't, what the hell was I doing watching this show on Thirsty Thursday whilst munching on my food-points-purchased Subway sandwich. To love Friends was to love every sarcasic toss of Rachel's hand-of-God-crafted head.
So, what does any of this have to do with Serena Williams, epigraphed above? Well, I hate her too. She is vile and arrogant, dismissive of her rivals, and she is also a pure pleasure to watch. The quote above is taken from a press conference in which she claims to be the best player in the world despite the computer rankings now favoring Dinara Safina. To be fair, nobody would dispute Serena, it's just that it's so unbecoming of a true champion to draw attention to the obvious fact that she couldn't give a shit less about the lesser tournaments that Safina has been cleaning up in, and plays only when she feels like it, so fuck the system. Serena will show up at the French Open out of shape and cranky, use the opening rounds to get in shape, scowl at various overmatched opponents, bitch about how little respect is afforded to her, win the whole damn thing, and then take the next few weeks off, the whole beginning of the grass season, to design a new unitard or write a screenplay. That is just how she rolls. I hate her, but I will watch her matches when she plays the French because it is a thing to watch such a ridiculously talented ingrate decimate the poor little girls who devote 23 hours a day to the sport and who have no Hollywood ambtions. And I will watch for another reason: who knew it would take a ridiculously talented and possibly moronic ingrate (Serena Williams is sponsored by Nike; "Nothing is impossible" is Adidas' slogan) to give voice to my slogan for this blog -- "I've been writing, but I haven't been writing..."?
ps -- The video above is what I got trying to find youtube of "Joey" and "sandwiches."