Monthly Archives: October 2015

Why I Was Disappointed in Amy Schumer’s HBO Special

Everyone that knows me well is aware that I have an obsession with Amy Schumer. I have been following her career for years between her Howard Stern appearances, her comedy central roasts/ special/ series, and now all of the other million things she’s been doing since Trainwreck has made her a household name.

I was so excited for her HBO special, Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo, particularly because I remember during one of her first Howard Stern appearances she mentioned that performing at the Apollo would be one of her dreams come true. However, within fifteen minutes I was already disappointed.

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Speaking generally, the most unfortunate aspect of the special was that 90% of the material was regurgitated from either Inside Amy Schumer, her previous special Mostly Sex Stuff, or from talk show appearances. For example, that whole “hot girls in LA” bit was on her show, except she used the city of Miami instead.

I was not only expecting more fresh and exciting material, but I also thought that now that she is a big star and preaches feminism, she would stop slut shaming herself so much. It seemed like the majority of the material was making fun of how much she sleeps around. When, in fact, on Howard Stern she revealed she actually has only had one one-night-stand in her life. I understand that all comics are performers and make up a good portion of their material, but when one’s onstage persona contrasts so drastically with the message she sends on her show and in public, it is troubling to me. In a recent interview she explained that now that she is more famous she is going to retire the “dumb blonde” persona, and her SNL monologue made me hopeful that was really happening. She also made a moving speech earlier this year about how she didn’t have a lot of confidence in college and slept with a guy who used her, but then made light of the same subject in her routine. Although she kind of made up for it when she later described how stupid it is that men think women don’t enjoy sex just as much as they do, I still would love to see a female comic other than Sarah Silverman just talk about something other than sex.

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The biggest issue I had with the special was the beginning: when Amy talked about her body. She called herself fat so many times, and in so many different ways, that I was genuinely wondering if this was the same person who cried when speaking about her body image issues in a video I saw just earlier this week. I don’t know if she realizes that when she (who isn’t fat at all, by the way) calls herself a “tub of lard”, women who look like her, or are bigger than her, will feel bad about themselves. The whole bit felt like a defense mechanism.

And lastly, when Amy was describing how she tried binging and purging to lose weight for her movie, she lost me entirely. I have a sense of humor and know she was joking, but I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for years and it’s truly a disease and not funny at all, and especially not something a woman should make light of. The punch line, that her body told her “no bitch, we keep food in”, wasn’t even funny and didn’t get much of a laugh. I have actually heard jokes about bulimia that have made me laugh, like when Lena Dunham called herself “the laziest bulimic in the world”, but Amy’s definitely didn’t land.

I am not giving up on Amy Schumer yet, primarily because the way she delivers such witty and perceptive social commentary on her show gives me faith in her comical genius. I just hope that fame hasn’t made her lose her creative edge.

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Book Review: “South on Highland”

“I was fourteen the first time I tried stimulants, alone in my bedroom with the door locked and a Sex Pistols CD playing on a loop”.

Above is the opening line of Liana Maeby’s 2015 novel, South on Highland. If that doesn’t intrigue you, then we probably can’t be friends, and also you probably wouldn’t enjoy this book. However, if it does, then read on…

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The protagonist, partially based on Maeby herself, is Leila Massey, a gifted writer who begins to spiral into drug and alcohol addiction. The first part of the book describes how her casual use of Adderall in high school to get better grades eventually led to her snorting the ADHD medication daily, and ultimately to snorting cocaine regularly by her senior year of high school. The second part of the book describes her ascent to success as a screenwriter in L.A., but also her descent into serious drug addiction after she is exposed to painkillers and ultimately heroin at a disturbing drug commune in the desert. In the final portion of the book, Leila enters rehab.

Leila is a perceptive and relatable narrator who simultaneously describes her life with raw sincerity and dark humor. She is paradoxically self-aware and has no idea who she is, which is something that really resonated with me (and I’m sure most other 20-somethings). What I loved most about this novel is that Leila never feels guilty or blames herself for the many mistakes she makes. As my brilliant therapist always tells me: there is a difference between acceptance and approval. Leila’s character is a wonderful example of that axiom personified.

Bottom line: South on Highland is an inventive and heartfelt story about a woman’s search for her identity, with lots of drugs, sex, Hollywood parties, and trashed hotel rooms along the way.

Personal Archives

My favorite thing to do when I come home for a few days is to look through the drawer in my bedroom that contains all of the things I wrote in high school. Sometimes I am amazed at how much I’ve grown as both a person and a writer, and other times I am shocked at how strangely poetic the simple way I viewed life as a teenager seems so many years later.

Tonight as I was going through the stack of papers on the floor of my bedroom,  I found a poem I wrote during my short-lived emo phase in 2009 (either inspired by Evan Rachel Wood in Thirteen, Kirsten Dunst in The Virgin Suicides, or Angela Chase). Other contributors to my teen angst: Edward Cullen had just started stirring up inner feelings I couldn’t quite articulate, I listened to Paramore on a loop, I dyed my hair black with red highlights, and had started memorizing Sylvia Plath’s poetry and reciting it to my family members (we’ve all been there, right guys?). Anyway, here is the poem entitled, “The Pursuit of the Sun”:

I woke up early, to see the sunrise.

My eyes were still tired, as I stood on my porch.

My eyes felt raw, I was blinded by the light.

I went back inside, and fell into a dream,

where my eyes were not swollen, and I saw the sun.

When I woke, I glared out of my window, and saw the moon.

————

The next night, my friend stood with me on the porch,

we had no trouble watching the simple moon.

We decided to wake up early, and watch the sunrise.

The next morning, we saw the tip of the sun,

but our eyes were puffy as we stood on the porch.

Why don’t I have trouble staring at the sunrise in my dream?

We went back inside, we were blinded by the light.

————

The next morning, I tried to resist the light.

It was easier to stare at the moon.

I went back inside, and in my dream,

I imagined myself running into the sunrise.

The next morning, I sat alone on the porch.

It was hopeless; I began to hate the sun- –

————

yes, I began to despise the sun.

How could anyone love that bright light?

The next morning, I wanted to give it one last chance on my porch.

I still hated the sun, I loved the moon.

Why should I strain to look at the sunrise?

I kept the sunrise in my dream.

————

That night, I saw the sun in my dream.

I decided it was impossible to really see the sun,

or the sunrise,

or the light.

But that night, I saw the moon.

I felt comfortable that night on the porch.

————

I fell asleep on the porch,

and had a nice dream.

It was not about the sun, it was about the moon.

I never even thought about the sun.

I began to hide from the light.

I began to fear the sunrise.

————

I miss those times sitting on my porch, looking at the sun.

I now only see light in a dream.

If I only had the strength to reach for the sunrise, instead of settling on the moon.

…well, besides sharing an extremely upbeat poem with all of you, the purpose of this post is to encourage all of you to keep a drawer of writing, art, pictures, etc. throughout your lifetime. I have laughed, cried (just moments ago at a beautiful letter my brother wrote me for my 18th birthday), and found insight when looking through my little drawer of memories. More often than not you will wind up being your greatest source of inspiration.

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Donald Trump’s Blame Game

As I’ve said before, I rarely get political on my blog. However, I just read Donald Trump’s statement that mass shootings will happen no matter what, and cannot be stopped by more gun control, because: “You have people who are mentally ill, and they’re going to slip through the cracks”. As someone who has dealt with mental illness, and someone who loathes Donald Trump, I am about to vent:

The mentally ill are the last group of people in America that it is still politically correct to stereotype and scapegoat. If Donald Trump had said: “You have black people, and they’re going to slip through the cracks”, or: “You have Jews, and they’re going to slip through the cracks”, he would get reamed by the press. You know what most mentally ill people are busy doing? Trying to feel better. You know what most evil sociopaths are busy doing? Trying to buy guns. Not to mention, every country in the world has mentally ill citizens, and our country has the highest caliber of mental healthcare in the world. And yet, from 2000-2014 there were 23 mass shootings in 13 European nations plus Russia. During that same period, the United States saw 133 shootings.

Here’s another statistic: nearly all of our mass shootings are committed by men. In the last thirty years only one of at least 70 mass shootings in our country has been committed by a woman. So maybe the demographic really slipping through the cracks are angry, aggressive, evil men. Kind of like you, Donald Trump.

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According to a Quinnipiac University poll, 90% of U.S voters are calling for stronger gun laws. If Republicans are pro-life, shouldn’t calling for stronger gun control that would save lives fit their agenda? If Republicans in government are delegates, not trustees, elected to act in our interest, shouldn’t calling for stronger gun control be in their job description?

Phew, that felt good. Time to watch Homeland and see how a bipolar woman in the CIA can get the job done.

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