Episode 152: "Bret Easton Ellis Brainstorming"
January 31, 2014
Origin of the episode title
Julie refuses to speculate further on what Charlie Sheen does to real dolls. She is not Bret Easton Ellis brainstorming.
February ahoy! This week's episode of How Was Your Week forges ahead like a fearless warrior with a full afternoon.
Our guest, Dana Gould, joins Julie to talk about an insane nutritionist, a competent acting teacher, a stunning muse of Ed Wood's, and other characters the west coast created.
Plus: an essay about what happens when black women take yoga! Observations about the television show BONES! And what it would be like for a dog to find a corpse.
Enjoy the show before the groundhog does!
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Transcribed by Amy
Hello. Hello. Hi everybody it’s Julie Klausner back for another episode of HWYW. I am still in LA and it is wearing me down. I have been recording these monologues every Thursday night for 3 years now. How old is our podcast? That’s right I said ‘ours’. I said ‘our’ actually. On Thursday nights I find with my job, for those of you who don’t know I am in Los Angeles because I am writing on a sitcom, which I have never done before, featuring our pal Jon Mulaney who is brilliant.
As I mentioned I have never, as they say staffed on a sitcom before and I am not used to the hours. My body is shutting down cell by cell. I just don’t have time to exercise. Not that I was raring to go before I began the job, but I know a little bit about my own work habits and extraordinary situations call for exceptional … you just rise to the occasion is what I am trying to say. That said I am useless after 3pm. I am going to let you all in on a secret. I am useless after 3pm. Wednesday is the new Thursday and Thursday is the new Friday as in I cannot believe I am going to get up tomorrow and go to work.
But I love it. People who are listening are going, “Do you love it Julie? Do you love making dreams? Do you love giving people things to watch, things to distract themselves with?” Actually, no. I never wanted to be the kind of person who distracted anyone. I want to hold people’s attention. I want them to be throttled. I shouldn’t even use the passive voice for that. I want to throttle people. That has always been my goal as an artist (arteest) I am an artist by the way, goddamn it. By the way I joined Scientology. They have a really positive view of artists.
I did not join Scientology.
Although if I do I will talk about it, I promise. In no way will I just start mentioning chemicals here and there and psychiatry and you’ll have to put it together. No. If I am going to join Scientology I am just going to be as transparent as… I will be the xoJane personal essay transparent version of that, which is to say annoyingly open. Did you guys hear...for those of you who don’t know, there was an article on xoJane, which is a website that publishes personal essays from young women. There was an article about this young white woman who went to a yoga class and in her yoga class there was an overweight black woman who wasn’t doing the yoga moves. The white girl who wrote the story was. She said she cried in the article because she was face to face with her own privilege. She felt guilty for not asking the black woman to articulate her experience in the middle of the class. Then she pulled herself together to write, probably the least necessary article that has ever been written in the history of humans, and things, and words, and ideas.
It was one of those things, I talked about this last week with looking and millenials, and it’s not even entitlement as much as transparency is not inherently a negative thing. It is just where you apply it. In other words, not all experiences need to be shared, and not all feelings around race are universal. Don’t assume you are going to write a thing like this and other people in your privileged class will identify and they too will cry. Because by the way they have the luxury about being able to cry about what they didn’t do. Do you know when you don’t have the luxury to cry is when you are poor and have a lot of things to do and juggle and you can’t go to a yoga class because you don’t have time and your body is shutting down cell by cell. Yeah.
How much do they pay for articles at xoJane, $100 a couple of hundred? I don’t know. I don’t feel like it is worth it. The other problem around this article, if you go on Gawker you can find this funny deconstruction of her essay but in no way do her intentions matter. Even Gawker said her heart was in the right place. Fine. I don’t care. The amount of which her intentions, and she made a point of articulating her benevolence toward this woman even though she painted her as an outsider in a very (?) kind of way that made everyone uncomfortable even people who hadn’t read it or talked to me about it because I insisted on recapping it to everyone I saw this week. Yeah. She had her heart in the right place. Big fucking deal. She’s so nice.
Do you know what I think of whenever someone says, “But she’s nice?” I think of the late James Gandolfini in Zero Dark Thirty asking, who did he ask? He played Leon Pancetta and he asked someone, I can’t remember. Let’s just say Bob Balaban. He said, “Bob, does this Jessica Chastain character know what’s she’s doing? Is Osama Bin Laden in that house?” Bob Balaban goes, “She’s very smart.” James Gandolfini goes, “We’re all smart.” I know I have told this story before because it is a very good line from a movie that I blocked out because I didn’t care for the torture scenes. I don’t care if they were bad guys.
There, I said it. Am I going to write an essay about it? Maybe. No I am not going to write an essay about it. I like that scene because James Gandolfini dismissing the notion that Jessica Chastain’s character, whose name I never cared to learn, was smart is something I apply whenever people who are funny, who are difficult, who are annoying or lazy…”But he’s funny.” “We’re all funny.” But she’s nice.” “We’re all nice.”
Even if we’re not all nice it is so easy to find a nice woman, my god. At what point do we demote niceness? Especially for women. I am not saying kindness and empathy and compassion are overrated because they are not. But just being nice? Sometimes people say ‘sweet.’ I guess they are different but I guess people think ‘sweet’ is a more feminine way of saying that whatever girl they are talking about is completely unthreatening. Unthreatening or nonthreatening? I don’t know. I am over it. I am over nice. I’ll never forget. I told this story too. When I saw Charlie Sheen before he wigged out went on Conan’s old show. He had just married Denise Richards. Conan said you just married Denise Richards, congratulations. Charlie said, “Conan she’s as nice as she is pretty.” That fucked me up. Admittedly it came from a man who allegedly had to chain saw his real doll after she passed away. Do real dolls expire of natural causes? Nothing about it is natural. Didn’t he have to have a funeral for his real doll after he and his friends chain sawed it apart? I am not going to saw her. What am I, Bret Easton Ellis brainstorming? Who’s worse Bret Easton Ellis or the Cannibal Cop? You know the answer, it’s Bret Easton Ellis. The Cannibal Cop was at least more social.
The Cannibal Cop really got the most out of social media. He’s not doing well by the way. I heard he’s not happy about being in prison, legally. He’s trying to get out of prison. He didn’t do anything. He just shared his fantasies online with other perverted psychotic people about how much he wanted to eat girl meat. But he never killed anyone and he never ate anyone. Do I feel bad that he is rotting in prison? Not at all, no. Do you know why? Because he’s a great pen pal.
Meanwhile Bret Easton Ellis writes American Psycho, which I have never gotten through it because 75 pages into it I thought why am I doing this to myself? I stopped reading. I never looked back. What do you do? You check into the Chateau Marmont and write that, tippy tippy tap. They make a movie. Everybody likes it because Chloe Sevigny is in it so they know that you are kidding.
I am very sensitive. I am very sensitive out here because I feel like women and beauty standards are squeezing me like a straight jacket. Maybe that’s in my head, but it is probably not because I am pretty perceptive. Although I am in a completely strange landscape so the things I perceive are not necessarily the way things are. I did move into an apartment. It is a beautiful apartment. I thought the neighborhood was safe and I only recently realized that I am in walking distance of at least 4 liquor stores, 2 pawn shops and a stripper’s club called Crazy Girls. A sour guest Dana Gould says about that establishment—Truth in Advertizing. Welcome to crazy girls, we are the foremost leader in mentally ill sluts. Who would you like to be your prostitute tonight?
Strippers aren’t prostitutes Julie.
Well, in a culture in which female bodies are presented in the same context of commerce. Don’t get uppity about putting a divider between women who let you touch them when they’re naked and women who let you fuck them when they are naked.
I saw a show called Bones. It stars Emily Deschanel, who is Zoe Deschanel’s sister. She plays someone who is on the Asperger’s spectrum whose nickname is Bones. The show is also called Bones because Emily Deschanel and her partner from Angel, what’s his name, David Boreanaz deal with bones. They deal with human bones. They find human bones or somebody calls them when there are bones. They come in and take the bones to their lab and they’re forensic scientists so they wear masks and coats. They deal with the bones in their lab. Emily Deschanel will say things about the bones that she knows because she’s very well studied in bones. Then they solve really grisly murders. They show things on that program that are very gross. I don’t want to say they are shocking but it’s like, really? That’s a thing you see on television. I am referring specifically in this case to an episode that started with a trucker who basically left the truck and goes to an outhouse. He presumably sat on the toilet and he exploded and they found the body later. I swear to go this is real. This is a real thing and I feel terrible even telling you this because I have never been one for relaying this sort of toilet talk to my friends and listeners and comrades. They found the bones two days later and the bones had been…the whole body was basically disintegrated and the reason why we learn is because poop will eradicate the structure of bones quicker than non-poop will.
There’s a line that Emily Deschanel had where she said, “I still don’t understand your aversion to feces.” What am I watching? They found the killer but I didn’t last that long. I also saw an episode, by the way I did not watch these show voluntarily. A friend of mine, a companion of mine forced me. I am glad I did. Now I know what America is up to at night when I am just peacefully refreshing my twitter mentions over and over again. I saw another episode of a show called Criminal Minds which used to star Mandy Potemkin and now stars Joe Mantegna in the worst wig I have ever seen on a person who is not that gummy faced dough ball from the blacklist. No, I am not talking about James Spader, who can fuck me anytime in any way, in any…Look, if he decides to fuck me I will be there. Do you know what I mean? Do you know what I mean? How could you not know what I meant?
Criminal Minds is a very silly show. There’s a lady there who is obviously some sort of Pauly Perrette’s character on CSI (NCIS). Pauly Perrette is an enemy of this podcast. She will always be an enemy of this podcast. She tried to get me kicked out of an awards show for dogs and film a few years ago when all I wanted to do was interview Uggie from the Artist and ask her if she had plans to smuggle a dog out of the ceremony by putting it in her dress. She didn’t think that was funny because she’s too stupid to have a sense of humor.
There’s a woman on Criminal Minds who wears pigtails and dyes her hair. She has cat-eye glasses and she sits at home on the internet or maybe in a van, I’m not sure. She provides information to the reasonably diverse, good-looking band of idiots—oh what’s her name is on it—Paget Brewster. She’s fine. At a certain point you just put an endomorph in a pair of business slacks and pair it with a shell from Loehman’s and then you just call it a day. You put people in front of camera. Do they have lines? Sure. Are some of the line’s laugh out loud bad? I guess if you are in a good mood. But this particular episode revolved around these three youths who would kidnap strippers and chain them to poles that the kept in their rec room. Then they would take turns raping them. Then they would kill them and dump them out in cornfields. Really? I had heard about procedurals being gory and I knew that there were always sex crimes depicted in the shows that America finds most intriguing to make them the most popular shows on television. The casual badness of it really bummed me out. Just the scenes in the strip club where the girls were wearing tank tops. I am not saying they should be naked. It’s a network show; they are not going to be naked. That always bothers me when they have to do a strip club scene and the women are just dancing around in scanty clothes. Then the actor who plays the stripper eventually gets saved. SPOILER.
Let’s stop saying SPOILER. Starting with me, no spoilers, and no selfies.
She had to be in a bra and her underpants the whole time. She had a bandana around her eyes. It’s just one of those roles where I am sure she’s psyched she got to show off her body in that underpants outfit and that just made me sad. Oh America…America and its television.
In the department of really good stuff that I watched last weekend, I will say I re-watched All That Jazz. I was inspired to revisit it after the incredible finale of Eagleheart paradise rising season. I will say, every time I watch All That Jazz I notice something different. I am always dazzled by Bob Fosse’s direction, the editing in it, the precision, and the beauty being that ultimate manifestation of his ability. I was also thinking about Kubrick when I saw All That Jazz again. In the movie Roy Scheider’s character evokes Kubrick and I think Bob Fosse is an interesting person to compare to Kubrick. Both of them used people in ways they probably shouldn’t have in order to express themselves. Kubrick famously abused actors getting take after take after take to their psychological erosion if they were Shelly Duval. It was clear that Kubrick was more interested in the beauty of the shot than the artfulness of the actor’s ability to tap into human behavior. Fosse is different because he was also a choreographer. Also because Fosse’s art was fundamentally dependent on other humans in a way that I don’t think Kubrick came close to. Because Fosse invented an entire language of movement, because nobody ever moved the same way again after Fosse gave people dance steps to do. Fosse’s ability to express himself completely rested on the body of another. You can’t be a choreographer unless…his art can’t be expressed unless it is through the physical form of another human being. How could you not treat Ann Reinking like an art supply? That transfers over to womanizing. She was his perfect muse in that way. Could you imagine having Ann Reinking with all of her hyper mobility and flexibility and the emotion in her face, she’s incredible. I think Ann Reinking is the ultimate expression of Fosse’s art. I think she’s his ultimate muse. If you disagree you are entitled to that. Ok, I talked about Bones, Fosse, and yoga. I found this out! Did you know that in Russia, because they don’t have an ‘H’ sound his name is Garry Potter? Did you know that? Isn’t that the best think you have heard in your life? Garry Potter, really? Honestly if that’s not reason enough to cancel the Olympics I don’t even know. I don’t even know. Pussy Riot? Meh. Gay rights? Feh. Garry Potter! Are you kidding me?
Those procedurals, by the way, when it comes to the corpse finding part of the show I was inspired to imagine what it would be like to be a dog and to find a dead body in a field. I imagine it would be confusing, but more than confusing, it would be overwhelmingly exciting. The amount of olfactory information would completely destroy me as a dog. If you smell a human, and then smell a whole lot of others things, I am going to say you realize what’s going on. A dog finds a corpse; a dog understands what’s going on, to some extent. This is all completely hypothetical; I’m not describing my weekend. Let’s just all agree to make believe. A dog finds a corpse. The dog freaks out—Woof-woof-etc…runs back to his owner, woof, woof, woof. He gets the owner to follow him back to the corpse. I imagine that a dog, after he finds a corpse thinks this. The following thing is going on in the dog’s brain before he runs to the owner;
Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! I gotta tell Dave! I gotta tell Dave! Dave has gotta see this! I gotta tell Dave. Oh my god. Oh my god! Oh my god! Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave! He makes Dave follow him. See? Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Dave can fix this.
I watched the Grammy’s on Sunday night but I mostly fast-forwarded through them. That demon woman Pauly Perrette was hosting something around them so I didn’t linger. I thought it was very inspiring to see closet case Queen Latifah presiding over a ceremony of 33 randos getting married. By the way if any gay couple planning to get married are listening, feel free to give your partner the silent treatment for the next month for not proposing to you before the Grammys because one of those couples could have been you when Madonna in her radiant pimp-like profession came out and to the best of her ability sang Open you Heart.
I will say this about Madonna; I will die as I live, as a Madonna apologist. I will always be a Madonna apologist. People who criticize Madonna seem to forget that she is Madonna. She came out and I think she looked great, although I do not know what she is injecting into her face because it has changed her face. I loved her red lipstick. I loved her pimp cane even though I will admit that a woman her age should be careful accessorizing with a cane. I thought she looked terrific and awesome and like a really cool R. Crumb character at the same time. I am not being sarcastic, I think she looked awesome.
What was exceptional about her performance to me beyond her look was just how hard she tried. Did she sound the best she ever sounded? No, but do we care? My opinion, I don’t know what that song was. I have done a really good job of avoiding Macklemore. I went out with a guy over this summer, thanks to the help of antidepressants, I have since recovered from, but that was a really tough time for me, K must remind myself, as I look around I have made it through the wilderness but I must say this, the summer sucked. A lot of it had to do to the fact that I was dating someone who was not very nice to me. I knew things were bad. It was going great, it was going great, then I went over to his apartment for the first time and he had a Pandora radio thing going on of hits if today.
I am not a snob. Do you think I go over to people’s house and say, “Oh god? He’s not playing vinyl, and it’s not boo boo be boo ba boo. “I don’t care. I like top forty. I like pop. I talked to you a few weeks ago about how I think the new Lady Gaga album is great. That’s controversial. I stand by it. During the Pandora revolution this summer, I was making out with this grown man at which point Macklemore’s Thriftshop came on. I said, “Can we change it?” Then a couple of days later he accused me of being bossy. My point is that I survived that and that’s my only association with Macklemore. And he has creepy blond eyelashes. I will say that I think it was a nice idea to have a mainstream artist have a song about all love is love. That is my impression of what that song was. I did not care to listen to it. I thought Daft Punk were cool. It was great to see Niles Rodgers, as always. But Madonna is Madonna. That’s all. I am more comfortable being an apologist for Madonna over, I don’t know, Woody Allen.
I saw on my Facebook timeline, which is really just a rogue gallery of flimsy connections to my past. I am at this point right now where every time I remember something from my childhood it is like a little electric shock. Oh! Oh my god! I think was that traumatic? The odds are it was. I had a very privileged childhood in that I was very protected. I was very safe. I was very loved. Socially, I was incredibly regressed. I am not being falsely self-deprecating when I tell you that I learned all of my social skills pretty much in the last 10 years of my life, let’s say 10-20 ever since I met my friend Nate I have learned to acknowledge the needs of others.
On Facebook this person with whom I share a distant connection decided to post a link to an article written by a friend of Woody Allen’s called Not so Fast. Under his link he wrote, “Makes some good points.” This person in my at least electronic-sphere found it to be a great idea to share with people he knows peripherally as well as intimately that Woody Allen could very well be innocent of molesting his daughter even though he’s been accused of doing precisely that by a woman who has no reason to accuse him of that beyond the fact that….I don’t know. I am going to take that back.
I am just saying that Ronan Farrow’s sister, Dylan, who has publically come out and said Woody Allen molested me when I was a little girl, maybe give her the benefit of the doubt? That’s my policy. I always like to give people who are victims of sexual abuse the benefit of the doubt. I tend to start out thinking that maybe they have something to say. Maybe they are not lying even if the person they are accusing made some good films in the 70s and 80s. I swear to god if you talk to me about Blue Jasmine I will walk away. I did not like that movie except for the Diceman who was transcendent and exquisite.
I sound cranky but I am really fine. I am a little cranky. I am also fine. I contain multitudes. I want to transition into a plea in addition to retiring selfies and spoiler; do you know what I would love? I would love to get rid of anything from the sports world that applies to intellectual currency, the currency of ideas. Can we stop saying win and fail? So and so won the internet today with something that someone posted that was clever or cute or interesting. I am a proud indoor kid. Is that why I learned social skills late? There were other reasons too. I hate sports. I think sports encourage the worst in people. I know there are a lot of good things that sports supposedly encourage but I have never experienced them firsthand.
I know the Super Bowl is this week. I don’t know who is playing. I know it is happening in the Meadowlands and I am sure Chris Christie will find some way to exploit and turn into filthy money, blood money as it were. As a proud indoor kid who grew up dreading gym class and avoiding the ball whenever I was forced into situation in which I had to be interacting with one, I beg of you, let’s take back the internet as an indoor kid friendly space. Enough with fail. Enough with win. What else? Touchdown, do people say that is that a tag on Buzzfeed yet?
I am going to start the show. We have one guest this week because one guest is all we need.