Friday, August 19, 2016

America's Killer New Epidemic: Secondhand Whiteness

[Editor's note: It should be obvious that white people are not actually the real victims of racism. Those horrors are large and small and you should go read the many smart people of color writing online and follow anti-racist activists and support them.]

A scourge is rampaging through our nation’s cubicle farms and family reunions. What once may have been described as some kind of “race-related social awkwardness among white people” finally has a name: Secondhand Whiteness™.

Firsthand or Primary Whiteness is, of course, a person of color being on the receiving end of ignorant white bullshit, but Secondhand Whiteness is another tragic side effect of white privilege. It occurs when more or less “enlightened” white people witness other, clueless whites doing embarrassing white shit re: race/ethnicity/nationality/religion. Secondhand Whiteness is not the same as being horrified by overt racism. No, it is that sinking feeling of shame you get when you see suburban white moms get “sassy” when “joking around” with the black lady who works in Accounting or when your father-in-law tells the Latino host at the (non-Mexican) restaurant that you need a table for “cinco.” You are mortified both for and by them. As a fellow white person, you feel somewhat responsible for your race’s ignorance and feel guilty about the unfortunate people of color caught in the crossfire. Speaking up may or may not be worth the trouble depending on the situation, but either way, you are incredibly embarrassed by proxy.

Goddammit, white people.
Some instances of Secondhand Whiteness could rightfully be classified as microaggressions. Others are just severe social missteps the offenders don't even realize they're making. Secondhand Whiteness is cringing at other whites who generally mean well, but just don't fucking have a clue that they don't have a clue. The precipitating acts that lead to Secondhand Whiteness are often directed toward people of color, but can also be statements made about them to other white people. 

Secondhand Whiteness may affect you in situations like the following:
  • A white bartender asks your friend “Where are you from?” when he sees an unusual name on the credit card. The server is confused when your friend says, “Here.” Bonus points of your friend has stopped trying to correct people after they can’t get the pronunciation right after a couple tries. 
  • You overhear your white coworker ask your black boss if she can touch her new hairstyle. 
  • An older white relative keeps talking about all the super-smart Asian kids he’s taught over the years ever since someone in your family started dating a Filipino. 
  • Your friend’s white mom pretends she doesn’t know where your friend’s little brother picked up those racial slurs. She’s got a black coworker at the store she’s friends with, after all, and boy is she a HOOT! 
  • A white guy in your improv class puts on a wincingly stereotypical accent in a scene. You can tell he thinks he’s being subversive and “not-racist” because he makes the character smart/kind. 
  •  In real life, white strangers come up to your mixed-race friend and ask, “What are you?” 
  • Your white family member won’t stop pronouncing it “MOO-slem.” 

Do you feel like climbing inside a rocket ship and launching it underground while reading these? If so, you may in fact be experiencing Secondhand Whiteness. While certainly the horrible effects of systemic racism and bearing the full brunt of Primary Whiteness is a much greater burden, let us not forget the more or less innocent white bystanders who are right now super-uncomfortable.

This is not happening.
Symptoms of Secondhand Whiteness may include:
  • Extreme embarrassment 
  • Bruises from your jaw dropping onto something hard 
  • Shame over one’s shared cultural/racial background with the offender 
  • Eye strain from rolling them too much 
  • Liberal guilt 
  • Jim Halpert Face 
  • General squirminess 
  • Muscle strain around raised eyebrow(s)
  • Feelings of smugness over knowing better 
  • Neck pain from excess head-shaking 
  • Financial loss when you feel like you need to go donate to an anti-racist cause to counteract what you just witnessed 
  • Incredulity that no one else seems offended 

Secondhand Whiteness is akin to those moments during any Ricky Gervais production when that “I want to crawl under a blanket to hide and also die from the awkwardness” sensation rolls over you, overpowering any comedic value to the situation. It’s pretty much like that, but for real people in real life and also with (more) casual racism.

Girl, for real?
Locations where you are likely to be exposed to Secondhand Whiteness:
  • Work 
  • The suburbs, in general 
  • Cable news 
  • Family get-togethers 
  • America 
  • Just anywhere white people are, really 

Now, those of us on the receiving end of Secondhand Whiteness are not perfect. We are all products of a racist society, and even if some of us have taught college level Ethnic Studies classes, we say and do stupid shit, too. We have almost certainly been accidental dicks to people of color and exposed others to Secondhand Whiteness. But we can all do better! And if the person white-ing all over the place is someone you know and will probably not punch you in the face for doing so, maybe direct your Jim Halpert Face directly at them to let them know they are being Not Cool. Or, pull them aside later and say, “Hey, not cool.” If somebody tells you that you are being Not Cool about a racial thing, try to take it in and consider that perhaps they are right instead of automatically getting defensive because you don’t want to be racist, because racists are Bad and you are a Good Person. Even Good People can do racist stuff. But Good People can also learn and change.

Let’s get back to the matter at hand, though: Please, other white people, consider whether you should make that “joke” that contains a “positive” stereotype. Maybe think twice before you get a little too invested in somebody else’s culture or take a Free Pass in All Social Situations to Make This Particular Joke because you have that one first-gen American friend and she thinks your impressions of her immigrant parents are hilarious. Yes, you’d be perpetuating a white supremacist culture--but also, think of the other white people.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

When Bennie Met Mallory: A Short Story



The two esteemed statespersons sat across from each other for the first time since the last of however many godforsaken debates they’d had. Right before I destroyed him in New York, thank god, thought Mallory Roadhouse Clemmons, former cabinet secretary, former senator, former First Lady, former also-ran. They both shifted in their suits in the not-very-comfortable chairs in the lounge area of a nice but not excessively nice hotel suite commandeered by the Clemmons campaign for its pre-convention headquarters. Mallory suppressed the urge to verbally crush him, the “indie” Senator Bennie Saunders, hero to idealists, revolutionaries, and also a bunch of assholes on the internet. She wanted to yell out, “Who’s unqualified now, bitch?” She didn’t fancy receiving one of his moralistic scoldings, though, so she decided to rely on her tact, AKA her hard-won battle to completely destroy her own gag reflex.

“Bennie, weren’t we once collegial colleagues in the United States Senate?” Mallory asked, a little too ambitiously.

“I suppose we were, Mallory,” Bennie replied, his voice suddenly rising to “Grandpa talking on a cell phone” volume. “Until your friends on WALL STREET bought you the Secretaryship of State-Funded Cronyism.”

“That’s really unfair,” Mallory said. Her castrating blue eyes glistened with tears. Hurt? Anger?

“I don’t mean to impugn your character,” Bennie said, lowering his tone but raising his Wagging Finger of Justice. “But, like, it’s true. Why do you think all the superdelegates are loyal to you? You’re all beholden to the same corrupt influences.”

Mallory composed herself and sighed heavily like she had to do every single fucking time she spoke to a man. “If that’s what you need to believe. But we don’t need to be friends, Bennie. We need to hammer out what you’re going to say when you endorse me next week at the convention.”

Now Bennie sighed, running his hand through what was left of his signature free-flying white Doc Brown-style locks. “IF I endorse.”

“You can’t NOT endorse me,” Mallory snapped. She wished one of her millennial media managers was here to call up one of those amazing gifs (jifs?) of her looking Exasperated But Presidential during that last 11-hour show trial hearing. “You at least have to concede. That’s how these things work. If you want to join in on party politics so you can get media coverage and into debates, then you have to PLAY party politics when the time comes. So. What do you want in the platform?”

Mallory sat poised with her pen ready at her legal pad, an aged Tracy Flick, finally Getting Hers. Bennie took a sip of seltzer water, savoring the brisk bitterness. For just a few months, he’d felt what it was like to be in the In Crowd, approved-of, popular, even winning at times, and he would Get His before he returned, tired but not trampled, to his Righteous Caucus of One. Mallory stared at him and picked at some nonexistent food particle in her teeth with her tongue.

“If I were to endorse you. IF... Slavery reparations.”

Mallory cackled. “Mmhm. Sure.”

Even Bennie had to smile. She knew he was fucking around. “JK, JK. But for real, we gotta break up these big banks. That’s my number one.”

“Bennie, you can’t even tell tabloid editors how we’re supposed to do that.” Mallory was unsurprised but still annoyed.

“You’re the policy wonk. You tell me.” Bennie’s eyes wandered to where French doors opened on a king-size bed strewn with beautiful mandarin-collar jackets in all the colors of the rainbow. Wardrobe planning for the Big Moment. One thing he could be grateful for: they’d told him in the general election, he’d have to get a haircut and start wearing new, non-rumpled suits or some bullshit. The General. The real beauty contest.

Looking up from her notes, Mallory offered dryly, “I’ve got an advisory group I can talk to about possible modest reforms we might be able to insert into our economic plank. I mean, we are going with the nationwide $15 minimum wage and can emphasize giving Dodd-Frank more teeth. We could probably punch up some of the bank stuff in there.”

Bennie knew she couldn’t realistically offer more than that. Still, he couldn’t resist. “You know these big banks you love giving speeches to are a real scourge! The middle class in this country...”

As he launched into his stump speech, in tiny letters, Mallory wrote “KILL ME” over and over again in the same spot until she tore the page with her pen, which was custom-made from Arkansas oak that an especially sexist and curmudgeonly old colleague had given her when she became their firm’s first female partner. She’d been buying expensive replacement ink for it all these years, dreaming of holding it in her capable hand when yet another powerful man would have to concede that yes, she could, yes, she DID do it after all. Her dreams had been dashed eight short (long?) years ago by that Chicago upstart. Terrible, awful timing. But they’d both moved past their bitterness over the nasty campaign and become something like friends. She knew the President would expect her to call him later and he’d laugh as she recounted the meeting in detail, leaving out none of the meanest jokes. He loved hearing gossip. Stored it all up, never spilling a word--too high-minded to indulge in that--but everybody knew that he knew all the dirt.

Mallory finally interrupted, “I’ve heard the pitch, Bennie. What else do you want?”

Bennie hesitated a moment. He knew he often came off as impractical, whimsical even, in his ideas, but this was important and he needed to plant the seed. “I want federal funding for an educational cartoon series starring me, but as a bird: Wrennie Saunders. You know, like that time a bird landed near me and everybody acted like I was fucking Snow White? That was the best day of my campaign. I think I could harness that joyfulness to inform the public.”

Mallory stifled a laugh. “You want, like, a PBS series?”

“Sure! Or a web series. On Netflix or whatever. You know, my campaign staff tells me a lot of young people don’t even own televisions anymore. I mean, I haven’t had one since I marched with MLK myself. But I’d do the voice. Of the bird. We’d teach kids about corruption and corporate greed and Citizens United and--”

“Yeah, okay. That’s going to be a tough sell with the other Dems after you refused to help fundraise downticket, but I’ll do what I can to help you get the funding in the next congressional session. We’ll tack it on to something bland. Modest infrastructure funding. But for real, what else do you want in the party platform?”

“That’s it.” He savored more of the room temperature bubbly water from the can he’d brought with him.

“Seriously?” Mallory was sure he was playing her. She pushed back a nonexistent stray hair into her impeccable blonde bubble.

“You’re running against a literal circus clown! Why bother pushing left?”

“But isn’t that why--” Mallory stopped. She stared and tapped her beloved pen on her notepad. “You’re not even going to show up to the convention, are you?”

The left corner of Bennie’s mouth betrayed the flicker of a smile. “I may have some urgent family business in my home state.”

“You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.” Tact Time over.

He really had considered falling in line properly, but that just wasn’t him. Always the contrarian. Happy to be unpopular. Principles are the most loyal friends, after all. “I’ll send a proxy endorser.”

“Who. Susan fucking Sarandon? You’re completely fucking me.”

“Well, like you, I’m not sure I’m even a Democrat.” He smiled to himself and finished the can.

Mallory tossed her pad and pen on the coffee table between them. So tired. So, so tired of this. “Get the fuck out. My staff should’ve taken this meeting for me to begin with.”

Bennie shrugged and got up to leave. “I wasn’t kidding about the bird show.”

“Go pitch it to Viceland, asshole.” (She could thank her daughter Kelsey for that reference.)

He looked at her, bemused, but quickly left, satisfied to be on the Establishment’s shit list once again. After all, he’d been in it to inspire, to provoke. He’d never really wanted to be the next Jimmy Carter. A single aide met him in the lobby--he was finally free of Secret Service detail--who traded him his empty La Croix for a full one.

Back upstairs, an exhausted Mallory went over to the bed and collapsed on top of her fine silk jackets, fingering the cuff of that gold one she loved so much but people told her she wore too often. She’d call in the team in a moment. She'd pretend to care what her husband had to say, call the President and talk it out, and just keep gritting her teeth through the next few months still between her and the throne. But right now she needed to just sigh for a bit. Men.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Energy Drink Review: V8 +Energy NOW WITH CARBONATED KINDS

So I often drink these V8 Fusion Energy guys in the mornings because mornings. A while back, I saw a few of these newly packaged 12 ouncers that are lightly carbonated, so I'm guessing they're some kind of new product. I decided to give them a shot. BTWs, did you know that V8 is owned by Campbells? Makes sense, both try to get you to drink/eat tomato juice or soup, which are objectively icky.* I have now tried all three flavors and taken to buying four-packs of some of them, so obvi I'm liking them, but here's an overview:

FLAVOR: The blackberry/cranberry is actually pretty tasty. Not dissimilar to a flavor they've already got in the juice ones, but it's lightly carbonated, so it's, like, better I guess. It's got a TOUCH of the green tea-ness that gives it its caffeine, but not so much that it bothers me. The orange/pineapple, unsurprisingly, I didn't like much because of how it has pineapple juice in it. Guys, I'm terrible at tiki bars because pineapple juice ruins things for me ALMOST BUT NOT AS MUCH as banana flavoring destroys otherwise tasty food and drinks. Okay, but the best one by far is the white grape/raspberry flavor. It is legit delicious and I've even used it as a mixer in a pinch and liked it quite a bit.

EFFECTIVENESS: These drinks have 80 mg of caffeine. According to a very useful webernets site, a 12-oz. Diet Coke has 46 mg and my drug of choice, a standard 16-oz. Monster Khaos, has 154 mg. So these V8 guys are more effective than a can of pop and are way less chemical-tasting. They're 34% juice according to the can, if you're concerned about that sort of thing. ("Probably mostly apple juice," says Isaac, like I care what's in my beverages.) They make me feel alert without pushing me into shakiness or borderline anxiety territory, which is good for a mid-morning cube-sitting situation. I usually end up drinking another energy drink after lunch sometime, but these are a good option for the morning when I am (somehow) less exhausted-feeling and don't want to crash too early or overdose on two full-caffeine 16 ouncers in one work day.

OVERALL: Guys, these are pretty good. I drink these. Recommended.

*Guys, I fucking love tomatoes, but I don't want to drink them. I don't even like soups that are tomato-BASED very much, even if there's a bunch of other stuff in them. I can't explain it.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Horror Movie Classics: The Innocents

Oh, here's a movie I put on my queue some time ago as a "classic horror film." 1961's The Innocents starring Deborah Kerr, who is an actress I've heard of. It begins with a black screen and a creepy singing child. A+ milieu establishment, film. Birds tweet. A lady's hands look like they're praying as she cries at the birds or something. Lady cries and whispers in her brain about wanting to save the children, not hurt them or something. Fade into:

Same lady? at a job interview. It's old-timey. Lady interviewed by a rich bachelor man. He's a "very selfish fellow." He's become "saddled" with two orphan children and he's like, "FUCK THAT." The children live at his country estate. She's the daughter of a country parson. Miles and Flora. She's going to be their governess. Miss Giddens. It's her first job. The dude doesn't want any complaints or to be bothered ever. What a dick. The former governess died and traumatized everybody. "It was all very odd," Mr. Dick says. Miles has been at school and Flora watched by the housekeeper since then. Dick wants to hire her so bad. She's got to handle everything on her own if she agrees to accept the position.

Now we're in the country. Horse and carriage nonsense. Picturesque pond. Giddens asks the coachman to stop at the gates to the estate so she can walk in past the pond and such. It must be the 1860s or so with those giant hoop skirts happening under there. Walking up to the house, Giddens hears some singing but also sees a fancy gazebo by the water. Giddens sees Flora and tells her someone was calling her name. Flora wants to show Giddens her turtle. His name is Rupert and he's adorbs. Mr. Dick is Flora's uncle. Flora's chatty and excited. She brings Giddens up to the house. The housekeeper is very glad to see Giddens. Giddens is amazed by the fanciness of the huge mansion. "It's a heaven for children." Housekeeper sets Giddens up with some tea. She wasn't the one calling for Flora outside. BECAUSE IT WAS THE GHOST OF THE DEAD GOVERNESS OBVIOUSLY. Giddens: "I expect to be here for a very long time."

So many white roses. The housekeeper says something about "the devil's own eye," but apparently wasn't referring to the master. Housekeeper (Mrs. Grose) has set up Giddens in another bed in Flora's room. Bullshit. I'd insist on my own room. How is she supposed to masturbate? Flora can't sleep next to Rupert because she might roll over and CRUSH HIM. Flora has prayer questions. She implies some people don't go to heaven, but just stay and walk around. Weird squawking outside. Mrs. Grose says they have to ignore such things. In the middle of the night, much wind in the curtains of the wide open windows. Flora creepily watches Giddens sleep. Flora looks outside and hums. Probably at a ghost.

Next day. Giddens' ruffles are OUT OF CONTROL. Flora holds Giddens' mail hostage because she's a bitch. Giddens has gotten a family photo from her sister. Dick uncle's gotten a letter from Miles' school. Giddens looks upset. Giddens asks Flora about knowing Miles was coming home before she did. She watches a butterfly being eaten by a spider. Giddens tells Mrs. Grose Miles has been expelled. Mrs. Grose is ILLITERATE. The letter says Miles is "an injury to the others." Mrs. Grose laughs at the idea that Master Miles could corrupt anyone.

Giddens and Flora pick the kid up from the train station. He's a creepy little charmer and gives her a nosegay. Miles says he's home for the holidays, but they're not holidays. He won't answer questions about the school term or anything else. Miles tells her she's too pretty to be a governess, and she gives him shit about it. At home, the kids run off to see the pony.

Giddens claims the school letter must have been a misunderstanding, but she'll talk to him about it later. Mrs. Grose is worried about there being "trouble." Miles is too excited to sleep at night. She asks what he thinks about while lying awake. Oh come on, he's clearly at wiener-pulling age. Not a good convo. She confronts him about being expelled. He knows his uncle won't give a shit. Giddens tries to make excuses for Dick uncle, but insists she cares about Miles. He cries a single tear, but won't tell her what happened back at school. "Trust me," she says. The window crashes and the candle blows out.  "It was only the wind, my dear," says a 12 year-old to a grown woman.

Daytime. Giddens cuts some of the billions of roses. The singing again. A creepy ceramic cherub statue. A bug comes out of its mouth and the music stops. Giddens looks up at a tower on the house and sees someone standing up there through some haze. It's silent for a moment, then he disappears. Then the birds and the singing start back up. Her clothes are so stupid. Good thing she works in a mansion with gigantic wide doorways, because her skirts have like an 8-foot diameter. She enters the stairs to the tower through an ivied wall. At the top, she finds Miles, charming all the doves. They're standing on his shoulder and head. He claims there was no man up there. "Perhaps it was me," says the creepy kid. He says she's imagined it or may need spectacles, though she's "much too pretty" for that. CREEP. He says Flora told him she makes groaning noises all night, but Flora makes up lies all the time, so who knows!

Mrs. Grose brings Giddens some scissors from the garden that she dropped earlier while investigating the OBVIOUS TOWER GHOST. She asks Mrs. Grose if there's "anyone else living here." OF COURSE NOT. JK, this is either a ghost or a clear Secret Garden/Jane Eyre crazy person wing of the house situation. Flora grabs Giddens to show her Miles riding around on the pony (too fast?).

OOPS I Skyped with an old friend for like an hour and half and now I'm not sure how long I can stay awake, despite the second energy booze I started at the beginning of this blog. LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS. Giddens' skirts are so huge and dumb. The kids draw pictures. Miles calls his sister "dear." He says he doesn't want to grow up. Giddens' old house was too small for secrets. The kids want to play hide and seek. Giddens will seek. How could you play this game at night without electricity? In the dark, Giddens sees a lady walk behind a curtain, but hears a voice calling her upstairs and ignores it. In a creepy attic, she finds creepy toys. An old dusty rocking horse and a bouncing clown doll. She bumps a CLEARLY HAUNTED music box, which starts to play. Inside she finds a cracked photo of a man. Miles busts out to catch her. "Now you're my prisoner!" She tells him to let her go because he's hurting her, but he doesn't care. Clearly he's a creepy sociopath.  Flora busts out to save her and insists Giddens hides this time.

She takes her gigantic skirts downstairs and hides behind some curtains as the kids creepily count in unison. At the window she's hiding behind, Giddens sees a man approach and then dissipate. She goes outside to look around, and just hears noisy birds. Mrs. Grose comes to check. It's the guy from the tower and the attic picture. Mrs. Grose says it must be Mr. Quint, the master's valet, who is DEAD. The kids laugh maniacally from the stairs.

Another day. Giddens looks at the little photo. Later, she has a nightmare and wakes to wide-open windows in a thunder storm. Guys, thunderstorms are the best. Now she's staring out at heavy rain while the kids are doing lessons. Flora throws her pencil. Miles yells that she's begging for attention. Giddens comforts her. Giddens says they'll pretend it's Flora's birthday and they're going to have a costume party. They're going to surprise her with their outfits. Mrs. Grose says the attic is no danger to them, but Giddens isn't convinced. Apparently Quint drunkenly slipped and hit his head on the icy steps outside. He had secrets. Miles discovered the body. (Sure, "discovered.") Quint was Miles' hero.

The kids come down in costume. The music box plays and Miles recites a poem, pacing in a crown, holding a candle. Something about his lord being gone. Giddens thinks there's something going on. Mrs. Grose says nothing is wrong. Quint was once in charge. The previous governess maybe fell in love with him? Mrs. Grose won't say. The kids yell at a convenient time. Okay, a man clearly invented hoop skirts. So, so stupid. So, so large.

Giddens sits in the gazebo by the pond. Miles rows out on a boat. Flora wishes she could row, too. She asks if tortoises can swim. Uh-oh, that means Rupert is dead. Flora is humming the music box song, but doesn't know where she learned it. Giddens sees a woman in black standing in the reeds across the water. Flora apparently didn't see her. Giddens is freaking out. She tells Mrs. Grose there are two "abominations." Mrs. Grose has a weirdly optimistic view of the kids, claiming Flora wouldn't lie about seeing the ghost. Giddens knows it's some kind of "indecent" game. Quint and Miss Jessel were clearly in love. Mrs. Grose thinks it was fucked up. Quint was violent and abusive. Giddens makes Grose tell her that they were fucking, I think. She's not sure what the kids saw. All the whispering. The framing is weird. Giddens thinks THE INNOCENTS have been corrupted by Quint. Miss Jessel stopped eating and sleeping when Quint died until she herself died OF A BROKEN HEART. Mrs. Grose doesn't want Giddes to talk to the vicar about the whole ghost situation at their house because of possible SCANDAL.

Giddens has a restless sleep. She sees Miles whispering to Flora about secrets. Something about the tortoise. The kids giggling in the woods. The man on the tower. A man's and a child's hands grabbing. Doves. Whispers. The music box. Flora dancing with a woman in black. Giddens prays. Church bells! Giddens tells Mrs. Grose she's going to London to talk to their uncle. Sure, they're well-behaved, but not necessarily "good." Just "easy to live with." She knows there's more going on. The ladies' capes are wonderful. She knows the kids are talking about the ghosts. Giddens insists she must know how Miss Jessel died. She apparently killed herself in the lake. Makes sense, actually. She doesn't go into church yet and sees Flora running through the churchyard. She finds Jessel's grave with flowers on them and whispers "Flora." Does she think she killed her somehow?

Giddens is insistent upon leaving for London, despite Mrs. Grose's protest. Giddens goes to get a book from the schoolroom and encounters the sobbing ghost of Miss Jessel. She gets to the desk and she's gone, but there's blood? on the slate. Mrs. Grose comes to tell Giddens the carriage is here. She says she's not going now. She says the children can't be let out of their sight. Okay, so Giddens claims that the ghost of Jessel is so hungry for Quint that they've both possessed the children so they can be together, I guess? So this is getting pretty incest-y. Cool. Obvs. Mrs. Grose wants to tell the master, Giddens won't leave them but wants to write him. She's going to try to make the kids confess the truth.

At night, Giddens has her hair down, reading (probs the Bible--BORING) by the fire. Okay, yeah. Bible. A white rose petal. "Always happening here." She pokes the fire. The piano makes a sound. A whisper. A giggle. Her nightgown is supes ruffly, unsurprisingly. She goes out into the hallway with her lil candelabra. Mysterious noises. Voices. Pre-electricity times must've been HAUNTED AS FUCK. I can only imagine. Giddens wanders around upstairs with her candles. Spectral giggling. A locked door. A door opening? "The children are watching," says the ghost. Lots of locked doors. The voices get louder. A creepy cherub carving. Giddens runs to the bedroom, but Flora isn't in bed. She's at the window. A bird call. "Somebody's walking in the garden," she says. It's Miles in his night shirt. She yells and he stops walking, but is seemingly possessed or something. Giddens runs off with her candles as Flora snuggles up with her doll in bed.

"I just thought he was quiet."
She pulls Miles into the house. He said he knew she'd look outside. Miles claims he'll explain everything now. He claims he wanted to pretend to be bad to amuse her. They planned it together. Under his pillow, it's a pigeon. A dead one with a broken neck. He says he'll bury it tomorrow and then kisses her HARD on the lips goodnight. She's all freaked out, obvs.

This is a pretty good nanny job, eh?
Next day, she wears all black and writes to Uncle Dick. Miles knows it's about him. He plays the same old tune on the piano. Flora disappears and Giddens freaks out, disturbing Mrs. Grose petting the cat. Flora knows she's gone out on the lake in the boat by herself, possessed. She spots Flora down in the gazebo, dancing to the music box. She's got to get these kids out of here. Writing a letter is NOT going to help. Giddens sees the dead lady across the lake as it starts to rain. She tries to make Flora admit she can see Miss Jessel across the lake. Mrs. Grose comforts Flora as she screams. Now Giddens is sadface in the gazebo.

Miles sits across from Giddens by the fire. He likes when the fire crackles. They both warm their hands. Flora screams elsewhere in the house. He's a pretty good creepy kid. Flora won't stop screaming. WTF? Mrs. Grose tries to calm her. Give her some booze or something, whatever they did back then. Apparently she's swearing and stuff. Mrs. Grose says she didn't see Jessel's ghost. Grose claims Giddens turned Flora into this by forcing her to face a bad memory. Um, okay, lady. Giddens wants everyone to go away except for her and Miles. Giddens tells Grose to tell the uncle the truth when she shows up with Flora in London. Grose is super freaked out, claiming she won't judge Giddens, but we all know Giddens is just going to fuck Miles because he's possessed by the HANDSOME, CHARMING, ENTRANCING Mr. Quint. Grose and Flora and apparently the rest of the servants have gone away.

Giddens hugs a doll in the schoolroom, waiting for her Man to come back from wherever he's wandered away to. Thunder. Wind. Creepy statues on the lawn. That lake would be a good place for Colin Firth to emerge from. Mmm yeah. At some point, Giddens hears a kid yelling, but then Miles just saunters into the sitting room. "I feel quite the master of the house," he says. He knows she's scared. He calls her "my dear." GROSS. "Don't worry, there's a man in the house." He claims he's happy after asking about Flora. Miles finds Rupert the tortoise in an arboretum.

Giddens wants to know why he wandered at night. He tells her she gets ugly when she's mad. Fuck you, kid. He tells her he was sent home from school because he's different. He admits he stole her letter to his uncle. He admits he "said things" at school. He heard things at night. He scared the other boys, but now says he made them up. She sees Quint in the window as Miles gets mad. He calls her a "hussy" and laughs maniacally. Miles then throws Rupert through the window and runs away. He trips in the yard. She hugs him as he says "forgive me."She says it would be over if he says the name. "He's dead!" He's very sweaty. "Where, you devil!" and then faints. Giddens strokes his head and says he's hers now. But then she realizes he's dead and screams. Bird chirping. Now she kisses his lips creepily. Her hands in a praying position as birds chirp.

Okaaaay. The end, I guess!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Some people like to pretend that politics isn’t just base emotions writ large. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t have this Donald Trump situation on our hands. Facts are nice, but we all vote based on some sort of gut-level response to a candidate—in the primaries, anyway. Now, for the majority of my lived memory, I’ve heard nothing but shit about Hillary Clinton; from my (conservative) parents and other adults around me, from the media, and later, from fellow “progressives.” But I have come, since 2008, to really respect, admire, and yes, LIKE Hillary Clinton. I like her because she is a smart, accomplished woman. I like her because she’s a badass survivor. I like her because, yes, I can see myself in her. I like her because she puts women first. And in some ways, I like her because certain other people don’t. Oh, holier-than-thou liberal dudes think she’s too conservative? PLEASE SIGN ME UP. Actual conservatives become apoplectic at the mention of her name? YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU I’LL HAVE SECONDS. Society says an ambitious and ew, disgusting older woman is frightening and unpleasant and unattractive? SHUT UP HOLD THE PHONE LET’S GET BEST FRIEND NECKLACES. (See Sady Doyle for a smarter way to say all this.)

I imagine this is all many people will take away from this anyway, so might as well bring it back.
My radicalism might not look like your radicalism, but to me, admitting that I like Hillary Clinton is kind of radical. Admitting it in public so that dudes I know (and thought I was friends with) can tell me my politics are “terrible” and claim I only care that she has a vagina is also radical. In real life, I hate conflict! I am uncomfortable with debate and disagreement! But also, a woman running for and winning a major party’s nomination, if not the presidency itself would be TOTALLY RADICAL. And yeah, becoming a Hillary fan falls right in step with my love affair with not-quite-ironic internet-based misandry. I really could go the entire rest of my life without a man explaining something to me or being in charge of me in any way. I know that’s probably not possible, but yeah, a lady in charge of our country would be refreshing if nothing else. Ugh, at least women wear COLOR.

Each time I post something pro-Hillary, a subset of my Facebook friends, almost exclusively women, like it and comment supportively, sometimes admitting that they've been reluctant to say they're pro-Hillary, too. This is who I’m writing this for. All of us who believe we need somebody’s permission to like who we like and support who we support. Now, there’s no scientific way to prove a negative, but I feel strongly that if Hillary Clinton weren’t a woman, she might get some of the same (legitimate) criticism from fellow liberals about corporate ties, insiderism, unfortunate past votes, not-so-progressive policies she currently supports, etc. You know, substantive critiques. However, the vociferousness with which people IN HER OWN PARTY try to tear her apart is given its teeth by a certain amount of misogyny. Maybe you personally don’t think you hate women, but if you say, do, or even think sexist shit in response to Clinton’s candidacy, you kinda do. If you don't have that reaction but you see this tendency among your peers and say nothing, you’re part of the problem.

This is all to say that I’ve felt the need to defend my choice of candidate. I don’t come on your feed and yell at you that you only care about Bernie’s dick, so why you gotta get up in my face? Hillary’s qualifications are bonafide. Crazy smart. Experienced like a motherfucker. And a feminist who’s not afraid of the word. (Again, Sady Doyle’s got the scoop on articulating why women like me feel like “progressive” often doesn't include our issues.) Additionally, the symbolic value of a female president can’t be overstated. I won’t pretend that’s not a big reason I support Clinton. But I also support her because she’s used her status AS A WOMAN in politics to enact policy worldwide to improve women’s lives. Not every policy she’s supported is good. Some of them do hurt women and children and/or people of color and other vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, this is the society and the politics and government we live with. Por ejemplo: Is there any major party candidate who WOULD end targeted drone strokes? I think not. That doesn’t mean it’s not awful or that we shouldn’t pressure the people in charge to stop it, it just means that here we are.

"Women's rights are human rights [motherfuckers]."
However, I don’t think anyone can impeach the efforts Clinton HAS made: as First Lady, as a Senator, and as Secretary of State, to improve the lives of women and girls. And that brings us to what everybody brings up. What I joke about because that’s what I do: I joke. The more my emotions get pricked, the more I joke. Because that’s what I do. But so what if I have a VAGINA? So fucking what? You can have no idea what it’s like for the entire world to be obsessed with, hate, desire, want to control, and concurrently be disgusted by a part of your body if you’ve never lived with one. It’s exhausting. So sure: vaginavaginavaginavaginavagina. I’m not saying you have to have the “right” parts to be a good ally to women—and if you look at almost any female Republican politician, having them doesn’t always help, either—but I know Hillary Clinton has got my back (especially the lower part where I get horrible menstrual cramps) on women’s issues. It’s a pressing issue for her because she’s lived it. She’s spent her entire public career fighting for us. And by the way, if you think the “establishment” is happy with that, you haven’t been fucking paying attention.

In a world that routinely reduces my value as a person to my sexuality and reproductive capacity, how can you get mad when I decide that, yes, THAT: me, my body, the issues that affect my body and bodies and hearts like mine, that people in power who care about those issues and understand them and fight to defend our autonomy and value us as humans, that these are the most important things to me? Other things matter, but nothing brings me more fucking joy and pain in this entire world than being woman. Progressive men are fine. If they value reproductive rights and feel that yes, it does deserve to be mentioned during a campaign in 2016, the year after howevermanydozens of state legislatures attempted to reduce access to reproductive healthcare and we still only earn 77 cents on the dollar and paid parental leave is a fucking fantasy wrapped in a pipe dream and rape and stalking and discrimination are not only still an epidemic, but are LITERALLY a joke to so many people, great. But there’s no one I trust more with an egalitarian future than a feminist. Men can be and are feminists and feminist allies! Bernie Sanders is surely one of these men sympathetic to the cause. But it’s not a top priority to him. (He seems to think economic reform will end discrimination? Okay. It can’t hurt!) I’ll vote for him if he gets the nomination, but his deal is not my deal.

Because guess what? Feminism is my #1 issue. Hillary Clinton is a fucking feminist. Not only would her election be massively symbolic, it would be hugely inspiring to girls and women and everybody who dreams of a feminist future. And she would actively work to improve our lives. Us. Those of us fighting discrimination in our communities (including the comedy community, speaking of more stuff that is depressing me lately). Those of us who live with the reality of our humanity constantly being degrading by society, by politicians, by everything we watch on TV, by abusers and rapists, by gross dudes catcalling on the street, and by people we know and love who make carelessly sexist comments and underestimate us on the regular. To be real, I’m having trouble writing about this in a coffee shop without tearing up a bit, and it’s probably only 43% because I’ve gone off my anti-depressants again. But I won’t be ashamed that this is how I feel. I won’t be guilted or shamed into supporting somebody else because it’s the appropriately “progressive” thing to do. I can’t “correct” my feelings any more than you can.

I will admit: I am not an idealist. I don’t know that I ever have been one. Perhaps this is a flaw on my part and I’m sure we could draw a pretty straight line from being born into what basically amounts to a millenialist cult and my feelings now. If you think the world is going to end in the next decade or two, why bother trying to change shit? I’m also clinically depressed and have been disillusioned too many times and I’m pretty comfortable keeping it all at a distance with my snarky cynicism and also booze. But I can’t change my past any more than I can change the fact that Hillary EXCITES ME. She gives me hope, and hope is not a thing I take lightly. Her steely determination is something I admire and envy. How, after decades of not just the everyday discrimination thrown at women in a patriarchal society, but somebody specifically targeted by the media and society and her enemies and everyday people, can she still want to serve us?

It pisses me off just thinking about it, and I’ve been relatively sheltered from a lot of blatant harassment and discrimination in my life. I’m white and I’m middle-class and I’m attractive (TBH) and I can turn my anger into jokes. At least in the moment. When I get really angry, I cry, and I hate crying. The bane of my childhood was my brother deliberately provoking me for no goddamn reason except that he wanted to see me get angry, to make me cry. I was told to ignore him. I learned to not respond and then later to defuse the situation with a joke. Even later, I learned the art of an insult disguised as a joke. This is now my tactic of choice since being mean to men without at least the plausible deniability of comedy can be literally dangerous. But later, after I get home, after I reread that thread or relive the conversation, sometimes I get fucking mad. And sometimes I cry. And I hate myself and the world we live in that I can’t just be angry and emotional and let it all hang out. That this shit happens at all and I have to feel this way. Other times I think I handled it brilliantly; the joke put the gross harassing bar dude in his place or it was directed at somebody I know and maybe even like and people laughing at it made him realize he was saying or doing something shitty and now he's sorry and won't do it again. Sometimes it works and relieves the pressure for the moment. But there are so many horrible things that face us as women, jokes are not enough. So at the end of the day, the rage remains.

Hillary Clinton knows my rage. Hillary Clinton has felt a lot of rage, I bet. She’s earned it. I’m not just talking about the personal attacks, either. There gets to be a moment in which you’re just fucking sick of the sexism. It’s exhausting it’s outrageous it’s offensive it’s blatant it’s immoral and you just can’t deal with it anymore. I’m grateful that Hillary Clinton is stronger than I am. Sure, it takes a massive ego to run for president, to think you can do that job. But she has taken that rage, that hopelessness that all of us as women feel at some point (or at all the points) and channeled it into a laser beam of ambition. Fucking good for her. FUCKING GOOD FOR HER. And for us.

To be honest, I’ve got several thousand more meandering words written about why I support Hillary Clinton that are less about my feelings and are more about pragmatism and politics. But fuck that. Those are all great reasons and part of why I support Hillary, but they’re not the real reason, the one at the base of it all. Truth is, I’m an angry woman. I want another woman in office; one who gets me and my anger and can do something about it. Sorry/not sorry if don’t think that’s a good enough reason. Vote for who you want; this isn't a campaign ad. But if you really can’t understand why this is important to me and many, many, many other women and people of various gender identifications, then I don’t care. You don’t get it. You can’t get it. Go ahead and tell me my politics are “terrible.” Reality is terrible. Go fuck yourself.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Energy Drink Review: Rockstar Pure Zero Watermelon

Guys! I found a Rockstar flavor I haven't tried before. It's watermelon in the Pure Zero line. I slept all the hours last night but now I've been computering for a while and am feeling kind of tired. Sure, I could "get up and do something" or "leave my house," but new X-Files comes on in 90 minutes and what could I possibly do before then anyway? So I'm trying it.

FLAVOR: Mmm! A good candy watermelon flavor, but not too strong. I don't know if I'd want it all the time, but as an occasional shot of variety, yes. UPDATE: It's a decent mixer, too. Not a strong enough flavor to overpower the falafel and onions from my dinner, but tasty nonetheless.

EFFECTIVENESS: I'm really enjoying this Fleetwood Mac, so I think you could say it's working. I mean, I like FM normally, but I'm really feeling it right now. Okay, I ended up walking to the store and getting foods and stuff so really I am the champion of today. I plan to drink the second half of the can with vodka for the X-Files Drinking Game here in a bit. It's gonna be great. UPDATE: It was great!

OVERALL: Recommended. Good. Do it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Horror Classics(?): Wes Craven's New Nightmare

So technically I'm skipping, like, all the Nightmare sequels, but this one is available on streaming and I've had a lot of energy booze and it's 3:00 a.m. and October and I think the premise kind of presages Scream 2's plot a little bit, so anyway here is a movie about a movie (A Nightmare on Elm Street) that I blogged a few years ago and so here we go, friends! Wes Craven's New Nightmare AKA A Nightmare on Elm Street 7 (1994): let's see what happens. 

Hands putting together parts on a robot hand. Fire and grates. Claws are attached to the fake Freddy hand. A cleaver chopping off the real hand, a lady covers a kid's face, blood spurts out of the wrist and a director calls for "more blood." The whole thing is being filmed, guys. It's a movie! Remote controller on the Freddy claw hand. Guy from on set puts the little kid on his shoulders and tells the lady it's "only make-believe." There's a dude on set who looks a lot like a very young Tony Hale, but IMDB does not confirm this suspicion. The lady doesn't like the Freddy hand, but dude says it "puts bread on our table." Uh-oh, it's ALIVE. Stabbing people and running around. It claws Buster's neck. Chaos on set. The lady is Heather and she's watching their kid. The hand claws a dude and the kid disappears. Heather screams but is suddenly waking up in bed during a massive earthquake. She hears the kid screaming from downstairs. She and the dude run down there and cover him with their bodies instead of moving him to a doorway like is safe.* 

Anyway, the quaking stops, the swing set outside slows and the waves in the pool begin to calm. The dude has some blood on his hand. Little Dylan is scared, but they're all going to be okay. This was a 5.3 aftershock. Heather wants to turn the news off. Dylan's molded a creepy face into his oatmeal. Five earthquakes recently. Something about some phone calls. Heather doesn't want to tell her husband the truth about her nightmares. He tries to reassure her that it was just a dream. He's going to be on a job for 48 hours. IT'LL BE FINE. Heather's got some kind of interview today. Suddenly some slashes in the wall. Like giant claw marks. Her '90s business suit is wonderful. She runs downstairs and her kid is watching a creepy horror movie. He screams as she unplugs the TV. He stops when the phone rings. This is Not Good so far, you guys! I was trying to figure out where I recognized Dylan from, and it turns out he was in Apollo 13 and also a bunch of Full House episodes as a kid in Michelle's preschool class. OF COURSE.** 

Heather answers the phone and a creepy whispery voice says, "One, two." She hangs up but it rings again and she answers it for some reason. "Freddy's comin' for you!" She tries to catch her husband, but he's already pulling away from the house. Inside, her son says, "Someone's coming." Another aftershock. Doorbell. The babysitter's here. She claims it was just a big truck driving by. The baby-sitter is a lady I apparently recognize from all of TV in the '90s. The phone rings again and Heather swears at the creep, but it's actually the limo driver outside. She hangs up, embarrassed. It's been half an hour in real time, but only 12 minutes in movie time because I keep pausing it and trying to look up where I recognize everybody from. I'm going to make a new drink and commit to letting some action unfold before I pause again.

Dylan tells his mom to stay home today. The babysitter has a huge sweater and calls the caller a "sick fuck." Babysitter says "Don't answer it." Good advice. The limo driver says they're going to be late. Dylan is wearing timberland boots inside for some reason. "I've got to go, " Heather says. "Forgive me?" Babysitter Julie says she'll inform the cops about the time of the creepy phone call, they're keeping a list. The limo driver is laughing while talking on a sweet '90s cell phone outside. Now he's staring at her from the rearview. He recognizes her from her role in the first Nightmare movie. She's annoyed. They rush Heather out of the car on set. The interviewer asks about the 10th anniversary of the film and fame. She says she wouldn't let her kid watch her movies. They bring out the guy who played the original Freddy to reunite with her. The audience is all dressed in Freddy sweaters and have "Freddy lives" signs. Who cheers for a child molester--even a fictional one? Heather is not pleased about it. 

After the show, Robert (the guy who plays Freddy) semi-apologizes for not telling her they were going to reunite on air. Heather gets a call on a giant fold-out cell phone. Some lady "A voice from the past" wants to meet with her. Heather's hair is beautiful. The offices she comes to are New Line Cinema. Heather meets Sarah, who's going to bring her in to see Bob. He's finishing a call. He's got a bunch of awards and Nightmare paraphernalia. Everyone keeps telling her how good she looks. A busty lady brings them coffee. Bob asks if she wants to be part of "The definitive Nightmare." Despite Freddy being killed off (wasn't he dead already in the first one?), "the fans" want more. HOW ARE WE ONLY 20 MINUTES IN I ALREADY DON'T CARE. "I guess evil never dies." Wes is coming back after ten years because he hasn't had any scary nightmares until now. Heather claims her kid's holding her back from doing horror. Heather asks about weird things happening since Wes has been working on the script. Bob won't answer his phone in front of her. 

The limo driver brings Heather home. She hears screaming from inside and goes in to find her son nightmaring. The babysitter wasn't able to wake him. He says some creepy shit about "never sleep again." He says "Rex saved me." Rex is a stuffed dinosaur with creepy slices in his side with stuffing sticking out. Heather calls Chase, WHO IS WORKING ON A FREDDY HAND PROTOTYPE, btws. Heather says Dylan's had some kind of an "episode." She says he was acting like Freddy. She's pissed Chase has been working on the new glove. Chase claims the phone calls have made her crazy. He's going to head home. He'll be home in 3 hours. Pan back to the work truck, the glove is GONE.

Back at home, Heather is reading Dylan a Hansel and Gretel story about WITCHES AND OVENS. Dylan has the story memorized. he recites the rest, creepily. "Time for sleep," Heather says before even finishing the book. Dylan insists she tell him how they got back home safe. Important because of his future horrible nightmares. He shows his mom how Rex, sewn together, keeps the creepy man with a claw down by the foot of the bed. Dylan tells Heather she should have a guard, too. She leaves him a dinosaur light on. Daddy's going to follow the breadcrumbs home. "If the birds don't eat them first," says Dylan. 

Chase is driving home in his big stupid truck, dozing. He turns up the radio and rolls down the window. STOP AND BUY SOME CAFFEINE. His '90s cellphone isn't getting reception. He dozes around a curve. Dude, PULL OVER. It's only 7:42. In the car seat, claws, poke through from underneath, and tap at his crotch. He scratches, and nothing's there. Then, the hand breaks through and slashes his chest. He drives off the road, bleeding. Heather wakes up on the couch. A nightmare? A NIGHTMARE? "Mommy's scared?" asks Dylan, standing creepily nearby. Rex woke him up, fighting. Doorbell. I'm glad heather's scrunchie matches her robe. I think it's the cops at the door. They are telling her that Chase fell asleep at the wheel and is DEAEAEAEAEAEAD. Heather wants to see his body and confirm it. 

Heather gets off the elevator at the coroner's office, I guess, where they just have bodies laying under sheets in the hall and you can hear ladies screaming. Heather wanders into an autopsy room. There would be receptionist or something, right? A dude leads her to Chase's body. Doesn't ask who she is or anything. He is dead as shit. She wants to see more than just his face. The dude says, "It was a bad wreck," but there are clear claw marks all the way up his torso. She vomits a little bit. 

Now it's the funeral. They lower the coffin into the ground. Julie is there helping comfort Dylan. The funeral is very, very windy. Birds do weird shit, an earthquake-y thing happens. Rex falls on the ground. The coffin falls strangely. Weird whispers. "Where's Dylan?" She sees Freddy pulling him down underneath her husband's body into a tunnel full of shiny orange fabric. Chase says, "Stay with me." Okay, she comes back, she just hit her head. Dylan's fine, the coffin never fell open. The priest wants them to "all get home safely." Robert offers help, but he's just creepy. 

In the middle of the night, Heather finds Dylan standing, watching TV. He's like in a trance, watching her younger self in the original Nightmare on Elm Street. She wakes him up in the kitchen and scares him. He sings a creepy "Freddy's coming for you" song. He says he heard it under his covers. Freddy's trying to get up into their world. Dylan should maybe not sleep alone for awhile. He gets a bloody nose. She treats him and also unplugs the TV. Later, Dylan is in bed with Heather. They're discussing the nature of God. He wants her to come with him into his dreams, but she thinks that's just a movies thing. She drinks coffee, and he shoves Rex down past his feet. 

A playground during the day. Heather tells some old man who is apparently John Saxon, but I don't think he's been introduced to us yet, about Dylan freaking out and being weird and he suggests a doctor and blahblahblah. Anyway, Dylan climbs to the top of the playground tower and is about to do something ill-advised, I am sure, but I paused it to try to figure out who that guy was. Okay, I guess he was in the original Nightmare as a cop dude. Will research more later. Pausing too much. Need movie to play more. It's 4:15 already and only 45 minutes into movie. "Dylan's fine, you're fine. You're hurting, but you're fine. You're definitely not crazy." HAHA, she has a crazy relative who died in an institution. She catches Dylan as he falls off the top of some playground structure. "God wouldn't take me," Dylan says. That's some fucked up shit. 

Later, Heather limps in front of her house after catching her son fall from two stories. Her jeans are terrible. In the mail she finds some creepy letter she's adding to a not-so-secret drawer. They look like bible pages with letters burned into them. Heather's got a huge cordless phone and calls Robert to complain. She says she's been getting Freddy nightmares. She says it's really not him, just more evil. Robert's painting some stuff I suspect is creepy. She asks about Wes's script. Nobody has seen anything. At Chase's funeral, Wes told Robert he's "'as far as Dylan trying to meet God,' whatever that means." WHAT NO BAD. She asks Robert about nightmares, but wants to talk in person. He says they can meet tomorrow, he's got to finish these creepy screaming Freddy paintings.

In the night, Dylan creepily wanders around. He's so short. LIKE A BABY. In Heather's bed. A bump under the sheets. Now it's a claw hand cutting through, approaching her face. A loud noise awakens her, and all she finds is strips of sheets. She goes to investigate the noises and hears some creepy singing. It's Dylan, singing a Freddy song. He's made a Freddy hand by taping knives to his fingers. BUT NOW IT'S MORNING? Heather falls out of bed, that wasn't real. But she does hear Dylan singing. He's singing, "Never sleep again." The house is trashed, the TV has static, she's limping from the other day. Dylan's clinging to Rex and has laid out the weird Bible pages in order. It's a message that says "ANSWER THE PHONE." Of course the phone now rings. She answers, like an IDIOT. A tongue comes out and touches her lip. CLASSIC. She throws the receiver down as Dylan foams at the mouth and collapses into a seizure. The phone receiver also foams. She holds Dylan as he flails. 

Now a doctor examines Dylan. She tells Heather that her horror movies will send an unstable child over the edge. JUDGY MUCH? The doctor mutters some shit about schizophrenia. Heather tells her son to come back to her. He wants Rex, but he's at home. He has to get better before they'll let him out, though. A nurse brings him a sleeping pill. He tucks it into his cheek, clearly. NEVER SLEEP AGAIN. Heather has to leave now. After they leave, Dylan pulls the pill out and puts it under his pillow. CORRECT. Heather goes out to her perfect Volvo station wagon and nearly hits another car. She drives by a section of freeway knocked out by the earthquake. She pounds Dunkin Donuts coffee while yawning and listening to radio people say that scientists are speculating about an unknown fault underneath Los Angeles. Heather is driving up into the hills and now I am making another drink who cares what time it is whatever.

Okay, so I wandered away for a few minutes and went to the bathroom and then took some selfies (I'm on Instagram now, guys) and now I'm just going to drink shots of soju until I can allow myself to just let the movie happen without stopping it every five minutes.*** Volvo is driving into the hills, where Heather is meeting with Wes. He writes down what he dreams every night. The scary thing, this ancient thing, Freddy, can only be defeated by storytellers making it too mundane or something. The Thing wants to cross over into reality. Wes says there's a gatekeeper who can stop him. Wes says it's got to be her. "That was Nancy, not me." "But you gave Nancy her strength." IT WAS A SCRIPT. Heather's mad he made it real. Wes says he thinks they have to make another movie to stop him and she will have to play Nancy one more time.

At home, Heather consults a pile of books about childhood psychological disorders. Apparently schizophrenic symptoms are similar to those demonstrated by children with severe sleep deprivation. Heather chugs some more coffee. Ew. GURL. Get yo-self a NOS. But to continue (STOP PAUSING THIS MOVIE, ME!)... Heather's TV turns on by itself. The news says two of the special effects techs from the Freddy project (the ones who got killed in the first dream) were killed. The glove is missing, supposedly a theft. Heather knows better. God, her hair is pretty. She experiences an earthquake-y thing. She looks around. Her coffee pot is broken. Freddy pops out of her closet, "Miss me?" He attacks her and they tussle around her bedroom. Another quake. Freddy's gone, her arm's bleeding. She rushes to the hospital in a denim shirt and ugly brown vest. Babysitter Julie also had a scary dream and is trying to get in to see Dylan.

The doctor says Dylan can't be visited right now. He was in an oxygen tank or something. The doctor sees that Heather's arm is bleeding. She insists on bandaging her arm. She judges her because the kid is scared of Freddy. Heather hasn't let him watch the movies, but "Every kid knows who Freddy is. He's like Santa Claus." I'll say that's true. I never saw any of the movies until a couple years ago, but I knew who Freddy was and was vaguely scared of him as a kid. Heather watches over Dylan in the oxygen tank thing. She dozes and suddenly Dylan is sitting up, telling her "I'm almost there" and vomiting black shit. The doctor pulls out her Freddy hand to slash him open. 

Heather is woken up screaming on Dylan's bed. He's been brought downstairs for testing. Julie's with him. The doctor tries to convince Heather to go home to sleep. Yeah, sure, like Julie's not a creep or something. Heather runs downstairs to find her kid and he asks if they can go find Rex now. I just got up to get some more soda to wash down soju. Okay. It's 5 a.m. and I am going to get through this. THERE'S SO MUCH MORE LEFT DEAR GOD. Heather's going to rush home to get Rex for him. She tells Julie not to let him sleep. Heather's got a gray streak in her hair. The doctor lady has called security on her. Some nurses are going to put the little boy to sleep. Julie doesn't want it. She punches the head nurse and threatens the other one with another random syringe. 

The doctor lady is interrogating Heather as to whether she's seen Freddy and is passing down craziness to her son. Something about foster care. Upstairs, Julie is trying to keep Dylan awake as the nurses bang at the door. Freddy is there. Heather yells about Dylan falling asleep. They hear Dylan screaming. An orderly has a key to the room and opens the door. Julie is in the air, being attacked. Dylan screams. Julie is on the floor. Oh, suddenly I am so drunk. This is good. I feel tingly, Mr. Dr. Lady Soju Friend. HIIIIIIIIII. One more shot before I restart? [EDITOR'S NOTE: Oh god, Lauren, you are so, so stupid.] Oh, there's still a half hour left and only 45 minutes until Isaac gets up for work. Play movie more now, drink more in a bit. Okay, good plan, us/me. 

Freddy is slashing at Julie, but only Dylan and she can see him walking on the wall. "Every play Skin the Cat?" he asks. He pulls Julie onto the ceiling and slashes at her. Dylan reaches for Julie. Freddy has apparently killed her by only slashing her on the back. Dylan screams for Rex. Heather shoves through to find Julie. Dylan is missing. The doctor says he's heavily sedated, but he can go anywhere in sleepwalkingness. She calls John on a car phone, I guess but spots Dylan walking up a hill. She did tell him home was just across the freeway, so he's trying to cross it. She of course is trying to stop him from down below, but falls after jumping the fence. OHMIGOD I am drunk now but must finish this movie before Isaac gets up for work. Otherwise it's sad. I think.

Freddy's in the moon. The Main Moon.
Dylan barely dodges cars on the freeway as a giant Freddy from the clouds snatches him. Heather screams for Kreuger to take her instead. Somehow, she gets hit only mildly. But Dylan sees a whole army of Freddies approaching the Freeway. Heather manages to get away, limping still. At home, the door is wide open. Does an 9 year-old have a house key? She runs into John. Dylan is there, okay? John pulls Heather away. Weird shit happens in the house, though. Quaking and stuff. John is morphing into his movie character. She wants him to call Robert. Okay, he was the douche dad. "Don't start losing it, like your mother. I love you sweetheart." She calls him daddy and Freddy is now real. Everything is back into the original movie now. Nancy's in white pajamas, searching for Dylan. The original movie is on TV, despite the set being unplugged. She finds Dylan's un-taken sleeping pills on the ground.

She finds Rex, completely gutted. Stuffing everywhere. TBH, I like the idea of sleep/sleep deprivation as the theme/motif. Heather follows a trail of sleeping pills and somehow swallows them all without water and goes under the sheets to find her son. He left her a trail. I like the idea of sleeping pills, so hard. But not this kind. She's sucked down a hallway/tube thing. It gets watery and eventually she's barfed out the mouth of a giant Freddy wall sculpture thing. I think she could have taken, like, ONE of the pills to get here, but that's just me. She took, like, five. She chases her son's cries through some weird hellish chambers or some shit. Her white pajama set is a slight variation from the white nightgown standard in this genre, but I suppose she's no longer the young, helpless virgin anymore. She finds a book whose pages are being blown. It's the SCRIPT OF THIS. "There was no movie... there was only... her life." Dylan finds her!

Freddy finds her, too. Snakes in water. She grabs one and throws it at his eye. "Fuck you!" Dylan is scared. Heather tries to stave him off with a I AM GOOGLING "FIRE THING ON A STICK" RIGHT NOW, what is it called? [Torch?] Anyway, it doesn't work. I am properly drunk now, obvs. One more shot? Okay, I've already made all the  bad choices and it's 5:40 a.m. Okay, I poured a lot of Sprite after that and had to do it in two goes. So it's clearly the end. The kid stabs Freddy in the leg. There are stones on the wall that the cardinal sins are carved into, I guess. Freddy throws Heather into the water. Dylan runs in his cozy-looking onesie. Somehow Heather is up on the rocks, not drowned. Freddy chases Dylan into a fireplace thing. Dylan is tiny and can sneak around stuff. He scratches the metal and wakes up Heather.

Her white PJs are soaked, but it's not real sexy. She races toward her son's screams, but the stairs turn into mush. Freddy says he's going to "eat up" Dylan, but Heather gets to him. There's also a snake? Freddy's tongue wraps around Heather because it has infinite length. Dylan gets out and tries to help. He manages to stab its end and the whole thing retracts. They close the fireplace thingy and Freddy faces fire, which is how that dude died in the first place. Terrible special effects of him turning into a demon/burning up. Explosions and running out of this ancient temple thing. Heather and Dylan jump into a pool of water as the whole thing explodes and they emerge out of the sheets of her bed. "We're saved, the witch is dead." 

Heather picks up a script that has a note from Wes about having the guts to play Nancy one last time. It's the story of what has happened. HOW ARE THERE STILL 9 MINUTES LEFT GOOD GOD. Heather reads Dylan the script, at his request/as the script dictates he will ask. Okay, I guess this is the end, but how can the credits possibly last so long? Is there a surprise? I'll let it play as I cry. JK, no tears. Just, you know, "whatever." I'm letting them play out, just in case. Still. FYI: credits still rolling at 1:46.

"Some parts of this motion picture were inspired by actual events. Others may be attributed to the overactive imagination of a five-year-old boy... The names of certain of the characters portrayed have been changed to protect the innocent. Certain incidents portrayed have been dramatized. With the exclusion of those courageous individuals who portrayed themselves, any similarity to the name, character or history of any person, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and unintentional. " GUYS WHAT EVEN IS THAT? I THINK IT'S A PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE NOTE!

MORAL OF THE STORY: Stop it. Put the glass down. More booze will not help. Maybe just turn the movie off? Anyway, my massive hangover is the price I paid to give this beautiful gift of a blog post to you, dear reader.

*Guys, I'm from the Pacific Northwest, I've been in a handful of minor earthquakes. I totes know what I'm talking about. 
**The guy who played the creepy kid Walter who kept trying to kiss Stephanie and was also in Jurassic Park as the kid who Sam Neill scares at the beginning was a counselor at a Mormon youth camp I went to in California way back in the day. He was very funny and charming, but I was not in his group, which was a tragedy. #EFY01 #NeverForget
***This was a terrible plan. I threw up a number of times and was pretty miserably hungover all day.