Gossip Girl
Yes, Then Zero

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 1 USERS: B+
YOU GRADE IT
The World Was A Mess, But His Hair Was Perfect

One of the big lessons in my life personally has been about drawing the lines between myself and the stories that I love: Knowing what is me, and what is the product of literally hundreds of hardworking people who have never met me. I would never use the word "offended" about myself, because I feel like that's a power game -- whoever is the biggest victim wins -- but I have very little patience for these me-first approaches to art, because that's not what art is about. If I were so naive as to read this show in terms of my own shit, it would start with Blair's forgotten bulimia and body issues, and end with Chuck's childhood sexual abuse, with a lot of rage and physical abuse thrown in. That means no more jokes about Nate having sex for money, no more admitting that Chuck is even a character that exists on this show. And pardon me, but that seems irredeemably silly at this point in my life, given that I am writing first and foremost about a science fiction program that is not about my personal feelings, biography, or whether I know in my heart -- which I do -- that Blair and Dan are meant to be. Or whether the story of Chuck and Blair is grotesque, and scary, and awful, and lovely, and manipulative, and meets all points of the rubric for an abusive relationship: If I didn't believe in Blair, if it wasn't my job to be more interested in seeing her as a person in a particular situation than a pathetic victim without the agency to make basic decisions, it would.

It's not that I don't acknowledge the shipper/abusegate viewpoint: I didn't want Chuck near Jenny any more than you did. But when it divorces itself from the story, it becomes tacky, because the real story is: Our lives. Yours and mine. And at that point, it becomes more about the shipper/abusegater saying the thing than about the story we are being told, which invalidates the point because you've crossed the streams in a way I can't understand or handle. Those Tumblr photo-collages of Downton Abbey, the history of Blair and Chuck, the music videos of FarScape characters, Amy Pond (if divorced from some gross man's heteronormative interpretation and unbelievably sexist, objectifying writing): They make me cry. On my own time. (No homo, again.)

Because here, it's not about me. Astringently. And I don't know how else to make that clear: I get it. I think it's silly, and I think it's a function and a symptom of white middle-class privilege, in the absence of realistic motivation to get angry about sexism in your own, actual life. Which offends me, because it's past time to start the actual riot. And instead, fake Internet feminism and privileged white-girl Internet anger gets tied up in dumb TV shows and not real life, and we all bitch to the online echo chamber of people who already agree with us, and it becomes a game of oneupmanship about who gets to be the most offended, and everything is lost to the competition. The smartest, angriest, most wonderful young women and gay men fall to the pettiest competition of all, and we're the only ones that don't benefit. And I don't know how to combat that, because we all do what's easiest, unless we have to do otherwise.

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Gossip Girl

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