I don’t know if anyone read Naomi Wolf’s article this past weekend in the NYTBR, but here’s the quick recap. It was basically talking about Gossip Girls and The Clique, et al, and bemoaning the fact that girls were reading these series that were filled with such gosh-darn meanness. And I thought, bitch please, did you go to junior high school??? ‘Cause I’m still licking the scars from that house of pain.
I mean, seriously. Jr. High (Middle school, whatever–you can dress it up, give it a name change, it still sucks) exists so that when you finally read Dante’s Inferno, you can nod in recognition. Tenth circle of Hell? I’d vote for going to the eighth grade dance in a white eyelet number your mom sewed for you and spending the entire dance sitting on the sidelines for a period of time so long that it cannot be explained by any known scientific theory. Other highlights? I seem to remember having my pet rock collection stolen by the Mean Girls on the same day that I had my braces tightened till I drooled. Hands put into warm water at slumber parties. Having one girl named Maureen threaten to kick my ass nearly every week. And I had to take Home Economics where we sewed sailor tops we were then forced to wear to school en masse. Hold on. I might need to blast the Buzzcocks at nosebleed levels just to shock the memories from my mind.
I’m pretty sure if they hired Middle School girls to work Guantanamo, there’d be a lot of guys talking.
In other news, I had a birthday over the weekend. I spent it at blackholly‘s (Tithe, Valiant, Spiderwick Chronicles) cool rambling house with the bat lighting fixture up in Amherst, MA. I called Holly in a major writing crisis funk about three weeks ago and, um, pretty much BEGGED to come stay at her house to write. She, being the kind soul that she is, said okay, even though her house was under construction at the time. I had a great time writing and hanging with Holly, theoblack, cassandraclaire, jbknowles, tromboneborges, Fizgig the cat and Chamberlain, the world’s smelliest greyhound. They made me feel XL special with dinner and a goodie bag filled with Jesus lip balm, bacon strips Band Aids, and the fifth season of Twilight Zone on DVD. We spent a lot of time talking about movies that scared the bejeebers out of us as kids. (No one mentioned Jr. High, but I’m sure it was all on our minds.) My top faves were:
1. Son of Blob. A terrible ’70’s remake but just knowing that that lethal pink ooze could come out of the tap and kill you in the bathroom put me off bathing for a while. I made my mom run my bath all summer.
2. The Omen. Possessed demon children. Billie Whitelaw playing the evil nanny. Creepy priests and DAvid Warner wearing a silly ascot. Be afraid. Be very afraid. I saw this with my friend Jeannie and we read Satanic meaning into everything after that.
3. Trilogy of Terror. This was a TV special with Karen Black that featured a demonic doll terrorizing her in her NYC apt. One of the many reasons I hate dolls. Sorry, Holly.
4. Suspiria. So creepy. So bloody. Acid-trip imagery. And the music makes you want to scream.
5. When a Stranger Calls, the original. Hey, I babysat a lot back then.
I didn’t actually see movies like The Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby till I was much older so they don’t count. (come to think of it, I’m not sure how I managed to see Suspiria so young. Probably at Jeannie’s house.)
6. Ben. A boy adopts a rat with ambition. And Michael Jackson sings the treacly theme song. Made me look askance at Templeton, I can tell you that.
Still, I would rather have rabid rat-hamsters dig through my entrails than repeat Jr. High. That’s true horror.