this is just a quick post for 2 reasons.
ruth and i were waiting to call c.i. this morning until democracy now was off because of something we loved, loved, loved! and in the meantime, i got a mention at the common ills in 'other items.'
so just to explain for any 1 wondering, mike and i probably have been the free-est with the language at our sites. it was becoming a problem for members and i did note this here. i was told, 'i love your site but i have to go the library to read it now' by 1 person. he wasn't the only 1 explaining that my language was becoming a problem at work. hannah made me laugh by writing something like 'look, with your title, i've already got enough raised eyebrows at work!' so mike and i were talking and we both agreed we'd use '*' in words when possible. so instead of the f-word, it's been f**k here for some time. (c.i. didn't curse here and the policy actually makes me feel bad because that's always been 1 of my big selling points on guest posting here, 'you can cuss to your heart's content!)
for the record, i made the decision with mike.
i don't think i've become a prude or a puritan but i will pass that on to my sister who has spent her life worrying that i'm 'too wild' because that will no doubt allow her to sleep easier.
now what had ruth and me laughing our butts off this morning is c.i.'s 'and the war drags on' (which went up early this morning my time, but late last night c.i.'s). oh my god, that is hysterical.
while we were waiting to call c.i., elaine called and asked, 'did you read it!' i said, 'can you hear ruth laughing in the background?' it is hilarious.
i have about a million things i want to say on the topic of katha pollitt (the nation) 'helping' cindy sheehan out with some advice; however, elaine said, 'we have to do something with this at the third estate sunday review' and she is soooo right. so i'll hold off on it and just tell you that the 'helpful' katha got her stinky ass served back to her and then some.
if you haven't yet read c.i.'s 'and the war drags on,' read it now and prepare to laugh. my favorite line may be the part about our betters ourselves but it is so hard to pick 1 favorite thing from it.
speaking of hilarious and of third, ava and c.i.'s 'TV: P(ure)BS' is an insta-classic. they really were pressured by jim to come up with something hard hitting. they'd been talking to friends at pbs about history detectives and we'd heard about those conversations so jim was begging them to write about that and not the george lopez show (which will be a nice review if it ever gets written - he's asked them to put that on hold twice now).
i asked ava to call me last night if she had time (she's black balling a tiny dicked man who trashed jess behind his back - ava and jess have been a couple now for 2 years, big mistake pissing ava off if you want exposure on tv). she did and we laughed about t.d. man forever. what a moron.
but the reason i wanted to talk to her was because i just can't get over how she and c.i. can pull it together like that. i know that their latest tv commentary was completely unplanned and unprepared so i was really just trying to pick her brain because i'd love it if i could do something like that here.
that's not 'oh poor me'. but what they do is so hilarious, so hard hitting and pretty damn creative.
she pulled a c.i. and said 'it's all c.i.' i told her i'd heard the same thing repeatedly on the other end and i knew it was the 2 of them.
she said the best she can explain, they start off hating it. this is before a word is written. they probably spend 10 minutes discussing how they can't do it, how they have nothing to write, how jim is such an ass to pull their planned review at the last minute and ask them to come up with something completely different at the last minute, how 1 day they will get their weekends back and never again have to spend all night on a writing session, how the pressure is too much, etc.
then 1 of them says 'screw it, let's get to work.'
ava says sometimes it just flows and sometimes it's really hard work. she said they usually have a joke early on and the other 1 (who didn't come up with the joke) will praise it while the 1 who came up with it will say 'that was crap!' then around joke 3 or 4, they'll think, 'well maybe it's not so bad.'
ava: 'but we never think it is good. we never think, "oh, this is wonderful! every 1 is going to love it!" we always think every 1 will hate it. we can't believe they are so popular and we never have time to really think about that because we're always stuck with another 1 or another 1. and remember, we're doing telanova reviews for maria, francisco and miguel's newsletter on sundays and we're doing 1 radio show review for hilda's newsletter every tuesday. so it feels like we are always, always trying to figure out what to write. and it feels like we are always being pushed to make it funny. i mean, we'll probably look back - this is what we tell each other - years from now and say, 'hey, we did a really good job on ___' but we don't do that now. we don't have the time. that's probably a good thing because otherwise, we'd be analyzing. we'd be figuring out what were the most popular pieces we did and picking them apart to figure out why so we could repeat that. instead, we're just focused on "did we finish another 1? good. how long before the next 1?"'
and they never go back and read any of them?
ava: 'no. we don't have the time. and when they're brought up to us, what stands out is usually that 1 of was sick that weekend, or jim was on a war path about how "we really need you, really need, right now" or whatever. if you tossed out a title, i could tell you what the problems were when we were writing it. so if we were looking at them now, i'd probably say, "oh, yeah, we wrote that 1 when i was cramping like crazy" or 'that's when c.i. kept running to the bathroom to throw up." we write in long hand and we have gone into the bathroom - this is why we hate doing those tv things - and set up shop in there because c.i.'s been so tired and so sick that it's been non-stop throwing up. now i've had the flu repeatedly and it seems like more this year than ever before. so we've been in there writing for that reason as well. but that's what i remember when i think of the reviews. and that's not an insult to c.i. i couldn't do it without c.i. and we make the process bearable for each other. i love every 1 working on those editions, including jim, but i couldn't do those tv things with any 1 else but c.i. we know each other's rhythms. if 1 of us can catch an insight or toss out a joke, the other can keep the ball rolling. and let me repeat, c.i.'s the 1 who stuck up for me. from the start. i'd have an idea and toss it out there. with jim, jess, ty and dona, you have to be prepared to fight for your idea. i wasn't like that. if they didn't like it, oh well. but c.i. would say, "hold on, everybody, that's a great idea."
it's amazing we never met before that 1st weekend because my aunt has known c.i. forever and she keeps trying to figure out some point when we must have met, but we never did. not until that weekend. and i think the show was joey. i didn't want to review it, c.i. didn't want to review it, neither of us wanted to write a thing about tv. jim was the 1 saying, 'we've got to cover tv.' so give him credit there. it's the calling card and he knew it would be important to the site. we argue during the writing editions but jim deserves a lot of credit. and outside of the writing sessions, we get along beautifully. but any way, we were kind of off by ourselves, c.i. and i, while jim, ty, jess and dona were crowded around jim's laptop writing that 1st review. and every now and then we'd toss out a line. if c.i. said it, it pretty much made in automatically. if i said it, it would be "oh that's good" and move on to something else. c.i. had to say, "that's good and it needs to go in." i hope i'm not making any 1 sound bad. dona and i were and are best friends. but i just knew the others. i didn't hang out with them. and dona and jim had their whole flirting thing going on for weeks prior to that weekend. so dona, who would usually stick up for me and sticks up for me with jim all the time now, was off in love-love land. jess was interested in me - i didn't know that - and kind of stand-off-ish as a result. ty was just thrilled that all the talk - he, jess, jim and dona had been talking about doing a website forever - was finally coming true. so i was the stranger and c.i. was the stranger and we kind of stuck together for that reason, i'm sure, but also because, you know this, if c.i. feels some 1 is not being listened to, regardless of what they're saying, c.i. is the 1 who always sticks up for them. it was probably about 4 weeks later when we had time to talk - c.i. was back in our area and we were writing in person, in the weeks between, c.i. would call in and we'd write that way - i mentioned something about my mother and c.i. said, "i know your aunt!" and that's when it turned out that we knew a lot of the same people. that's a long winded answer to your question but you said you were writing about and ty says e-mails always come in assuming c.i. and i were best friends before the site started. if we'd met, we would have been. but we didn't meet until the site started. did i answer your question, i'm yawning here.'
yep, she did. and i'm putting this in now (i'd planned for it to be night time post) because i'm stalling for time. but thank you to ava for letting me interview her last night.
they really do not read over their stuff. elaine proved that 1 thanksgiving. she was at c.i.'s (i think this was thanksgiving 2005) and quoting lines back to c.i. (and i think to ava too). and there was no recognition. if you do their 1 liners to them, they'll laugh and say that's funny. if you do more than 1 line from the same review, they'll catch on that they wrote it (they both say it's from the rhythm they write in that they recognize it).
i could spend an entire day reading over some of my favorites of their reviews so it really is surprising that they don't ever go back and re-read them. (sherry asked me about this in an e-mail last week, by the way.) but they don't.
and thank goodness. c.i. just called back to say 'it's up.' while we were on the phone, c.i. told me isaiah had e-mailed and asked, 'don't make jokes about karl rove leaving this morning.' c.i. asked me, 'do you think he's doing a special comic?' and while we were on the phone, it came in. c.i. had to upload it (flickr takes FOREVER!) and it just went up.
here's isaiah's comic on the departure of karl rove:
you can use the link to see it bigger (or click on the image). i'm doing the small version because flickr tends to screw up your site if you're not careful.
i have no idea what i'm writing about tonight. i used pretty much everything i had this morning.