I spent most of yesterday reading Judy Oppenheimer’s now out-of-print biography of Shirley Jackson (Ruth Franklin is working on a new, definitive one as we speak), and it was such a mixed experience. I am truly and genuinely obsessed with the genius and majesty of Shirley Jackson, and I enjoyed all of the dishiness and the information and the background I picked up, but it’s also full of frustrations. Oppenheimer spends so much time on Jackson as a limited mother (her daughters’ tangled hair, their messy home – her husband never raised a finger to help), an angry wife (constantly cheated on by that same husband, but very “jealous” of other women), and…fatness. Fatness described with an air of grotesquerie (“by now, she was almost TWO HUNDRED POUNDS DUM DUM DUM”) and as a pathology and a horror and never just as a physical descriptor of one of the greatest talents of the twentieth century. Some of it was delightful: who doesn’t love knowing that Shirley kept six or seven identically-colored cats because her husband said she could have no more than two cats, and this kept him from knowing?
But I want to see her given her due, and I’m excited for Ruth’s book, and now I shall re-read everything Jackson ever wrote.
ALSO, I was super emo about it on Twitter and ACCIDENTALLY said “I Capture The Castle” instead of “We Have Always Lived In The Castle” and now all is ashes in my mouth.
(This Laura Miller essay on Jackson’s skill as a writer is great.)
Shirley Jackson, a genius, an epic troll:
Things that cost a penny in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.
This is a funny and beautiful comic about trans identity and grandmas and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
I was delivering some depressing Network-esque diatribes about the state of indie media on Twitter and The Billfold decided to see who else has/doesn’t have money.
How the Italian-American New Jersey accent came to be:
“Don’t eat gabagool, Grandma,” says Meadow Soprano on an early episode of The Sopranos, perhaps the most famous depiction of Jersey Italian culture in the past few decades. “It’s nothing but fat and nitrates.” The pronunciation of “gabagool,” a mutation of the word “capicola,” might surprise a casual viewer, although it and words like it should be familiar to viewers of other New Jersey-based shows like the now-defunct Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey, where food often drives conversation. The casts are heavily Italian-American, but few of them can actually speak, in any real way, the Italian language. Regardless, when they talk about food, even food that’s widely known by the non-Italian population, they often use a specific accent.
If I lived in Austin, I would be eating pie right now.
Deleted comment of the day:
I enjoy this song, and purchased it after hearing it on the radio:
It’s just as good live:
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.