Hey Darling Ones,
Last night I started Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma by Claire Dederer and it’s giving me fizzy, Pop Rocks brain in the best way.
This is wonderful because I’m bored to death of anxious prairie dog brain, which involves my inner-monologue shouting,”EVERYTHING IS WRONG IN HERE” every 42 seconds lest I forget I had a stroke and my body is now composed of floppy scoops and lead.
I’m only three chapters in, so I don’t have any real opinion on the book. However, I am already arguing with Dederer even though I haven’t heard her entire argument. I love to argue so much I annoy myself.
This isn’t about the book, though. This is about Liz Phair’s phenomenal album “Exile in Guyville,” which turns 30 today.
I’m linking this book and this record due to Dederer’s definition of fan (at least thus part of it)”
“An audience member is a consumer of a piece of art. The audience member is not defined by that piece of art. A fan on the other hand is a consumer plus. A consumer beyond. A consumer who is also being consumed. She steals part of her identity from the art, even as it steals its importance from her. She becomes defined by the art.”
There are problems with some of the latter parts of her definition, but we’ll get into that another day.
Instead, I would like to tell you that I, 100%, use Liz Phair’s art to define myself, and I have for 30 years now. So much of my identity is wrapped up in loving Liz Phair it’s hard to imagine who I would be without her.
Probably a boring buzzkill. Probably much more likable,
There’s a line in “High Fidelity” where Rob Gordon tries to argue one’s value as a person is based on what you like and not what you are like. While I wouldn’t go that far, I do believe the art you love telegraphs a lot about you.
I have a whole rant about dudes who love Arcade Fire (pre-allegations), Wes Anderson movies, and books by Jonathan Safran Foer or Dave Eggers or Michael Chabon.
So what do I think being a fan of Liz Phair and “Exile” specifically says about me?
That I enjoy sex but am wary of men, which is a rough as a heterosexual woman. I struggle with embracing my sexuality without being reduced to just that. It says I will never not call out a Guyville when I see one. Not even once. It says I love The Rolling Stones even though they’re problematic. It also says the things I love are not above scrutiny and critique. It says I’m cool, tough, vulnerable, and luscious (wrong record, I know).
It says so much more, but I am running out of steam. The most frustrating side-effect of the dumb stroke is that typing is not just difficult, but exhausting. Even when I take breaks, my floppy scoop gives up after a few hundred words.
I was gonna point all the writing I did on Liz Phair during I Will Dare’s 22-years, but I clicked through nine pages of archives when I finally got bored. I’ll add a bunch of links at the bottom.
So happy anniversary “Exile in Guyville,” I’m so glad you exist.
As promised, some historical writing on Liz