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mygif

I read the entry you linked to (in the previous post), and thought, “Gee, that sounded smug and obnoxious. Probably wasn’t the best ‘first thing’ to read from Diablo Cody. Oh, well, life’s too short to care about what people I don’t know think about someone else I don’t know or vice versa.” (Apathy is a wonderful thing sometimes.)

I read this ‘Will’ person’s counter-post, and thought, “Ah, yes, the classic attack on any successful woman. ‘She only got where she is because of sex.'” Does anyone think he would honestly try to air that complaint if her memoir had been about waitressing, or retail, or any other entry-level job? The implication is that she didn’t get the book published because it was good, she got it published because she shook her boobies. And that does not fly in the 21st century.

Mind you, I still don’t care about either side’s actual points, but do not bring that sexist BS into my dojo. :)

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mygif

Amen, MGK, as usual. I’ve been struggling a lot the last couple of years with how to get rid of my “day job” to have more time for my theater and film projects. And one of the reasons isn’t time, it’s that the day job feels like a soul-deadening thing, which is not good for having the energy and inspiration later for artistic pursuits. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone say to me some variation of, “Quit your bitching. The rest of us have day jobs that don’t inspire us. Why are you so special?” To which I always respond, “If you don’t like your day job, the only person stopping you from leaving it is YOU.”

It sounds to me like Will is JEALOUS that Cody was ABLE to quit her “day job” (and, for the record, move on to a much HARDER job) and buy herself the freedom to have more time to write. She didn’t cheat. He’s just too afraid to take the same kind of leap. She shouldn’t be knocked for someone else not having the courage to own their own choices.

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mygif

All my problems with Cody’s book aside, as well as the fact that I liked Juno -even with the problems- and that basically I thought the post of hers you linked to kicked arse, I still have to call you out on something. You said that Candy Girl was on “a topic that doesn’t get that much play in the literary memoir world”.

Maybe it’s different in Canada, but I can’t walk around in a bookstore in Australia without tripping over half a dozen books about stripping, or prostitution, or other forms of sex work and all of them are written in memoir format. It could be a new thing since 2005, but I don’t think so. Mayhap the lives of sex workers don’t get much play in the literary memoir world, but I don’t think anyone can claim that Candy Girl is literary. It’s a popular book, and the popular memoir market is stuffed with books on the lives of sex workers.

It doesn’t really change how good Juno was, or anything really substantive you said. But Candy Girl was not particularly innovative.

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mygif

Oh, debates about Diablo Cody…

They generally make me shrug. Is she a literary genius? No. Is she entirely devoid of talent? No.

Whatever.

Her blog post was annoying. While it’s not always false, it’s also not always true that critics “can’t do [insert job here] themselves.” And even if it were true, the fact that certain critics would be unsuccessful in the career they analyse, does not therefore render any critique they have as automatically null and void.

Is it somehow “cheating” that Cody quit her job, stripped for a *short* period of time, and wrote a book about it? No. It is not an unknown practice for artists to submerge themselves in the world/lifestyle/culture of their subject matter. She’s not the first person to do that. So her subject matter was “adult entertainment” and sex work. Whatever. It is an interesting subject.

(Now, one can debate whether her ability to choose to do said work without the pressures involved in many women’s “choice” to do sex work complicates her memoir. What was her position within this worls? Was it somehow privileged. What does it mean to be able to choose to enter, and choose to leave, this world at will? And then write about it? What dynamic does such a portrayal engender? Blah blah blah. But that’s an academic discussion of the text itself, and not an attack on Cody as a writer or as a person.)

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mygif

I personally just object to the “Well YOU try and do better defense” whenever its raised in any arena. Its disingenious at best. When was the last time (name ANY movie critic) won an oscar? Well, in that case better not listen to any of their opinions on movies! When was the last time (name ANY comics blogger) drew a top-selling comic? Then I’m afraid I cant listen to their critiques of Rob Liefeld.

To be honest I only have the vaguest notion of who Diablo Cody is. Havent read (or in fact heard of until) her memoir, didnt watch Juno as it looked like Napoleon Dynamite, a film I just didnt find funny. I dont have an opinion on her as a writer one way or the other. I dont think she “Cheated”, I think she got lucky. And fair play to her for it, there are precious few working writers out there who DIDNT get at least part of their break from luck. The right script seen by the right person at the right time. Thats not a knock on her at all. But lets not pretend “Well, if you dont like it, your own ” is a valid defense against criticism. I’m sure that a portion of the criticism directed her way is in fact jealousy or grounded in misogyny, but equally I’m sure there is a lot of valid criticism there too. And really, if a MALE former stripper (a chippendale) wrote a book/film do you think they would be treated much better and taken more seriously? I doubt it…

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mygif

Huh, not only didn’t I know about the debate in the Friday thread, I didn’t even know about the whole “Cody suks!” thing.

Read her book well before Juno came out, thought it was pretty good. Haven’t seen Juno so I can’t say much about it.

As Colin said in the other thread, getting rageful at someone because they made a movie you don’t like indicates that there’s something wrong with you.

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mygif

Ah, stupidly used triangular brackets for a bit of that last comment, so the post ate it thinking it was HTML… Here is the revised version:

“I personally just object to the “Well YOU try and do better defense” whenever its raised in any arena. Its disingenious at best. When was the last time (name ANY movie critic) won an oscar? Well, in that case better not listen to any of their opinions on movies! When was the last time (name ANY comics blogger) drew a top-selling comic? Then I’m afraid I cant listen to their critiques of Rob Liefeld.

To be honest I only have the vaguest notion of who Diablo Cody is. Havent read (or in fact heard of until her blog was linked to from here) her memoir, didnt watch Juno as it looked like Napoleon Dynamite, a film I just didnt find funny. I dont have an opinion on her as a writer one way or the other. I dont think she “Cheated”, I think she got lucky. And fair play to her for it, there are precious few working writers out there who DIDNT get at least part of their break from luck. The right script seen by the right person at the right time. Thats not a knock on her at all. But lets not pretend “Well, if you dont like it, (creative verb) your own (artistic noun)” is a valid defense against criticism in any artistic arena. I’m sure that a portion of the criticism directed her way is in fact jealousy or grounded in misogyny, but equally I’m sure there is a lot of valid criticism there too. And really, if a MALE former stripper (a chippendale or similar) wrote a book/film do you think they would be treated much better and taken more seriously? I doubt it…

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mygif

I had the pleasure of meeting with Diablo and Jason Reitman for a couple of hours just over a year ago (literally the morning “Juno” was going to screen at TIFF and, ultimately, really take off). The biggest thing that surprised me from meeting Diablo (I had read some of her blogs, but none of her other work) was that she had serious writing game. On a fundamental, core, craft, level.

She understands character, development, act structure, and not in a “Robert Mckee”, or formulaic way, but how each element has to contribute to the guts of the story – but not *be* the story. And she works at it. Hard.

Her background may give her some funny anecdotes for meetings or a good hook for press coverage – but those things don’t turn a blog into a book offer, a first novel into screenplay offers (plural), or a first film into a gig with Spielberg. Heck even getting a breakout Oscar doesn’t mean a thing unless you can convince a lot of people you both know what you’re doing and can do it repeatedly (start looking up past short film Oscar winners and how many got feature offers).

Just because Diablo’s having fun, and been public about where she thinks she’s been fortunate doesn’t mean she isn’t really, really driven. All the luck in world doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t take advantage of it.

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mygif

Next people to bitch about: those liquor store clerks and funny smelling dishwashers who became The Onion. After all, *anyone* can write a ironic news story in AP style. I see people do it all the time on the Internet. How dare they use their bitter life experiences as Area Men and Women and parlay them into even more bitter life experiences involving travel, minor celebrity, and interesting sums of money. (Props to Rich for winning that Emmy last night, by the way.)

How about Chuck Klosterman? dude has an Esquire column about being a FM radio slacker with a fear of commitment. that describes, let me think, every guy who went to high school in my home town.

I know too many people who have gotten a slice of that pie, despite being miserable failures in other aspects of their lives, to think it’s not about raw fucking talent and ambition. But we mustn’t be ambitious, must we. Hey, you wanna read my fanfic?

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mygif

Yeah, I really didn’t mean that I thought she had cheated, but if that’s the vibe enough people got from it (as well as sexist), well, then I figure I didn’t state what I meant well enough. Not that I really exactly know what I mean about it, because honestly I can’t care enough to devote that much thought to it. Like I said, though, I found her “In summation: you try it,” utterly condescending.

I don’t really think there is a way to cheat into the showbiz industry. I lived in West Hollywood for two years, and it’s not like opportunities never arose. But after I wrote my first screenplay and a half, I began to realize that I wasn’t actually all that interested in screenwriting and gave it mostly up. I’ll stick with novels and fiction, thanks much.

I really don’t think Cody did get lucky, mainly because I don’t believe in luck. Was it Franklin who said that he found the amount of luck he encountered in life was directly proportional to the amount of hard work he did? I’m sure Cody worked her ass off just as soon as she removed the dildo from it, and I would say fair play to her if I thought ‘fair’ was a term that could be applied to such things. But I don’t think it is, because it’s one of those places where all is, in fact, fair.

I’ve not seen Juno because it doesn’t seem like my kind of movies (I like my teen-oriented/-related movies to be written by Jessica Bendinger [Stick It! ftw!]). I’m not saying she’s a one-trick pony; so far she’s only got the one trick as it is, but it sounds like she’s working on a lot of other stuff, and only time will ever really determine that. I’m not even saying I think she got any gig by shaking her boobs. I wish her all the best and hope she continues to find success. I just kind of think “you try it” is a silly thing for her to be saying, because so many people have and do.

And for the record, Amy, I actually did quit my dayjob. In favor of harder work I love. When I leapt, I drove 3,000 miles to move across the country to a place I’d never been. Not saying it was courageous, mind you, but it was, at the time, certainly something I thought I had to do, and so I did it.

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mygif

… hm. Why is your collection self-published.

No, this is too easy, and I like this blog’s proprietor.

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mygif

To be fair, self-publishing isn’t as much of an automatic “ignore” signal these days. More people are willing to look at vanity press publishers and sort out the good from the bad.

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mygif

“I’m sure Cody worked her ass off just as soon as she removed the dildo from it,”
^ Awesome. I’m still laughing.

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mygif

@Carlos: because it is composed entirely of short fiction, essays, and poetry, the markets for all of which are generally limited nowadays. Because I have an advanced degree in professional writing (including study of the publishing industry) and experience as a professional editor, with some additional work in design, and I looked at all the other options and realized I could do it just as easily, and arguably better, myself, considering what I wanted to do. Because I had already established a substantial readership whom I was quite certain would pick it up if I put it out there (and I was right).

@Evan: Vanity presses require authors to pay to use their publishing services, and Lulu.com does not. Which I only point out to note that there’s a difference between self-publishing and vanity-press publishing, though I do say thanks for pointing out that fairness.

Quite frankly, in fact, it rather surprised me to encounter the sentiment at all on a site so often devoted to the comics industry, where what I did is fairly commonplace. I mean, it’s basically what Jeff Smith did with Bone, isn’t it, and didn’t Alan Moore found America’s Best Comics mainly to publish comics written by Alan Moore?

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mygif

Nice rebuttal MGK. Personally, I find the fact that anybody older than 13 has a problem with someone being snarky on their myspace really, really strange (and disappointing).

As for the whole line of argument about unrealistic dialogue, that’s a complaint I can never understand. It strikes me as absurd that people will make comments about ‘unrealistic’ dialogue in Juno or say things like ‘people don’t talk like that’ when referring to something by Joss Whedon or Taratino as that is completely missing the point. Did any of us actually know anybody in high school that were as consistently quick-witted as the characters in Buffy? Really unlikely, and a truly accurate depiction of dialogue at that age would at best add nothing to the scripts and more than likely seem awkward and repetitive. As it is, the dialogue reinforces the tone and theme of the show or film and is (to whatever degree) entertaining in its own right.

“I’m sure Cody worked her ass off just as soon as she removed the dildo from it”
Not to ‘defend’ Cody or something (because adults shouldn’t need it), but it seems as though you’re playing this comment for something other than articulating your point of view. I wouldn’t mention it except that it’s a rather stark comparison to the rest of your comment, which doesn’t have the tone of spite that this seems to.

“I just kind of think “you try it” is a silly thing for her to be saying, because so many people have and do.”
I think the only way that it would be silly is if it was some sort of broadside attack on anyone questioning her, which it clearly wasn’t. It was a response to a very specific thing and removing or modifying that context is -intentionally or not- deceptive.

Additionally; in my limited experience, no matter what the field, people who really love and are confidant in what they are doing aren’t going to be phased at all by what other people say *to their face*, much less write on a myspace post that doesn’t mention them, so i question who you think needs to be spoken for.

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mygif

“I just kind of think ‘you try it’ is a silly thing for her to be saying, because so many people have and do.”

The fact that tons of other people try it all the time is basically her point. It’s a lot easier to begrudge someone their success if they weren’t competing against anybody. (Also, saying “No one on the corner have swagger like us” is a lot more impressive on a crowded corner.)

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mygif

““I’m sure Cody worked her ass off just as soon as she removed the dildo from it”
Not to ‘defend’ Cody or something (because adults shouldn’t need it), but it seems as though you’re playing this comment for something other than articulating your point of view. I wouldn’t mention it except that it’s a rather stark comparison to the rest of your comment, which doesn’t have the tone of spite that this seems to.”

It’s called humor, which is all I took it for. If it seems out of place compared to the tone of the rest of his post, then isn’t it more likely the obvious “humor” aspect was the intended meaning as opposed to spite? I only mention it because it happened to me as well in a separate topic, where I was just being funny and someone kept taking it as me trying to be defensive and spiteful. Considering the site and the sense of humor of MGK, I just find this type of reaction as kinda funny.

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mygif

Given that I started the whole thing off as complaining that cheap shots about Cody’s time in the sex industry seem to be a coded version of “she doesn’t have talent, she just slept her way to the top”, it’s probably not worth mentioning that the dildo comment seems out of place in an otherwise serious response, and seems to be just another one of those very same cheap shots, right?

Didn’t think so. Just checking. :)

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mygif

I’d argue it’s a cheap joke moreso than a cheap shot, but what do I know, I’m a sexist douchebag who speaks in code, apparently, and believe girls who are successful must have shaken their tits to the top, because they simply can’t have actually, you know, deserved it.

Also, I wonder about the very idea of a dildo in the arse being a ‘shot.’ Nothing wrong with a dildo in the arse. Have you ever tried it? I’ve heard a lot of people, men and women alike, quite enjoy the sensation, especially if it vibrates.

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mygif

“Seems to be” is a fun. I want to try: Since his whole post was about him not feeling that way, his comment seems to be just something that, while off-color, was funny especially in light of how the whole topic started off; just as John’s response seems to be trying to be cute and instead just comes off as smug. Because she spent time in the sex industry everyone must automatically refrain from any jokes about that, because automatically it implies that you are jealous, spiteful, and think she is a talentless hack that slept her way to the top? C’mon that’s comic gold waiting to be mined! Hell, I’d be surprised if she hasn’t/won’t do it herself at some point.

I’ve never read anything she’s written. I have yet to see Juno, though I would like to- just haven’t had the chance yet. I’m also a writer that’s trying to “make it” in the industry. I have nothing against Cody or what she did before “making it”. I’m happy for her and her success because it give me a bit of hope that I might break into the industry too in the future. All that said I think the comment was funny as hell and if she, or anyone else, can’t take people poking fun at that kind of thing then its being taken way too seriously. Like MGK said, it’s one thing if the intent is obviously trying to imply “she cheated”. It’s another if it’s just a joke, as this clearly was, on a web site that was practically built on the same type of humor. So let’s follow the example of Cody, remove the various things up our asses, and lighten up a bit. :-p

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mygif

I don’t think you’re a sexist douchebag, Will, but making a joke about someone’s work in the sex industry in the middle of your apology for coming off as sexist by making jokes about someone’s work in the sex industry? Unwise. You said it best yourself: “if that’s the vibe enough people got from it (as well as sexist), well, then I figure I didn’t state what I meant well enough.”

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mygif

The point was the sudden change in tone. I’m not really interested in debating what the intention was, all I’m saying (and said before) was that the big contrast seems odd considering what the rest of the post seemed to be trying to do. Supporting your “it was condescending” viewpoint (which still seems strange to me, taking into account the extremely specific nature of her ‘target’, she clearly wasn’t being condescending to the general scriptwriting public) with a joke that completely breaks the momentum of what you were saying is weird, that’s all.

“I’d argue it’s a cheap joke more so than a cheap shot, but what do I know, I’m a sexist douchebag who speaks in code, apparently, and believe girls who are successful must have shaken their tits to the top, because they simply can’t have actually, you know, deserved it.”

I don’t understand the “sexist douchebag” comment; you seem to have an actual viewpoint you are trying to convey, that comment has this everyone-around-me-is-unreasonable-and-insults-me vibe that gives off seems like a really knee-jerk defensive thing.

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mygif

@John:
“I read this ‘Will’ person’s counter-post, and thought, “Ah, yes, the classic attack on any successful woman. ‘She only got where she is because of sex.’” Does anyone think he would honestly try to air that complaint if her memoir had been about waitressing, or retail, or any other entry-level job? The implication is that she didn’t get the book published because it was good, she got it published because she shook her boobies. And that does not fly in the 21st century.

Mind you, I still don’t care about either side’s actual points, but do not bring that sexist BS into my dojo.”

But you don’t think I’m a sexist douchebag? Just that I spout sexist BS?

I wasn’t apologizing for anything; I was trying to explain it to the people who didn’t understand it. Which may have been my fault, or may have just been been people’s misinterpreting what I said (as, let’s point out, MGK allowed might be the case). MGK may not know me very well, but he does allow me the great honor of guest-contributing to his site, so I hope he’d give me the benefit of the doubt here (as he seems to, by allowing the possibility I might say he’s misinterpreting what I meant). I’d argue, in fact, that there’s nothing at all sexist in my comment but rather you’re reading into it, and in fact, what MGK takes umbrage with is not some sort of sexism but rather the interpretation that I implied I thought she cheated (which, as I said, I certainly don’t, because ‘cheating’ is irrelevant to the situation. Nor do I think she had more or less advantage than anyone else. I think it’s an equal playing field, and Cody is, in fact, the only person who has said otherwise [“Incidentally, if you were me for one day you’d crumble like fucking Stilton. I am better at this than you. You’re not strong enough, Film_Fan78. Trust me.”]). I never meant to imply that capitalizing on anything is bad, because I think just about anyone can and should capitalize on everything they can; what I meant was, not everyone can capitalize on what Cody could. Is that her fault? Of course not. But it’s not theirs, either. My only point was: a lot of people try it. Cody’s story is an exception. Just like Spielberg’s is an exception (he snuck onto Paramount’s lot to get his start). The difference is that Spielberg doesn’t belittle the people who criticize him, or claim that he’s better than they are.

And with this, I’ve devoted way too much time, energy, and thought to Cody, her work, her arse, and the various implements she may or may not insert therein. I hope not to contemplate it further without visual assistance.

I say good day to you.

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mygif

What MGK takes umbrage with is not necessarily what I take umbrage with; I wasn’t speaking for anyone but myself with my comments, and I certainly hope nobody took away any other impression.

And yes, people who are not sexist can say unintentionally sexist things, either because they’re not thinking through the implications of their statements or because they don’t think of those implications as sexist due to cultural blinders. I think it’s important to call people on those things, because things like that really are in the ear of the listener, not the mouth of the speaker. If someone is hearing your comment as sexist, it probably is. Nobody hears what you intended to say.

For what it’s worth, I am sorry that I was so flip and snarky in my initial comment; I forgot the cardinal rule of the Internet, which is “Never say anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.” (Well, it’s my cardinal rule, anyway.) I really should have tried harder to convey that point in a way that wouldn’t make you feel defensive about it, and I didn’t. Instead, I tried to sound pithy, and came off as rude. I really am sorry about that.

But I’m going to stand by my point; bringing up the specific job that she used for her memoirs is irrelevant to your claim that she’s being smug and obnoxious about her success, and creates the impression that you feel that her sex appeal was more important than her talent in getting her break. You can just say, “There was a lot of luck involved in her success, just like there’s luck involved in the success of anyone who makes it big. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have talent, but there are plenty of people who are as talented as her if not more so that never got that lucky break, and lording it over them with claims like ‘Incidentally, if you were me for one day you’d crumble like fucking Stilton. I am better at this than you. You’re not strong enough, Film_Fan78. Trust me,’ misses the role luck played in her success.” Says the same thing, doesn’t muddy the issue with sex.

And I’ll also say that bringing her sex work up again in the middle of your explanation that her sex work isn’t relevant seriously undercuts your message. The very phrase “I’m sure Cody worked her ass off just as soon as she removed the dildo from it,” sounds insincere. It makes your claim of believing that she worked hard sound like a straight line, not a real belief. Do I believe you when you say that wasn’t your intent? Sure. But I still think it was an unwise joke to use at that particular juncture.

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