Thursday, February 02, 2012

Bossypants; Or, Converting to Feynasticism

In my last post highlighting New Year's resolutions, I resolved to get better acquainted with the world of non-fiction reading. When a friend lent me Bossypants I was eager to dig into a biography that has been consistently lauded by critics as one of the best of the year.

I did, however, have a few trepidations. Tina Fey is somebody I like more than I find her funny. I love her geek-chic glasses, unabashed feminism and the fact that she's living proof that adult virgins can be awesome too! I'd like to hang with Ms. Fey some time. But Sarah Palin impersonation aside, our senses of humor don't always jive. Let's take 30 Rock as an example. Everybody tells me how uproariously funny it is, but the few times I've watched the show it barely manages to evoke a mild giggle from me.

Having said that, Bossypants is a hoot! After wading through the initial upbringing and early adulthood chapters -- they're amusing but not the heart of the memoir -- I raced through the final two-thirds of the book. I just couldn't get enough of Fey's writing. 'Why has she never penned a full-length book before?' I asked myself. 'When will she write another one?' The humour with which she imbues subjects such as women in positions of power, celebrity photo shoots, standards of beauty, working moms and the need to take one's pants off as soon as one gets home is both hilarious and thought-provoking. One highlight for me was the chapter entitled 'Dear Internet.' In it, Fey writes ironic responses to nasty remarks people have posted about her online. Let's look at the letter dedicated to the commenter who asserted she ruined SNL and is only celebrated because she's a woman and outspoken liberal:

'Huzzah for the Truth Teller! Women in this country have been over-celebrated for too long. Just last night there was a story on my local news about a "missing girl," and they must have dedicated seven or eight minutes to "where she was last seen" and "how she must have been abducted by a close family friend," and I thought, "What is this, the News for Chicks?" Then there was some story about Hillary Clinton flying to some country because she's secretary of state. Why do we keep talking about these dumdums? We are a society that constantly celebrates no one but women and it must stop! I want to hear what the men of the world have been up to. What fun new guns have they invented? What are they raping these days? What's Michael Bay's next film going to be?

When I first set out to ruin SNL, I didn't think anyone would notice, but I persevered because -- like you trying to do a nine-piece jigsaw puzzle -- it was a labor of love.

I'm not one to too my own horn, but I feel safe with I'll say it. Everything you ever hated on SNL was by me, and anything you ever liked was by someone who did it against my will.


Tina Fey' (p. 165)

See what I mean? A hoot! So, I would like to go on the record to say:

Dear Miss Fey,

You are pure brilliance! As lovely as it is that we are a country obsessed with noting what drugged-up pop stars wear to their court dates, it's nice to see a woman showcased for her intelligence, humour and classiness. One who actually knows how to read. One with natural (photoshopped) beauty. And yes, one who now has to take her pants off as soon as she gets home. Have you considered running for President? I think you might have a shot, even if you can't see Russia from your doorstep. I look forward to your response in your next book -- please say there will be a next book!



P.S. I have to take my pants off as soon as I get home too.


ragini mohite said...

thanks for the review. i've been dying to read this. dont think 30rock is the best either but i love tina fey too.

Violet said...

This book is popular in Australia too, but I haven't read it. Yeah, taking your pants off as soon as you get home is just one of those things. :)

Diana said...

Rags: I just think she's so cool. But then, I think all geek chic people are cool. Except for Michael Sheen in Midnight in Paris, obviously ;).

Diana said...

Violet: It really is! Fey finds it a mark of getting old, a characteristic specific to entering one's 40s. But I've been doing this for years! Does this mean I'm getting old before my time?!