Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We Need To Talk About Trevor.

   I don't think it's any surprise or secret that I like me a pretty piece of flesh. I like me some boys. Like Dawn French in Let Them Eat Cake, I should like to support the troops and have ample cause to confuse Julian Desiere for Didier with the lovely bulgy thighs. I am a true harlot at heart if not in practice, which if anything makes me unforgivably inconsistent. I shall have to remedy that shit at once.
   When I was dating Marnu I once asked him who would be on his "List." You know The List: it's the 5 celebrities you would theoretically be given a free pass to consensually molest whilst in a relationship. Now, this is not literal, and as Ross and Rachel (their wisdom is neverending and truly unlimited in scope) have proven unto us, when the idea is put to practice it tends to fall flat in several different ways. Not least is which that if you've bumped Isabella Rossellini from your laminated list and then run into her at a coffee shop, bitch is not going to be pleased by your insubordination.
   Marnu took the idea very seriously indeed, and utterly balked at the idea that there ought even hypothetically be such a thing as a free pass for the sake of a thought experiment. He gets very worked up about the animal welfare issues involved with Schrodinger's Cat, too. I pointed out how utterly on the far side of "just and idea" it was, citing that if Benedict Cumberbatch himself swaggered into the room right then and there, my response would not be to call List and jump him but to scream uncontrollably because how in god's name did he get in the house, where the fuck did he come from and what is he doing in the computer room. It was moot, Marnu couldn't really pare down to a specific 5 anyway, but boy howdy did I have contenders.
   Now we all know how much I love a bit of this:

   And lord knows there isn't a woman alive who ought to be able to withstand a little of this:

    I could fill up your screen and sap your bandwidth with a post of wall-to-wall List. I mean Bradleys both Whitford and James, Colin Morgan, Michael C Hall, Paul Rudd, Jensen Ackles, John Hannah... I actually made a real list after that discussion with Marnu. It filled up my entire whiteboard, and I kept having to bump people off of it because I was running out of writing space. Look, can I help it if I appreciate a good design?
   But let me say this- of all the traits that puts a name on my list (besides eyes, because even if the rest of you is deformed beyond recognition as a human specimen, you flash those Benedict Blues at me and I'm yours exclusively), I recognise a pattern that leans towards comedy. Sure enough, I love good actors all the more for being good at what they do, but as Christopher Titus so aptly puts it, I'm a total Chuckle Slut. Jason Segel for instance is specifically encouraged to skip right past the hand shake and going for the boob grab the moment we chance to meet.
   Recently, I've been getting indeeped in some stand-up comedy. I have come to realise this as my Achilles' heel. I am going to be a very busy woman indeed if I should ever make good on my threats of petty sexual assault when you factor in the actual comedians alongside comic actors. To whit:

   Angry Irish madman with floppy hair. You tempt me, sir.

   Manic Australian atheist in skinny jeans. I shall have you spread on a cracker.

   Christopher Titus whose family is maybe the only one fucking crazier than mine, and whom I am convinced would understand me like no one else. You and I are soulmates, Christopher. Come to your senses and come to me.

   Now you'll note that I seldom ever really talk about South African actors that get my lusty vote. Well you've noted incorrectly, because the actual amount of times I've talked about South African actors that get my lusty vote is none. None times. Largely this will be because most of our movies are shot with either soap actors, or Leon Schuster who is one of the more frequent catalysts to my suicidal thoughts. We have not yet really learned how to make movies, and when we cast and direct, we end up with Days Of Our Afrikaans Angst up on a big screen trying to look grown-up. Tsotsi and District 9 went some way towards lending our cinema canon credence, but even then they were both massive commercial entities geared for overseas consumption and in D9's case, more or less crewed by professional foreigners.
   I am obviously grossly prejudiced against my own media culture by way of being a raging prick really, and when a bunch of ads for Cell-C (a cellphone coverage provider) came out featuring someone called Trevor Noah, I got seven kinds of righteously pissy and decided that Lord Loraine decreed against him. To my credit those ads really were crap, but even when people I know- people previously unburdened by mental illness or a fondness for braindeath- kept telling me how funny his stand up was I would not budge.
   Then Brenda tells me he's funny, and I sigh my weary sigh and give in. Seriously woman, it is not healthy the kind of power you hold over my resolve.
   And guess what: he's funny. Not only funny, but actually funny. Astute as fuck and articulate beyond the particular areas he covers. And pretty.

   In truth, he's kind of like the Tolkien of stand-up: you can clearly see the fact that stand-up comedy was never his original gig in his segues and diffusion noises ("It's madness, madness...") which come less naturally than the stuff he means in earnest and understands inside out. (All of this being like Tolkien in that Tolkien built a whole damn world, and then went about writing a book to showcase it. Trevor has all this shit to say about South Africa and has the accents and imitations down to such an art, he has to write comedy around it to get it out in a formatted medium. I think if stand-up comedy didn't exist, this guy would have to be a professional dinner guest.)
   This may well be threatening my honorary ex-pat status and I'm in trouble of having my dual imaginary American/British citizenship revoked, but this guy is going on the laminated version of the list; I'm not risking an Isabella Rossellini situation.

   Then there's this thing about actors I want to talk about. When I was little, I grouped them into tiers in my head, and I did it backwards. Tier 1 was the basic, entry level acting class, tier 2 was someone who could carry some depth and create a slightly fuller character, and tier 3 was basically Meryl Streep. Backwards. But forgive me, I was 12 and I had only recently been introduced to the word "tier." I then met Marnu earlier this year, and in the strangest case of quantum entanglement I've ever been a part of it turns out he had- independently of me- developed the same bass-ackwards system for actors when he was that age, even using the word "tier."

    In the above graphic, I've re-ordered the tiers to reflect, you know, logic, and I've added the addendum Marnu came up with: the Pornstar Tier. I think that one speaks more or less for itself. Now I like to think of the tiers kind of like that quote about the three personalities every person has: the one you think you have, the one the world sees, and the one you really have. You could say that with each tier an actor moves up, he becomes cognisant of another one of those personalities for his character. When you can understand the thing that drives your character even when your character doesn't, you are tier one. When you are aware of the fact that this character exists differently in his peer's eyes than he sees himself, you are tier 2. When you are reading out a line that contains words and syntax you wouldn't necessarily know how to apply ad-libbed in real life, you're probably tier 1. And if the words you need to read out have never met Mr. Syntax and Lady Thesaurus and you still don't can't just say them like a human being, you're a pornstar.
   This is obviously a greatly simplified idea, but I've found it applies so universally that it got me thinking. (Yes, a dangerous passtime, I know.) Writers for most mainstream and decent indie movies and TV do not write their characters on the first tier. Even something like Transformers which may be brainless requires the characters to at least respond to a certain level of functional logic and reason, and act accordingly. These are characters that, when given a piece of information, are given it for a reason that is likely pertinent to moving the story along and as such they tend to consider and process it fairly well, even if they are a recognised douche within that particular world.
   People do not work that way. I grew up watching movies more than I actually, you know, talked to people, so I somehow managed to grow up believing immutably that people actually think. That if someone says the sky is red and you can point up and prove the contrary, they would have to take it under advisement at the very least, and if they still wanted to stick to their crimson sky belief it probably had something to do with character motivation. Not so. This is how that exchange broadly goes about 70% of the time in the real world.

   "The sky is red."
   "What, like right now? Like a sunset? It's 2 in the afternoon."
   "No, you know. It's red."
   "What made you think that? Did you read it somewhere?"
   "OK, well it's easy enough to verify. Let's just look out the window."

   "Looks blue to me."
   "FUCK YOU. REDREDREDREDRED. And your mother is a whore and your father died a virgin, RED."

   That's people. Often, circular logic is even a bit of a high ask- when faced with the challenge to justify a belief or an action, most people just opt for the LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU, RED option. I am now going to actually go to a very un-PC place and say that people can be placed on the tier graph too. I'd say the more you understand the mechanics of the world around you, and the more genuine insight you have into the workings of your own mind, the higher up you go. This has fuck-all correlation with plain intelligence, the same way the acting graph has little to do with how smart an actor is. I mean, Norman Reedus is a very good actor capable of commendable nuance, but that guy is his own audience. I mean he is every 15-year-old proto-goth boy who was convinced Boondock Saints ought to be a religion and asked everyone to call him Draven. Thusly you can be a brain surgeon, but if you still refuse to admit that you've inherited a fat chunk of your mother's bad attributes and rationalise away your bad habits, you are not tier 1. Basically, the better you are at either lying to yourself or if you have never had enough information about yourself to even have had the chance to lie, the further down the ladder you fall.
   Again, very simplified. But it works. Broadly I think people on the lower end of the tier tend to need less from life and relationships. There's angst, but most of it is either fairly innocuous or easily soothed. I think that even if you're an utter brick intellectually, the higher your ranking, the more corners of the world you see and it follows that you'd need more clarity and satisfaction from those corners. If you don't know that your partner only really likes Terry Pratchett for the broad comedy and pretty fantasy (likely because you do too), there's no way for you to be dissatisfied with their capacity for its cultural and satirical depth. If your views on the universe and any belief you hold is unshakable not because of the evidence behind it and the strength of its merit but because it's yours, you're not going to feel unfulfilled never fully understanding the nature of your beliefs and the reasons why they captivate you. All in all: probably happier people.
   You'd think that this is the kind of thing where most people would go "Nuh-uh!" because no one wants to think they're on a lower tier, but I've run this theory past some people. I've come across scepticism and outright support, but my favourite reaction was from someone who simply nodded a slow acceptance and then told me they think they're probably tier 1 or 2, and that's cool, yo. I think there's something to be said for measuring people not by IQ or knowledge, but by awareness and intellectual functionality. Sharp over clever. I say let's promote the village idiot, because that guy obviously knows himself well enough to put on his hat and gown of office, and let's instead pin the "kick me" sign on the town elder's back, because that dude hasn't had a thought he wasn't given by someone else for years. I say hope constantly to be proven wrong about the world and about yourself, because if you are, you are just that much closer to eternal misery suffered in exquisite depth of understanding.
   Huzzah for the worry-warts.

   And as a hypothetical American, can I just say a quick prayer to the American gods of politics and mythological deities of cultural identity (yes, I'm reading Neil Gaiman right now, what makes you ask?) for Obama? The American political character is American folklore, and for that I love it. I hope I can continue to love it once this week is over, because if Romney gets voted in, I'm moving to Mars.
   He's a pornstar tier person.

No comments:

Post a Comment