Secret Pop

Sep 26, 2003

It's a thin line.

I used to love Tracey Ullman. I even bought her song They Don't Know on a vinyl .45 when it first came out. And I watched her show -- the first iteration of it. And I watched The Simpsons on her show and was hip to them way early. But somewhere along the line I sort of lost touch with her. Her HBO show wasn't interesting to me. And her frenetic behavior is sort of trying to me now. I'm watching her being interviewed on Second City Presents, and she's entertaining, but she's out of control, too. And she just jumps up and starts dancing or breaks into characters. Sort of like Mike Myers. I get discouraged thinking that apparently one can't be talented and funny without also being obnoxious and needy. And without having an actual self existing inside there somewhere. But that's also just a cop-out. It's me saying, "See? I don't have to be like that. I'm better than that." But I'm not. I'm just not famous. I'm not being watched by very many people. I don't have any reason to cavort like a fool. But back in the old days, when I was a wee lass, I cavorted plenty. Just for the relatives. And I was one of those freaks in high school who had various dialects on tap and dispensed them regularly. "Let's have a pull of the Cockney, Mary," someone would theoretically cry out. And a pull would be had. No real pride there.

I guess maybe I think that if I had done something or been found by someone back then, I might also be this same sort of caricature. And maybe it wouldn't seem shameful to me. Maybe I judge because I envy. Isn't that what usually provokes judgment? Dissatisfaction with oneself? Jealousy? I do admire a great many people. But I've started weighing in dignity more than I used to. And there's so little dignity in being a show-off. Even when everyone is cheering.

I love performance for performance's sake. And I wish I had more opportunities to do it. Thank heaven I don't have a special talent for juggling with my feet. I'd be doing it at parties every night of the week. And then I'd have to die from shame. Sad sad shame.

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