Monday, April 18, 2011

This Was The Week In Words (Tina Fey & Shakespeare edition)

So I'm doing Friday's work on Monday because Tuesday's work got bumped to Thursday, which screwed up the whole week. That, and my 11-year-old spent all day Saturday and Sunday singing that creepy song "Friday," but she wasn't doing it ironically, which I find disturbing, because if MY daughter is going to sing pop music, it damn well better be a song that's doesn't have the world's most insipid lyrics. I'd much prefer she sing something by Pink, who uses some cool word play ("If you're too school for cool...") and has a sense of humor in her music ("It's just u and ur hand tonight...")

Editor's Note: In my desperation to find intelligent song lyrics, I'm choosing to overlook the fact that the above lyrics are written in text message, something that normally drives me to do crazy-ass things like sing about what seat I should sit in the car. ("Gotta make up my mind, which seat can I take..." Seriously? )

Or even better, I'd rather my daughter read something very funny and intelligent, like Tina Fey's Bossypants. In case you missed Oprah, The New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Vanity Fair and just about every other media outlet on the planet last week, Fey's book was just released and it's hilarious. (I will be buying this week, I hope.) The 30 Rock star is a smart, funny, attractive, pregnant (did you hear she's pregnant too!) trailblazer -- the first female head writer at SNL. But it was veteran comedic actress Jane Curtain who -- during an Oprah episode last week that gathered past SNL cast members -- made headlines when she pointedly corrected Chevy Chase about just how misogynistic the culture was behind-the-scenes back when the show first started, singling out the late, great John Belushi as someone who openly undermined the sketches penned by female writers. This is a fascinating clip, especially Curtain's opening salvo:

Watch "Jane Curtain Reveals John Belushi Was a Total Sexist on 'SNL'" at New York Magazine

And, as if to underscore the point, this infographic is making the viral rounds today, showing that Fey may have blazed a trail, but late night still needs the very funny voices of more women writers AND performers. (At this point I will shamelessly state my not-so-secret wish to sit in the writer's room at The Colbert Report, the show I consider to be one of the best-written on TV today. Who could help make it even better? ME!)

Finally, in a story that has nothing to do with Fey, feminism in comedy or that f@#%!ng "Friday" song,  you have to check out this fascinating story about how Shakespeare's creative use of language (did you know that he invented about 1,700 words?) has been proven to stimulate brain activity:
 "...we need creative language "to keep the brain alive." [The researcher] points out that so much of our language today, written in bullet points or simple sentences, fall into predictability. "You can often tell what someone is going to say before they finish their sentence" he says. "This represents a gradual deadening of the brain."

So go ahead and build your robot journalists! They may be able to crank out your basic inverted pyramid. They still have nothing on real writers:
"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thought never to heaven go." (Hamlet, Act III, Scene iii)


  1. Take me with you when you get into the Colbert Writers' Room!

    And when my kids were little and started running around the house singing "Like a Virgin," I permanently changed the radio station to "Oldies." They know all the stunning lyrics to such numbers as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

  2. Anonymous4/19/2011

    I was not singing that on purpose.It was stuck in my head. My English teacher was playing music on an online radio station and that song came on. So therefore, I was singing that song ironically. I hate that song.
    - your 11-year old daughter