Friday, May 25, 2012

More on Vertical

Now while Mike is a voracious reader; I am less so.  I get on kicks where I'll devour a book in two days, but I generally stick to short forms, like The Huffington Post or Regretsy.  TV is and always has been my favorite means of storytelling.

But I am reading Vertical, because Mike got it for me for my birthday and Mike is awesome.

First things first--I've forgotten how dark Pickett's work is.  The film plays Miles as a sort of sad, affable chump who occasionally drinks too much, but the Miles in Vertical, like the previous book, is a hardcore, dawn-til-dusk alcoholic who never draws a sober breath, even when he's driving cross-country.  Yes, driving.

A lot of the prose is very repetitive.  Yes, Miles, we know you're dropping your mom off in Wisconsin to live with her sister, you said that five pages ago, no need to repeat it for the hundredth time.  Yep, you're speaking at a wine festival.  Yep, you like Pinot Noir.  Got it.  Remembered it from the first book.

Pictured: NOT YOU
Male writers labor under the delusion that they are rock stars and sex gods.  Just because Clive Owen donned a bad mustache to play Hemingway does not make the average basement-dwelling Stonecoast graduate into a hot piece of British ass (sorry Piglander).  And sorry Pickett, but Miles is Paul Giamatti, and while I love him with all my heart and my soul, I do not want to have sex with him.  Yet, Miles goes around banging hot chicks simply because he is a writer and Pickett lives in a magical fantasy world where hot women want to spread their legs for a balding, pudgy, middle-aged alcoholic.  It would be funny and maybe kind of quirky if it wasn't happening every three pages.

Better Days
Side Rant: Men have always thought they deserved hotter wives than they do.  No matter how fat, greasy, jobless, sweaty or balding a guy is, he always thinks that Megan Fox's panties would melt right off if she saw him.  Women, of course, have the opposite problem, being told that we are ugly and fat and have muffin tops and smell weird in private areas.  However, a disturbing trend I've noticed is that women's magazines are toting tubster schlubs like Jonah Hill and Seth Rogan as hot.  We're supposed to look like Megan Fox, but guys get to look like Chris Farley right before he died.

No.  We deserve better.  And we also deserve to be treated with dignity as characters.  Stephanie, played by Sandra Oh in the film, is reduced to one line about becoming a crack addicted stripper after Jack breaks up with her in Sideways.  This is a woman who is clearly a higher-up a successful, award-winning winery, and because one douchebag breaks her heart, she falls to pieces and becomes a drug-addicted slut? (their emphasis, not mine).  I can buy the fact that Miles gets constant tail before I'll believe that bull.

Male authors do this because they think they're so awesome, and it's a way to get back at some cheerleader who hurt them back in high school.  Kevin Smith does this in Clerks, which is why I can never watch it again.  Clearly, making Caitlin Bree have sex with a dead guys is his way of getting back at a girl who hurt him.  Real mature.  It's a sign of weak writing, and it's all over Vertical.  I got news for you guys--I've been hurt by lots of douchebags, and I cried and I listened to the Smiths, but I never became a drug-addled skank.  I got over it.  We all do.  You are not that special.

Ultimately, Vertical drips with futility and self-indulgence.  It didn't need to be written.  I was not lying awake at night, wondering what became of Jack and Miles.  Clearly Rex Pickett wants us to think he's awesome and bangs hot chicks all the time just because he wrote a book, but he would have stayed more awesome, in my mind, if he'd left the whole thing alone.

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