Why I continue to torture myself with bad media

By CLAIRE BEAVER | November 14, 2019

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This week I’ve decided to get back to my roots a bit and talk about why I do this godforsaken column in the first place. Since my time as Arts & Entertainment Editor of The News-Letter came to an end last semester, I had an art-shaped hole in my heart that I needed to fill. I’d been wanting to start a column for a while, and suddenly I found myself with some extra time and a dream.

Coming up with a column topic that would stay fresh and be fun to write about for a year was a fairly tough challenge, and to all the other columnists who write great, personal stories to share every week, I salute you.

However, I am super boring. I wanted to share a part of myself and what I am passionate about with whoever cares to read this, but I have about five good personal stories on rotation and if you’ve ever met me, you’ve already heard them.

I wanted to do something a little different, something that felt uniquely me but didn’t sound like a lecture. Talking it over with my editor led me to create this column, a comedic combination of making fun of things and art. I’ve always admired writers at The Onion and ClickHole, and this is my mediocre salute to them (also if anyone from either of those publications is reading this and hiring, I’m currently unemployed and am super chill). Comedy writing is always something I’ve loved, a reprieve from the monotonous tone of the scholarly article, and it is important to me to keep it in my life.

I was beyond excited to start writing it, and every column you do or do not read gives me a much-needed and insanely fun break from my week. 

I know I’m not alone in this. How many times have you sat around with your friends and laughed at that Christina Aguilera movie Burlesque or looked at Marcel Duchamp’s sculpture “Fountain” and thought, “Why?”

I completely get that art in all its forms is subjective, complicated and meaningful. Well, I want to say completely but the movie The Country Bears and “Low” by Flo Rida do exist.

Exploring what kinds of sick pleasure we get from watching things that simply shouldn’t have been made can really bring us together as a people. It’s really a beautiful human experience to sit around and watch bad movies with your friends and laugh at them, always knowing in the back of your mind that there is one friend who secretly likes it. Sometimes, you will be that one friend.

I started this official journey into the realm of terrible art with 2003’s awful movie, The Room. I didn’t write about it because everyone already knows what this movie is. Green-screen outdoor rooftop scenes, plotlines that just straight up disappear and unwatchable acting make this film a masterpiece. And then James Franco had to go all meta on us in 2013 and make a movie about this movie: The Disaster Artist. If Franco can legitimize bad art, then dammit, so can I.

The title of this column is actually a loving homage to The Room, quoting the infamous line from Johnny, “You are tearing me apart, Lisa!” However, the raw passion with which he delivers this line is not paralleled here.

Overall, I needed an excuse to watch bad movies, listen to bad songs, look at bad painting and sculpture, and just feel like my inner monologue means something. I’m just a girl, standing in front an audience of weekly readers, asking them to validate me. That’s the Notting Hill quote, right?

While this column is not deeply profound, it really does feel personal to me, and I hope I can share some ounce of the enjoyment I get out of writing these on those who choose to read them. So yes, it’s really not very heavy material, but that doesn’t mean it is less valuable. Actually it definitely does, but just let me have this one thing, guys. I need this.

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