My Thoughts on the Gilmore Girls Revival

Major Gilmore Girls spoilers ahead. Stop reading if you haven’t finished the revival. But the spoiler is going to be right below this line so you are probably already screwed.

 

RORY IS PREGNANT! And my immediate reaction was “Is this a joke?” Then I saw the credits running. Nope, not a joke. I know everyone took this ending in their own way, but for me it was bitterly disappointing. Here are a couple of my main issues with this ending:

  1. The circle of life is bullshit. This isn’t the Lion King. We don’t need a Disney-type neatly wrapped up plot where the end meets the beginning. First, I think this is very over-simplistic and lacks imagination. And second, I think it is depressingly fatalistic. Rory is bound to turn into her mother who is bound to turn into her mother. But why? Rory is in many ways the exact opposite of her mother and it seems to discount the nuances of her character. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lorelai and it’s not always a bad thing to turn into your mother (I should be so lucky), but this storyline diminishes the power of choice. Not to mention the fact that it’s not just Rory turning into her mother by getting pregnant, but now we are supposed to view Logan as Christopher and Jess as Luke. All of the characters start to mesh into each other, leaving little room for individuality. In the end, they’ve all just become depressing clichés. Seven seasons worth of character development and distinction down the drain.
  2. Rory’s entire life is defined by men. Yeah, I’m putting my feminist boots on (I know that’s not a thing, but I just made it a thing). Now, I know that part of the ending suggests that her life is not determined by men because there is the implication that she will raise her child on her own just as her mother did. Fine, woohoo independence. But every life choice she makes up until this point is either instigated by or inspired by the men in her life. Even her greatest accomplishment, writing her book, was suggested by Jess. Before the revival came out, Alexis Bledel basically said “Hey everyone stop trying to guess who Rory will end up with. She has more important things going on. Like a career and a life.” Obviously I’m paraphrasing here, but it was suggested that it is frivolous to talk about Rory in terms of “Team Dean,” “Team Jess,” and “Team Logan.” And yet, that’s almost all the revival was about. Sure, we saw some career struggle, but for the most part we didn’t hear about her career over the 10 years in between the last episode and the revival. We didn’t really see her succeeding in writing or in a stable job. All we saw was her floundering and barely keeping her head above water while obsessing over Logan. Maybe that was the point because it was setting up the end where she gets her book together and is going to raise this kid on her own, but I think it doesn’t do much for female empowerment.
  3. The characters really haven’t gone anywhere. For the most part, it seems like no time at all has passed since the last episode of the official series. There has been speculation that this is because Sherman-Palladino didn’t write the 7th season and so wanted this to be her final say of how it should end. But the impression it gives off is that all the characters are pretty stagnant. Lorelai to some degree realizes this with her Wild-inspired hiking trip. But that trip ends with her not even hiking, staring at a hill and then deciding to marry Luke. And we all knew she should marry Luke 10 years ago. Maybe we were supposed to feel like this was a giant step for her, but it really didn’t feel very climactic. I appreciate that in real life change is often subtle. Big steps are often made out of a lot of small steps, but I can’t even see where the small steps are going for the Gilmore Girls. Again maybe that is the point. But I’m not satisfied.

End rant. I know I am taking this way too seriously considering it is just a tv show, but some shows kind of become intertwined with your life. Especially for shows like Gilmore Girls, Friends, Sex and the City and other long-life series, you kind of grow up with them and the trajectory of the characters can sometimes mirror the trajectory of your own life. You relate to them and take some comfort in the story, seeing yourself reflected in many of the characters and your life reflected in many of the events. The biggest source of the disappointment for me I think in Gilmore Girls is that now the ultimate lesson of the show is life comes full circle. Whereas before, for me at least, the main lessons of the show were the strength of the bond between mother and daughter and the power that women have to take control of their lives. And now we are left with this ending that basically suggests we are powerless in the face of destiny and incapable of forging our own paths.

-S

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving, like New Years, acts as the perfect opportunity for some much needed introspection. I know that I am not the best at remembering to always have gratitude and to avoid taking things for granted, and I don’t think I’m alone in that shortcoming. It’s so much easier to bitch and moan than to consistently look for the silver lining. Complaining has an intoxicating quality it. There’s something validating in lamentation.  However, it’s not the best trait, and it really doesn’t solve anything.

I think a lot of our generation has a hard time taking a moment and remembering just how much there is to be grateful for. I also think the mainstream media spouting hate and thinly veiled divisive rhetoric conditions us to approach our lives that way. Society ingrains a lot of our tendencies to gripe and bellyache.  I also believe there is no time like the present to try and subvert those inclinations and focus on being grounded in gratitude. There is a lot to be thankful for, and by keeping those thoughts at the forefront of our minds, I believe our chances at contentment and happiness and at inner-peace increase dramatically.

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So, I want to take some time to really be thankful for my friends and family. For my glorious puppy. For having a job with some really great people. For opportunities to travel. For wine and good food. For some really fabulous clothes and shoes. For my health (even though my tonsils have to come out soon).

On a slightly different note, I’d be remiss not to make a plug for Standing Rock on Thanksgiving of all days. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their supporters have been protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline due to concerns over water contamination and the destruction of sacred lands since July. It is now winter in North Dakota and temperatures are dropping dramatically; these protesters are facing hypothermia (not helped by the water cannons and spraying various agents on the protesters). While you’re out doing your Black Friday shopping, consider donating to Standing Rock. Our country has a disgusting history when it comes to indigenous people, and I for one Stand with Standing Rock.

Read more on how to help here.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

“13th”

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As promised, some of this blog will contain light-hearted Netflix recommendations to break up the seriousness, except this one is not so light-hearted. A couple weeks ago I watched the Netflix documentary “13th” and was deeply moved by it. The documentary centers around the 13th amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The director, Ava DuVernay, focuses on the clause “except as punishment for a crime” in examining the ways that modern mass incarceration has been a continuation of slavery and free labor and has crippled the black community.

The documentary traces the history of black oppression post-slavery, from lynchings to the Jim Crow laws, to the war on drugs, to the documented police shootings of unarmed black men. Part of her argument surrounds the depiction of black people in post-slavery America as criminal and a threat to the safety of society. She examines the way that this implicit (or at times explicit) bias has played a part in political policy, laws and the enforcing of those laws.

I won’t outline point by point the brilliance of this documentary in this post. All I will say is, if you have ever doubted even for a second that racial oppression has been systematically and intentionally carried out in the last century in America, please watch this film. If you have ever believed that our justice system is colorblind and free of bias, please watch this film.

As a white person, racial inequality can be very difficult to talk about. I was hesitant to even write this post because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to strike the right tone. But this documentary shook me to my very core. And I think if we want to be people who fight for justice and equality, we have to allow ourselves to be so affected by things. And then we have to be brave enough to talk about them. In the film, they discuss effectiveness of videos of police shootings in bringing to light this oppression. This documentary serves the same purpose. It forces us to see injustice and challenges us not to look away. We can’t fight it if we refuse to see it. In summary, watch “13th” and other documentaries like it. Read articles that challenge your beliefs. Engage in dialogues that promote understanding and educate yourself every chance you get.

-S

Constitutional Awareness

I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the degree of emotions that have been rampant over social media this past week. In some ways, it is inspiring to see so many people galvanized on both sides of the aisle. People accuse millennials of being apathetic, but that has certainly not been my experience.

However, heightened emotions combined with times of uncertainty can breed some contentious discussions. Overall, I’ve been proud to see a lot of civil discourse from the people in my immediate life, again on both sides of the aisle. However, I have also seen a lot of conversations and opinion pieces that are worrisome.

I can really only comment on how I feel and how I see the world, so please don’t misunderstand and think I am trying to sanctimoniously shove my worldview down your throat. You chose to read this, so if you misinterpret me here, that’s on you. I certainly feel let down by the results of this election. I have concerns that the USA has elected a dangerous demagogue. I have concerns for civil rights and civil liberties, I have concerns for the environment, and for America’s place in the international arena, I have concerns for progress and safety. However, I am not naïve, and I realize that a large subset of Americans would have felt similar levels of discomfort, and potentially fear, had Hillary won. I understand that a large group of citizens have felt ignored by the government, and that those people made a stand on Tuesday.

I understand that people voted for Trump for a lot of different reasons, and that the majority of people who voted for him don’t share the racist, misogynistic, bigoted view of America he perpetrated during the election. But those people do exist, and some of them think that their hatred is now acceptable, and even supported. That is unacceptable. Obviously, President Trump hasn’t done anything yet, but the man Donald Trump has said quite a bit. None of us know what he actually thinks and believes (need I remind you that a decade ago he was a Democrat), but I think we all have the right to be worried and watchful of our government.

And that’s the one thing I want to impress upon as many people as I can. Whether you voted for Trump or not, let’s hold him accountable to us, and to the Constitution. Let’s fight to see one another as individuals, and not as simply party line liberals or conservatives. Let’s promote civility.

So educate yourselves on the issues that matter to you, and watch the government closely. Take the time to understand how our government works, and hold those elected accountable. Get involved. Whether or not you voted Trump for President, he is the President. The opening line of the Constitution says a lot, ‘we the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity’. Don’t forget what this country was built for.

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My News Addiction

This has been one hell of a week. Tuesday night around midnight after watching hours of CNN tracking the election results, I resigned myself to the fact that Hillary was going to lose. I went to bed, unable to watch any more. I had seen enough. And that sums up how I feel about this whole election season, and even beyond that about the whole past year or so of tragedy after tragedy on the news. Terrorism, racism, sexism, homophobia, genocide, xenophobia, the refugee crisis, poverty, mass shootings, shootings of unarmed black men, protests, climate change, weather disasters: it feels like the whole world is coming apart at the seams. And I’ve seen enough. And I’ve come to that conclusion many times in the past year. But I always continue to watch anyways, glued to my TV screen, computer screen or phone constantly hitting refresh to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

I stumbled across a post on Medium the other day called “I Quit the News. Consider it Too.” My initial reaction was “Isn’t this just escapism and intentional ignorance masquerading as virtue?” But then I started to read it. And as the author recounted all the time he had spent consuming news about this election and how none of it mattered, I realized that I also had been completely consumed by it. I had obsessively gathered information thinking that somehow I was enriching myself. But really, I was distracting myself and feeding my overwhelming addiction to a continuous stream of content. I was buying what the media was selling: drama, heartache and a detachment from reality.

Contrary to how some people feel though, I don’t fault the news media, at least not entirely. I think it is impossible for them to deliver us what we demand and simultaneously produce good quality journalism. We demand 24-hour coverage. We demand all the information. We demand sensationalism, drama and enough doomsday content to satisfy our sick fascination with violence and misery. We demand to be entertained. And then we recoil in horror that a shallow, empty-headed reality TV star was able to rise to the highest office in our country, as though that is not perfectly representative of our culture and our illness. Are you not entertained America?

Let me be clear: I am not saying we deserve Donald Trump as our president. He exploited people’s fears and prejudices and party loyalty and used them to propel himself to power. And that must be condemned, in the loudest way and the most clear-cut terms. But if we don’t at least admit the part that we played in all of this then how can we ensure it will never happen again? How many of us secretly hoped he would run for president, just for the pleasure of seeing that spectacle and for the hope that he would crumble in front of our eyes?

I have felt my own addiction to the news and specifically to negative news becoming stronger in the last few years. I have felt myself cling to any and all information assuming that bad information was better than no information. I watched CNN’s election results coverage for 5 hours on Tuesday night. I literally sat there and watched John King draw inane circles all over the map like an elderly dementia patient trying to find Waldo for 5 hours. And for what? Why did I feel that I had to know the instant that anyone else did who won the election? And why after I knew the results the next day did I spend hours trying to find an article or a news piece or anything that would make me feel like I had some measure of control or understanding over the situation?

I’ve come to the conclusion that information is not always power. Being informed about what is happening in the world is important and it’s part of being a conscious citizen, but maybe we’ve taken it too far. Why does the media sensationalize the news and bombard us with horrific story after horrific story at all hours of the day? Because we keep reading and listening to it. And then we ask for more. We perpetuate the idea that when it comes to news we want quantity over quality, drama over reality and instant disembodied information over thoughtful analysis.

So I’m on a news hiatus until I feel I can consume the news responsibly again. When that time comes, I intend to read the news in the morning and then wait the agonizing 24 hours before I receive another piece of news. Just like the good old days.

-S (yeah I’m going to sign my posts S because I wish I lived in Gossip Girl)

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The Origin Story

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How this got started…

During the 2016 Presidential election, we started texting. Over the 24 hours following the announcement that Donald Trump was the President Elect, we were distraught, we were angry, we were catatonic. And then we were inspired.

During Hillary’s concession speech she thanked young women for allowing her to be their champion and she asked us to “never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and to achieve your own dreams.”

That message stuck. That message matters. And that is the message that led to us to start throwing the idea of a blog around. 

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What we want…

Our country is in a state. Some think it’s a state of despair, chaos, hate and pain. Some think it’s a state of transition to something new, to something better. A lot of us are scared, but hopeful. A lot of us feel alone.

You are not alone. You are not forgotten. Your voice matters.

This blog is meant to be somewhere for us to express our feelings, our inspirations, and our concerns about the world we live in, and the events we are facing as a nation and as individuals. Somewhere to promote civil discourse and community. We don’t want anyone to feel marginalized, even those with beliefs different from ours.

When I was ten, I wrote an essay on Gloria Steinem. The assignment was to write about one of our inspirations. That next year I did projects on Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, and Cleopatra- clearly women who were ‘before their time’ made an impression on me. When I was 20, I wrote my thesis for my Political Science degree on the treatment of women within the American workplace. And when I was 25, I tried to elect the first female leader of the free world. I am ready to stop having to refer to strong women who fight for equality and progress as ‘ahead of their time’. It’s been time for far too long. We can’t afford to wait for our rights to be given to us. It’s very clearly the time to fight, the time to stake a claim on who we are, and what we value.

As Gloria once said, “any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke … She will need her sisterhood.” So this is my rally cry to my fellow sisters, and brothers, and those who don’t identify with either, we’re all in this together. Let’s hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. 

Don’t let the muggles get you down.

-Kate