Thursday, December 03, 2015

Watching My Friends Eat My Friends

So I was emailing back and forth with Megan Abbott the other day about that smirky little New York Times review of Miley Cyrus and somehow the silent-movie child actor Baby Peggy came up... well, not somehow... obviously there's a connection between child stars... and we were talking about how they get renamed and stuck with identities they didn't ask for... and that brought up Gig Young, who was not a child star, but named by the studio (if I am recalling correctly) after a role he played in a movie, which is weird. And he came to a terrible end, as you probably know, and I was saying to Megan that I didn't want to "click" on things about tragic child stars or tragic stars in general, which she took as an expression of fear of Baby Peggy specifically, as I did not express myself very clearly... though see this terrifying frame of a terrifying gif Megan sent me of Baby Peggy. (Baby Peggy is still here with us on this mortal plane, by the way - that's my fancy way of saying she's alive! - and not a terrifying sort of person. Nothing terribly tragic there. Well, she was treated terribly as a kid, I think, like most child stars, worked like a mule and plundered for her fortune, but she devoted herself later on to... ah... I'm too tired to talk about Baby Peggy. Look her up yourself.) So Megan and I were emailing about Baby Peggy again today (!) and I was trying to remember why Megan thought I had a deep-seated fear of Baby Peggy, so I searched my email archives and discovered that Megan FIRST emailed me about Baby Peggy EXACTLY THREE YEARS AGO TODAY. This is the kind of coincidence McNeil loves. Oh, so during the whole Miley Cyrus back-and-forth, my twitter friend Jen Vafidis alerted me to the actual song about Miley's deceased fish, which the New York Times reviewer so dismissively mentioned. Was that part of the review dismissive? Ah, I'm too tired to check. But yes. So I watched the video of Miley Cyrus in a unicorn costume singing about her dead fish and it was just great. I know I'm late to this video of Miley Cyrus in a unicorn costume singing about her dead fish. But I'd still like to endorse it. I would say if you don't like it you can probably just go to hell. I emailed it to Megan and she emailed back with praise for the lyric "watching my friends eat my friends," which is just what I was about to email to HER! Another coincidence. It's a good line, right? Like James M. Cain. I think if Jonathan Richman had written this very song, everybody would be all, "Wow, cool." Well, maybe everybody IS all, "Wow, cool." I don't know what goes on. I may even be overestimating the universal love that I imagine Jonathan Richman (rightly) receiving. Maybe I should talk about some Jonathan Richman song and say that if Miley Cyrus wrote it, everybody would be like, "Wow, cool." Maybe I live in backwards land with all the other old men. Megan also made a shrewd point about why Miley Cyrus is able to identify so intensely with a fish that has to live its life in a tank.