I think that a lot of things about the ROOKIE Fest were left out by bloggers. I haven’t seen any posts about anything other than what *happened* and now in my memory, the event really was all about meeting/talking to celebrities, just a party of celebrity. That alienates me. I personally came to the festival alone, and spoke to some people - I met some people I know from the internet by accident, which was nice, and interacted with new people, but quite superficially. “You and your boyfriend are really cute”. “Love your style!” etc. I left the event wishing there was more substance to it.
Rashida Jones spoke about things that I had already figured out on my own. She mentioned some really great stories, but in passing, instead of expanding and telling us all about the experiences. It was a good Q&A, but still felt simplistic, it felt like everyone cared about RASHIDA IS ON STAGE rather than her stories.
I really enjoyed her speech about sexism in the movie industry, being stereotyped as the “weird friend” etc. and how not too many Hollywood films have a non-happy ending.
I want to mention that I’m not really that big of a fan of Parks & Rec. and Freaks and Geeks - two shows she was talking about working on. I think they are funny, on point culturally and a good way to spend time when you need to relax - but I don’t really like them that much. They’re not important to me. The Simpsons are more important to me.
Bill Hader is also an actor who usually works in films that aren’t particularly “deep”. He’s funny, he’s talented - but I don’t see him writing something for Mad Men or Twin Peaks. His responses to questions were good, and I think there were a lot of people in the crowd who needed those answers, and a lot of people who genuinely enjoyed the Q&A session. (You can watch part of it here.)
I was sitting in the crowd and as a polyamourous, pansexual girl, I felt alienated by some of his responses. Bill Hader is straight, monogamous, and male. I don’t expect him to understand polyamoury, or even be aware of it. I didn’t expect Tavi to intervene and say “oh but you can love two people at the same time - a lot of people can - it’s ok to do that!”. But I still felt alienated, and I felt that a part of my identity is still invisible in the world, and that other people who share the same feelings with me are still being misunderstood.
Bill Hader also mentioned that in high school, he was always “the friend” when he crushed on girls. If you’re a feminist and a blogger, you probably understand how far my eyes rolled back in my head when he said that. I instantly remembered the dozens of girls who were “friends” with me while i was deeply in love with them, and how I never felt like there was anything wrong about that. So I raised my hand to ask Bill Hader a question. “Do you posess the ability to love people even when they don’t love you back? And do you think it’s important to be able to do that?”
Sadly (and predictably) that question didn’t end up on the final video. Bill got all flustered and joked that I should be his therapist, and then started talking about relationships where you love your partner more than they love you (which wasn’t what I was asking at all, but I couldn’t really explain that to him because this was a timed performance and there were over 100 other people listening), and then Tavi chimed in, saying that if you love someone more than they love you - then it just means you are full of love and you are a great person, and does not mean that they are better than you.
I really liked that response, and it was such a Tavi thing to say - it’s clear to me that she understood what I was asking, and wanted to say something that would 1) answer my question, 2) not make Bill Hader look like he didn’t understand me 3) be useful advice to other people who might have been listening. So wow - hats off to Tavi.
Later that night I “networked”, I suppose, and ended up following a few people (like shopspacetrash and jessie jae joplin) on insta/etc, and right now the conversations I had with them seem much less special and personal once I’ve got to know their blogs and shops. I feel like they were quite disinterested in me as a person, because right now I am nothing more than a follower to them, a steve buscemi tattoo that they instagrammed. I don’t think there’s anything “bad” about being an extravert and networking with people in such a way, but as an introvert it feels horribly phony to me and I just don’t understand it.
Also, if you haven’t, I suggest you read this article about ‘secret introverts’ right now. I guess events like these are designed for extraverts, they’re places to “network”, parties that will only be remembered by the headline of the invitation, by the names of the celebrities who were there. I don’t know if that’s bad, or if it’s good, I don’t know if extraverts are afraid of complex discussions, or if they just don’t feel “phoniness” the same way introverts do. I do, however, know that many people are secret introverts, and I know that our society does not reward that. That’s why character tropes like “the weird girl” become cult classics, that’s why many of us are ashamed of our feelings, that’s why we have blogs and secret diaries.. That’s why i fell in love with Rookiemag. I was amazed to see a magazine that was complex. That talked about real social problems. That made me feel normal, finally, and not like an “outsider”.
And attending a rookie event and seeing it just exploit the nature of the “outsider” for the sake of attention was alienating. I don’t feel like I own the “outsider” persona, and I don’t have a problem with feminism becoming a fashion accessory (if it’s popular and has a positive image - why not?) but I feel very upset when the complexity is stripped, and steve buscemi’s face is sold on heart-shaped necklaces alongside with galaxy leggings, zines are made just because there is nothing else to do, and everything is being instagrammed and tweeted instead of actually experienced. Yes, I said that, and it makes me feel like a granny. But grannies are sometimes wise.
When rookiemag did a road trip last year, it seemd like they actually connected with their readers, like there was something really romantic about the whole experience. This event.. seemed half-empty. And I’m not saying that because I’m a pessimist.