Arts & Culture

The Ira Glass Infatuation Post/This American Life Roundup: Home Movies

Voyeurs and porn directors have a similar appreciation to that of Ira’s this week- makeshift movies and a glimpse at private life. This week, Ira channels Levi Strauss in his sexy analyses of real culture hidden within idealized manifestations on VHS … Read More

By / May 19, 2010
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Voyeurs and porn directors have a similar appreciation to that of Ira’s this week- makeshift movies and a glimpse at private life. This week, Ira channels Levi Strauss in his sexy analyses of real culture hidden within idealized manifestations on VHS as America spreads its legs reticently.

Cinematic anything is such a cheap trick to add allure to your mojo, Ira…

He introduces the essence of home movies and their standard quality that makes a select few humans ecstatic at the sight of their images. Like a Freudian classroom, Teacher embraces the stubbly id that shows through the smothering ego feigning smooth perfection. Gimme it raw.

Act 1: Trying to get a piece of my aunt’s ass

This hilarious act is the reason I call radio the jack rabbit of entertainment-anything can be conveyed if done artfully, even the shaky images and wails of a home video. Jonathan Goldstein’s childhood Rosh Hashanah video filmed against his family’s wishes conveys a familial neurosis so pure, he made all his girlfriends watch it. “I felt they would need to see it in order to best understand me.” He remarks that after seeing it, how could his flaws compete? I don’t know if that worked for him, but this is the equivalent of full disclosure of one’s sexual past and goody bag of STIs, which is truly suave of him.

More sweet turmoil ensues, which always cranks up the heat-this time in mismatched holiday cheer via a competing duet of I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas on Rosh Hashanah, British onlookers, and antisocial basement daddies. The circus has come to town and fades out without a FIN shot, allowing for the illusion that the stinking havoc never settles.

Act 2: Ketchup as gore

Director of Jawbreaker and Sparkler Darren Stein shares dozens of films that he made from seven years old through high school with a group of neighborhood kids and his dad’s video camera. Of the dramaqueen tot “baby Cecil B. Demille,” Ira says, “It’s like a little kid decides to become a director and then not only do they have films to show for it, but their personality becomes like a movie director gone power crazy.”

One of his most controversial pieces, Gay as a Whistle, features his friend Allen in a leotard turning the football team gay by showing them a magical coin, after which point they yell “Roses!” signifying a transformation. Ira observes that it is simultaneously gay loving and homophobic at the same time.”What better way not to be gay by making fun of it and demonizing it?” Whatever carries your luggage. Looks like something to support Dan Savage’s tempest against gay-hating-politicians-gone-gay. Bend over, Mark Oaten.

Act 3: We really have to go film dad taking the cactus out

America’s Funniest Home Videos co-executive producer Todd Thicke shares insight in the half-million clips and trends within. Teaching Ira how to catch a faker (staging a climatic crescendo of hilarity), the revelation causes Ira to exclaim, “I never thought about that.” Good luck spotting the faked ones, darling-although I thoroughly DOUBT that this would be an issue for him.

Act 4: I was in so deep that I identified with the blonde cheerleader.

What happens when a girl is determined to run away and reinvent herself? Sweet, sweet escapism. Although most therapists will warn against this social tactic, it results in nerd-to-popular-girl-transformation, and the best part is it is caught on tape. Girls Gone Wild meets John Hughes.

Nerds are hot. Looking past alternative appearances, advanced brain activity equals the ability to turn on the id hidden beyond the ego Ira-style. Luckily, most girls are consumed by their paroxide-riddled high maintenance needs to impress other ladies with their Ken-doll catch, leaving abundant mind foxes for the rest of us.

“The rules of being popular seemed easy to me…Smile a lot, wear good clothes, giggle, be a little ditsy. I started remembering to forget my lunch.” She found that the most important part about being popular is not letting anyone know you were smart. While faking it is a sin, there’s nothing like feeling like a pornstar-as long as you’re not lying to yourself and believing the tissue in your bra makes you a genuine D-cup.

Act 5: They shouldn’t allow people to walk around with things like that

Sedaris recalls his mother’s quirky fear and disdain for home videos in this tasteful prose act. She avoids the lens like the plague, questioning the culture of those within two standard deviations of the AFV-obsessed  norm. But, just as some believe a virgin can get knocked up, so too can the virus of fame be caught even by the least willing. Footage of Mrs. Sedaris is uncovered three years after her death, resurrecting her neuroses post-mortem that now enchant her children.

It has inspired a Sedaris-themed haiku:

Paranoid mother

Revived as perfect on film;

Yenta lives again