Lingua Mea Vita

I Am March Madness

Before I start this next LMV entry, let’s take note of the above image. Who would’ve thought that I Am Charlotte Simmons, a novel that tackles race, sex, and class politics at Ivy League colleges, was written by the lovechild of Mark Twain and Colonel Sanders.

And in a way, I Am Charlotte Simmons even sounds like it was written between a cross between those two. Tom Wolfe has the sharp wit of Mark Twain and the…home-y-ness (?)…of Colonel Sanders. Is that right? Is fried chicken home-y?

What I mean to say is that Tom Wolfe’s voices as the books main characters, noob social-climber Charlotte, power Frat Packer Hoyt, Great White Hope Jojo, and narcissist nerd Adam ring so true. They are incredibly round, and hit so close to home. Home-y. (Plus, Charlotte is from North Carolina and there’s a lot of fun dialect peppered in the novel).

If you are looking for the perfect time of year to read this book, might I suggest now (during March Madness)? I first read this book a couple of years in March. I watched the basketball tourney and read this book in my free time, and I tell you—it built some crazy excitement. This also could be because my alma mater was named-checked in it.

Let me preface the rest of this entry by saying that I Am Charlotte Simmons is not about NCAA. Or college basketball, really, despite one of the main characters being on the basketball team. Like I said earlier, the book is really a critique of college-kid behavior (especially in Ivy League schools, where Americans have an assumption that these kids are “classier” and “know better”), and the methods of doing so through the plot are deliciously, shamefully fun—brainy Charlotte latches onto womanizer fratboy Hoyt for recognition, Hoyt comes across a politician getting a blow job, Jojo battles an upstart basketball star while being white, and Adam balances being Jojo’s bitchboy, Hoyt’s power-trip of a story and a crush on Charlotte.

It’s like Degrassi! But in college! And sophisticated!

And for those sketpics who doubt an “old fogie” like Tom Wolfe can effectively write in a voice that rings true of a college student…there is an incident called “The Night of the Skullfuck.”

Enough said.


Though I got an amazingly awesome (almost…scary) rush reading this book while reading this as a college student, I really wish I would have read this book before I went to college. I glided through high-school with intellectual, tea-drinking friends and was blissfully unaware of what college social lives were made of…and when I actually got to my university, I shut down.

I see this book as high quality high-school required reading. I know it’s got lots of sexual content and coarse language…but so does “Skins”, and “Jersey Shore”, and everything else on MTV. At least with putting I Am Charlotte Simmons in a school setting, you get to read about the same situations seen on television AND get a good teacher-led discussion.  The students read something that is stimulating for them and learn something in the process! I feel like if I’d read something like this before I’d left, I’d be more prepared. (Trust me, it still would’ve been rough, I was never at the level of your average college lush).


Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Hey everybody! Today is National Read Across America Day!

And you’re probably thinking, “Who cares? I could be starting a revolution or liking some pickle on Facebook.”

But despite the cheesy 80s PSA name, National Read Across America Day is really important because it is none other than Dr. Seuss’s birthday. That’s right, Dr. Seuss, one of the most witty and inspirational writers of the 20th century was a moody, sentimental Pisces. 😛

Dr. Seuss is such a great writer because he had this knack for saying such profound things in a fun way that spoke to children, but didn’t lose any of their value. Adults love Dr. Seuss too! I mean, what other writer made you feel like you could trash your entire house and not get in trouble for it? Didn’t Dr. Seuss’ books instill confidence in you as a kid? Even as an adult?

So, I’m going to list off a few of my favorite Seuss quotes. Enjoy, be inspired, and please, for the love of your heart and mind…read:

“Today you are You. That is truer than true. There is no one alive more You-er than You.”

“Be who you are and say what you feel because the ones who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

“I have heard that there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead, some come from behind.
But I’ve bought a big bat, I’m all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me.”

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

“You have brains in your head. You have feet on your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. You know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

“I mean what I said, and I said what I meant—an elephant’s faithful, 100 percent.”

“The more you read, the more you know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Oscar 2011 Recap or Why the Academy Will Never Truly Understand The Social Network

This years Oscars ahem, “Oscar”, presentation was not that bad. I like that they took blatant jabs at their blatant attempt to bring in a younger audience as a blatant attempt to boost ratings (I mean, young audiences LOVE self-deprecating humor, especially when they can see it from a mile away). We have two hosts this year who happen to be extremely talented. (It doesn’t help that they were both extremely good looking). Anne Hathaway was charming and energetic and eager to host. James Franco? Not so much. His nerves during his pre-show interview were enough to give me an aneurysm.

But I like James Franco. I think it was great that he was nominated for 127 Hours. I love that you rarely see him without that giant alligator grin. And I love that he loves Oprah:

Oprah recently featured him in her magazine because on top of being a good actor, a slut for punishment Ph.D. student at Yale, and a generally happy person, he’s an author. I haven’t gotten around to Palo Alto, his series of short stories, but I will and blog about it here, because I want to know all of the things that they didn’t tell Harry (Spider-mannnnn). I also love that he likes House of Leaves, the trendy book of my circle of friends in high school.

But enough about James, let me get to the part of the Oscars that evoked such guttural shrieks  from me that likely scared the crap out of my neighbors.

The Social Network won Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Social Network lost Best Picture.

  1. Best Adapted Screenplay—I expected the Social Network to win Best Adapted Screenplay this year. Not only was the dialogue and flow of the movie out of this world, it was written by Aaron Sorkin, Movie Great (whom I mentioned in a previous entry). No other movie deserved it as much. End O’Story.
  2. Best Picture—For this to be the new, “young, hip Oscars” that Anne Hathaway and James Franco often mentioned, The Social Network would have to win. Not only was it a thoughtful examination of the human condition (that aching need to belong), the examination was of an issue that I think that is specifically poignant to Gen-Y. Gen-Y aren’t babies anymore, and with the rise of social networking, everyone (not just Mark Zuckerberg) is feeling this incredible need to belong, to be accepted, and make sure that their voice is heard. This isn’t exactly true of previous generations. The Social Network points this out in such a moving way, and a way that no one else has touched, and I feel a way that no one else will touch for a very long time. But instead of giving the Best Picture Oscar of the “New, Young, Hip Oscars” they give to the inspirational movie that you still have the blow the dust off of (The King’s Speech). It may be that the members of the Academy are simply too old to understand how powerful The Social Network is, and honestly, that’s okay. I will just have to wait for the Academy to evolve at the speed of its presentation.

I do realize I have probably butchered any chance I have at ever winning an Oscar for criticizing their choice, but I can live with it. 😛 I just felt really strongly about it, and had to let it go somehow. 🙂