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This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Friday
Nov282014

In Which We Become A Completely Non-Threatening Friend

Like Me Back

by HAFSA ARAIN

In Pakistan, they don’t let girls make mistakes. We are kept from any type of wrongdoing – for if we do wrong, then we shall never be married. It is almost a sin to be an unmarried female adult. In many ways, my insistence on being alone has been a reaction to that injustice. I am alone in order to prove my independence to the world. I had those thoughts on many occasions: signing apartment leases or job offers, completing college admission packets and receiving fellowships. Girls like me didn’t use to do these things! I thought with a sort of desperation. I am a trailblazer! I had those thoughts when I moved out of my parents' home at 18, when I traveled the world at 19, at 21, at 22, at 23. I am a trailblazer.

Somewhere along the line, it came to be that this was not enough. Being alone was not enough. Even for just one gloriously short time in your life, you need someone who has loved you and who you have loved. They try to tell you this in movies, and you scoff at it. And then it hits you: they say this in movies, because it is true.

I have been alone always. I have never been attached to someone; I have never been part of a couple. A boy in high school once asked me out, and I refused, citing my religion as an impetus for singlehood. Boys in high school never asked me out, for they never noticed me. And beyond this being a point of pain for me, it was a type of twisted success. I attempted to be as invisible a teenager as I could be – standing out was asking for trouble. Being single was part of blending into the grey, blank walls. I stood by my locker when he asked me. He was nervous and jittery. I responded with broken sentences. Getting asked almost felt like a series of increasing pressures. I would not have known what to wear, what to say, how to act around him. Saying no was a relief. But for some reason, I cried on the way home on the bus.

 

In college, I asked a boy out once, though I was never fully sure why I did it. I knew he wouldn’t like me as I liked him. He was nice to me, so we went out for tea one time. But he had no intention of carrying on. It was as though I asked him out as a dare to myself, something with which I could test my own courage. It was an experiment in how American I could be: how much I could resemble the other girls in my classes. They had all had pasts; they had all had baggage. (“I just have all this baggage,” they would say, “you know, from past relationships.” Or, “I just find it so hard to trust someone again after what he did while I was studying abroad.”)

It was easier for them, I used to think. Their parents didn’t mind that they dated people, with some parents even encouraging it. My parents were afraid of dating, they were afraid of the whole concept of “the opposite sex." My parents were not American – they were and are the opposite of American. They were afraid of us being American, because if we were American then they wouldn’t understand us anymore. If we were American, then we were lost to them.

I disregarded the pain of having lost love (a common story among women my age), because I have never been in the position to fall in love in the first place. I had crushes on boys, a solidly unpleasant state when the feelings are unrequited. Though however unnatural the crush feels in the moment, it is probably the most natural feeling in the world.

I chose not to think of the question: who would I have to be for them to like me back? The image of the American woman is so different from the image I project. I am not white; I am not thin. I do not drink alcohol, and I cannot pull off a pencil skirt. I have never been able to relate to any women I have seen on television, in magazines, or even read about in books. Absolutely none of those women were Muslim women, and very, very few were South Asian. Women like me were never part of anyone’s consciousness – it is almost as though no one had ever even considered us.

 

That, and the fact that I am a woman’s woman. For as long as I can remember, women have found me to be a wonderful and completely non-threatening friend. In junior high, a girl named Sarah told me I had been a “girl crush” of hers for a long time. Everyone wanted to be my friend: for me to read them my lousy poetry in high school, to nod along with my radical thoughts in college, to hear me gripe about my life in my early twenties. Being a side character in someone else’s story became my comfort zone. When we hung out, I was the friend with whom they could always share the cab ride home. Women almost counted on me never having a boyfriend, never wearing a sexier outfit than them when going out, never being flirtatious with their beaux.

So many women, and thusly, men, have reduced me to being completely non-sexual; I am good for homo-social relationships only. I find it so hard to blame them for that assumption. Muslim women are seldom seen as anything other than oppressed. My friendships have become strained on the issue of my singleness: women will sympathetically extoll my virtues in an effort to prove me wrong. “You’ll see,” they’ll say, “There’s someone out there for everyone.” To me, that only sounds naïve.

I have to face the truth: I might never be with someone. I might never have a boyfriend, and I might never get married. I have never met a man who wanted to be with me. I am alone. I have to learn to be okay with being alone – no, with being single. Loneliness is okay once in a while, but being single is never okay. Because being single is not a value you have, but the net worth you own. And my net worth is only myself. No one has ever seen me as sexy: only as a capable, good-humored and worthwhile friend. In the end, I will add it onto my list of failures: I did not get into that Ivy League school I applied to, I did not write that book I meant to write, and I did not find someone to love me back. Not even for just a little while.

Hafsa Arain is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in California. She tumbls here and twitters here. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.

Paintings by Gertrude Abercrombie.


"Ruckus in B Minor" - Wu-Tang Clan (mp3)

"Felt" - Wu-Tang Clan (mp3)

Thursday
Nov272014

In Which Katherine Heigl Totally Redeems Herself

Shonda's Necklace

by DICK CHENEY

State of Affairs
creator Joe Carnahan

"Can we get dinner this week?" a young man Katherine Heigl has used for sex suggests from her bed. "I'll call you," she patters back. "But you don't have my number," he protests as she walks out the door. We flash back to their time together: Katherine drags him into an alleyway, and chooses to face the wall as they have wintercourse. She does this so she can pretend he is her now-deceased fiancee:

He enjoyed making love to her from behind almost as much as the rando she brought home did.

The sorrow patterning the man in bed's face now looks like an emoji. Katherine's apartment is so bizarrely lavish for a civil servant that it more resembles the bedroom of the Ayatollah.

Look away, look away, look away... (It's a Being John Mallkovich reference. OK ttyl)

Later that day, on NBC's new Homeland tribute/parody State of Affairs, Katherine - who goes by the name Charleston, presumably after the chew - flirts with a fellow CIA analyst. She's moved on, clearly. Watching her totter around the Oval Office, looking like a piece of gluten, it's hard to feel sympathy. That is until we discover her dead husband was also THE PRESIDENT'S SON.

In a nod to Mrs. Doubtfire, Heigl also portrays her own therapist.

For some reason, even though she is merely an analyst, Charlie commands shock troops targeting suspected terrorists overseas. These troops call her at the most inconvenient times - when she's at the gym, when she is taking it from behind in an alley, when she is having extended Benghazi-esque flashbacks to the perishing of the man she loved. Heigl gets this screwed up look on her face, like, "You're calling me about this now?!"

Bret Easton Ellis should look into a lawsuit, I'm pretty sure this exact scene was in 'Less Than Zero'

In almost every single review he wrote, Roger Ebert would grandiously quote Truffaut's maxim that all war movies end up making war look like fun. This is completely stupid; almost no war movie even did this. Truffaut was an idiot, did you see his later films? I might possibly be confusing him with Godard; ever since my quadruple bypass I'm a tad shaky on the French New Wave. If I wanted to watch the work of a communist, I'd go see Interstellar.

Shonda Rimes trembles with anger every time a male showrunner puts a woman in a pearl necklace. My source is Nikki Finke.

Movies about the intelligence community all seem tremendously boring actually. It's funny to watch State of Affairs momentarily cut to an action scene like they are apologizing for taking us away from the central, important drama of whether or not Heigl is getting along with her therapist this afternoon. "Good doesn't have to come, I do," she tells her shrink, explaining why she was so willing to do it doggystyle while outdoors.

This show badly needed David Cross as her love interest.

Art imitates life I'm pretty sure - wasn't that mentioned in the video where Ariana Grande was wearing those svelte boots? Obama's political innovation, besides adding an uh to every sentence imaginable, is making what used to be captivating, boring. Chris Matthews used to tremble with excitement each time President Clinton made potty; now the Secretary of Defense gets exiled to Antarctica because he criticized the school lunch program and accidentally revealed he didn't know the capital of Uzbekistan, and the collective reaction was, "Gee, Katherine really has lost weight!"

We live in profoundly unserious times. Pauly Shore has a new show where he portrays the British Prime Minister, and it's not a comedy.

Alfre Woodard was cast as the president of the United States and the mother of Heigl's dead fiancee. You could be forgiven for thinking this sounds like either a fascinating story in itself, or a chance to take subtle shots at Shonda Rimes. Neither occurs, no one even tiptoes around Heigl even though the president is basically her mother-in-law. For fuck's sake her own boss at the CIA orders her detained. (He is fired and, predictably, an actor from Lost takes his place.)

Next time, I hope they cast her as a killer-for-hire/wedding planner.

Heigl has no friends, just work acquaintances and casual fucks. Bobbing around from sit down to sit up, she sort of comes across like a buoy on a windy day. No one catches her, challenges her or even touches her other than with their penis or a folder of documents. Everything is exactly as it should be.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. Have a great holiday with your family and friends. Make us feel like we destroyed an indigenous people for a reason.

"Some Kinda Angel" - Owen (mp3)

"Girl In A Box" - Owen (mp3)

Wednesday
Nov262014

In Which We Consider This Problematic To Discuss With You

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.

Hi,
 

My boyfriend recently updated his iPhone, and a lot of his settings were reset in the process. One of these settings is the 'Read Receipt' option for text messages. Now I can see when he has read my text messages and how quickly he responds after he receives the emojis in question.

This is driving me completely crazy. Why does he sometimes wait an hour to respond to a simple question - for example, "Did you pick up the tickets?" What is the purpose of making me wait to find out the answer? Is it unethical for me to be profiting/suffering from this information without telling him?

Daisy L.

Dear Daisy,

First of all, your boyfriend is eventually going to figure out that he committed this magnificent technology faux pas. When it does, you want to be prepared with a semi-plausible answer, such as, "Oh, everyone has their read receipt on! Who cares when you answer a text?" If he buys this, you are well within your rights to judge him for being a moron. If he doesn't, move on to the next most useful excuse: "What? You had read receipt on? I thought only people over 50 didn't turn it off? Idiot."

Secondly, it is probably best not to inform him that you have secretly been seething about this since iOS 8. There's a bunch of reasons he doesn't respond in a timely fashion.

1. He doesn't care enough.

2. He's with another woman, probably an NYU grad named Cheyenne.

3. He's fumbling with all the Christmas gifts he's purchased for you and your mom and he can't reach his phone.

4. Since he doesn't know how to use read receipt, he probably is afraid of using his iPhone lest he accidentally dick pic a family member.

5. You're overwhelming him with your neediness.

These possibilities have one thing in common: you should pick a more tech-savvy partner next time.

Hi,

My friend Judy Liederschmidt recently split up with her boyfriend of five years. They went around the world together and took lots of photos in exotic places, such as Bali, the Alps, Papua. New Guinea and Mindy Kaling's birthplace.

These photos are very prominently displayed in the home they used to share, and everytime I go to see Judy Liederschmidt, who is not dealing with this situation all that well, I feel like her ex is staring a hole in my gullet. He cheated on her and it doesn't seem healthy for her to be reminded of it at all times.

How can I broach this subject with her and what do I say?

Frederick R.

Dear Frederick,

You have a few options, each with its own drawbacks.

The first of these strategeries involves heavily complimenting her appearance in a way that conveys the idea that these photos are an outdated, disgusting version of her and she requires new snaps to convey the current state of her gorgeous repose.

Failing that, find a friend who is purportedly single and bring him over to her house. She will probably hide the photos before the young man's arrival, but they may reappear upon the suitor's departure.

At this point, it would be time for full measures. Has she read John Berger's Ways of Seeing?

JK, although someone once gave us that book and said it changed his life.

No, instead you have to pretend it is you who has a problem letting go of someone. Be casually having a thing where you throw romantic letters and trinkets into a fire for some reason  it doesn't have to be the possessions of a love interest, it can be anyone in your life. Heck, it could even be Judy Liederschmidt if she doesn't straighten her fucking shit out.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen. Access This Recording's mobile site at thisrecording.wordpress.com.

 

"Are You The Matador?" - Black Whales (mp3)

"Red Fantastic" - Black Whales (mp3)