All the Alana Masseys Are Cool

If you're just tuning into this blog for the first time, the proprietor is a self-involved but ultimately harmless caricature of late 20s angst navigating the digital age through a series of writing jobs,  lots of Twitter labor that pays only in validation, and with expertly basic fashion choices. That proprietor is me, Alana Massey. BEHOLD HER AT THE WORK MACHINE:

No filter, sluts!

That is what my face used to look like when I would search Google and find only super-earnest results about my social justice activism and my graduate studies and other ZZZZZ borning stuff about me online with a bunch of other stuff about other people with my name who ran hair salons and daycares. I was like, "The Internet has a right to know that I'm the coolest of the Alana Masseys! And I'm not all serious! I also have lots of thoughts about men and cats!" And so I started writing about both. Then I started writing about others things like culture politics and the sexual economies of thinness and about deficits in religious education. And within a year I was DOMINATING the Google results on my name.

Then yesterday I got an email that was like "People are Googling you and finding your academia.edu profile!" and I was like "Cool, it must be because I'm so cool! Then a reporter from Toronto contacted me on Twitter to ask about this dominatrix in Canada who is threatening to out politicians that purchase services from sex workers to demonstrate the harm of a proposed law there. I write about sex work and privacy in the US and in my delusions of grandeur was like, "LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE NEEDS AN EXPERT!" So I prepped for the interview by reading this article about the dominatrix in question. And then was like, "Ohhhhh."

Alana in her signature basics.

Halfway through, it reads, "Alana Massey, an independent sex worker in Toronto who is working on her PhD, said Wednesday that she hopes Bedford won’t follow through on her threat. 'This is a bad idea,' she said. 'It’s really easy for Terri-Jean to do that. She’s retired. But no current worker will out their client. It would be career suicide. No client would see them.'" And then I realized that it probably wasn't my jokes about half-eaten donuts from that day that were driving people to their Google machines.

For a moment I was like, "Of all the ethnically unplaceable name combinations in the world, why did someone choose 'Alana Massey' as their sex work pseudonym?" Then I found out that it is her real legal name and she is just a badass that's like "Ehh, fuck stigma, I'm Alana Massey" which makes it kind of fucking badass. And then I stopped being all fussy that I don't have the world's most unique name and sent a salute northward to my sister-from-a-mister-of-likely-shared-ancestry-but-ultimately-different-North-American-nations.

Then I was like, "Running a daycare is badass cause it lets people work and have more affordable care than individual babysitters!" and then was like, "Having a salon is badass cause new haircuts make people feel good and entrepreneurialism and shit!" And then I Googled Alana Massey and sent digital high fives out into the ether to all the broads that share my name.

But if we are going to be real about this whole thing, the coolest Alana Massey is actually Ilona Massey, whose name I can't find a phonetic pronunciation of so I am pretending its identical to mine! She was a fiery Hungarian screen GODDESS and a bad bitch all around. You may now proceed to bow down:

"I'm bored by your talk of filters."

The Woman's Complete Guide to Leaning the Fuck In

Ladies: they have so many troubles! When they aren't bleeding like wild coyotes, they are made fun of relentlessly for enjoying pumpkin-flavored beverages in the fall. When they aren't being murdered by their spouses, they are  facing exceptionally high rates of scrutiny in the workplace. Fortunately, an elaborate performance art piece depicting the decline of the capitalist intelligentsia called The New York Times is always at the ready to reveal how this might be remedied. Today, a story called "Learning to Love Criticism," by Tara Mohr essentially gave women a dozen ways to blame themselves for institutional barriers that make them feel like shit at work and several variations on leaning in to remedy them. FIND A FEMALE MENTOR! CONSULT YOUR FAVORITE FEMALE FICTION AUTHOR AND PRETEND SHE'S GIVING YOU ADVICE! IMAGINE THAT ITS ALL IN YOUR HEAD, DUMMY!

But what is missing from this advice? A NEW BOOK TO SPEND YOUR CENTS ON THE DOLLAR ON, DUH. Below are the titles I am working on for every kind woman that needs to do every kind of leaning in.

Lean Into the Wild- For the  woman in search of adventure and self-discovery, but has limited botany knowledge

Lean INXS- For the woman that needs him tonight, cause she's not sleepin'.

Lean In the Valley of Elah- For the woman who would dad-fantasy-fuck Tommy Lee Jones and isn't afraid to let you know it

Lean Cuisine In - For the woman who loves ham and cheese but eschews cold sandwiches as peasant provisions

Lean Inside Job- For the woman who whistleblew on the financier robber barons and lost her job for it while they returned unscathed to the riches of investment banking on golden parachutes

Lean In On Me- For the women who loved singer/songwriter Bill Withers, from near and afar

Star Trek: Lean Into Darkness: For the women who write Benedict Cumberbatch/Zach Quinto erotic fan fiction between job applications

The Lean-In Crowd: For the woman whose parents got confused at the video store and rented this janky Cruel Intentions knock-off at her birthday party, turning her into a social pariah and recluse

Lean In the Name of the Father: For the woman who is prison pen-pals with an Irish political dissident because goddam, they are so fly with their black curls and their rage.

Lean Into the Groove- For the woman whose only free when she's dancing.

All of these titles will be available in hardcover from Chez Massey Publications  and ready to gather dust for months as you claw powerlessly for some free time away from the excessive demands of work, family, and social expectations.

Four Advertisements That Told You Bigger Damn Lies Than Usual

Advertising! It pays for things! Like TV shows about real housewives (made of plastic that have paying jobs) and cats from Hades! And journalism about similarly important affairs! Sometimes, FAMOUS PEOPLE star in it!  Its like seeing movies for free just with no plot and mostly Photoshopped to Hello! magazine headquarters and back rendering the celebrities dead-eyed and hollow! Celebrities in ads, they're just like us! Girl, I feel you on the "one leg bent outward to look skinnier" trick. THAT SHIT WORKS.

But advertising is  a cruel mistress and a minx. It draws us in with punchy copy and sexy models then makes us spend wages we're not earning on products that will render us neither sexy nor punchy. It transforms once lithe magazines into monstrous tomes and prevents us from getting straight to the "Anaconda" video on Youtube where we all belong.  It makes otherwise sane people develop crushes on a sociopathic human Eeyore named Don Draper as he waxes poetic with his convoluted word wizardry and day drinking.

Yet some ad campaigns have seemed to transcend all that hogwash and glitter and get to the heart of something deeper, some poignant note about the endurance of the human spirit in a vulnerable world. Surely everyone has been  touched by an ad that made them  feel a little more certain in an uncertain world. To those people, I'd like to introduce myself. I am a big wet blanket full of a dose of truth more potent than the case of smallpox that hippie family's kid is carting around because he wasn't vaccinated. Which is why I am about to ruin some inspiring ads that might have momentarily warmed that delicate fist-sized organ in your chest cavity.

 

 

THAT FRIEND THAT GOT YOU, FACEBOOK

Facebook has ads for Facebook on Facebook.  The one below recently emerged and  it was soooo cute because we all have that friend that just GETS ITS when you wear a miniature green cowboy hat. But Facebook is mostly not home to those types of friends. It is home to monstrous strangers that look like people you once knew.

This ad for Facebook was found ON Facebook. WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO CONVINCE?

You see, once upon a time, only an elite gang of private school brats and outlying bandits that craftily stole .edu email address with impunity were able to have Facebook accounts. Back then, it was super exciting to connect to someone you hadn't seen since junior high because it had only been like five years since you had seen them. Maybe back then, this ad had some truth. But the democratization of Facebook means that longer stretches of time pass between when you last spoke to someone and when you connect with them on the ole 'book.  Conversations nowadays go something like this:

Jean: Glory, Miranda! So great to get connected again! It has been an age!

Miranda: Hasn't it though? We had so much fun together on the pep squad! I can't even remember the last time we saw each other.

Jean: I think it was in 1988 at the 10 year reunion at the Marriott. You and Pascal had just returned from your honeymoon to the Corn Palace out in Mitchell.  What HAVE you been up to?

Miranda: Oh when our last daughter moved out, Pascal and I  sold the house and moved into a cabin where I run a vegan nihilist blog while he builds an empire on Etsy selling crafts made from squirrel bones. What about you?

Jean: I'm a professor at Columbia and spend most  my weekends hosting underground salon discussion where local elites plan a fascist coup to further fortify existing structures of power and lord over the unwashed masses...(PAUSE) I do love cooking with tempeh!

Miranda: Oh tempeh is on its way out, I'm much more vegetable than grain-based in the recipes for my blog that is ultimately pointless in this world void of meaning or any truly moral actors!(PAUSE) So....you always did have big ambitions! Salon discussions, huh?

Jean: That's what I fucking said, isn't it, you wood-dwelling peasant?

Miranda: Your revolution will fail, Jean. All the revolutions will fail.

(PAUSE)

Jean: You'll have to give me the link to your blog!

Miranda: Will do! Great catching up!

Jean: SAME!

IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING, ADIDAS

ali20adidas  Oh the old, "Let's put our transcendent word salad inspiration copy on top of a larger-than-life public personality and make it seem like she/he said it!" trick.  It is a sneaky tactic that has convinced people that Benjamin Franklin invented capitalism and that Harriet Tubman practiced yoga.  The "Impossible Is Nothing" campaign did it to a man (presumably with his estate's permission but STILL) with whom one ought not trifle.

First, because Muhammad Ali knows very well that there are a lot of things that are impossible. For example,  standing up to unjust wars  like the one in Vietnam and not paying dearly for it or recovering from Joe Frazier's vicious left hook. Secondly, because Mohammad Ali has made so many more pointed and blistering critiques of sports, society, race, and war that associating him with this drivel ought to be treason or something. Also, come on Adidas: "Impossible" has ten letters in it, which is just not that big of  a word.

 

EVERYTHING DOVE EVER SAYS ABOUT SELF ESTEEM, UNILEVER

The soap-sized gap between your daughter and her fully realized self.

Before Dove started their self-esteem workshops for girls, the world was a wasteland free of any ways of giving girls a sense that they were beautiful such as gentle and encouraging parenting tactics or movements designed to affirm them like Girl Scouts, sports, positive role models, books with strong female leads, feminist teachers, or a kind network of  friends. THANK GOD DOVE CAME ALONG TO GIVE THE FIRST DOSE OF BEAUTIFUL FEELINGS TO THESE GIRLS. It only took them so long because their parent company, Unilever, was working on its latest Fair & Lovely campaign to promote the popular skin-lightening products that exists because international beauty standards are still in a chokehold by insidious white supremacy so women all over the world put toxic chemicals on their skin to make it lighter.  The good people at Unilever's ad team were also putting the finishing touches on a new Axe Body Spray advertisement where women dressed up in leather cat suits and crawled on the floor toward men as if he were a laser pointer because women degenerate into animals at the mere mention of Axe products. Girls are beautiful, women are sex-crazed cat monster people who could go down a few shades.

LIVE RICHLY CAMPAIGN, CITIBANK

I get it, you guys have a really good copy team.

 

To be clear, I have mad respect for the entire horrifyingly effective Live Richly campaign that Citibank ran early in the century. It included other cutesy and feel-good ads like, "Money can't buy happiness. But it can buy marshmallows, which are kind of the same thing." It was all "hahahahahaha, we understand the neurotic and soul-crushing obsession you have with money, it really is hard to have those feelings. We get it. Come trade a smile. Buy a flower. Laugh harder. Sign up for a financial product that we'll earn obscene amounts of interest on. I mean...eat marshmallows. Yes, yes that's right. Sign at the bottom and initial where I've highlighted. There there, I'm sure she's going to call you."

 

So Your Facebook Movie Sucked Too, Huh?

On my tenth birthday, I celebrated with a three layer cake covered in pink frosting and several bootleg mini-troll dolls dancing up the layers.  Before the cake cutting, my guests were invited to select a troll doll of their liking as a party favor and proceed to lick the frosting off their naked plastic bodies.  Though I have no photos of the cake in my possession, there is online documentation of my troll obsession. Behold, the troll jumper:

Who needs Etsy when you've got a mom?

Okay, so I actually think it was my ninth birthday that I had the troll cake but whatever.  The point is, I know how to throw a goddam birthday party way better than Facebook does.  To celebrate ten years of existence, they've released your "Facebook Movie" which is actually just a crap slideshow of screenshots from your Facebook career.  The first rule of retrospective slideshows is you have to set them to "Here's to the Night" by Eve 6.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5DOGsoiW6c&feature=kp

There is no second rule of retrospective slideshows.

While there is some variation among these, I have seen two primary trajectories that Facebook Movies take among my peer group, both will make you feel TERRIBLE.

Trajectory 1: The Unmarried Young Professional

If you don't have the minute it takes to watch your movie, the most important takeaway is that you got OLDER.   Hopefully you tapered off on your binge-drinking too.

Your most-liked statuses are jokes you made at peak usage hours and have precious little to do with your accomplishments or relationships, which they've mercifully spared you of rehashing (or maybe that's just me cause I never interacted with romantic interests on the ole 'book).

75% of my most-like statuses were about celebrities (The Spice Girls, Tony Blair, Keanu Reeves, Kate Beckinsale & Claire Danes for those keeping track at home).    Thanks for reminding what a bang-up job I did of being poignant, Facebook.

If you went to NYU and haven't deleted your old photo albums, there is a strange phenomenon of EVERYONE looking kind of strung out.  I think we all had vitamin deficiencies or something.  Good thing so few of you are deranged enough to seek public office.

Who do you think you're kidding, Bobcat (Violet)? The NYU mascot situation was weird.

Trajectory 2:  Married With Children

First of all, congratulations on your marriage and the birth of your child(ren)! I am being completely sincere, those are major milestones in the lives of people who want them.  But my guess is that your Facebook movie is less about you than it is about them.

Any jokes you made that weren't about the half-adorable half-lunatic things your kid said simply did not make the cut. Your life before your family was completely obliterated because people are way more stoked that you got married than that you hiked the foothills of the Himalayas or got your dream job.   I semi-relate because the pictures they used for my preview were overwhelming of my fur kid since I don't have any skin kids yet:

An accurate assessment of my priorities, if I'm being honest.

I know that a vaguely magical algorithm trawler made this thing, but COME ON Facebook.  For how well you creep on my online shopping habits, you got a seriously budget robot to tell the story of the last ten years of my online social life.  The least you could have done is remind me of how "Poke"able I was in my early twenties or how many sheep I threw at my friends.

Warning: Professional sheep thrower.  Do not try in real life.