Go ahead and love something an embarrassing amount: the advice that isn't really about the advice

On Thursdays at 2:00 PM, it’s rare that I’m not staring at my phone, my podcast app open, waiting. Perchance even refreshing now and then. Thursday at 2:00 PM is when the latest episode of Mom And Dad Are Fighting drops, and as soon as I get to leave work for the day, my earbuds are in and the anticipation I feel is delicious. A whole hour - or close enough to it - of Mom and Dad awaits me, and for right now, all could not be more well. If I were to Marie Kondo (or is the verb KonMari? I forget, I’m at that much of a saturation point with this obsession) my phone and its contents, I would be unable to deny that Mom and Dad Are Fighting sparks a joy that I feel in my entire body.

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Go Ahead and Love Something an Embarrassing Amount: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in the age of the Male Glance

I finally managed to write a thing about what I consider the best show on TV right now. And I did it without spoilers! Even though it’s in its final season and it just keeps getting better, and even though I would love to write about what’s happening right now, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend had the goods starting with Season 1, Episode 1. It knew exactly what it was doing the whole time, and while we were busy laughing at its near-constant jokes, it was setting itself (and us) up to become a masterful exploration of mental illness and the damage people are coping with in their lives from a joyfully feminist perspective. It’s still really, really funny, too. But the point is, if you haven't seen the whole series, or any of the series, this essay was written for you.

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Go ahead and love something an embarrassing amount: Amahl and the Night Visitors

Christmas to me is something in between a secular holiday and a religious holiday. My own celebrations of the season have generally tended towards the former - Christmas movies, Christmas trees, and gift-giving being the main constants. And yet I have always fallen mysteriously prey to the emotional pull of religious Christmas music. Don’t get me started on the popular stuff; I can’t stand it. I can take about one Bruce Springsteen rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” a year and I’m done, and don’t come near me with that Mariah Carey racket. There was one year (ninth grade?) when I was briefly taken with Mariah Carey’s Christmas album, and it is one of the few things in my life I look back on with sincere regret. Not to yuck your yum; let’s just not go there. No, give me the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “O Come All Ye Faithful” every single time. And for that matter “Joy To The World.” Does the Savior reign? I don’t know, but who cares? You bet I’ll well up with tears when we get to “repeat the sounding joy”!

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Go ahead and Love Something an Embarrassing Amount: The Gang's Philadelphia gets rainy for a change

I spent many years not particularly liking It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, for reasons I could rarely explain very well. It was grating, and intense, and I just didn’t get it (although I am sure I never admitted that last part). I eventually gave it more of a chance and grew quite fond of it, finding myself at times fascinated by it, but I would never have said I truly loved it. With this episode, I am Sunny’s forever. What happens at the end of Season 13 makes me retroactively love the show’s entire run in a way that I never could before.

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Go ahead and love something an embarrassing amount, Vol. V: Lightness and its meaning

The world is an objectively heavy place to live in right now, and this has paradoxically become almost routine. As Sarah Koenig put it in the fifth episode of Serial’s third season, “‘what are you going to do’ starts to feel like an answer, rather than an urgent question.” But even when you do pose it as a question…what are you going to do? If you are so weighed down by the heaviness of the world at every moment, how will you ever see the ways in which you can engage with it? Italo Calvino means, I think, for us to stop thinking of literature as an escape or a frivolous pursuit and to reframe it, instead, as an engine for creative and flexible thinking.

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Go Ahead and Love Something an Embarrassing Amount, Volume IV: Enter my first guest blogger

Readers of Slow Twitch Prose, I give you Tristan Axelrod on his favorite type of humor. Incidentally, his love of it is more embarrassing to me than it is to him, but I think it still counts. He’s also a pretty good writer, and here he gives a very lucid explanation of his favorite jokes and what makes them funny (to him, at least).

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Go ahead and love something an embarrassing amount, Volume II: Italian grammar

 Nella mia casa paterna, quand’ero ragazzina, a tavola, se io o i miei fratelli rovesciavamo il bicchiere sulla tovaglia, o lasciavamo cadere un coltello, la voce di mio padre tuonava: “Non fate malagrazie!”

In my father’s house, when I was a little girl, at the table, if I or my brothers upset our glass on the tablecloth, or if we let a knife fall, the voice of my father would thunder: “Non fate malagrazie!”

One of the reasons I love teaching Natalia Ginzburg to non-native Italian speakers (and possibly the reason I so appreciate it as a non-native Italian speaker) is that if we use what we know of Italian, if we forget what we don’t know and focus on the fundamentals, we see the intentionality of this prose at work.

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Go ahead and love something an embarrassing amount, Volume I: the 'Marseillaise' scene in casablanca

There are things that bother me now about Casablanca that didn’t bother me when I was ten, but by god, I will sit through the entire movie just to feel the tears well up when Victor Laszlo stands up in front of the band and cries, “play La Marseillaise!  Play it!” I got the chills just typing that sentence and reliving that sequence in my head, in fact.

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