Around 5:00 a.m. on a cold Northern California morning in 2005, Aaron Fielding of Los Altos, artist, poet, and musician, 27, entered his mother’s bedroom and told her that he may have to castrate himself. Caroline Fielding expressed concern for her son while Aaron lay down beside her on her bed. Aaron saw before him an hourglass full of sand as real as Macbeth’s dagger. He knew that the hourglass was illusory, but he also saw that it was about to run out. Its purpose was to communicate a message from God: You’re running out of time and you’re going to go to Hell if you don’t castrate yourself, Aaron.
An episode such as “Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy” is almost a more surprising turn for Community than a gimmick episode like “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.” If forced to describe the series to a neophyte, I’d call it an attempt to make a traditional community sitcom (e.g. Cheers) as filtered through the lens of pop culture fanaticism. “Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy” only accomplished that goal if we choose to view it as a parody of classic sitcom misunderstandings.
Typical episodes of Community are becoming harder to distinguish from parody episodes. The recent “Intro to Political Science” frames itself as a parody episode, with three of the study group facing off against each other and five others for the office of president of the Greendale Community College student government and the chance to meet Vice President Joe Biden, but the political sphere, which the show portrays with all its cruelty, nonsensicality, and vanity intact, doubles seamlessly as the interpersonal sphere.
Jeremy Bernard is the White House’s newly chosen Social Secretary, an individual charged with leveraging the institution’s prestige for political currency—or “party planner.” Bernard is currently chief-of-staff to the U.S. Ambassador to France, prior to which he raised heaps of cash for the Obama campaign. (Sometimes correlation does indeed imply causation.) Bernard is the first man to become Social Secretary. He is also the first openly gay person to do so.
Stuff We Like
Quickly, the premise of Salvador Plascencia’s virtuosic first novel, The People of Paper (2005): Ten years after his wife left him, her intolerance of his nightly bedwetting finally outweighing her love, Federico de la Fe makes war to reclaim his subjectivity from the floodwaters of despair. Though flatly crushed for a time in the wake of his abandonment, de la Fe yet summons a martial resolve, as he recruits volunteers and devises strategy for a supernatural campaign, with headquarters in El Monte, California. His opponent in this fantastical war? A force-in-the-sky alternately identified as “Saturn” and “omniscient narration”—yes, de la Fe’s declared foe is the author himself. But what of this war—and why? Froggy, leader of the local street gang El Monte Flores turned footsoldier for de la Fe, is posed the same question by his peers; he answers by calling it “a war for volition and against the commodification of sadness”; whereas de la Fe himself explains, “it is a war against the fate that has been decided for us.” Fucking epic, right? >>