As I try to rescue an essay from an old, broken computer (stone cold coma'ed it is, like a Days of Our Lives character, awaiting a new storyline) for editing overhaul and possible submission to EMP Pop Con 2006, I have been reading the big kids' bios from previous years and feeling more and more preschool all the time. Because this playground I am eyeing, it has a big sign over the monkeybars that says, "LEGITIMATE," and another one next to the sandbox that says "ESTABLISHED," and I hear that Bobby X-gau beats you up and takes yr lunch money if you try to go down the slide. I am worrying about this, and about definitions of legitimacy and success in cultural criticism, and the ways in which they intersect with gendered assumptions about virtuosity and skill. I am thinking about my lady Becky Smith, who would have EMP-Con panels and syndicated columns coming out of her ears right this second if the world were anything close to fair, until I come across the following sentence:
When our five-year-old daughter Olivia's goldfish, Bluie, died, the other week, we were confronted by a crisis larger, or, at least, more intricate, than is entirely usual upon the death of a pet.
What's this? An earnest effort from the first night of a YMCA adult education creative writing class? Why no, it's Adam Gopnik writing in the New Yorker last July! I'm not trying to step to A. Gopnik, dude is fine, and has done great stuff in the past, and can write. But does achieving this thing called Legitimacy mean you can throw eight commas into the salvos of yr essays in drunken lapses of stylistic sanity? That you can toss off sentence structures with all the pacing, rhythm and clarity of Christopher Walken reading early Gertrude Stein in a six-page column in one of the most elite publications in the world and have yr editor give you a big fat pass? Even if it doesn't, being Legitimate at least means you will get gigs, and that is rilly, rilly essential, because without gigs, you will never get a bio. And without a bio, you will never be Legitimate. Right. Did Joseph Heller make this shit up or what?
Lucky for me I already have my bio good and ready:
Lizzie Pogo (AKA DJ Polly Seamy) is arts editor of numerous publications, including New York Metro NYC, NYC New York Metro, the Manhattanist, the Dusseldorf Times-Picayune and the Ronne Ice Shelf Gazette. She is also a frequent contributor to Hoyden Wench, Fucked-Up, Toothache, Rockist Review, McSwooney's, and Bummerang, and founded the performance art journal Scrimshaw at the age of 5.
After receiving an Anna Nicole Smith Genius Award for her 2004 one-woman multi-media show Speculum!, Pogo accepted a fellowship at Urger University, where she now teaches music journalism, performance art theory, quantum mechanics and basket-weaving. In her spare time, Pogo DJs Thursday nights at Brooklyn's Club CosmoNaughty, runs a number of record labels, guest-curates art shows and organizes vocoder workshops. Her book Blow It Out Yr Ass: Subversion, Performance & Methodology is forthcoming from Plosive Press.