Everything else

Editor’s Letter

May 2012: Power

This month’s mascot is this random Joy Division fan from the 1980s.

Greetings and salutations, Rookies! This month’s theme is Power. You know, like money. Or fame. Or…that Kanye West song? Dammit, today is May first and I don’t even know. What is POWER? From whencehence does one’s POWER cometh, eth? Let us take a walk to the mountains, each one topped with a wise old person with a beard, and find out.

“Oh, sweetie! We can help you!” I am warmly welcomed once I’ve climbed mountain #1 by four young women named Charlotte, Miranda, Samantha, and Carrie. They seem happy and powerful to me. They have nice shoes and healthy hair and the two kick out in opposite directions whenever they laugh and drink their Cosmopolitans. (The magazine. Like, they stuff copies of the magazine Cosmopolitan into martini glasses and slurp the paper.)

“What is the meaning of POWER?” I beg.

“Babies!” cries Charlotte.

“The study of law!” suggests Miranda, throwing a gavel into the air and letting it land somewhere on the ground below.

“The female reproductive system!” slurps Samantha, throwing an ovary up into the air and letting it land somewhere on the ground below.

Carrie doesn’t respond. Instead, she rises, pours pig’s blood on herself, and starts looking at us all very intensely. The mountain begins to slowly crumble beneath our butts. This is sad to me because they have nice chairs, and my butt had gotten really comfy.

“Ugh, she always does this!” cries Charlotte. “What a silly gal, I heart her so much!” On that last word, her voice cracks for the 28th time in that sentence, and her head bursts into flames.

Samantha is trying to down the last of the Cosmopolitans, and Miranda has already evaporated into a handful of orange dust. I begin to run down the mountain before I, too, become a floating aura of what may or may not be female empowerment. But first I must get my answer. “Carrie! Wait! So the meaning of Power is revenge?” But it seems to be too late. She is now levitating into the heavens, as a woman who calls herself Sarah Jessica Parker appears out of nowhere and booms in a narrator’s voice so that all below can hear, “That night, we learned something special about power. Something something poop something. At least we will always have each other! Shoes!!!!!”

That was no help. I climb mountain #2, to find four other young women sitting against a picture-day backdrop with a New York City skyline painted on it. They tell me their names are Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshana. “Do you know what Power means?” I ask. They shake their heads and look sad. “Maybe we will find out in season two,” Hannah says. “Oh my god, you got renewed for a second season?” I ask. “Yes,” she answers. I do a happy little jig, and am so thrilled that I don’t even realize that I’ve fallen off the mountain completely.

At the top of mountain #3 is a college-age Tina Fey with a couple guys from her school. They tell me the name of this here spot is Old Rag Mountain, and Tina whispers in my ear that she climbed it because she thought she would get with one of the dudes, with no luck.*

“That sucks and I’m sorry,” I say. “But do you know the meaning of Power?”

“Not now, no. But one day, I will grow up and write Mean Girls and create 30 Rock and be Tina Fey, and then I will be the biggest badass ever, and have lots of power.”

“And what will it all MEEEEEEEEEAN?” I need to know, and I’m tired, and my butt still hurts.

“Technically, it will be granted to me by other people. I will show that I deserve it, however, by first finding power within myself.”

“That’s deep,” I say.

“I know,” says Tina Fey. “Will you be my best friend?”

“I’m sorry, but I just don’t have the time. I need to go find power within myself,” I say, “or something.” Tina Fey is very sad that we are not friends. Poor Tina Fey.

Thinking about what Tina Fey said, I kneel by a pond down on ground level and stare into my reflection. I furrow my brow and adjust my jawline so that I look as if I could be a politician, or an actor playing a politician, or the politician character’s right-hand dog/best friend. But what stares back at me is not 2008-era Kevin Bacon, or a beagle with surprisingly strong comic timing. It is the “Blister in the Sun” scene from My So-Called Life. The American Beauty scene from Freaks and Geeks. The “Dancing on My Own” scene from Girls. Holy shit, private bedroom-dancing scenes are the best kind of scene EVER. I go home, put on some Madonna, and jam out by myself.

In all seriousness though, and without sounding like, LET’S TALK ABOUT MY STORY OF PERSONAL TRIUMPH—yesterday I was having a shitty day in what felt like a series of many shitty weeks. After the inevitable bathroom-stall sobfest/pity party, I spent my next class writing instead of taking notes. As I was venting, I ended up demanding to know why I was letting dumb things bother me and make me feel bad, and insisting on being tired of it and getting over it, and it slowly became a kind of personal manifesto, and then on the way to my next class I thought of that scene from Girls and how when Hannah is throwing her own pity party, she could have listened to sad acoustic music, but chose ROBYN instead. So I put “Dancing on My Own” on my iPod and felt like I was GLIDING through the halls and kind of smiled to myself on accident before I realized I looked mildly disturbed and then I just kept smiling anyway. And I felt way better, and OK with myself, and with most things.

What’s nice about the kind of power you create for yourself when you’re able to change the way you feel about a situation instead of waiting for the situation to change for you is that you can’t ever get nostalgic for that feeling, the feeling of having power over how you decide to deal with something. You can’t ever miss it the way you miss the happiness that comes from nice memories of concerts or summer or vacations or times with friends or whatever, because it’s really just you being you. Once you reach that mindset, you can always come back to it. And knowing that made me feel like the most powerful, in-control-of-my-life-so-eff-y’all person since Some Evil Dictator Person.

Different outlets work for different people, and I personally was happy that pure thinking and writing got me there. This month, we’re gonna talk about inner-power-searchers of all kinds, but the ones from the ’80s especially, when there were SO MANY GOOD ONES. Not just Madonna, but, like, I think John Hughes made coming to terms with your own weaknesses and really owning them and turning them into personal power a somewhat radical act. Leeann is also writing about a few good-lookin’ subcultures of the time who will inspire your pants off. Then we have lots of ’80s angst-dwellers like Morrissey, who always makes me feel like I can listen to depresso lyrics set to a somewhat upbeat tune and in that way kind of accept feelings of angst and anxiousness. Power is also a weird, scary, funny part of high school politics, so get ready for HEATHERS REFERENCES GALORE.

I really hope you like all of it. Plus, omg, SCHOOL IS ALMOST OVER, so we have all the more reason to bounce around to Culture Club as we write about prom.

Love,
Tavi

* If you get this reference to Tina Fey’s essay in her book Bossypants, consider yourself a member of the culturally elite. P.S. THIS FOOTNOTE IS A REFERENCE TOO AND I AM META.

79 Comments

  • KinuKinu May 1st, 2012 3:09 PM

    This was so funny!I have the worst cramps right now but this made me feel better.
    :D

  • decemberbaby May 1st, 2012 3:14 PM

    BEDROOM DANCING AND HEATHERS REFERENCES GALORE?!?! *hyperventilates*

    I love these Editor’s Letters. Each is more fascinating than the one before. Also, I love the look of today’s background and this month’s calendar. I wouldn’t have thought of wilted flowers, black and pale pink for May, but it’s gorgeous.

  • bird May 1st, 2012 3:16 PM

    Wow – I just had the suckiest day from sucketh town, and it sucked. This helped. Thanks! I think I will go and listen to some John Hughes soundtracks now…

  • Susann May 1st, 2012 3:20 PM

    Well-written and so true! Can’t wait for this month’s posts :)

    http://fashioninpepperland.blogspot.com

  • teenager May 1st, 2012 3:27 PM

    your fiction (or is it?) story reminded me SO much of The Little Prince which is my favorite book EVER so whoopdeedoo!

    I am beyond pumped for this month, I’m in need of some power and am always in need of more MORRISSEY ♥__♥

    (I’m listening to “Hairdresser on Fire” right now right now)

  • Claire May 1st, 2012 3:29 PM

    Psh…that was A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again…

    • callie May 1st, 2012 6:49 PM

      congratulations, you are obviously a super elite member of the cultural elite!*

      *just too meta for words, oh god when will it end

      • bedazzledbandannas May 1st, 2012 8:03 PM

        help I am impervious to these references and they are making me sink into a torpor
        (please please someone get this reference so instead of seeming like I am having a stroke I am also recognised as one of the cultural elite)
        *it will never end

  • starcollector May 1st, 2012 3:34 PM

    If I would have dreams like this, I’d probably rule the world with an iron fist of awesome. (also, LLTF: Long Live Tina Fey)

    http://china-lily.blogspot.com/

  • mayaautumn May 1st, 2012 3:42 PM

    your so great at ‘creative writing’! i am soooo looking forward to this month..(even though i say that every month!) it sounds G-R-E-A-T:)

    http://cottonmixblog.blogspot.com

  • whodatgal May 1st, 2012 3:50 PM

    I am fridging excited

    http://www.opheliahorton.wordpress.com

  • Dayzee May 1st, 2012 4:00 PM

    ‘Carrie doesn’t respond. Instead, she rises, pours pig’s blood on herself, and starts looking at us all very intensely.’ Burst into laughter there.
    Tavi, amazing definition of power. You are so impressive, doesn’t seem like you are only 2 years older than me!
    check out my blog
    http://www.styledynamite.blogspot.co.uk/

  • KristenWiigsWig May 1st, 2012 4:04 PM

    This is too perfect. I think I cackled out loud at least 3 times while reading it. And by the way, my first thought before even reading the footnote was “OMG BOSSYPANTS REFERENCE I AM ~*ELITE*~ FOR CATCHING THAT ONE YUP YUP”

  • Saraleebread May 1st, 2012 4:21 PM

    YES. Tina Fey. I’m obsessed with her right now. She is an amazing human being.

  • tinklebot5000 May 1st, 2012 4:27 PM

    Sooo the Sex and the City part made me laugh my ass off. You rock Tavi.

  • MissKnowItAll May 1st, 2012 4:29 PM

    Dear Tavi,
    after much observing and studying I have concluded that I love you. Therefore, I am adopting you into my internet family. No questions asked.

  • Kristen May 1st, 2012 4:32 PM

    Spotted: unintentional (?) Heather’s reference in the first line. Love that geeky way he says greetings and salutations

    I’m really excited for this issue… please please please have more Why Can’t I Be Yous!

  • Ruby B. May 1st, 2012 4:37 PM

    Poor Tina Fey indeed.

  • Ginny May 1st, 2012 4:44 PM

    …Why do I hate my country and flag so much?!

    (In other news, I am very excited for this month.)

  • darksideoftherainbow May 1st, 2012 4:48 PM

    tavi, power is a curious thing. it’s a trick, a shadow on the wall. and, a very small man can cast a very large shadow.

    OR, if you subscribe to cersei’s school of thought, power is power.

    LOVE ROOKIE!

  • youarebananas May 1st, 2012 4:56 PM

    YAY i got the tina fey reference! and omg, article about power+prom/high school politics/high school gender politics/power struggles?

    also this made me think of a brilliant quip from oscar wilde: “Everything in the world is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power.”

    so excited for this month!

    • Moxx May 1st, 2012 5:05 PM

      Yes yesss
      ~*~* Oscar Wilde *~*~

  • alicerose May 1st, 2012 4:58 PM

    Tavi, you godlike genius, you! This was invigorating! ♥

  • Kathryn May 1st, 2012 5:00 PM

    I was thinking “This situation seems vaguely familiar…” but I didn’t put together that it was from Bossypants until the footnote. YAY TINA FEY. <3

  • Moxx May 1st, 2012 5:01 PM

    Thank you for starting this off with a Heathers reference. Also, this text made me think of

    Mr. Natural! What does it all mean?

    Don’t mean sheeeeeeit

    • Moxx May 1st, 2012 5:06 PM

      (because… What -does- it mean?)

  • darksideoftherainbow May 1st, 2012 5:13 PM

    i left it out of my previous comment but power resides where men believes it resides. SO, i guess there’s different kinds…hahaha

  • canklesandclothes May 1st, 2012 5:21 PM

    Mwahaha. Totally got the pop culture reference. Made Bossypants extra worth it (though the fact I nearly piddled myself laughing reading most of it was probably good enough to start.)

    canklesandclothes.blogspot.com

  • ThePuNkR0ckeR May 1st, 2012 5:28 PM

    MAY 12th is my birthday and I’m so sad it’s on a saturday

    • KinuKinu May 1st, 2012 7:49 PM

      Oh………my b-day is on a Saturday,too.Well,Friday will be my *early birthday present*

  • hannachronism May 1st, 2012 5:30 PM

    Yay for the SATC bashing and the upcoming Heathers references! Fuck me gently with a chainsaw, I’m excited for this month!

  • oriGINAlity95 May 1st, 2012 5:36 PM

    I am, literally, on the edge of my chair waiting for those Heathers references!!!

    http://my-spare-oom.tumblr.com/

  • maya23 May 1st, 2012 5:40 PM

    <3 Bossypants <3

  • PearlFog May 1st, 2012 5:51 PM

    I need to see this ‘Girls’ programme, I have been reading about it everywhere! That reminds me, there was a very nice article about Tavi in the Guardian (high tone UK newspaper) this week, felt very in the know having been enjoying Rookie for so long :o)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/apr/22/girls-internet-rookie-eva-wiseman?INTCMP=SRCH

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/PearlFog

  • sedgwick May 1st, 2012 6:03 PM

    since this is power, and referencing the 80s, are you going to talk about power shoulders? this is not a special request or whatev – just thought it was a nifty thematic connection. also this is a great editors letter. i’m going to print it out.

  • viv8 May 1st, 2012 6:25 PM

    remember when she was all “Remember at the beginning of the story where I was the underdog? No? Me Neither.” POWER.

  • Razzer May 1st, 2012 6:33 PM

    I hope this month’s theme is littered with lots and lots of SATC references! After every episode I always develop a strong belief that I have the power to become a writer like Carrie (thus this fails every time ha)

  • rayano-banano May 1st, 2012 6:57 PM

    Tavi…I just went through the same thing with Girls/Dancing on my Own. Love you.

  • Naomi May 1st, 2012 7:01 PM

    tina fey’s honeymoon cruise story made me laugh like a crazy woman in bed at four in the morning.
    tavi, i have never read anything as true as not feeling nostalgic about something because it’s you feeling you – and it’s usually bedroom dancing that makes me feel that POWERFUL. gosh, anther reason to love music to a divine level.

  • mwong1025 May 1st, 2012 7:01 PM

    “Throwing an ovary up into the air.” Be right back crying for the rest of my life.

    http://www.style-abuse.blogspot.com

  • ladyjenna May 1st, 2012 7:14 PM

    FOOTNOTECEPTION!!!*

    *By the way, LOVE TINA FEY!!!*

    *FOOTNOTECEPTION!!!!

  • Indiegirl2679 May 1st, 2012 7:29 PM

    Omg so Tavi!!
    First of all so excited about this month’s theme Power is super cool and a great topic for teenage girls of all people to read and write about!OH and so freeking excited about the upcoming John Hughes mentionings ( aka not a word) he honestly made some of the most true to the teenager soul movies ever+ his movies have some great characters who have power within their grasp or have to come to terms with it!
    And also id like to mention that i saw you today! you were walking near washington in river forest and i go to Fenwick…. and in my defense NO i was not stalking you though i might be liable to do so, just kidding, anyway loved your outfit and i was going to stop and say hi but again didnt wanna seem like a creep. LOVE ROOKIE and have been a dedicated follower for two years you and the other writers of rookie really helped me in the transition to HS last year and i probably wouldnt have lived thru it without yall THANKS

    • Tavi May 2nd, 2012 9:59 PM

      aw you should say hi next time, i don’t bite!!

  • Fortune_Goddess May 1st, 2012 7:48 PM

    I totally got that reference from Bossy Pants. And I love the graphic for Power this month!

  • Maialuna May 1st, 2012 7:57 PM

    I just have to say that this whole thing made my day a lot better. And then you said Culture Club at the end. And Boy George is my idol. Or one of them. So yeah. This made me happy.

  • lovegoodideas May 1st, 2012 8:35 PM

    i am a member of the cultural elite!

  • Lorelei May 1st, 2012 8:55 PM

    Oh em gee. I just finished reading Carrie yesterday afternoon – so I feel super in the loop right now.

  • SpencerBowie May 1st, 2012 9:24 PM

    HOLY CRAP TAVI THAT WAS SO FUNNY!!! :) Power is gonna be a great subject and could not have a better theme!!!

    I was wondering if it is too late to submit a bit of inspiration this power/80′s thing about…The POWER The Breakfast Club Has Had Over Me! A little essay on my experience with my fave movie of all time and why!?!

    I’ll do me best to submit soon, if you’ll have me!

    Thx, HAPPY MAY!!!!!

    • Anaheed May 1st, 2012 9:53 PM

      Yes please submit!

    • Cruicked May 3rd, 2012 2:13 PM

      Oh my gosh I want to read that. The Breakfast Club means so much to me and I’m sure it does to plenty of other Rookie readers.

  • Giulia Lain May 1st, 2012 9:36 PM

    When I read it, I caught myself thinking “what the hell…? Is April already over?”… the time just fly away and I can’t enjoy it as I should. I think I’m getting too tired. Every Editor’s Letter I read is something really weird, because it’s always scary how much the time goes fast.
    I think I need to have too much power this month, so I can take on it all.

  • Ellie May 1st, 2012 9:37 PM

    THIS IS PERFECT. I need a Power playlist! I’ve already got one with some “Bulletproof” and “Dancing On My Own,” but KNEADS MOAR!

  • myy May 1st, 2012 9:48 PM

    Hahaha . . .this is just what i needed right now. Thank you Tavi for your brilliance! looking forward to this month!

  • Nomi May 1st, 2012 11:30 PM

    ohmygodiloveyoucomemarryme

  • erin May 1st, 2012 11:42 PM

    I am deeply anticipating this month, it’s great already! I heart John Hughes movies!
    http://keepingupwithunstuck.blogspot.com/

  • oriana May 2nd, 2012 12:02 AM

    ooh la la, power. me gusta!

  • lyrarose May 2nd, 2012 12:36 AM

    when I think of power, I think of Sarah from Labrinth, and Tina Fey (the goddess herself).
    I think of feminists.
    I think of the detached and the lonely.
    I don’t think of the rich or famous, as is the most common display of ‘power.’

  • kirsten May 2nd, 2012 1:18 AM

    TINA FEY FOREVA

  • ivoire May 2nd, 2012 2:02 AM

    This editor’s letter confuzzled me at first but by the end all that WISDOM engulfed my
    soul. Yay for power!

  • Lily May 2nd, 2012 2:04 AM

    omg tavi you are actually the best and i feel sorry for tina fey. BUT HAVE NO FEAR TINA PERHAPS YOU AND I SHALL BE FRIENDS? but on a more positive note i am super excited for this month’s theme and yes tavi, you are great

  • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini May 2nd, 2012 10:32 AM

    You are hilarious and wonderful. Also, getting food thrown at you sucks. For the last couple of months I’ve been imagining slitting people’s throats while listening to Sweeney Todd during lunch time. So glad to be graduating in June.
    But hey, your classmates didn’t get a happy birthday from Leonardo DiCaprio, did they?

    • Tavi May 2nd, 2012 10:01 PM

      aha that leo note was a joke from my friend! i ended up taking that picture down because i wasn’t prepared for people to write nasty things about them the way they did. will have to use your sweeney todd method of dealing with the annoyance instead.

  • madrasshorts May 2nd, 2012 11:39 AM

    Power is a curious thing – who lives, who dies? Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick – a shadow on the wall.

  • sully-bean May 2nd, 2012 2:55 PM

    … My thoughts on this are basically a) ROLL ON POWER MONTH! :D YAY! b) I nearly put Power Moth, omg, how cool a superhero name would that be!? and c) LOL I feel like such a rubbish Rookie for not understanding all these references but OH WELL HAHA
    YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME
    I LOVE YOU
    OMG

  • caro nation May 2nd, 2012 9:28 PM

    Tavs, your writing has become less like very boisterous, biting prose and has gained this very abrasive euphony. It’s like a pop culture acid trip that is very appealing to your ears. I’ll bet you never get reviewed like that if you ever put out a book, so thank me in advance.

    • Tavi May 2nd, 2012 9:58 PM

      I had to google “boisterous,” and thank you.

  • Katherine May 2nd, 2012 11:50 PM

    LOLS FOR DAYS. also, Tina Fey is a goddess. She ditched that hill for Mount Olympus 4real.

  • Cruicked May 3rd, 2012 2:15 PM

    Everyone should go listen to Electra Heart by Marina and the Diamonds. I love Marina and after listening to Electra Heart, I realised that it reminded me of Rookie. I don’t know why though.

  • limegreensunset May 5th, 2012 8:55 AM

    i laughed so much at this.

  • ghostworld May 7th, 2012 8:39 AM

    im sipping my cosmopolitan right now

  • pendulous-threads May 8th, 2012 1:58 PM

    omg i’m so excited for an 80′s playlist i’m going to pee myself

  • titoextremo May 13th, 2012 3:21 PM

    This was hilarious! Wow! I loved this so much and just discovered this magazine! This is exactly what I wish was around when I was a teenager :) Thank you so much for writing this.

  • Pebbles May 30th, 2012 1:47 PM

    hey ladies… you will love the 80s i am pretty sure.
    happy to have found this site via TEDxTeens. Cheers to Tavi and to the R team!

  • ChocolateandSunshine June 5th, 2012 2:35 AM

    I Love ROOKIE.

  • Hanniehall June 11th, 2012 11:55 PM

    tres amusing!