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I know. I KNOW. Nobody’s talked about “Somebody That I Used To Know” (ft. Kimbra, of all people) for quite some time now. This post is not so much overdue as it is outdated. However. I go on, undeterred.
I got very into breakup songs on my train back from Copenhagen (probably because I wanted the experience to be as draining emotionally as it was physically). And one of the songs that I listened to quite a few times was Goyte’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” which, back when it was relevant to pop culture enough to occasionally come up in discussion, I quite liked. And I still do like it. But after listening (more times than I will confess) to the song and, very carefully, to its lyrics, I have come to an important realization:
Goyte, or the lyrical narrator or whoever, is the worst. I pity you, featured Kimbra.
A casual listen to this song leaves one thinking that Goyte is really broken up about this relationship and why Kimbra doesn’t want him in her life at all, whereas Kimbra just wants the relationship over and done with. And I can see where both are coming from. Really, I can.
However, I have now given this ditty a more than casual listen. And Goyte is not, in fact, broken up over the relationship. He begins the song saying that the relationship actually made him feel sad and lonely, and that, when they broke up, he was “glad that it was over.” And reiterates over and over that he doesn’t need featured Kimbra, or her love.
Okay. You know what, Goyte? No. You should not get to do this to featured Kimbra. This is unfair. You are telling her how little she means to you, and how glad that you are that she’s no longer the most important person in your life, but insist that you would indeed like her there as a bit player. For what purpose, exactly? To remind her every now and again of the power that, by her own admission, you wield over her? To lord your lack of love lost over her? To throw the fact that you were lonely when you were with her back in her face? There’s a great line in the film Harriet the Spy (oh, I’M GOING THERE) in which one character says to another, “You can’t be my friend if you’re not my friend.” And this, Goyte, is not friendship. It’s not even acquaintanceship. It’s you playing some sick power game because it makes you feel better about what was clearly a very unhealthy relationship for both of you, and about who you were then and are now.
Go now. Off with you. Return to being nothing more than somebody featured Kimbra—bless her and her broken heart—used to know.
Thank you for not pranking me today.
I’ve always hated April Fool’s, especially since April 2000, when I came downstairs and my mother told me that my fifth grade teacher called saying that there was a problem with an essay I had turned in (why, yes, I did cry).
And, yes, there was one friend of mine this year who sent me a link to an article saying that Peter Dinklage wouldn’t be in the fourth season of Game of Thrones, but that was obviously untrue. The point is, none of you told me that you were engaged, pregnant, dead, or mad at me this year. And I appreciate that, you guys. Happy April No Fool’s to you, too.
I was in Paris last weekend to interview an elderly Russian ex-dissident (an experience about which I still need to blog, but I digress), but also to visit my high school friend who recently moved there. He’s working part-time at a popular expat bar, and, because he had to work on my last night in the city, I decided to hang out there for a bit. I bought the latest Economist at a magazine stand in the neighborhood to pass the time. I looked nice enough to be out in public, I thought—I was wearing a gray blazer over all black and heeled boots. And I walked into the bar and there you all were.
Your rugby team, which goes by “Gallas,” apparently, had just beaten France, and you were DELIGHTED. I had staked out a table but shared it with the girls in red jerseys desperate to put down their drinks and sit down. And so many of you drunkenly came up to me, taunting me, at first, because you thought that I was French (which would be a fair assumption, except that you chose to hang out in an expat bar), and then cheering when I told you that I was American and spilling beer on my table and on me and, in the case of two of you, taking a picture with me that I told you you wouldn’t remember. And you asked me why I was sitting alone and invited me to celebrate with you, and I confessed to one of you that I probably shouldn’t have worn a grayzer or brought The Economist along (though I did read it in its entirety while at the bar, so who knows, really, what the right call there was).
Anyway, Welsh rugby fans. I’m writing to you (read: about you) because you taught me not about rugby, or about Wales (though I know now that the north of your country is beautiful), or about your travel plans (I hope you guys made it back safely this past Tuesday!), but because you taught me about myself. Because—and I write this with amusement, but also with a bit of secret shame—a few years ago I would have JUST NOT with you. Like, I would have been uptight and judgmental and condescending. And I’m still all of those things, I guess. And I want to be, to a certain extent. But I also want to be able to cheer with drunken Welsh rugby fans, and laugh with the more with it in their midst about the humor of the situation. And I am, despite every indication and all probability a few years ago, able to. And I know that now.
So thanks, drunk Welsh rugby fans. Thank you and your spilt beer and slurred songs and red jerseys. Go Gallas, and remember: we’ll always have Paris.
This time last year I was living in a suite with five other girls. As luck (and life! and love!) would have it, exactly half of us were in relationships/single on and leading up to Valentine’s Day (or, as I so eloquently put it at the time, “we have reached boo equilibrium—we have a 50:50 boo:non-boo ratio”). Also, we really liked throwing—and spent more time than I’m going to admit organizing Google Docs and otherwise planning—theme parties. I thus proposed a sock-hop themed party to be held on Valentine’s Day itself—after couples would have returned from their romantic dinners, because boo equilibrium doesn’t maintain itself, you know? Like, I was in the non-boo half of this equation, but that doesn’t mean I’m trying to subtract from the boo side of things! Anyway, I thought that it would have been a fun, low presh-no presh way for friends and lovers alike to celebrate love thematically together.
Shortly after realizing that I meant that this FEST should be held on Valentine’s Day itself (I think because I said, “Yeah, bring a boo, don’t bring a boo, whatever!”), my suite mates were good enough to tell me that you cannot, in fact, throw Valentine’s Day boo-optional parties. And they were right. They are still right.
But damn if I don’t wish they weren’t.
Happy Valentine’s Day, kidz. May you enjoy this celebration - or at least observation - of love, whether or not you’ve brought a boo to the party.
You know, I’ll admit it: I thought I was done writing open letters to people who would not or could not read them. Which was probably healthy, you know? Like, you write a bunch to Ke$ha when in the summer after your sophomore year of college, and then you hang up your proverbial pen and call it a life well-lived. (Oh, you don’t? Never mind, then.) But it turns out that I’m not. Because I have been listening to Tegan and Sara’s “How Come You Don’t Want Me” ON REPEAT today (my friend Katie posted it on her blog this morning), and there is something about it that is so honestly heartbreaking that one cannot help but want to take the lyrical narrator out for girlfrand drankz and slip empowerment and self-love into her Gin and Tonic. However, since that is not possible, as this is a fictional character, the following open letter will have to do. AHEM.
I’m reading this book called “The World Rule of Law Project” as secondary source research for my project, and it’s basically a collection of writings and speeches, from Russians and non-Russians, about the importance of Rule of Law and what needs to be done to implement it in Russia. Except that there’s this one, written/delivered by the-then (this whole thing is from 2007) Secretary General of the Swedish Bar Association, titled, “The Role of an Independent Legal Profession in Establishing and Upholding the Rule of Law—a Swedish Perspective.” And at first I was like, “Okay, sure. There are plenty of British people talking about the International Bar Association and Rule of Law in Russia. So, fine. Sure, Sweden. Why not.” Except, no. Girlfriend literally just talks about Rule of Law in Sweden and what the Swedish Bar does. Which is fine, I guess. Except that that was decidedly not the point of the exercise. I just so hope that this was actually a speech delivered at a conference or something. Because imagining an audience of Russians and Brits and Americans as a Swedish woman just, like, paints a picture of legal life in Sweden without connecting it at all to anything is just a tiiiime and a half, lemme tell you. “Dimya, what did she say?” “I do not know, Zhenya. But I think she did not stop talking about Sweden.”
It reminded me of this press release I’d read in the archives a week or two ago, about this 1985 human rights conference in Canada wherein the British and Russian delegates were fighting bitterly about the treatment of various prisoners in their respective countries, UNTIL(!) “Holland became involved when its delegation leader Bob Croin defended the rights of the unofficial Helsinki monitoring groups.”
“You treat your prisoners terribly and keep imprisoning them for distinctly political reasons.”
“Oh, yeah? What about your whole thing with the Irish?”
“That’s different and you know it.”
“Oh, is it really?”
“I just said yes, mate.”
“Who is mate?”
“Not you to human rights, that’s for sure.”
“You think carefully, tea-drinker.”
“Oh, from a Russian?!”
“Oh…is that…Bob Croin? From Holland?”
“Yes. May I say something?”
“Um. Yeah, yeah that’s fine. That good with you?”
“I’d like to defend the rights of the unofficial Helsinki monitoring groups. I just think they’re doing really valuable work that’s worth defending.”
“Oh. Yeah. Yeah, of course. Sure. Thanks for that, Bob Croin from Holland. Um, we’ll break here for a moment, I guess. For a cup of—oh, never mind.”
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