Friday, August 22, 2014

Spiritus Animalia

"What's your spirit animal?"  This has become the latest iteration of a bonding question, something asked at parties or on OKCupid profiles.  It's the new "Hey baby, what's your sign?"  And strangely enough, the aesthetic of these question-askers has remained the same.  The same waifish physiques, mustaches, neckbeards, yellow-orange plaid shirts and medallions of the seventies.  I blame the hep hipsters desperate to be original and yet homage their super underground interests.  This is why we can't have nice things.

This question has popped up at more get-togethers (and even concerts) than I care to number (methodically, and requiring both hands and feet).  Inevitably someone brings up wolves.  Because naturally, they share a pack-like mentality and appetite for raw meat with these kindred spirits.  Otters are also really big right now.  I want to say something snarky about that, but serious talk.  Otters are just too cute.  I can't.  Here's the closest I can get: Um, yeah, you totally eat food off your stomach, don't you?*  Just like those otters, huh?

I'm usually hard-pressed for an answer when the spirit animal question comes up.  Quite frankly, I don't share commonalities with any animal.  Is there an animal that likes to burrow deep into a cocoon of warmth and watch others industriously working, while it eats bread and cheese and watches the latest season of Mad Men?  No?  I mean, a queen bee doesn't quite fit that bill (no Mad Men, plus royal jelly is no bread and cheese).  But thankfully, I've found some answers to throw out when asked this inane question.  They might not fit into the spirit of the thing, but I can think of no better examples of kinship than these, my top three Spirit Animals.

And we share an affinity for skulls!
3. Daria Morgendorffer

A quintessential product of the nineties, Daria's flat affect and killer apathy are everything I want to be in this world.  My theory about the nineties, and why I pine after them, are that everyone cared so much.  Feelings and angst were worn on tattered flannel sleeves, so when someone disconnected with the world it meant something.  It wasn't the childish irony of today, when everything is oh-so-amusing because nothing matters.  It was an actual stand against capitalism, or declining standards, or the machine.  If Daria existed in today's television landscape, she'd probably be Zooey Deschanel, the odd girl out thanks to floral prints, ukeleles, and quirky cartoon animal pictures.**  Airiness would be the unique factor.  But thankfully it is not a product of today, and Daria remains aloof through slightly twisted channels, through padded walls and Sick, Sad World.
This is a mere artistic representation.
Seemed less creepy than a glamour shot.

2. Glen Weldon

I'm slightly cheating with this one.  See, Glen Weldonone of the hosts of Pop Culture Happy Hour, my favorite podcastis not quite my spirit animal.  He's more the yin to my yang.  He represents the perfect complement to my own disposition, the ideal inversion of my own tastes and predilections.  But it's in such a perfect way that I have to pay him due.  Glen Weldon writes about books and comic books for the NPR website, and is the surly, distinctly unfeeling member of the PCHH crew.  We both like comics.  We both have a distaste for schmaltz.  But it translates in slightly different ways.

1. Glen is more likely, in his personal opinions, to have a pessimistic outlook on situations.  Definitely that glass half empty type.  I, on the other hand, harbor deep disdain for everyone and everything, but in my own secret soul I'm optimistic.  A little gentler.  Life is a terrible thing, but I think it's that way because we're capable of more.

2.  When it comes to comic fandom, Glen thrives on FUN.  Give him madcappery, wildness, abandon that can only come through the wacky world of  comics.  My comic leanings go towards grit. Somber.  Dark.  Those suck me in.

These are just a few examples of the yin-yang effect, but essentially when it comes to being the group member to embrace blanket hatred, sir Weldon and I could not be more similar.  Hate on, dude.

You can practically hear the evil laughter.
1. Louise Belcher

Yes, Tina Belcher is the popular break-out star of Fox's animated Bob's Burgers.  Which I cannot understand, because there's this character called Louise, and she's perfect. She's my everything.  I think that words might fail me at this moment, since I love her too much to adequately express it.  I am not exaggerating when I say she is the ultimate.  I don't even have to specify the ultimate what, because she's that good.  Louise knows who she is, she knows what she wants, and she demands control with immediate and exacting vengeance.  Yes, vengeance.  Making the best use of Kristen Schaal since ever, including her role as Flight of the Conchords fan Mel (the less said about her 30 Rock stint the better), Louise blends bravado and sheer capacity for terror in a cocktail of complete assurance.  Everyone knows that she's the real one in charge of the Belcher family.  She's sarcastic, she's savvy (no one can manipulate folks out of their money during an art crawl like Louise), and she doesn't buy into the idea that just because she is a little girl, she has to be one.  A sharp-as-nails child with the soul of a miserly old man, Louise rocks.  She's maniacal.  She's commanding.  She's my spirit animal.

*I do, though.  I really, really do.  There just comes an optimal slouch when watching TV, and the stomach becomes the ideal platform for that dish of nachos.

**Is it obvious I quit watching the New Girl after one season?

No comments: