{"'Liebchen, this is the other half of the earth. In Germany you would be yellow and blue.' Mirror-metaphysics." - Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow}

It’s ok to watch Gossip Girl ANY TIME

And not just because Kim Gordon rules. When asked what music he likes a friend of mine thought long and hard before he came up with this answer: “anything, as long as it’s popular”. I would like to take the liberty of adopting his insightful wisdom as a category on my blog.

In Shakespeare’s times ‘gossip’ still had two meanings. In the older sense, which is largely forgotten nowadays, gossip referred to the godparent as the idea that God was watching over his God-sibling. Fairytales often employ the idea of a good godmother watching over someone from a distance without being directly present. In Shakespeare’s plays the scenes are acted out under the eye of an all-seeing God. Yet the denotation of gossip as chatter had by then also already entered the vocabulary. In Gossip Girl these two meanings of gossip are at work: everything takes place under the panoptic eye of the eponymous yet anonymous Gossip Girl who operates like a divide-and-conquering deus ex machina.

Thurston Moore revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone: “Kim [Gordon] and I are pretty fanatical viewers of the show. It's sort of our dose of Shakespeare every week.” That’s an interesting thought: Gossip Girl and Shakespearean drama ultimately share the same grand gestures. Gossip Girl’s thespian scenes and intense feelings are perfectly in pair with Shakespeare’s verses – Thurston Moore verily is a keen observer – but the doses are meticulously measured out to fit the maximum 160 characters of Gossip Girl’s text messages.

It’s really not that surprising that Sonic Youth are praising Gossip Girl. The signs are there: isn’t the very name of the show Gossip Girl in a way an uncanny follow-up of the band name Sonic Youth? Sonic Youth’s massive wall of sound is superseded by GG’s buzzing network of mischievous text messages: GG’s youth, populating the corridors of an exclusive Manhattan high school and nowadays the dorms of New York University, is led by a humming queen bee who won’t touch anything as vulgar as let’s say a signature Fender Jazz Master.

There is a certain ring to living your life to the rhythm of text messages that trigger action sequences. And this is where Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time (Sein und Zeit, 1927) comes in. Heidegger know-alls and devotees will be quick to point out that idle talk (das Gerede) should not be confused with gossip and scribbling – which is true, but that is quite besides the point here.

Gossip is anonymous, multitudinous even. Not only is it always the other who gossips (as in: ‘Georgina said that Blair said that Serena…’), it is always ‘they’ who gossip (it is not Georgina, Blair, or Serena in particular or all of them together, but an indeterminate multitude of voices, whispering away at each other). Heidegger catches the implications of this vividly with his concept of ‘they’ (das Man), as opposed to the authenticity of Da-sein, the singular being. The existential determination of Da-sein only becomes apparent in its ‘falling prey’ to idle talk, and idle talk ‘discloses to Da-sein a being toward its world, to others and to itself – a being in which these are understood, but in a mode of groundless floating.’ (165) The point is that Heidegger is well aware of the common desire to put a face or a name to gossip or idle talk (think of Serena’s obsession to find out who GG is). Gossip has no author, yet this unquenchable desire to search for the author of the gossip persists even though this author remains elusive because there simply is no author. Heidegger brilliantly appreciates this. It gives him the opportunity to counter the groundless anonymity of idle talk with the groundless authenticity of Da-sein: Da-sein as authenticity is an identifiable author (authen-ticity implies an auth-or). The alluring aspect of authenticity exists merely by the grace of the inauthentic, i.e. the desire for authorship that necessarily remains unfulfilled in idle talk. Yet Da-sein yearns to uncover an authorship of this idle talk which remains hidden. This unappeasable desire can only be filled by turning to the authentic that ultimately can only be found in the self, in Da-sein. Heidegger strategically uses the dialectic between the no-one of the they and the desire for authorship. And so does GG.

The exciting thing about GG is that it reunites the two meanings of the word gossip: on the one hand we have the common meaning of gossip as idle talk and chatter, which of old has been the stuff that soap opera’s are made of, but on the other hand we have the god-like idea of the all-seeing gossip watching over us. Even though the “gossip-like humor” (Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing) of GG with it’s outrageously over-the-top characters and story-lines is deliciously fetishable and utterly commodified (tabloids such as News of the World, National Enquirer, and Daily Mirror have worked hard to make it so), the gossip operating behind the scenes of GG is a mixture of all those notions we have come to hate and love all at once: implied author, agent provocateur, deus ex machina, ... Plus the GG characters dress impeccably!!

So I say: “peace, you mumbling fool! / Utter your gravity o’er a gossip’s bowl, / for here we need it not!” (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.)

XOXO, Mirror Metaphysics.

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