my harsh mistress and mariah carey

(21 september 2006)

i love writing. but sometimes writing is a mighty tough trick.

i’m supposed to be writing about faux2. it’s supposed to be me, right now, writing about faux2. i know this and all i can think about is mariah carey.

mariah carey as marilyn monroe. mariah carey and the american dream. mariah carey and tommy matolla. mariah carey and gangsta rap.

all i want to write about is mariah carey. or maybe elvis impersonators or tabloids or the fall or the cute dog in the park or how much snow we might get this winter. so really, right now, i want to write about everything in the world but faux2. but mostly, i just want to write about mariah carey.

because when i couldn’t sleep the other night, all i could think about was marilyn monroe and mariah carey. to me, there is no one in modern american life quite so monroe as mariah carey. the public image of monroe, a comic genius, reduced her to little more than an erotic freak. it would seem that’s the public image path mariah carey has either been pushed into or is plodding down. she has a truely astonishing vocal talent yet has, lately at least, been most often celebrated in the mainstream for her bosom and repeated weightloss/gain.

admittedly, this is partly her own doing- the woman has a weakness for some slutastic clothes and slutastic clothes, as we all know, can be unkind. but it’s unfortunate that someone talented to that degree should be limited to an image largely defined by physical change and unfortunate fashion. because though we forget it, images are so often almost always very wrong.

i wanted to write about mariah carey not just because of monroe, but because when i couldn’t write tonight, all i could listen to was mariah carey. i don’t know how this was supposed to be helpful but at least it didn’t hurt. it would have been far, far worse to have suffered a michael bolton relapse and gone flying into the arms of his greatest hits. mariah carey seemed the safest, most respectable indulgence.

but i thought i had gone beyond mariah carey. i didn’t believe she could possibly have anything for twenty-five-year-old me. then i listened to mariah carey again. and again and again and an embarrassing number of agains, and i realized maybe i was wrong. because when writing was a really, really tough trick of an essay, mariah carey was there, as she (and the jackson five) said she would be. and i know now, mariah’s got my back.

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