The "Tina Fey backlash" sparked by Tiger Beatdown's Sady Doyle in a recent essay about which you all had a lot to say is apparently over. Or at least that's the verdict of New York, which cites an essay in Salon for the cessation of hostilities. (Follow all that?) I think the entire discussion was a rather interesting one, bringing up as it did the uncertainty that still surrounds elements of feminism and our as yet unresolved idea of a woman's role in this modern world. That said, my own issue with Tiny Fey is of a different variety: I have a problem with the way she pretends not to want it.
It, of course, is fame, and all the trappings with which that is accompanied. I should say at the outset that I think Tina Fey is quite funny, I believe that she puts together a remarkable show, and I'm pretty sure that if you want to have a smart, literate woman as an example that comedy is not simply something men do better you could do far worse in looking for a role model. (Cough* Chelsea Handler *Cough).
Still, watching her on "Saturday Night Live" last week and having read her interview in Esquire, it's completely clear that this is a woman who wants to be famous. You do not glam yourself up-or allow yourself to be glammed up-for "SNL" or "Letterman" or some magazine that has a running feature where an attractive model relays a funny joke without being completely complicit in a process whose goal is to increase your fame and advance whatever merchandise your are attempting to dispense.
Nor do I think that this is necessarily a bad thing. Or, at least, I don't think so anymore. Part of the disgust I believe that so many people felt at the dawn of the reality TV era came out of the blatant ambition of its participants to become famous, regardless of its origin or cause. And back then it probably was a little shocking to see that sheer desire displayed so nakedly, on such a grand scale, by so many people. But we don't live in that world anymore.
The desire for fame is, at root, a deeply adolescent desire, but in this world where "40 is the new 30" and every other age is adjusted backwards accordingly, we are pretty much all adolescents now. Is it really shocking that we continue to exhibit adolescent attitudes? Most of us, on some level, want to be famous. We can pretend that this isn't the case, and for some people that may even be true, but I'm pretty sure there's a little part of everyone, deep down, that craves the attention and adoration of others. Hell, I'm probably a little guilty of it myself; you think I'm writing lengthy, unfocused rants on the Internet for the excellent pay and health benefits?
I'm not going to judge anyone for wanting to be famous. I will, however, judge people for pretending that they don't. If you do the interviews, if you pose for the pictures, if you show up at the openings and sit in the green rooms and try to get yourself booked on the best programs, you are working for it. You want it. You can go on about how you aren't necessarily the best looking or the funniest and it's such a surprise when things go well, but you've been busting your ass to get there every day for years. This is no longer specifically about Tina Fey, but she is someone in particular-maybe I hold her to a higher standard-who seems to want to be famous but also wants the credit for seeming not to want to be famous. There's something about trying to have it both ways that seems a little galling. (There may also be some component to this where it is judged more harshly in women, but I have a penis so I'm not going to think too deeply about that.)
Anyway, Tina Fey is great. Tina Fey is famous, and she should be. She's worked hard for it. She shouldn't have to pretend she hasn't. There are worse things in life than losing your Cool Card. One of them is probably not having anyone ask to see it in the first place.