Bless Your Heart
Bless Your Heart is a story written by shukyou and illustrated by safelybeds. It ran in Special Issue 8 and can be found at http://s2b2.livejournal.com/244028.html and http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/bless-your-heart/.
The host of a YouTube show invites a journalist to be a guest star.
JULIA: It's just a little– Oh, shit.
JULIA: And then you want to– Shit. Balls. Hold on.
JULIA: But always– [offscreen crash] Oh, sweet Jesus, fuck me sideways.
JULIA: Well, either these will be the best petit fours I've ever made, or I'm just going to have to kill everyone in the building to cover the evidence.
[musical cue, title card: "BLESS YOUR HEART"]
From isis.dreamwidth.org: "A gay newswoman (who bears a strong resemblance to Rachel Maddow) and a cheerfully profane Southern cooking web-series hostess flirt a lot (in front of the latter's cameraman husband) and eventually get drunk and get it on (ditto)."
From fail-fandomanon.dreamwidth.org: "A cooking webseries hostess (filmed by her husband) meets an attractive butch lesbian news show hostess to do a special episode."
Oh, mercy, where to begin.
Initially, I was planning to write a totally different story for this issue -- but I realized it was too long of a concept and I've been too short on time. However, on my lengthy commutes, I've been listening to John Hodgman's odd and lovely trilogy of complete world knowledge in audiobook form -- and in More Information Than You Requre, there's a whole long section where Hodgman and Rachel Maddow make cocktails out of increasingly horrifying elements. Thus, an idea was born.
I won't even pretend: Rebekah Yang is totally like unto Rachel Maddow, to the point where I actually spoofed the first paragraph of Maddow's Wikipedia entry to make Rebekah's. Julia and Jay are cribbed from much more personal sources, but you can rest assured, their inspirations are pleased.
beeblebabe deserves at least some collaborative credit on all my SSBB stories, but she deserves extra credit on this one: all of those cocktails from Rebekah's article are her own inventions. And they're awesome inventions! Even I, not the biggest fan of gin, can get behind a good [Avada Colada]. If you try them and like them, you should let her know!
The classics, however, are classics -- well, okay, the specifics of that kind of Gin Old Fashioned are from Esquire, but the Aviation and Fitzgerald are pretty standard. There was a cocktail I meant to include, but the story sort of wrote itself around its inclusion; thus, I might as well put it here. This, my friends, is how to make The Last Word: equal parts gin, lime juice, green Chartreuse, and maraschino liqueur; shake with ice and strain.
There are a ton of in-jokes in this one, too, and while I won't call attention to all of them, some definitely need highlighting. If you've read all the SSBB stories and assorted original nonsense from myself and my closest friends, you may notice, from time to time, a little overlap -- this is because we've got some intersecting creative universes and, being friends, we like to share. (Someday, someday we will make a table showing all relevant connections) One of the most frequently used collaborative spaces is the real world that's juuuust slightly off of normal, where veils are pretty hilariously thin. The whole concept of the Vengeancers first showed up in The Sad Blanket, and though he was not mentioned by name in the original story, Thom Markinswell (a.k.a. #1 on Julia Lee's Freebies List) plays the Trickster, the villain in both that movie and the Norseman movie that preceded it. Jim McGloin made his debut in And That's the News, and I can only assume he's still employed by Fox News to this day.
On the issue, too, of the phrase 'bless your heart': there seems to exist a misconception that assumes it is the equivalent to 'fuck you'. This is not entirely true -- it can mean 'fuck you', but only at its strongest. Used more mildly, it has connotations of 'oh, you sweet idiot'. Example: in high school, I had a boyfriend who was a freelance church organist in his spare time, and he once he was called to sub in at a church so far out in the sticks that he got lost at least a dozen times getting there; when he finally did arrive, half an hour late, he was frantic with apologies, and the old woman in charge of it all just took his hands in hers, looked him in the eye, and said, with all patient sweetness, "Well, bless your heart."
...Okay, that's the fun stuff, so if you're bored by things that are like unto navel-gazing, you can stop here.
I will admit that I had a little bit of a conceptual problem with this story, arising from the question of lesbian performance and the male gaze. While you can't tell about the article-writers, and of course the tweets and emails come from the ladies themselves, the man behind the camera is, in fact, a man.
The comfortable compromise I came to -- at least, the one that helps me sleep at night -- is that while Jay gets to enjoy the whole thing, it's definitely not for him. If he hadn't been there, it would've continued unabated. They aren't performing for him so much as they're performing for the camera in general. You could have replaced him with another woman or even a tripod, and the performative aspect wouldn't have changed. Exhibitionism is not automatically a bad thing! But a lot changes depending on whose terms it occurs.
One of the other things I decided to do, both mindful of this and for comic value, was to mute Jay. He's a part of what's going on, but he's barely participatory and he's definitely not driving. I hope you can put enough together about him from context clues, because he's supposed to be a super-great guy, and he and Julia love one another to pieces. But man, do you ever not pass up an opportunity like this one.
So! That's how my brain interprets it, anyway.
Muzzling Jay had one sad side effect, though: the lovely twitter drawing that safelybeds did for him never got used! So here he is, in all his twitter-sized glory. Ain't he just precious?