She had posted nothing on her Tumblr for a month until tonight. Here I am, half an hour to go until the hard deadline for bedtime, and I’m thrilled. I’m astonished that the set and style of images together with their accompanying posts, the things I take to represent her, could make me so pleased. But what were they doing in the interim?
Attend for the post bestiary of a grand Tumblr:
Here is the YSL Mondrian. Here are Cate Blanchet, Melanie Laurent, and Michelle Dockery in equal parts Chanel and Valentino. Printed in neat captions beneath each one: ugh, I can’t, I hate you, this face has destroyed my life, who allowed this. And interspersed among them Whistler’s “Nocturnes,” Turner’s ships, obscure Sargents, Wyeth, numerous interior photos of impossible villas. Here are stills from Band of Brothers and The Pacific. Here she has lifted from The Sartorialist. Here the glitzed homemade collages are offered on the Mads Mikkelsen altar, and here are pictures of Dan Stevens’ face. It has been cut from a magazine, glued to a toothpick and photographed while stuck in a cupcake. Beneath it, in tiny print, appearing at the wave of a cursor: fun with Chins Stovens (pet name for Dan) this afternoon. Hemingway is quoted, Fitzgerald is quoted, Proust is quoted, and so are Game of Thrones, Rahm Emanuel (ohh Gurrrrl) and various obscure celebrities whom she has caught insulting Tumblr, noble Tumblr. Idris Elba appears exclusively in stills from Luther (she’s that kind of cool). Numerous photographs of swords. Laborious Photoshop collages and compilations from Boardwalk Empire. Lines from Milosz, complaints concerning Lithuanian potatoes. Under each the clever, clever quip. Her anonymous admirers she calls “grayface.” Napoleon, Andrew Bird, Sigur Ros (my Icelandic princes), and Michael Shannon have standing invitations to her bedroom…for tea. She likes Lucien-Victor de Scévola. She pours contempt on Monet (Manet 4lyf). For a long time she could only post peacocks. Her reblogs include Michael Fassbender, Don Draper and a series of knit ties for which the “ughs” seemed to lie in glittering piles. She claims to have emptied various accounts for the obtaining of authentic German helmets circa WWI. She announced the trailer for Oslo, August 31st with glee.
She almost made me a stalker (lol).
Because for one month all the energy, wit, taste, and complete silliness that she spent on a nearly meaningless website were diverted elsewhere. But where? Insofar as the set of things I have come to associate with her is actually a set of things I should have been careful to associate with a website and not a human being, my suspicion is that the most vibrant parts of her personality make their way through the microblogosphere’s promise of anonymity. But to meet her in person would cloak her in another kind of anonymity, not the revealing kind (as we are all aware the internet reveals enough), but the careful, contrived everyday kind in which we seek to mold our demeanors, our feelings, our tastes, and our expressions in accordance with the models around us. In both cases I realized I was missing the true her. Indeed, where was the woman who would tell me that, above all things, she desired to wear a chain mail blouse?
The heart of the matter (Bro, I’m sure she’s read the Green’s entire ouvre. chills.): The capricious, ironic tones she fires for effect on her blog do much more in the way of conveying her true loves than a hipster sensibility (or nonsensibility). Scattered and silly as they are, she infuses them with real longing for sincerity beneath the veneer of a century’s worth of fashion, art and literature. Simultaneously she maintains an organizing aesthetic, cooky but rigid, and this unifying concept, which I doubt she herself could define, raises the quality of her posts without squashing the nature of her character. The combination of high resolution, rich color, and a notable absence of GIFS elevates her Tumblr to Louvre-quality, at least relative to its fellows.
I doubt her month’s absence has allowed her to do this anywhere else. To me it is irrelevant. More than anything I want to see the Tumblr aesthetic, what I suppose to be the hidden, true side of her nature, at work in her everyday self. How would it manifest itself in her walks, the cadence of her speech? In the fashion she chooses for everyday wear in 2013 as opposed to the gown she loved from 1932? Can a careful reader spot his secret Tumblr crush in traffic? Dangerous, dangerous thoughts but consider the blogs you love. You can’t help but wonder about the person. You feel chummy about the post of caviar at Versailles; it blooms out at you in the full-flower of high def glory when you are at boring work. And you really lose it with that cat picture.
How much work would it take to win the kind of trust that would elicit from her speech and actions the physical equivalent of the long sets of images and quotations I have at my fingertips everyday, even though I am a stranger? Which anonymity betrays the truer person? And which would I have to overcome if wanted to gain answers, at last, to the question of her stellar being? I make myself out to be obsessive. But curiosity remains. I believe it is driven by more general forms: the riddles of communication in a time of fractured personhood where it is in our power to observe each splinter if we try but increasingly difficult to reassemble them. She was missing for a month, but in reality she was not missing at all. For my part, I am glad to have her back. I like seeing that picture of old Hemingway kicking the can down the road (omg, need this again).