"She did not think, because a spell was on her that forbade her to think."
- Jean Rhys, After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie
Today I thought to myself, as I rereread Jean Rhys in bed, graduating today to a more voluptuous melancholy as opposed to the more recent paralyzing fear or dreariness, brought on by the move and imagined and apparent pressures, today I thought, if Jean Rhys was alive today, would she lay in bed and wanly look up clothes on the Internet, dresses that are jeune fille but not too too jeune fille, trousers with an avant-goth shape but not too too witchy,and eat greasy pumpkin muffins whose tops have caved in, and watch Gossip Girl and 90210, or would she read Jean Rhys novels? Perhaps like me she would do all of these, flittering from one to the other, and then making weird connections between them, musing that Julia in Mr. Leaving Mackenzie is a character within a novel, self-consciously, like a Dreiser novel, not like a Sir Walter Scott romance novel like Emma Bovary, like Blair in Gossip Girl imagines herself always within an Audrey Hepburn film, and Serena in Gossip Girl is like an infuriating Brigitte Bardot in Le Mepris, like any Brigitte Bardot film, the narcissistic actress everyone loves to watch dance, her golden hair swaying. And then thinking that 90210 is a weaker version of Gossip Girl, especially in terms of the richness of literary allusions, Gossip Girl at its best like a contemporary Edith Wharton novel with glossier lipstick and cheerier denouements, although on 90210 Derrida was batted around a week or so ago to show the intellectual distance between a college boy and one of the main girls Annie, a resend of the Brenda Walsh Midwestern character (both also actresses in the TV show, and as girls always actresses, of course, even if they never attempt to take to the boards, although Shannon Doherty was a far superior actress in her version of the role, or at least possessed something like charisma, even if her hauteur was out of sorts with her apparent Midwestern ingenue backstory, I can see now Annie screwing up her nose and saying Derrida like it was a bad word, some paperback in her hand we are supposed to believe she is trying to read, and I imagined to myself perhaps it was Glas, Derrida's gorgeous text on Genet that I still don't fucking understand, and I remember committing word salad trying to present on it during a performance theory seminar during my slim potato chip of a graduate year, and, anyway, in that scene I believed her emptiness, but not at all any inner depth, which you must imagine, right, out of a green girl attempting to read postmodern theory.)