There exists three cardinal sins in the world of pop culture: There is being a white girl who uses the N-word freely in her terrible, terrible rap songs, there is being an absentee father to a Kardashian baby, and there is telling hipsters what they are supposed to like. Hipsters, zine-writers, alternative cool people all wrapped up in their sweaters made of Alpaca and smug superiority — they know what they like, and they know what they don’t. To in any way even imply that you know what is “edgy,” “alternative,” or, God forbid, “indie” is akin to telling active combat veterans you “totally know what they went through.” And when pop culture decided that Zooey Deschanel, with her forehead-devouring bangs and her sparkly little eyes, would be forced down our throats as all things just weird enough to be cute — well, the hipsters didn’t like it. They didn’t like it, and they took to their blogs, en masse, to tell you just how not into it they were.
I’ll be the first to admit that Zooey is not my cup of tea. I’ve taken a little crack at her here and there — a one-liner even appeared on this very site — but I’ve never felt the overwhelming urge to retire to the warm comfort of Microsoft Word and bleed out a 2,000 word screed on how she ruins my life. When it comes down to it, I just don’t think she’s a very good actress, and she has a shtick. I’m not big on schticky actors. I don’t, however, ascribe to her cutesy little dresses all that is wrong with modern society, the portrayal of women in the media, and the stagnation of 20-something men everywhere. And this puts me in something of a minority amongst young internet writers, as the new thing to do is, ostensibly, hate everything she does with the kind of passion usually reserved for war criminals and serial killers. She is deserving of so much umbrage, so much resentment, so much righteous indignation, I’m not sure if she doesn’t insult orphans and put cigarettes out on kittens and I’m the only one not aware of it.
Take, for example, her recent rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner at the World Series. A perfectly “meh” interpretation that showcased her monotone, not-bad-but-not-great vocals that were once so charming in Elf. She wasn’t my favorite performer, but neither are most of the people who plod through sporting events to promote their new — err, I mean, honor their country. Either way, it was alright. Cut to the next morning, though, and the blogosphere is a veritable angry mob, complete with pitchforks, torches, and effigies of be-fringed women in baby-doll dresses. That performance was not just bad, it was INSULTING TO OUR VERY COUNTRY’S HONOR AND TRADITION. One would have thought she’d taken the original copy of the Declaration of Independence, urinated on it, and sang the Soviet national anthem as she flipped off a bunch of handicapped children carrying sparklers.
And yeah, her new show is pandering and stupid — but so are ninety percent of sitcoms out these days. Since when do we have this incredible gold standard for stupid, rom-com-esque sitcoms about a bunch of twenty-somethings living in an apartment? That’s right, we don’t. We just hate Zooey Deschanel, and want to drag her through our 140-character-or-less mud. We want to act as though suddenly, a one-dimensional female character and a bunch of dopey, milquetoast guys trading lame puns is somehow an affront to our delicate sensibilities, when really, that’s pretty much the formula for any and all sitcoms since the big bang (theory). See what I did there?
Anyway, the reason we hate her is probably pretty straightforward. She’s the Uncle Sam of MPDGs, pointing at us from our screens and asking us to join in her doily-covered world of conversations with sock puppets and philosophy based on the writings of Maurice Sendak. And though this is just another shallow, boring character archetype — like all the rest we are only to happy to swallow — she insults our intelligence by parading as “different,” “indie,” “originial,” and “representing the weird girls.” And if you’re actually a girl who, like Zooey, doesn’t really know how to act around people and makes weird statements all the time — you know how very un-cute the world finds it. Essentially, Zooey’s character (and there is only one) has mild Asperger’s, but because she is very good-looking, people find it charming. The hipsters hate it because it’s co-opting and bastardizing their precious, adorable, alternative style and making it into something fake — but worse than fake, it’s being made accessible.
But just because your favorite “type” is the new one being turned into another boring, Hollywood cut-out, there’s no need to get so angry. Don’t worry, Zooey Deschanel doesn’t make your Smiths-liking girlfriend any less original, and she’s not going to come into your apartment at night and redecorate with a bunch of cutesy bullshit. Live and let live, and blog about something really offensive — like how completely inaccurate the Two Broke Girls portrayal of Williamsburg is, like, you have no idea.