Friday, January 25, 2008

On the title of the blog

It occurred to me that some of y'all aren't going to get the reference. Some of you are not from the U.S. Some of you were not faux-rebellious teenagers, or at least not in the way that led one to read that particular magazine. And horrifyingly, some of you are too young. So here's the deal with the title.

Back in the late '80s and early 1990s, there was an American teen magazine called Sassy, and it was cool. It wasn't nearly as cool as it thought it was, but it was still pretty nifty. It told you how to make your own clothes and featured models in babydoll dresses and combat boots and acknowledged that readers might possibly at least be considering having sex. The Sassy writers were obsessively into bands, and even if they weren't the same bands that I was obsessively into, I recognized them as kindred dorky music-obsessed spirits. Each of the Sassy staffers had a distinctive personality, and you knew them all by name. They went to cool cafes in the East Village, which was the kind of thing that I would have liked to be doing if I hadn't been stuck in a boring city with limited babysitting money to spend on beverages. Every year they had a "reader produced issue," in which readers applied for the staff's jobs and they picked the best ones and let them put together the magazine, for real. Compared to the standard teen girl magazines, which at the time still featured crash diets and the like, Sassy seemed really radical. I was pretty punk rock as a teenager, so I pretended that I thought Sassy was just ok, but I was really pretty obsessed. Besides Heathers, it was pretty much the first mainstream pop culture that seemed to acknowledge that girls like me even existed.

So every year, Sassy had a contest to find the Sassiest Girl in America. This was Sassy's version of the model search contests that magazines like 'Teen had every year, except that Sassiest Girls were smart and accomplished and awesome, on top of being pretty. Readers applied, a bunch of sassy girls were flown to New York for makeovers and interviews and random cool activities, and then the sassiest girl was selected and had her sassy face splashed on the cover of the magazine.

I'm pretty sure that I never applied to be the Sassiest Girl in America. I wasn't really Sassiest Girl material. For one thing, I would have been mortified to have my picture splashed all over anything. (I'm pretty sure that I did apply for the reader produced issue, though. I vaguely think I may have applied for Kim France's job. Scary that I remember that.) But that's the deal with the blog's title. I couldn't tell you what this has to do with knitting, but I'll try to come up with something.

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