tyler the creator discovers memes in almost the middle of 2013
My name is Adam Dorsey and I'm a writer and filmmaker. I call Seattle home, but I'm currently living in Los Angeles. I get paid for making the internet funnier.
I like to play videogames, listen to sad girl music, and grow my hair out.
Use the buttons below to jump directly to my personal creative work. Scroll down farther to see all the things I find on the internet that I think are cool.
When I’m visiting family, it’s usually nicer if my girlfriend is here with me. I used to think that was the real-life manifestation of some sort of romantic comedy trope, i.e.: family is so ridiculous, but they’re family and we love them, and we love each other, so let’s enjoy how we’re all family, merry christmas, the end. Now, I think there might be a little more to it.
When my girlfriend comes with me on a visit home, then I am modern-day me visiting my family. I revert slightly into being more like them and less like me, we occasionally take our individual Dorsey Power Ranger suits and mighty morph into one giant Dorsey Family Mech™, but mostly it’s just me visiting my family, and all the regular-style stress that comes along with that.
When I go visit home alone, though, well, that’s a different transformers beast war altogether. Try as I might to remain modern-day me, it is only a matter of days before I existential crisis crash into a me-multiverse. Suddenly, I am haunted by the shadows of hundreds of parallel me’s. I am surrounded by the me who never moved away from home, the me who made a different choice in colleges, the me who had more (any) sex in high school. There’s a me for every girl I stopped dating, the me who instead kept dating that girl. There are me’s for every job I ever had and a me for every job I never got. All of these different versions of me look at me and I look at them. We are all looking into each other for answers, but we are coming back with nothing but questions.
Somewhere in this crowd of good looking gentlemen is a me who has some sort of powerful realization about the world and the self while he’s on vacation at his childhood home. Unfortunately, that me isn’t me.
I’m in my hometown of Shelton, WA for the next week. Kind of a mini-vacation before I have to go back to L.A. and figure out some way to pay rent. I’ve been here for a few days already, and so far I’ve shot a short film, seen some old friends, and hung out with my folks. I’m hoping to continue to enjoy nature, my family, get some writing done, and maybe play some videogames.
Today I borrowed my mom’s Jeep and drove into town to pick up some barbecue briquettes and beer for later this afternoon. As I navigated my way through the self-checkout line, an old friend popped up and said hello. It was awesome to see her, but I was surprised to find myself flustered. I ran my credit card three times before it took, while I awkwardly tried to catch up with this friend.
The same thing had happened to me fifteen or so years ago, with the same friend. It was high school, and I had been hanging out with her and a few others at the local Dennys, because there was nowhere else to hang out. We stopped at the nearby Chevron to fill my parents’ car up with gas. I was suddenly flustered in that same way as I was today. Very self-conscious as I tried to pump gas and look cool doing it. There was a lightning storm starting, and I remember thinking that holding this gas pump probably wasn’t the best idea. I remember messing up somehow with the card or the nozzle, and I remember her saying, “Wow, I’ve never seen anyone mess up while pumping gas.” I was not happy to be her first.
I don’t know what these two things mean. Probably nothing. As I get older, it becomes clearer that nothing means anything, and that’s actually more comforting than it sounds. It might be that I am still just as weird and nervous around girls as I was when I was seventeen, but I’d like to think that’s not the case. It might be that no matter how much I mature, no matter how successful I am in my personal life and my career, I’ll always be a flustered boy trying to pump gas like a man when I come back to my hometown.
It made me wonder if it’s even possible to be cool in this small logging town that I’m from. In my normal life, I like to think that I’m a pretty interesting, pretty chill, pretty hip guy, even if I do wear cargo shorts too much. But here there’s no gauge. Or the gauge is simply “You look like us, we’re going to ignore you” versus “You look different than us, you must be a gay.” I think that transfers to everything here. There’s no upward mobility and so there’s no momentum in life. There’s a hard ceiling in the careers, in the lifestyle, in the social ladder. It’s Twin Peaks, but without the fun soundtrack and supernatural funny business.
Maybe I should find it comforting: Come home twice a year, take a break from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world, spend a few days being super uncool.
NOTE: Want to make it clear that the friend I ran into (and all of my friends in this town) are awesome, and nothing I say about this town is about them, and like how do you guys even live here, there’s like only two strip malls and that’s the whole town, I’m so in awe that you make this work, let’s all meet for coffee at that one cool coffee shop in town that’s ran by all those Christian girls, okay? Cool.
Last night I tried to give a friend some advice, because he seemed to be going through some stuff that was similar to some stuff I went through earlier in life. My friend didn’t know how to get over a girl. I told him that it takes time. It takes working on you. It takes doin’ it with other people. I stand by that answer. Unfortunately, I know that if anyone had given me that advice at the time, I wouldn’t have taken it. I mean, plenty of people did give me advice at the time, and I didn’t take it. There are some things in life you sort of have to learn on your own, I guess. So, instead of giving advice, I’m just going to share on here a bit of what happened to me, and what I learned from it, and maybe it’ll make some other people learn it on their own just a little bit faster.
Off and on for about seven years, I had a very unhealthy relationship with a girl I knew from high school. It started just after graduation, and lasted a couple of years past college. It was long-distance and—because of the age of the internet at the time—manifested itself mostly as AOL Instant Messenger conversations and e-mails. At its best, it was a co-dependent friendship, at its worst it was adultery. Dramatic highlights include sending emails urging her not to marry her fiancé, her calling off her wedding at the last minute, and me writing a screenplay about her. The drama culminated in tears and confessions of love over the phone as she drunkenly drove back to the husband, our phone call interrupted as I heard her crash her car into a semi-truck on I-5.
Looking back, I barely recognize the person I was then, this Past-Me. He was a young man forged by bad romantic comedies, insecurity, and loneliness. I couldn’t shake the—very wrong in retrospect—feeling that THIS GIRL JUST UNDERSTANDS ME, MAN. We were meant to be together because we had a class together in high school or something. It was much easier for me to believe that I’d found the perfect girl for me and she was just unattainable, than it was to consider the other possibilities: that I hadn’t found the perfect girl yet, or that there are many perfect people out there for everyone.
Now that I’ve been in other—healthy—relationships, not only do I not understand how I could have let this girl be a part of my life for so long, I don’t understand how any of her other relationships were possible. We spent so many hours a week chatting on instant messenger while she was dating, engaged, and married. How did she have three hours every night to chat with me? How did those poor dudes feel? It turns out I was just one of many horrible relationships she left her in wake.
It seems so silly now, but I needed to tell her everything that happened in my day, or it wasn’t real. If a tree falls in the woods and you can’t IM someone about it does it really—It didn’t feel like it happened unless she knew. Past-Me thought that meant we were meant to be together, but now I know it meant a lot more than that. It meant I was unhappy. It meant I needed to live my life in a different way, a way where I was living it for me instead of other people. I needed to have more healthy friends in my life, more people to hang out with and talk to. Only after having those other two things should a relationship even factor in, and it definitely shouldn’t factor in with someone who has a fiancé or is married.
It went on for seven years, but there were several long breaks in there, lasting several months or a year. We always somehow convinced ourselves that the friendship was worth it. Sometimes we talked like we were friends, sometimes we talked like we were in a relationship, but now I can see that we were always very far away from both of those things.
If I could tell my friend one—fuck my friend—okay—if I could go back in time and give Past-Me one piece of advice, it would be that life is too fucking short. I was using my twisted friendship with her to not put myself out there for real with better friends and other girls. I’m pretty sure it was a defense mechanism to protect me from experiencing anything real, which worked out pretty well, except I didn’t experience anything real.
I would tell Past-Me that there is no “The One.” There are a lot of experiences out there with a lot of great people, and every day you’re spending chatting on the internet with “The One” is a day you could get out there and experience something real. I would tell Past-Me that no one who stays in a relationship with someone else is worth pining over.
Even now, reading over what I just wrote, I see I’m still blaming myself for so much of what happened. Not that I shouldn’t take some responsibility—I mean, I was there—but there wasn’t a moment in our friendship or our relationship that she wasn’t using me. A straight up affair is easier to see, it’s easier to see that someone is using someone else to fill out what is lacking in their real relationship. This was harder to see, that our unhealthy friendship was filling the holes in herself and the holes in her relationships.
Because of the nature of the internet, I wasn’t able to get the full picture of her. Like an airbrushed swimsuit model made entirely of text messages, all the negative gaps filled over smooth—she was able to hide her mental illness, and I was able to have my perfect woman from afar. Only, well, not really, of course. The same thing happens on first dates, as you build up that person in your mind before you know anything about them. The difference here is that the first date lasted seven years.
My friends thought I loved the drama of it, but I didn’t. I loved the story. Everything meant more because we were kept apart by circumstance. I met her in a poetry class in the sixth grade, for fuck’s sake, I wrote a screenplay about a fictionalized version of us. I wasn’t in love with her, I was in love with the idea of dramatic love. I was in love with the arc of our characters, the storytelling of it. It took me another decade to learn that I needed to fulfill those desires on the page and not in my personal life.
Real love doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t lie. It doesn’t stay in other relationships. Real love makes you happy. It’s honest and real. It’s a partnership. The hardest thing to convince Past-Me would be that it wasn’t love. But it wasn’t. Not even close.
Not that love isn’t complicated. Sometimes you fall for someone who isn’t right for you. Sometimes you find someone who is right for you, but one of you isn’t in the right time in their lives to make it work (and usually that person is me). The most important thing I’ve learned in life is to just keep moving. Spend a moment to mourn the outcomes of fate, and then keep on living your life. Every day you feel sorry for yourself is a day you aren’t living.
Your brain and your heart and your genitals might say otherwise. They might argue with you and nag at you. Another thing I’ve learned is that sometimes your brain or your heart or your genitals can’t be reasoned with. Sometimes your brain, your heart, or your genitals are stubborn, but that doesn’t mean they’re not still wrong. And that’s not something that stops because you get in a healthy relationship or you find love. Your brain and your heart and your genitals are still going to fuck with you on the daily. You’re gonna smell a thing that reminds you of a past lover who was no good for you. You’re gonna want to call or text or email people that you know you shouldn’t. The most important thing to learn about this stuff is that it doesn’t mean shit. Your brain is gonna be wrong, your heart is going to be wrong, and your genitals are going to be wrong. FOREVER. It doesn’t mean that the unattainable girl is perfect for you and it doesn’t mean that the healthy relationship you’re in now is wrong for you.
I’ve gotten sidetracked a little. My friend didn’t know how to get over a girl. I used to have a similar problem. Doesn’t matter if you know the girl isn’t right, the human brain can be a beezy. I used to think I would never get over her or the things she did to me. Now I think about her only two or three times a year, and never in a fond way, and only in passing. I wish I had listened to my friends’ advice then, but c’mon, I probably wouldn’t even have listened to a time-traveling Future-Me (Yo, Past-Me! Buy some Apple stock! Don’t eat so much Jack in the Box! Skip those Matrix sequels!).
You’ll get over it. You’ll get over her. But you need to stop talking to her. You need to stop thinking about her. You need to stop worrying about thinking about her. We live in the future now, and in the future it’s hard, because in the future it’s easy. It’s hard because it’s easy to text someone or e-mail someone or chat with them on Facebook. It’s hard because it’s easy to obsessively check someone’s social media presence over and over again. In the past, you could run away from your past and start new. Technology brings us all together, even with people we shouldn’t be together with anymore. It’s hard, but not impossible.
It feels like you’re never gonna be right again. You will. It feels like there are no other girls out there for you. There are, there are so many, they’re an unlimited resource and they’re making new ones every day. So relax, and live your life, and grow as a person, and keep yourself open to the new possibilities that are like all around you, man, dig? But you’ve got to stop talking to her, because it’ll freeze everything in your life except for your life, and that’s the only limited resource you got.
Bah, I said I wasn’t going to give advice, and now I did. Look. I told my friend that it takes time. It takes working on you. It takes doin’ it with other people. I stand by that answer.
I was really into Garden State when it came out. I think it was a great first film and showed real promise for new writer/director Zach Braff. I saw the movie several times in theaters, I bought the soundtrack, I modeled several early relationships with women after Natalie Portman’s character, and I made really cheesy mixtapes for my own screenplays. I was really excited to see what this new director brought us next.
That said, I hate that he’s running a Kickstarter for his new film, and that he’s going to get the money.
In the above video for the Kickstarter, Braff talks about all the things that he wouldn’t be able to do with the film if he went with traditional Hollywood financing. He jokes about the casting changes they would demand, the changes in plot they would insist on. This boils down to sexing up nerds, turning the guy from the Big Bang Theory into Justin Bieber, turning comic-con geeks into Las Vegas “whores.” He says he hasn’t already made the movie because they won’t give him final cut. He wants to be able to make every decision.
Don’t get me wrong, I can really get behind some auteur theory. I think there is no greater filmmaking than when a director has a clear vision, and he is able to execute on that vision. But can’t we agree that an auteur should earn that freedom? Tarantino gets to make the movies he wants to make, with complete creative control, because he has a proven track record. His work is solid, it has a clear vision, and it gets butts in seats.
Filmmaking isn’t just an art form, it’s a business. If Braff wants to make this movie with his friends, as he purports in his Kickstarter video, then no one is stopping him. He doesn’t need $2 million dollars. He needs to set aside some of his Scrubs residuals, buy a camera, and spend a few weekends with his friends shooting a movie. Braff wants to be an auteur? Fucking grab a camera and make the movie and earn that cred. Don’t rope your fans into a cult where they support your uncompromised vision. Because guess what? The reason he won’t just grab a camera and shoot it with his friends on his own dollar is because he would still have to make compromises.
FILMMAKING IS COMPROMISES. Filmmaking is changing a location because you can’t afford to shoot at the one that would “be perfect.” It’s changing the end of a scene because you’re losing sun. Maybe it’s not shooting at Comic-Con because Comic-Con would be too expensive, and using your creativity to come up with an even more appropriate—less cliche—location for your characters to spend the third act. Your favorite films, YOUR FAVORITE ART, was born out of compromises. Outsmarting financiers and executives and actors and lighting rigs is how your favorite directors made your favorite movies.
Ultimately, I think the Kickstarter route of financing has the potential to be just as detrimental to an auteur’s vision as the traditional Hollywood model. I think that if you’re going to be making art that requires multi-million-dollar investments, then you have an obligation to put butts in seats. I think there is a place for artistic films that are made by a single auteur and have a limited audience, but I think those films should be made with more modest budgets, and not on the backs of fans.
I am terrified that fans are putting their money on the line, becoming investors, and then seeing no return on that investment except MAYBE a film. I think a film director needs to grow as an artist within the constraints of this business. I think this makes them strong. I think Kevin Smith is the first auteur who fell victim to the Kickstarter model, even before Kickstarter existed. He made films just for his fans, and instead of taking the obscene promise found in his first few films and growing as an artist, instead of taking chances to find a wider audience, he pandered to the devoted fans he already had.
I think Kickstarter is a great business model for unknown artists. I hope it delivers to us brand new visions from brand new artists who we wouldn’t get to see otherwise. But I hate it when an established celebrity uses it.
We’re not going to forge the next generation of auteurs by letting them make whatever they want to make with unlimited resources and zero accountability. At best, this is how we’re going to Frankenstein the next collection of George Lucases, Kevin Smiths, and Robert Rodriguezes. These artists had amazing starts, showed great promise, and then locked themselves away in the safety of their egos, their fans, and their piles of money.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m probably going to go against everything I just said here and pledge some money to Zach Braff because hey, Garden State was pretty cool at the time, I guess.
So my ex-coworker Austin has an awesome journal comic called Austin Was Alive and you should go read it right now. I highly recommend going to the last page and working your way backwards, therefore reading them in chronological order. They follow the mundane and profound moments of his life, as he works at a popular internet startup before moving onto a job transporting dead bodies. It’s really good, and has probably inspired me to keep some kind of comic journal that will be infinitely worse.
This video from The Onion is great, and so true. The funny part is, now that I’m unemployed, this shit happens even more often. Sometimes while I’m still in bed, I can decide to just give up for the day.
Right now I’ve got a bad foot injury from hiking yesterday, and that new Poker Night at the Inventory 2 came out, I’m thinking that as soon as noon rolls around I can just open a beer and take some pain medication and play some videogame poker. Fuck it.
On days like today, social media is both wonderful and terrible. Tragedy brings out the best and worst in people, and social networks are no different. Today my twitter feed is filled with news, love, and support. It is also filled with disinformation, fear, and bad jokes.
I quickly got to a point where I couldn’t take anymore of any of it. I unplugged to walk my dog, and while I was out, I thought about what I would like to see the negative part of my feed replaced with. So I came home and made these.
If you’re feeling the same way as me, every time you read a tweet you wish you hadn’t read, imagine a couple of these in its place. Make your own in your head, or use Fake Tweet Builder and make them real and share them under the tag #SurpriseGoodTweets
My thoughts are with everyone in Boston today.