School’s In

I made a huge mistake in launching a Pop Culture School right before leaving on my two-week book tour. I realize that now. But luckily most of you are either fully cultured, or are too scared to reach out to help. This means I’ve gotten very few questions. I’m just going to answer all of them right here and now.

I’ll have a computer on the road, so I’m sure I’ll update over the next couple of weeks, but I don’t know how sporadic it might be. Yay, book tour. Please come see me if you’re in the area. I promise it’ll be worth your time. Ask Katie and Kim and kage.

Okay, here we go.

Why did we feel the need to wear two pairs of socks at one time, preferably one being neon colored? I mean, this crap is keeping me up at night!

I also wore the two layered socks. In my case, it was me breaking away from legwarmers, easing down to slouch socks. I think we thought having thick ankles made for skinnier calves. We were still trying to get that mini-skirt to pencil leg, to thick socks with big giant Reebok tennis shoes look down. And the neon colored attracted attention to your hard-earned Reeboks. That’s the best I can figure.

… can you please explain the fab that was parachute pants? I never understood that one at all.

I’m a little stumped on this one myself. Maybe this site can help, as it offers a link to the Parachute Pants Fan Club. These people are still out there, still ruining it for everyone.

It seems we spent a lot of time in the Eighties thinking that layering and bulking up showed off all the hard work you did jazzercizing your ass off. We know now that it’s best to just not wear pants at all, pulling them all the way down to the tip of your vagina. Thanks, Britney, for making me look like a prude because my jeans have room for a zipper in front.

And this site helps try to explain the dangers of Parachute Pants.

What’s the deal with The Princess Bride, anyway? It’s not funny like Legally Blonde, nor is it cute like 10 Things I Hate About You. And why is everyone oooh-ing about that Fred Savage guy being so young?

Hear that? That’s the sound of the Gasp and Thud Heard ‘Round the World.

Look. You can’t mess with The Princess Bride. We just love it. We love every goofy, silly, romantic second of it. We’d never seen anything cuter than Wesley before the goatee, and nothing sexier than when he stood up from that bed and threatened, “Drop. Your. Sword.” It’s perfect. And the book is just as wonderful. Back off. Go to college! Get someone to teach you something.

Fabric headbands? What gives?

Um. I kinda still wear them. Alice bands, named after Alice in Wonderland. In the Eighties, you might have seen these on men who were in hair bands, holding back their lion’s mane of Aqua Netted wonder. But I’m totally old school with mine: I cut the short-sleeves off of old t-shirts and put them on my head. Instant headband! Yes, I’m both a pop culture school and an arts and crafts class. Look out, Martha.

I’ve heard that you 80s children had a whole bunch of really lame-sounding toys. PogoBall? Skip-it? Cabbage-Patch something?

You’re making fun of me, aren’t you? See right side-bar for Garbage Pail Kids info. Otherwise, your question? I think I’ll Skip-It.

Family Ties, Growing Pains, Doogie Howser and Full House. I know that Leo was on one of them. Which? And what’s the difference? Why couldn’t you just watch The Simpsons for your half-hour of family tv?

I know it seems like The Simpsons have been on as long as you’ve been alive. That’s because they have. But we didn’t always have the option.

  • Family Ties— Starring Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman (she’s the one on that Eric Stoltz and “guy from Fargo” show on Showtime about the screenwriter? She’s the one with the incredibly large boobs that she must have recently purchased.), Tina Yothers (yes, that’s why you’ve heard that name on South Park), Michael Gross (the dude from Tremors), and Meredith Baxter-Birney (mostly known for sliding to her kitchen floor with food falling out of her mouth when she played a bulemic in a Lifetime movie). It’s set in Ohio, with hippie parents raising three kids — and one’s a Republican! When you grow up and get your own family sitcom, it’ll be about two reformed goth kids raising Christian youth. Theme song ends: “Sha-la-la-laaaaaah.”
  • Growing Pains — Gave the world Kirk Cameron and not much else. But this is the one Leo was on. Unleashed a character named “Boner,” which I think paved the way for Married…With Children. Also has a kick-ass theme song.
  • Doogie Howser, MD. Please don’t forget the “MD,” people. Gave us Neil Patrick Harris and some hot girl every boy I liked was in love with. Was the inspiration for online journalling.
  • Full House. Oh, whatever. You were totally alive during this show’s run and everybody on the show is still working, aside from Dave “Alanis hates me” Coulier, who now does prank shows on Animal Planet.

Next question.

You know, “Sixteen Candles,” right? Jake Ryan was really hot, huh? Who was that guy and is he in any other movies?

He’s Michael Schoeffling, and I’m sorry you don’t remember him in Mermaids.

Being born in 1981, I don’t have the greatest recollection of stuff that happened in the early ’80s. Yet one sitcom in the *late* ’80s has been wiped from my memory (that, or I never watched it to begin with). I keep hearing this sitcom being thrown around called “I Married Dora”. All I know is that they announced their cancellation in the final episode (great move, I must say). What was the plot of this show, and who, if any, now-notable people were in it?

Also, what happened to the coifs of the cast of “Happy Days” after Ron Howard left? You’ve got ’60s songs and ’80s hair. It just doesn’t add up.

These are both very good questions. As for “Happy Days,” I can only assume that everybody was trying to get cast in other things and updated their looks and refused to look like they were still on “Happy Days.”

I must confess, I never saw I Married Dora. It was about a guy who married his housekeeper to keep her in the country. I remember everyone loving Elizabeth Pena, though. And check it: Juliette Lewis was in it, too! Jump the Shark does a pretty good explaining it, but I think the show got famous for going out with a bang. That’s pretty damn funny.

Who is Pia Zadora? I obsessively watch “I Love the 80’s”, even though I was only alive for the second half of it, and they’ve mentioned her, but not explained who she is (other than that she’s a “babe”). What am I missing here? Is she an actress or something?

I love how defensive everybody is about not knowing something. I get the same way.

It’s best not to spend too much time on Pia unless you want to. And if you want to, go here.

Holy crap. You were only alive for the second half of the Eighties?

I have to go lie down and cry.

And now, doing my part in fighting the good fight, I am asking you to help spread the word:

[readermail]Dear friends–

As many of you know, Bitch has always functioned on a shoestring budget, especially in the spreading-the-word department. Well, our mid-year financial statements show that the shoestring has gotten even stringier of late. We’re falling pretty short of our projected magazine sales for the year, and to ensure that there’s a Bitch next year and for many years to come, we need your help now. To put it bluntly, we need more subscribers. About 3,000 more.

Here’s why subscriptions are so crucial to our financial health: When people buy Bitch at a bookstore, we eventually (four to five months later) get between $1.77 and $1.98 of the $4.95 plus tax that it costs. When people subscribe, they pay only $3.75 per issue (better for them), and we get all of the money right away (better for us).

A lot of people think that buying Bitch on the newsstand supports us just as much as subscribing. Some even think it’s more helpful because it convinces bookstores that Bitch is worth carrying. But the bottom line is that Bitch is much better off having you as a subscriber than as a newsstand buyer. (Of course we’d rather have people buying it in the bookstore than not buying it at all, but I promise that stores will continue to stock the magazine, and new newsstand buyers will always come along.)

And then there are all those folks out there who say, “Oh, yeah, Bitch, I’ve thumbed through that in the bookstore/been to the website/read a friend’s copy, and I always meant to subscribe.” Now is the time to get all of these people to actually sign up!

Here’s what you can do to help:

-If you are not a subscriber right now, become one today. Go to, call us toll-free at 877-21-BITCH, or send a check for $15 to Bitch, 1611 Telegraph Ave Ste. 515, Oakland CA 94612.

-Buy gifts for your friends and family. Multiple subscriptions are even cheaper: $15 for the first and $12 for each additional. See info above, and please note: If you are ordering online, the discount for multiple subscriptions will not show up automatically. Write a note in the comments field about it (along with the other addresses, of course) and we will manually adjust the price.

-Pass this message along. This e-mail is going out to about 700 or so people. To meet our goal, every one of you would need to buy 4.3 subscriptions–or we would collectively need to reach out to a whole bunch more than 700 of Bitch’s closest friends. So please send this to anyone you know who likes the magazine or who you think would like the magazine. Help us get the word out!

-Tell people about Bitch. Read it on public transportation. Leave a copy in places where people will discover it (your local coffee house, your college’s student center, the waiting room at your friendly women’s health clinic, etc.). If you want to take part in a more formal effort to do this, e-mail publicity director Marisa Meltzer at and tell her you’re interested in helping to promote the magazine in your area.

-Buy a t-shirt, too. We have a bunch of styles now and they’re super-cute. If you’re an exhibitionist, we also have very happenin’ underwear for sale. (Pictures and descriptions are at

-Pester your local library to buy a subscription (they really do listen to patron requests).

-Donate a subscription to your local campus women’s center, community resource center, or the like.

Anything you can do to get us further toward the goal of 3,000 subscriptions will help Bitch be strong and healthy!

With gratitude,

Lisa Jervis
Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture
1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 515
Oakland, California 94612

You need a subscription to this anyway, because they’re doing an article about me in this fall’s issue. Your first magazine will have pictures and stories of me! Then you can leave it open on your coffee table, and when someone asks you can be all cool and go, “Oh, that’s this girl I know. She has a website and then she just got her first novel published. We email sometimes, whatever. No big deal. I think she’s stalking me, sometimes. I find it a little flattering, so I bought this magazine with her in it because it makes her happy. I think it’s nice to support struggling artists. Need anything from the kitchen?”

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