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December 18, 2012

11
A.M.

ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Total Responses: 46

About the hosts

About the host

Alexandra Petri

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost, a lighter take on the news and issues of the day, and she contributes to the Post editorial page. Her work has appeared in venues such as The Huffington Post, The Week, Newsweek.com, Businessweek.com, Collegehumor, and The Harvard Crimson. She has appeared on Jeopardy!, Showbiz Tonight and Canadian radio, and she has performed at Boston's Comedy Studio and Comedy Connection. She would love to be on your TV show, radio show, Daily Show, HBO special, or to be an honored guest (or regular guest) at your Bar Mitzvah. She is the author of two books (unpublished, but contact her!), two screenplays, three plays, one musical, and one memoir (Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.)

About the topic

Join us next Tuesday to laugh, cry, and dish about the moments that amused you, shocked you, or caused you to yell things that frightened the other people on the subway.

Past ComPost Live Chats

Connect on Twitter: @PostLive | @petridishes
Q.

Alexandra Petri :

This chat isn't showing up in any of the listings, so if no one is here, I don't blame you! But at least I'm early! I'm like that tree who arrives early in the middle of the forest with no one there to witness it.

Q.

Your work

You're one of the funniest political writers around- are you working on a book /compilation?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

My gosh, thank you! Is this my agent? If so, I will get you the draft by New Year, I promise...

Yes, I am working on a book. More updates in the new year! If you want to help, tell the Internet to be less interesting.

– December 18, 2012 11:08 AM
Q.

Now

You're showing up four times in the weekly listing. It's amazing.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

WHAT?

I kept clicking the "clone" button.

This is exactly how all those science fiction movies start.

– December 18, 2012 11:08 AM
Q.

ComPost this week

Your columns this week have been great Alex. Inquiring yet sensitive on all fronts, it seems to me. Nice job! And yeah, I was pretty bummed that your chat wasn't appearing. Then suddenly Presto! Here it is. Yay! Tough week for humor, though...
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Yeah, it is. Tough week in general. 

I'm glad you approve, so far.

– December 18, 2012 11:10 AM
Q.

I'm so confused.

Do we get to enjoy your company today or not?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Four times, apparently?

This is like Twelfth Night.

– December 18, 2012 11:11 AM
Q.

"This is exactly how all those science fiction movies start"

Are you going to get merged with a fly next or be chased by dinosaurs? And next year, Jurassic Park 3D will be out.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I assume they had to rush Jurassic Park 3D if they didn't want to have to retcon a lot of feathers onto all the dinosaurs.

– December 18, 2012 11:12 AM
Q.

I Liked It

But what did you think of The Hobbit (part 1 of 17)?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Haven't seen it yet!

I liked "Lincoln," though! I thought James Spader was great as Bilbo.

– December 18, 2012 11:13 AM
Q.

Alexandra Petri :

But what do folks think about Les Mis? I am tentatively optimistic, with the caveat that I think Anne Hathaway's entire life has been designed as revenge against the middle school drama teacher who did not cast her as Eponine.

Q.

Alexandra Petri :

Also, Instagram is selling our pictures now?

Q.

Three of the links are empty!

There are four links up to the chat right now, but the first three are empty. So it looks like you aren't online.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Hmmm. Let me see if I can fix that!

– December 18, 2012 11:23 AM
Q.

Miz

I saw the play on Broadway but I've always been bothered by "let's take the story of a starving man whose life is ruined by onerous laws and an overzealous gendarme and put it on stage. Oh, and we'll make it a musical."
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I think it works well! I do like the panache of the writers, though. "Giant Victor Hugo Novel No One Has Actually Read? Let's make a musical out of it!" I'm surprised they haven't taken on Ulysses yet.

– December 18, 2012 11:25 AM
Q.

Any comments on...

... the demolition derby on the moon?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Most American Event EVER!!

– December 18, 2012 11:25 AM
Q.

Multi-Chats

WaPo is playing a cruel game of three card monte with your chat. Only one of the links is to the real chat. It's like playing the Lady or The Tiger in a lifeboat with a philosophically inclined shipwreck victim.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

That is indeed nerve-wracking.

I thought the tiger was an allegory.

I would have picked the Tiger door, if only because the Life of Pi and years of Calvin and Hobbes predisposed me to thinking that tigers are either friendly or allegories. Or, you know, pals with William Blake.

– December 18, 2012 11:31 AM
Q.

Les Mis

Count me among those who have never cared for Les Mis, or Les Miz as it is also known (who knew there was a variorum text?). The songs are weightless, and the story loses way too much in the adaptation; better to have cut out some of the Marius-Eponine stuff, and even the Fantine stuff, to focus more on the Valjean-Javert-Cosette story. But I am curious, since one of the weakest parts of the show was the clumsy staging; maybe the movie will do it better.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I've always been strangely fond of it, since unlike most shows that your high school puts on, it actually had enough parts for EVERYONE. Yes, that meant that it went on for approximately eighteen years, and I always found adult Cosette to be insanely lame, but -- hey, everyone's cast at least.

– December 18, 2012 11:33 AM
Q.

PR

Can you get a more prominent link to your columns? You seem to write a LOT and often I have to hunt for you. I mean, you're worth looking for but time is limited.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

... Mom?

I would love a more prominent link, but I don't think anyone's deliberately trying to hide me, or anything; there's so many people writing lots of great stuff and limited web space. You can always get me by hovering your mouse over "opinions"!

– December 18, 2012 11:40 AM
Q.

Hand dryers

I'd like to see the study reproduced with the new-fangled Dyson hand dryers. I've talked to a handful (har!) of people who use these and absolutely love them because they are (or seem) so much more effective: stronger air blasts, no need to touch a button (ew!) to start them, shorter drying times. I agree that the previous generation of dryers were lame but I am being converted.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

No, I struggled with this, because I, too, love Dyson hand dryers. I hope I ever am as happy to see another human being as my family's dog is to see me or I am to see a Dyson hand dryer. They're like tiny helpful tornados!

I hope it was a clean handful.

– December 18, 2012 11:41 AM
Q.

It actually had enough parts for everyone

Including those who can't sing, can't act, can't walk a straight line, etc.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

That's half the charm of any high school production.

– December 18, 2012 11:41 AM
Q.

High School Musical Casting

As you say, the great bit about Les Miz is that Rachel Berry, Quinn, and Santana all get a part. The problem is when you need a really good Jean Valjean and the only guys you have auditioning are Finn and Kurt. And most theater classes have way more Kurts than even Finns.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

This is true.

And Marius, and Enjolras, and M. Thenardier...

Yeah, the other perennial high school theater problem: barely enough girl parts, but almost always too many male parts.

– December 18, 2012 11:43 AM
Q.

Literary Hero Question

If you could have a rubber molded mask of any 19th century writer, who would it be? Options: Victor Hugo Edgar Allen Poe Jane Austen Charles Dickens Other Other
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Hmm, what a curious question.

Having seen a Poe mask, I'd have to go with any of the others.

– December 18, 2012 11:43 AM
Q.

Bilbo

James Spader played Sen. Theodore Bilbo? I didn't know FDR appeared in "Lincoln." Maybe that's why I keep hearing about Bill Murray as FDR.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

No, he played someone named W. N. Bilbo, who led a ring of lobbyists -- a far more dangerous and powerful ring than in that other Bilbo movie.

– December 18, 2012 11:46 AM
Q.

Two Many Male Parts

Avoiding the easy double entendre there, the year my kid's high school did Seven Brides For Seven Brothers was just painful. But then, Little Women is too painful to inflict on an audience for any reason.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

That hasn't stopped some. It didn't stop my middle school from inflicting a multi-hour extravaganza of political incorrectness called "Land of the Dragon" on everyone. Seriously. "Land of the Dragon." One character was named Precious Jade.

I played the rear end of the dragon, in case you were wondering.

– December 18, 2012 11:51 AM
Q.

If they ever finish the Hobbit movies

I'd love to see Gormanghast come to the big screen. Of course, I'm probably the only one. Unless they make it a musical.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

It did come to the small screen with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but I'm not sure what people thought of it.

Now that's a musical I'd be interested to see...

– December 18, 2012 11:52 AM
Q.

Currently Online

I just noticed that the tell that 32 people are currently reading this chat. It's giving me bad AOL community room flashbacks.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Where's the tell? I have a different view than you do.

I spent most of my AOL time in the AOL Reference chats, because I had convinced my parents that they were educational. The Civil War Reference chat was educational, too, but not in the way I was expecting. I thought you were supposed to go in and impersonate historical figures, and they thought you were supposed to debate whether Britney or Xtina would win a mud wrestling match. It was eye-opening, on the whole.

– December 18, 2012 11:54 AM
Q.

Wonderful Christmastime

I worry about all these people. "We're here tonight/And that's enough"? So how is this different from the other 364 days? "The choir of children sing this song/ They've practiced all year long/Ding Dong Ding Dong" etc. They practiced all year to learn two words? Has everyone in this song been lobotomized?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

You'd be surprised how long it takes a children's choir to learn two words.

But yes, I think the lobotomy is a safe assumption. Also for listeners who enjoy the song after hearing it more than 5 times.

– December 18, 2012 11:56 AM
Q.

Now...

Now your chat is on the schedule thrice, although not at all in the listing to the right.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

We're winnowing it down...

– December 18, 2012 11:57 AM
Q.

I played the rear end of the dragon

It could have been the equine character in Shrek.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

You know he's married to a dragon, right?

– December 18, 2012 11:58 AM
Q.

Currently Online: 11

Okay, the three-card monte game has apparently reduced the hordes of ComPost fans to a small intimate group today. Are there any questions YOU'd like to ask US, for a change?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

SO many questions!

What is a weird niche subject you have a strong opinion on?

My canonical example is -- I feel that the absence of wallet-sized pockets in women's clothing is the mother of much great injustice, and I can bend your ear on this for some time.

 

– December 18, 2012 11:59 AM
Q.

Oh, that's interesting

The chat software updates "Total Responses" each time you add a response, but not the "Currently Online" figure. You have to reload to get that updated.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Hey, 44!

– December 18, 2012 12:01 PM
Q.

AOL Chats

Weren't all AOL chat rooms just sad pick-up zones? Chris Hardwick tells the story of the rude awakening he got as a kid when he learned the 'TV' in TV Talk didn't stand for television.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ha!

This reminds me of a friend whose screenname was, I kid you not, Doglove444 or some number. (I remember the number, but, you know, anonymity.) She loved dogs.

Yeah.

– December 18, 2012 12:02 PM
Q.

12/21/12

What are your plans for the end of the world?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Well, once I finish this list...

I actually am mildly disappointed by all this, if only because we don't have any more good apocalypses scheduled for a while, and anticipating/debunking them has become such an integral part of my writing.

– December 18, 2012 12:05 PM
Q.

Speaking of Bad AOL Flashbacks

A/S/L?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I was always like, "No, I'm not fluent, but I thought we were typing."

– December 18, 2012 12:06 PM
Q.

Weird Niche Subject

I would like to think it is not a weird niche subject, but I fear that it is. Word usage. I am so sick of bad word usage. People are people. They are not "persons." Impact is not a verb. Capitol and capital are not interchangeable. I could go on.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Our capital contains the Capitol. That one especially cankers.

– December 18, 2012 12:07 PM
Q.

I'm just sayin...

I have not seen part 1 of THE HOBBIT yet, but I just thought I'd point out that while Mr. Jackson is making essentially the same hours worth of movies out of it as he did for LORD OF THE RINGS, each volume of LORD OF THE RINGS was over 100,000 words, and in total it was over 450,000 words. THE HOBBIT is around 95,000 total and is much lighter in tone. Gee, I wonder why critics are saying it feels bloated and padded? How do things like this happen!
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I concur heartily. Lord of the Rings, long as it was, was CONDENSED. This is not condensed. Descriptions that take a page, when you translate them to film, are generally a few frames, tops.

But I will see it, and I will like it, I predict, based on my sad track record with these things.

– December 18, 2012 12:08 PM
Q.

Instagram

The article that I read about Instagram being able to use and sell photos said "public" photos. Are my pictures public if my settings allow only approved friends to view them? Should I just pull the plug to be safe? If so, how will I retain the hipster vibe of my Facebook wall? ;)
A.
Alexandra Petri :

The article I read said "public" too. I'm not sure. Chatters?

– December 18, 2012 12:12 PM
Q.

More word usage

Also, "physical" and "fiscal" are not the same word. And no, they are NOT homophones.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

PHYSICAL CLIFF

– December 18, 2012 12:12 PM
Q.

12/22/12

I am looking forward to waking up on the 22nd to the realisation that THE DOCTOR SAVED THE WORLD AGAIN!
A.
Alexandra Petri :

He always seems to make it in time.

– December 18, 2012 12:13 PM
Q.

What is the over/under...

... on how many times we will hear REM's "It's The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" on Friday? And are you taking the over or the under? I'm taking the over, whatever it is. Because there's at least a 50/50 chance I won't have to pay off.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Are you sure about that? Ask Nate Silver.

I'd bet at least 30.

– December 18, 2012 12:18 PM
Q.

Word Usage

NOT a niche subject. At. All. Couldn't agree more than it's gotten quite out of hand. And not just here - Britain too! Don't get me started on apostrophes...
A.
Alexandra Petri :

No one seems to know quite where to put them, so they wind up just holding on to them and then dunk'ing them between consonants at random, like people who show up at your house holding unwieldy gifts.

– December 18, 2012 12:20 PM
Q.

post chat page

Is it part of the joke that you appear 4 times (3 of them link to empty chats?)
A.
Alexandra Petri :

This is the Post-Apocalyptic world we live in.

Maybe we're just on the wrong brane to appreciate those other three chats.

– December 18, 2012 12:20 PM
Q.

Really

Seriously, at the gym the other day I listened to a group of otherwise-intelligent sounding people discuss the physical cliff. I had no idea how to respond, and had to concentrate to keep from making goldfish faces.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Ha!

Mispronounciations from intelligent people you are nervous to correct are like watching someone speak with a booger.

– December 18, 2012 12:22 PM
Q.

My niche opinion

Bring back hobble skirts! Women are walking too dang fast.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Maybe this is the solution to the pant-pocket problem.

– December 18, 2012 12:23 PM
Q.

Agree on small pockets

but for a different reason. YOU probably wear women's slacks (eg) with small pockets and carry a purse. I wear women's slacks because I like them (I'm a crossdresser and wear as much womenswear as I can get away with) and a purse is out of the question.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Dang! Without a purse, it's impossible! Unless you just keep your credit card and phone and ID floating freely in a back pocket, and that always makes me nervous.

– December 18, 2012 12:24 PM
Q.

Bilbo was in Lincoln?

I am so confused.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Lincoln is actually The Hobbit: 4: Step Up 4 The 13th Amendment.

– December 18, 2012 12:25 PM
Q.

Niche

Look, there are obviously so many language pedants on this chat that word usage, grammar, punctuation, and related subjects really aren't niche concerns. On the other hand, chat software..
A.
Alexandra Petri :

I think I, not the software, am to blame in this.

I mean, GRRR, that terrible software!

– December 18, 2012 12:25 PM
Q.

APOSTROPHES!

Oh, apostrophes are just out of hand. Same with quotation marks. For that matter, commas also seem to have become seasoning. Just sprinkle the prose lightly with commas until it looks right.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

As Wilde said, "I worked all day on a poem. In the morning, I put in a comma, and in the afternoon, I took it out again."

 

– December 18, 2012 12:28 PM
Q.

I have been wondering

Would you rather be a Gorgon or a Sibyl?
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Oh, Sibyl all the way! Are you kidding? I enjoy people way too much and stone statues way too little to go Gorgon.

– December 18, 2012 12:29 PM
Q.

Lincoln vs. Gandalf

Two guys with beards and funny hats fighting the forces of evil. Has anyone seen the both of them in the same room?
Q.

goldfish faces

thank you!
A.
Alexandra Petri :

Yes, +10! Heck, +30, for finding the chat in the first place!

Goldfish Faces for the win!

– December 18, 2012 12:31 PM
Q.

I'm a woman

and I love pockets. Not just to hold stuff, but more importantly, to have a place to put my hands. My other option is crossing my hands and people say that looks confrontational.
A.
Alexandra Petri :

That's true!

I just wave mine frenetically like I'm trying to signal down a pigeon, and I hear that's a problem as well.

– December 18, 2012 12:34 PM
Q.

Alexandra Petri :

All right, now that our response reach has exceeded our people-in-the-chat grasp, I think I might toddle off.

Thank you for finding this place! Keep reading the Compost, and feel free but unobligated to follow me on Twitter!

Q.

 

A.
Host: