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Davis, California

Monday, September 20, 2021

Column: Interpret this

Celebrities are people too. And when I say “celebrities,” I am of course referring to me, myself and I.

The above sentence is a basic statement in my glossary of famous phrases. And the statement you just read is an over-exaggeration of how much I love myself. Yes, I love myself. That, my friends, is confidence. Not narcissism.

The previous two paragraphs begin the conversation I want to have about something I call “Elizabeth Orpina humor.” Now, I thought I explained this last year (yes, I was qualified enough to be Arts Editor last year too) and at the beginning of this year. Please. Don’t ever take me seriously.

What you unfortunately chose to read just now is sadly a short reaction to the number of angry letters I received in response to last week’s column (not news article, just in case you were confused about why a newspaper would print my diary) about show etiquette. I made some harsh remarks about some students I had to sit next to, mentioning their possible major and inserting my flowing negative thoughts of the evening.

Considering the fact that I got more positive feedback than I ever have on any other humorous piece I’ve published, I was taken aback by the fact that I might have offended a number of you. Not only were these letters a reminder that I tend to say what no one else dares to say, but they proved to me that I have readers! Welcome back, all five of you.

And before I make this entire column a reply to the numerous offensive (by calling me tasteless, btw, you are being a hypocrite) comments I have sitting in my inbox, I want to thank one of you. I walked into the office and was greeted by a printed letter that not only peacefully reminded me that my dry commentary could be interpreted in a bitchy tone, but one that restored my faith in humanity.

If I offended you because you think I overgeneralized and attacked students, I want to take the time to make it clear that I was just trying to make a point. I make it a point to only comment on people I can relate to on some level (you should know how qualified I am to criticize certain groups if you take the time to read my work), and guess what? I almost minored in theater. I’ve taken the classes; I attend most shows.

But I shouldn’t have to explain or defend myself. Because this is what I should have expected, putting my opinions, humor, name and face out there in a campus publication. And this is what artists, musicians, performers and comics have to deal with all of the time.

Art should be examined, interpreted in multiple ways and be able to create conversation between the artist and the audience. In my case, my art is my writing/humor. I stand by it; my friends, coworkers and colleagues respect and relate to my opinions and can realize that in order to fully enjoy life, one must never take themselves seriously.

Perhaps art shouldn’t even be taken seriously. The show I attended wasn’t entirely serious. The dancers even admitted that they couldn’t stand the “music” they had to dance to. It’s about experiencing artistic projects in a different way each time.

Every once in a while, you’ll read a more serious Elizabeth column. But most of the time, I’ll be making snarky remarks about celebrities. Rarely will you read an opinionated rant, as I’ve learned that my rants garner more laughs when shared aloud.

What I want all five of you readers to take from this is that not everything you encounter will please you. Some things will disturb you, offend you or cause you to rethink your life. Art is embedded in everyday things. Art can take form in a person, place or thing. Art is whatever you make it out to be.

So, you walk away from this column with life advice, while I walk away considering writing inspirational self-help books or becoming a comedy writer. Either way, I’ll still be publishing art. At least my cats will think so.

Never take ELIZABETH ORPINA seriously, as she’s usually rolling around on a floor somewhere moaning and groaning about how hard life is. Email her fan mail at arts@theaggie.org.

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