My Enormous, Long-Suffering, Slightly Weird Crush on Slate's Emily Bazelon

April 09, 2012|Stephen Markley

Yesterday's debate with Ernest Wilkins about whether or not we'd date Kim Kardashian got me thinking about my actual celebrity crushes. Here is a weird one, Slate's Emily Bazelon

This crush on a woman twelve years my senior, who is married with at least one kid, boiled over when she appeared on “The Colbert Report” two weeks ago to talk Affordable Care Act and couldn’t stop giggling at everything Colbert said (I attribute this to the fact that surely, like Colbert, I develop romantic feelings towards anyone who laughs at my jokes—here’s looking at you, Aunt Edna).

A little background: Bazelon is a writer and legal analyst for Slate, whose name first stuck in my head when she wrote the first not-condescending, head-up-one’s ass piece on my generation (“The Real World Threw Up All Over Us”). The most frequent analysis of Millennials in the media usually comes latched to the term “entitlement”, always written by members of one of those sweet previous generations who blew up the economy, wrecked the planet, sent not-their-kids to two wars and wracked up a few trillion dollars in debt paying for their own tax cuts. Bazelon did not take this stance, which endeared her to me immediately.

Then, I began listening to Slate’s Political Gabfest, which became one of my favorite podcasts. This features Bazelon (who has a voice that, while lovely, requires you to adjust the volume on your iPod every time she gets bothered) Slate editor David Plotz (who’s the most awesomely obnoxious smart guy you want to cheer on when you agree with him and punch in his smarmy bald head when you don’t) and political analyst John Dickerson (who may simultaneously be the most incisive and least funny guy covering politics).

Listening to these three banter about Mitt Romney gets me through a lot of eight-mile runs, the best dynamic being when Bazelon and Plotz argue because Plotz has clearly always been the smartest kid in his class (or at least thought he was) while Bazelon has this sweet, wonderful feminist rage that won’t allow her to back down from a fight with her boss. It’s great.

Anyway, after maybe a year of listening to these three, I finally had to put faces to the voices, the way you sometimes want to do (for instance, a reader once wrote in to tell me that I should really get RedEye to update my picture with “anything besides your high school football mug shot”). I discovered that Plotz looks exactly like “The X-Files” boss and “Sons of Anarchy” neo-Nazi Mitch Pileggi, Dickerson looks exactly like a nicer, smaller version of NFL analyst and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden (and therefore, invariably, like a nice version of famed serial-killing doll Chucky), and Bazelon looks eerily like British actress Elizabeth Bennett.

Only instead of starring in insomnia-curing BBC miniseries, Bazelon is a hot nerd who writes about legal shit.

We rarely take the time to appreciate hot nerds: Peter Orszag, Zooey Deschanel, Nick Kristoff, Tina Fey, Conan O’Brian, Ezra Klein, Chloe O’Brien from “24” (I forget the actress’s name). Whether discussing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, writing about obscure Supreme Court decisions on marijuana, or discussing teen bullying, Bazelon is the hottest, nerdiest kind of hot nerd.

However, the way you know that your crush has flowered into something weirder is when you get into a one-sided fight with your celebrity crush that she neither knows about nor can respond to. This happened for me when Bazelon showed open contempt and disdain for independent bookstores.

I had this apoplectic moment when I wanted to reach through my earbuds and go off on a tangent (the way most listeners probably want to do to Plotz):

“Bazelon, as someone about to publish a book, you of all people should understand the value of independent bookstores to authors whose last names are not Meyer, King, Collins, Grisham, or Patterson. Since your last name is none of those, you will soon understand the heartbreak and frustration that is trying to get people to pay money for the piece of your life for which you rang the sweat out of your soul. Independent bookstores are the places that had me for readings, that put the word out about my first book, that actually interacted with me on a personal level, that I established a relationship with, etc. So from a consumer perspective, sure, let’s all buy our books from Amazon. But you’re an author now, and your callous disregard of the independent bookstore will come back to haunt you when you realize Slate podcast listeners are not enough to put your book on the New York Times Bestseller list!”

Then I realized I was having an imagined argument with Emily Bazelon while lifting weights at the gym and perhaps throwing out my shoulder while I dreamed up rhetorical points in an imaginary fight with a woman I do not know in any capacity whatsoever (yet still want to make out with).

So there you go, Bazelon: at that moment you officially became my weirdest celebrity crush, which, in my defense doesn’t even begin to touch someone who has a crush on, say, Michael Bloomberg.

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