Many moons ago, when I was still just playing around on this thing we now call the interwebs, I came across a website. I can remember the exact moment I found this website.
I was lurking around Go Fug Yourself – which is a site I recommend to anyone who dresses poorly but still makes fun of celebrities. Anyway, while I was trolling that site, I kept seeing a sidebar ad.
It screamed at me.
I had no idea what that word meant, but it sounded kind of dirty so I avoided it. The ad would feature “in your face” photos of famous people – usually an “actress” with the initials LaLohan. It seemed racy, and because I was usually at work when I trolled, I avoided clicking on it.
But, it would mock me. Because I am nothing if not curious.
Since I was working in IT at the time, I simply changed my web browser to text only. Viewing Go Fug Yourself in lynx was very hit or miss. You see, you couldn’t see the photos that made going to the site the whole point. But, I could be spared the ads with their suggestive photos. I couldn’t, however get the word Pajiba out of my mind.
I had no idea what this site was. I only knew that clicking on it could mean that I was outing myself as a major freak if a coworker stopped by my desk.
One day – it was a holiday week when I was the only other person in the office besides the Network Admin (that’s the beauty of working in higher education) – I decided to click on it.
I figured I could close the window quickly if I had to and if someone did happen to check my browser history, I would simply talk about all of the truly dirty stuff I knew everyone else was looking at online.
I was amazed to find out that this seemingly dirty sounding site was a movie review site. Not only that, it was a movie review site that I mostly agreed with. OK, they did swear more than your average movie review site, and the comments were downright filthy sometimes, but I felt like I was home.
I still couldn’t get over the name. It still sounded so dirty. I mean, say the word Pajiba out loud. It sounds dirty right? And, I had no idea what it meant, only what the word conjured in my head. Then, I found out the meaning behind the name. For me knowing the meaning made it less dirty and more empowering.
Like I could walk up to some random stranger and say, “My Pajiba is extra strong today.” And that random stranger wouldn’t know what to do or say, they would just have to accept it as truth. Maybe they would ask to see it to verify — who knew? It was a crazy Pajiba-awakening time.
So, I read it. Every day. Then, I started commenting. Then I started reading sites they recommended.
Then (and things get a little confused in my memory at this point), I posted something about the movie 300 and was told that I was ridiculous by another commenter. Then, they got shut down because of some government conspiracy having to do with terrorism and their servers were taken away. Then, it started getting in the way of work — especially when I started reading the Law Blog they recommended. Plus, I was starting watching a lot of HBO. So, I backed off for a while due to time constraints.
Then, I read this post and I wrote this addendum in response and actually got positive feedback – which was surprising because the commenters are a brash and cynical lot who take no prisoners -which is why I felt so at home there in the first place.
But, I still kept my distance. I would read whenever I had time or I just had a wild hair, but I knew better than to get too involved again (seriously, whoever it was that told me that liking sweaty muscled men with gorgeous abs meant that I was exactly what was wrong with American Cinema – I hope you choke on an ammonia-filled bag of douche).
Anyway, the next thing that happened was the whole reason I am writing this post. You see, Pete Postlethwaite died on the second of January. I made a mental note to check Pajiba. Because I knew that they would pay proper homage to him as an amazing actor. They wouldn’t treat him as a “that guy” that most people had never heard of. They would be fans — true fans of the man and pay him proper respect.
I didn’t get the chance to actually check for his tribute until several days (ok almost a week — yes hypocritical I know) later. I scrolled through page after page and couldn’t find the mention, let alone the tribute. So, I sent them an email.
You see, over the years I have sent emails to their Pajiba Love section. Usually, these emails were to odd but entertaining links that I found and at least two of my suggestions ended up in the love section. One involved a music video the other involved needlepoint – but I digress.
I sent an email about Pete Postlethwaite, admitting that I might have missed it but wanted to make sure that it had been noted. I had missed something in my years of reading, they had actually organized their site to include easy to read and find categories and topics (This is worth mentioning because I had become really used to IT people making fun of their clients for overlooking this very type of thing. I spent most of my time in the IT world trying to convince customers that they were not stupid for overlooking these things, they were simply busy, but now that it had been pointed out, they could find what they needed).
Anyway, I received the sweetest response. And, the sweetness of the response had nothing to do with explaining their menus and categories, it was totally about feeling my pain that he was no longer on this earth. Basically, it was an of-course-we-recognized-his-passing-here-is-the-link response. But, I realized something in that instant.
I realized I was right all along. They do get me. They could never miss his passing without comment. And even though it was a small paragraph that included my favorite moment from him on film, it was a perfectly fitting tribute. And, that response has made all of the difference.
The thing is, I finally realized that Pajiba is like listening to an old Jackson 5 song. You are blown away by the talent of little Michael, you even bob your head to the rhythm, but you are still slightly creeped out by the oddly sexualized nature of it all. And when I say oddly, I mean the queerest queerness that ever could queer – seriously.
Just don’t call it a guilty pleasure. Pajiba simply something that I enjoy and even tell people about. If they don’t like it, then fuck ’em. But, if they do like it, well then, we have tons of stuff to talk about.