Wednesday, March 9, 2011

For Your Pleasure: Max Fischer

Max Fischer* saved Latin, and you are his Rushmore. He's going to build an aquarium in your honor. Because, well, that's the kind of socially awkward overachiever he is.  I'm almost reluctant to throw the Max Fischer fascination out there so early (this is only my second entry on the beloved fictional boyfriends front), as most people simply wouldn't understand.  I mean, I'm not sure I get it myself.  Max Fischer is an obnoxious, pretentious, bitter dweeb of a high school student.  When I was 16 or 17 myself I don't think I would have said I was "attracted" to him in so many words.  I'm not, really.  Max isn't Jason Schwartzman at his cleaned up hipster cutest.  He's also vaguely obsessive and just a little bit evil.  It's quite likely, in fact, that most teenage girls would be quick to dismiss Max with a very curt "ew."  Yet, I've always been totally fascinated by Max Fischer.  The thing about Max, I suppose, for me, is partially a matter of projection.  Or is it reflection?  I love Max Fischer because in many ways I was Max Fischer.  Teenage eccentrics, I think, learn how to fetishize their fictional compatriots.  We have to find the characters that represent abstracted, amplified notions of our own personality.  We love them.  We belove them.  We do so because they're proof that outside of crammed cafeterias and gym class horror shows, these are the people who matter and whose lives make good stories.  There were comrades in arms, the characters who we wanted to be, or who we wanted to be friends with.  They changed with the subculture:  the Buffys, Craft witches, the Darias or Gwen Stefanis (who is real, but not), Margot Tenenbaum.  Then, there were the strange "others."  The ones who we had to admit to ourselves (but possibly deny to our friends) we would probably find ourselves dating given the opportunity.  Self-destructive artists, dark rock stars, quirky little guys with plastic framed glasses.  All of the above. When I was a teenager, when I was a college student, and yes, I suppose, sometimes even now, I suffered from closet romanticism suppressed by absolute apathy.  Max Fischer, aside from overachieving in everything (but succeeding at very little), was much the same: a romantic disguised as an asshole.  If only my school had offered fencing...

*Rushmore, 1998.

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