I Love Little Girls

They make me feel so

Grannan doesn't seem to mock her subjects, but does she pity them, and is that worse? Is she as appalled as I by their parents' living rooms, with their paneling or their excessively patterned wallpaper that hasn't been changed in decades? Is it the utmost in elitism to feel sorry for someone merely because they don't have taste? According to my interactions with American Idol fans, yes, it is. But doesn't that same wallpaper seem to evince the fact that they have no hope of escape? They and that wallpaper will remain forever.

Brotherus, meanwhile, exploits only herself. Her whole Paris apartment is wired with tripods so she can shoot herself whenever she's at her gloomiest, and that seems to be a lot of the time. With her waif haircut and the adult acne scrubbing at her skin, she seems ready to melt into a boneless pile of melancholy. Brotherus would be a terrible roommate; she would really suck you down. But there's something about the nakedness of her face, of that acne on that raw skin; Brotherus is the least entitled woman in the show. She is neither pert nor mysterious; even the Iranian girls under ayatollahs show some joie de vivre. Not Brotherus. She's under no misimpression that her needs are recognized and met. Typical urbanites might sneer about vacuous, happy cows; you can be self-aware, it seems, or happy. Which would you choose?

"Girls Night Out" at the Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122. Open Tues.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Through Jan. 25, 2004. $4-$5; kids under 16, free; free on Tues.
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