Mary Boo Anderson (@whoismaryboo) Finds Power in Talking About Sensitive Subjects
Mary Boo Anderson is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn. Her work has been featured in Spy Kids Review, Peach Mag, and Leste among others. She performs around NYC and co-hosts the monthly Cool As Fuck Series at Pete’s Candy Store. You can find her subtweeting the patriarchy @whoismaryboo. This week Anderson spoke to me about three of her favorite tweets, plus office culture, politics, and vulnerability.
Every twosome is a threesome if you disassociate
— mary boo anderson (@whoismaryboo) August 16, 2016
Anderson: Disassociation is something I think/tweet about a lot in general. I feel vulnerable posting about it but I’m always surprised/comforted by how many people relate to it. It would be cool to live in a world where this tweet was a Cosmo headline that was playful but also offered helpful advice about disassociating.
Are there things you feel too vulnerable to post about online?
Yeah, some things are too fresh or cut too deep for me to even try to condense into a 140 character sound bite. I want to say that with enough time I can usually joke about/critique things but there are some things that happened a long time ago that I still don’t have the words to talk about. I hope that someday I will, I think there’s a power in talking about sensitive subjects.
What’s the most surprised you’ve been at a reaction to one of your tweets?
I’m constantly surprised by what tweets get the most attention. Something I think is really clever will only get a few faves but then if I post something I consider to be dumb or obscure, it’ll blow up. It has made me further realize that I don’t really understand what anyone likes or what makes things funny. It’s kind of magical but also this random, intermittent reinforcement is probably why I’m so addicted to Twitter.
R u gerrymandering? because you’re manipulating my boundaries for your own selfish benefit
— mary boo anderson (@whoismaryboo) January 12, 2017
I like this tweet because it combines two of my favorite topics, politics and relationships, in the form of a bad pickup line.
With the current political climate, has Twitter generally made you feel better or worse?
It has made me feel better but that’s probably because I live in a Twitter bubble where everyone’s a creator trying to do the best they can to survive, make art, and fight fascism. The small niche online communities I’m a part of have given me a tremendous amount of hope. Shouts out to all my internet friends!
What are some of your other favorite formats or styles to tweet in [such as “bad pickup line”]? Are there any that you have retired or taken a break from?
Probably my favorite tweet to make is when I see a really good dog pic on Facebook or Instagram and I’m inspired to make a caption that captures a feeling that means a lot to me. Sometimes I think it’s easier to believe in humanity when there are cute dog pics involved.
Second to that, I really like tweeting about office culture. I’ve been working in an office for a few years now and I still can’t get over how bizarro this very normalized thing is. My bosses and a few of my coworkers follow me on Twitter so I rarely post about that anymore unless it’s something just too weird and I can’t resist sharing.
In 4th grade my teacher always told me I was bad at fractions and I always replied with “death is the only true common denominator”
— mary boo anderson (@whoismaryboo) June 18, 2014
Often my tweets aren’t so much standalone jokes/poetry but a recounting of some situation/conversation that I think is both weird and relatable. Fun fact: my boss included this tweet in my new hire bio that was sent out to the company.
How similar/different is your voice on Twitter to your voice in other writing? What about to your voice IRL?
It’s all pretty similar. Often my tweets are based on things I said IRL and often I use tweets as a starting point to create poems or short stories. I’m constantly repurposing and remixing content.
The only difference is that I aspire to be as brazen as I am on Twitter. In real life, I am very conflict averse and if something upsets me I’ll usually say nothing and let it go. Recently though, my Twitter voice has been rubbing off on me and I’ve started snapping back at people who say condescending things to me.
Jenny Nelson lives, writes, and performs in Brooklyn.