Slaughterhouse 90210 is that Tumblr you've probably heard of, created and run by Maris Kreizman, who, four years ago, came up with the high-low brilliance of offering daily screengrabs from popular TV shows paired with literary quotes. Like, so:
Last night, in celebration of the blog's four-year anniversary, book folks gathered at Housing Works in Soho, where Kreizman displayed highlight slides from the past year in the life of the site: "I covered Liz Lemon getting married and Megan from Mad Men singing 'Zou Bisou,'" she said, "and I also showed quotes from books I’ve loved in the past year—Rosie Schaap, Karolina Waclawiak, and Megan Abbott were some writers who got shout-outs." Authors Emma Straub, Ron Currie, and Jami Attenberg were all on hand to read from their own works, as well.
In honor of her blog-birthday, I got in touch with Kreizman to talk about the evolution of the site, and to ask her to share some of her favorite posts throughout its history (they're included throughout this post). "When I started Slaughterhouse 90210, I was definitely aiming for the idea of a mashup of high and low culture," she explained by email. "I had a stack of classic quotes from 19th century novelists, and I was also watching a lot of reality TV then. So pairing Snooki with Jane Austen--and celebrating both of them--felt right. I wanted to put forth the idea that a person can be an avid reader and a total TV junkie, and both of those things are great."
Of course, four years is a long time in the life of a blog, and things are bound to change there, and in the life of its creator, too. "As the blog has evolved, a few things happened," she says. "I’m watching less crap TV now. So the high/low dichotomy doesn’t quite work--I could never say that Breaking Bad or Mad Men is low culture. I also like to pull quotes from what I’m currently reading, which more often than not is contemporary literary fiction. So the authors I feature may not have instant name recognition (but they should!)." This makes the site not just a place to source your Oh my gosh that's so totally perfect, how did she think of that? laughs, but also a reference guide for what to read next. "I’m proud of the fact that Slaughterhouse 90210 has become a place where I can let people know about the books I love," says Kreizman. "I’ve heard from lots of readers who’ve bought books because they saw a quote on my blog. I can’t think of anything more gratifying." (And the book publishing industry thanks her.)
In 1,500 posts, the site has also come to exist as a form of commentary or criticism, says Kreizman. "I’m a fan of the TV recap--it’s a true artform. For a show I love, I can read five separate recaps and four think pieces, easy. But I think people appreciate a more succinct approach, too. If I can find the right quote that captures the essence of a scene or a character, it’s an instantly gratifying way to comment on a show. And the best part is, I don’t even have to write anything in my own words. My point of view comes out in the juxtaposition."
An innate talent with surprisingly perfect combos or not, Kreizman attributes the lasting success of the blog to simple diligence. "I think it’s because I just keep doing it. Five times a week. It may be mildly preposterous to say that I’m very disciplined when it comes to updating my Tumblr, but I am. It’s like a little puzzle I solve every day."
The rest of us get to enjoy the results.