In I Was Raised on the Internet, ed. Omar Kholeif, MCA Chicago.
At the end of a nondescript day, late at night and after much teaching, I turn to Netflix to soothe my vague stress and racing mind. I choose Amy Heckerling’s 1995 teen satire Clueless so that nineties nostalgia and a SoCal color palette will ease me into dreams. And dream I do. In the morning, I find myself thinking of fountains; images of spraying water glistening in the sun and splashing down on stone and marble flicker in my brain. Of course, there is a noteworthy shot of such a fountain in Clueless. As lead teenager Cher walks through Beverly Hills collecting shopping bags and feeling self-pity, Jewel’s cover of “All by Myself” accompanies her sulking attitude. Suddenly Cher perks at the realization that she is in love with her stepbrother Josh, and for this epiphany, she happens to be standing in front of a grand fountain that lights in celebratory pink and blue. As someone who lived in Los Angeles, I know this fountain well. It is called the Electric Fountain and is located at the corner of Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards, a site that is not exactly pedestrian-friendly. While the film purports that Cher does not want to be all by herself, the fountain tells a different story.