It’s 4:30 am, and I wake up from a nightmare in a cold sweat, covered in a pile of Cheez-It crumbs. I scramble for my phone, my hands shaking as I wipe the tears from my bloodshot eyes. My roommate shakes her head and rolls back to the other side of the bed. “God, not again. Go to bed. He’s not real.” I do not answer. I am rendered speechless by the image of my tormentor, the man who haunts my nightmares: Josh Radnor.
Ooh God, I hate the film Liberal Arts. It’s insane to me that I watched this movie (which contains the line, “have you ever thought about how all of life is just improv?”) and I still decided to come to Kenyon. But alas, Liberal Arts’ alarming nature is a tale as old as time. What I want to discuss today is the presence of Josh Radnor: a man whose psyche I understand so well, and yet, don’t understand well enough.
I don’t want to shit on Josh Radnor too much and risk hurting his feelings. The more I read about him, the more I think he’s not a bad guy. Sure, he might be a little too intrigued by the idea of dating a 19 year old. I don’t have anything to qualify that statement to make it better, I do still think he’s too intrigued by the prospect of dating a 19 year old. My initial image of him as a pretentious creep was not helped when he said, “I went through this very serious Woody Allen phase in college and a little bit after college. I still see his movies.” Oof. A self-described “book lover”, it’s easy to see where our boy would fit in at Kenyon. Radnor claims he “kicked college nostalgia in his 20s,” which is hard to believe since he made an entire movie about a man with a huge boner for a Liberal Arts College and he still mentions college in maybe 75% of his interviews. Honestly, I think that Josh Radnor should come back and be a liberal arts college kid for all of eternity. He does look like every other Cigarettes After Sex fan in the front row of my film class. It’s so easy to picture a young Josh sitting in Peirce, clutching a David Foster Wallace book in one hand and scrolling through articles about the problems with cancel culture with the other. He’s got the pretentiousness that every male liberal arts student eats for breakfast down for sure.
However, there’s another side to Josh Radner that frightens me. An energy that goes beyond being pretentious or creepy. He’s secretly downright chaotic, possibly inhuman. Neil Patrick Harris admitted in his autobiography that when Katy Perry guest starred on How I Met Your Mother, Josh Radnor asked Harris, “Who is that?” I know what you’re thinking: ” Of course he didn’t know her! King Radnor doesn’t read the news! He has no time for pop culture!” I disagree. I think there is something nonhuman about Josh. Maybe it’s the alarming rate with which he mentions his niece and nephew on Instagram. Maybe it’s the fact that he said, on the record, “I’ll say this, and this has nothing to do with gender or sexuality: You do not want to get licked in the face repeatedly by another human being. You just don’t. It’s not pleasant.” Something just isn’t right with that boy.
Take this image in particular:
What a threatening morning greeting. This image makes me feel so small. I feel the same way Gatsby must have felt under the eyes of T.J. Eckleberg. His mustache is so powerful, his finger so pointed, his gaze so intense. No matter where I go, his eyes follow me.
Josh, if you’re reading this, please tweet an extensive hate message about me that directly calls me out by name. Please, sir, please. Please give me attention, Josh Radnor.