Friday, October 21, 2011

I've Got No Time I Wanna Lose To People With Something To Prove

But good golly sweet Moses in the name of
all carbonation that just shouldn't be allowed.
I have the sneaking suspicion that my entire personality has been slowly eroding from the obsessive waters of
boringness. I'm attempting to counter this very real trend with a blog post, but I understand if my efforts are less than perfect. Please allow some room for error.

A note: I've noticed that my recent blog habit has been to mostly post about small things that annoy me. I'm not actually that big of a sourpuss, I just find that fixating on small irritants helps me shrug off the potentially debilitating stuff. Well, that and obsessing about how unlawfully attractive Richard Dean Anderson is during my nightly Stargate episodes, but my Richard time is just for me, and you'll probably thank me for not sharing too much about that one.

So, who doesn't love Weezer? I maintain that their Blue Album shies away from the Platonic ideal form of a debut album only because they failed to write "Perfect Situation" for another eleven years. Well, that and the fact that Weezer arbitrarily decides to take a pretty offensive attitude towards women in their song "No One Else." Now, the song is obviously about a girl who has issues with fidelity, but I still take umbrage with the extremely catchy chorus:

"I want a girl who will laugh for no one else.

When I'm away, she puts her makeup on the shelf.

When I'm away, she never leaves the house.

I want a girl who laughs for no one else."

Seriously, guys? Have you been holed up in your garage planning for the day when your music makes you attractive for so long that you've completely warped your idea about what you want? I talked to Wes about my frustration with the sentiment in this song and he said (without endorsing the behavior) that it was catering to a very fundamental need/want/desire/insistence that men feel desired by their partner. All I gotta say is, this instinctive need of men is rather vomit-inducing. I would never want to be with someone who keeps their personality carefully pressed and in the bureau, only to be pulled out for special occasions when their main squeeze is around. I would want to be with someone who has wide-ranging interests, acquaintances, and things to laugh at. Regardless of who is present. The whole possessive quality of the chorus, wanting someone who doesn't even have enough self worth to look good just for herself when no one else is around, makes me want to smash birdhouses. Maybe even with the birds inside.

Yes, I realize I just flipped out about a Weezer song that was written when I was seven years old and was probably intended to be rather tongue-in-cheek. But, dude. It bugs.

Speaking of bugs, let's tackle something completely different. I just realized that that sentence was a perfect setup for me to start a discourse on insects. I am now scrabbling, trying to work up some righteous indignation about any many-legged creepster. I'm coming up empty. Ah, the torture of imperfect moments! Anyways, back to the subject on hand, which you are no doubt on tenterhooks to discover:

Art. I know, big surprise, Mary wants to talk about art. As if co-hosting a podcast wasn't enough time for me to nerd out. But this topic doesn't really lend itself to a podcast discussion. Scenario: I either a) mention I'm going to pursue graduate work in art history, b) reference any work of art,  regardless of time period, in a common conversation, or c) look at interest at any piece of modern sculpture that is in front of my face. The reaction to any of those behaviors has been almost singularly unchanging as of late. Whenever any of these apparently 'trigger actions' occur, I feel like I'm constantly on the receiving end of a lecture masking as a benign comment from near strangers and pass acquaintances alike. The formula continues, with my unwanted conversational partner passionately rambling about how they saw X exhibit in Y respected gallery/museum/public area where all it was was just a jumble of mutilated Peeps at the foot of a grandfather clock whose face has been colored in or whatever. They then pause, look at me significantly, with a challenging gleam in their eye, and say "Can you believe anybody would show that? I don't care who you are, that's not art." It's at this point when I smile politely, nod, and consider all the different ways I could jerryrig the Tootsie Roll Pops and assorted bobby pins in my backpack into a weapon that can put me and/or them out of my misery.

Here's the nutshell: it's doesn't matter if you think it's art. No, that's not me being snotty and saying that my opinion is higher than yours, because the truth is it doesn't matter if I think it's art, either. What matter is that somebody, some curator, some group, some social sub-group, assigned it the label of art. That's what I study. I study what people see as art, and I study the why behind it's creation, the reaction it receives. What everybody is responding to when they see an exhibit that they don't enjoy is personal taste, which is something I will always respect. Personal taste is by handy coincidence with it's moniker, not very applicable on a wide scale. But while I will always be interested in your personal taste, and in fact part of what I study is the taste of individuals and how that influences the cycle of art being put out there, I will never feel pressured by your personal taste to excuse or dismiss or ever yield to your definitions of what art is.

Because it doesn't matter, not one bit, if we differ on what is art. So stop thinking you're scoring some deep insight when you get hung up on it. Also, putting down pieces you don't consider valuable is a deeply negative and straight-up boring subject. It sorta just pushes itself into a corner and festers on it's own outraged sensibilities. There's way too much good art out there to get your panties in such a twist over the ones that don't speak to you. Now, if you want to talk about how an artist who has gained some recognition and reverence is in your opinion lacking in some areas, be it skill or thematic material, that could also be interesting. But it always needs to be based on the understanding that while you don't like it. you respect the personal taste of others that dictates them to disagree with you. So, can it. You bug me.

Now, back to the recurring theme of Little Boys Who Spend Their Time Writing Music Instead of Talking To Girls Have Creepy Misconceptions. Who here loves Death Cab for Cutie? I would do quite a bit to have Ben Gibbard's babies, personally. Going to their concert with Becca was an ace in the hole for me having a good time. And before I tear apart Death Cab, it should be admitted that the first song I'll be criticizing was the band's opening number, and it has one of the top three sexiest bass riffs in it, and I cheered and danced and got excited along with everyone else. That said, based on these songs, Ben Gibbard's courting style leaves something to be desired.* Allow me to demonstrate with a selection from "I Will Possess Your Heart:

"You reject my advances and desperate pleas.

I won't let you let me down so easily.

You gotta spend some time, Love.

You gotta spend some time with me.

And I know that you'll find, love

I will possess your heart."

So. Not. Ok. First off, the persistent tone of the chorus makes you wonder if Ben Gibbard is completely married to the metaphorical meaning of the phrase "possess your heart." If you resist his affections long enough, is he just gonna settle for an "I told you so" when he rips the vital organ out of your chest? I listen to these lyrics and just start vehemently shaking my head in the negatory.

And if you think this guy would at least be sensitive to the imbalance of affection, and how it feels to be the one who cares more, think again. Allow me to introduce you to the tender message behind "Someday You Will Be Loved:"

"I once knew a girl in the years of my youth with eyes like the summer, all beauty and truth. In the morning I fled, left a note and it read: "someday you will be loved." I cannot pretend that I felt any regret, cause each broken heart will eventually mend. As the blood runs red down the needle and thread, someday you will be loved. You may feel alone when you're falling asleep, and everytime tears roll down your cheeks. But I know your heart belongs to someone you've yet to meet, someday you will be loved. You'll be loved, like you never have known. The memories of me will seem more like bad dreams, just a series of blurs like I never occurred. Someday you will be loved."

Translation: We hooked up, I wasn't feeling it, instead of breaking up with you I left you a note with vague promises of future of happiness that of course I have no control over. I then proceeded to feel really deep and justified about the fact that my actions really have no impact on you, because . . . well, I didn't love you. That's like home base in tag, right? Freebie?

Yeah, Ben Gibbard, you sorta suck. Stop being so good at making your general cadness so catchy.

Ok, I feel rather cleansed after this exercise. Tune in next time, when I plan to air my feelings about sundry issues like Ron Paul fanatics.

In the meantime, I'm going to listen to Billy Joel's "Vienna Waits For You," cause it tends to calm me down a bit when all I want to do is sprint for the nearest puke receptacle. Which is occuring on multiple occasions per diem, with the symposium looming closer by the second. But don't you worry, Billy makes it all better.

*It should be noted that I consider "Summer Skin," "We Will Become Silhouettes," "Transatlanticism," and "Twin-Sized Bed" to be great examples of Ben Gibbard using his rhetorical powers for good rather than evil.