Saturday, July 21, 2012

What's wrong with Us?

I concentrate on, for lack of a better word for it, the "positive" on this blog for some very good reasons. This past week has shown me, yet again, how right that is, for me.
Before I can even talk about that, I suppose I should say what I mean: I'm not trying to be an amateur music critic, here. I'm not trying to evaluate and review and slice and dice culture, here. I'm here to talk about what I like. By that I mean what I like. I don't mean "what I think you'd like" or "What I think I should like", or "why you should like me". I'm simply talking about what I like. That's what I mean about being "positive"- and you'll note that I'm not stopping you from writing, thinking or saying anything you'd like to- just not on my blog.
So, what about this past week proves that to me? I saw the Refused, I saw Off!, I had some great conversations with a few people, and it made me happy. I saw the Refused on TV a night or so later, and that made me happy, too. Why it made me happy is because it felt a little more like seeing a friend do well than it did  catching a glimpse of an unknown phenomena. Do you know what I mean? By following my own singular joy, I make connections with the art and artists that facilitate that joy. That makes the world a friendlier place.
Meanwhile, up in New York, a whole bunch of people made a trek to see the Refused at a show that got stormed out- I won't say rained out, because high winds, and lightning play a large part in it, as well. The Refused, and Off!, decent humans that they are, created a small free show, on the fly at a different venue. This prompted a fair amount of bitterness in a lot of people. That's right I said bitterness- not gratitude. Because it meant that they couldn't be the unassailable Rock spectacle that these supposed fans wanted to see. So, they took to Facebook, twitter, and the comments sections of various blogs to voice their discontent, which created arguments, which created more bitterness. What if they took my approach? There have been bands that I like a lot that I've never got the chance to see live- Pitchshifter, Silence Is Sexy, The Clash, Dillinger Four and dozens of others. You'll note I still think they're great bands. But moreover, I recognize that they are human beings, first. They're not Rock star Robots, programmed to entertain me. So, if they have to break up, cancel a show, or otherwise disappoint in their capacity as performers, that's the same as me quitting this job or that, or me calling in sick, or whatever. It doesn't make them hypocrites or lousy human beings. It would make me a lousy human being, though, if I were to project my needs and wants over theirs. So, I'll enjoy what I enjoy, and they can be fulfilled in whatever way fulfills them.
Like wise, and this is deeper territory, that poor twisted story out of Aurora this week. What it sounds like was some guy had serious mental issues, and way too easy an access to firepower, and then used Pop culture as a vehicle to express himself, and killed a whole lot of people. Now, that doesn't make it The Batman franchise's fault.  It's a piece of Art. It did nothing but try to communicate and entertain. Whatever message this twisted killer was trying to validate was his own. It's an extreme example, but here's a lesser example- I saw GG Allin. I didn't really care for his music, and his stage antics didn't seem all that different from the emotionally disturbed kids I volunteered to work with. But I never heard him say "You should go kill people" or "Here's how you can kidnap someone and torture them to death" or "You had better rub feces all over yourself" - what he said was that he was prone to all of the above, and that made him better than the rest of us. Would I agree with him? Nope. Do I think he ever really did even a third of what he said? Nope. Do I think he was a messed up individual with a serious drug problem. You betcha. Well, I think the exact same thing about Heath Ledger's "Joker". So, if some science geek kid took that character to be some kind of template for to express all the insanity inside himself, that's on him. I can still take a totally different message. The Art still is just there, not directing my thoughts or his. The people behind that Art are still just people, not Charlie Manson with cameras and big budgets. If people took my approach of simply trying to enjoy what they enjoy, and not turning it into some kind of religion, maybe psychos like this kid in Aurora would recognize a little bit more quickly "Hey, nobody else is deciding to become a Batman villain, maybe it's just me"
But, hey, I don't have all the answers. I just know what works for me. I think staying positive, and staying relatively humble works better than all the snarky comments designed to make me look smart, and better than some kind of deconstruction of everything everyone else is trying to build, and certainly better than using  works of Art as some kind of bible. But, hey, all this could very well be some kind of straw man argument, and really all the trolls have it right. Stuff like this past week make me doubt that narrative, though. So, I still say screw mass culture, just find what you, as an individual, like, and enjoy it, as you lead your singular life.

No comments:

Post a Comment