It’s hard to know what you can show people while still retaining a sense of self, some semblance of dignity. If I express my opinion or my taste about something, there’s always a (strong) possibility someone is going to find some kind of fault with it. Not even fault, but their opinion of exactly the same thing might differ. I tend to forget that’s totally okay. Of course when someone’s taste runs to something I find distasteful, for instance reality television, it’s really difficult for me to understand why someone might like that. I might drop not too subtle hints that I’m under the impression the television you’re watching on a regular basis is making you stupider by spoon feeding you scripted drama to encourage you to become a listless voyeur, rather than a proactive participant in the most involved rpg ever, your own freaking life.
Can you imagine how forthcoming that person might be the next time I ask them about something that interests them? I even watch myself do it, when someone asks, for example, what kind of music I like. I tend to stick with genres, watching their expression as I’m listing them until I get to one they seem to spark at a little bit. Then I will get more specific with bands or artists within that genre in the hope that I’m cementing in their mind what a cultured individual I am.
I wonder if this is what spurred the ironically liking things movement. If you like something ironically (I’m still not sure what it means to do that) it protects you from being thought a cultural troglodyte or worse, out of touch with what’s happening. No one is immune to this. Of course there are people who don’t care for the most part what people think. I like to believe I spend a good amount of time in that realm because for the most part, when I meet people, I’m not really impressed by them, especially after they admit to loving reality television. I am part of the problem. I am a fucking snob. Music, film (see, I called it film), cars, clothes, pick it, I judge it. I’m not sure how to stop doing that. Perhaps the problem isn’t that I judge it, perhaps the trouble lies in my opining about how I’ve judged it to be shite and therefore if you enjoy it, you are put into a category of people who lack sense? I don’t think it’s as black and white as all that.
I love Duran Duran. Honestly I do. I want to hang out with them in jungles and let the telephone ring while I was dancing in the rain and dress sharp on fast moving boats and electric fucking barbarella all over the goddamn place. You can say whatever you want about them, I seriously don’t fucking care. Don’t listen (unless you’re trapped in a car with me on the way to burning man and aren’t as asleep as I think you are) don’t look, don’t fucking acknowledge them to be one of the best parts of the 80’s. And there were many. A lot of the good parts of the 80’s started in the 70’s, it’s true, but I digress.
Honestly you can look at me and say what is wrong with you that you love Duran Duran so much? It doesn’t actually even touch me. You could be Simon LeFuckingBon and ask me that and it won’t diminish the joy that bubbles in my soul when I hear their music. Ok, it’s not actually so extreme but I really do truly fucking love them.
The point is this. If I can take that feeling and extend it to cover everything that I love, there’s no concern of getting my feelings hurt. I’m suddenly not in a vulnerable position because there’s nothing you can say or do to make me think I’m wrong in feeling that way. Hmm, here’s an example of something potentially in this realm. I heard a song by a guy and I love it. I’m teaching myself to play it on the piano right now. I wondered about his other music, looked him up and discovered he created a song specifically for a movie franchise that I loathe. Of course I watched it, I sometimes eat fast food and then hate myself, it’s pretty much the same thing. Ooh, maybe that’s the reality tv connection! For another time…ANYWAY! Suddenly my feeling about the original song, which I LOVE changed. I actually went to a place where I imagined playing it for someone and them asking me who wrote it. And me telling them well, this guy wrote it but I didn’t know he had written this other music for this thing I think is crap, just in case you’re judging me on something I haven’t actually learned or played or to my knowledge even fucking heard before. I SERIOUSLY DID THAT. I haven’t learned the song yet and I’m already writing the script where I justify having learned it to the person somewhere in my future who is going to hear it, if I ever get over myself and have the balls to play it for anyone.
Last stop? Crazytown. Wow brain. You never fail to impress.
But it is a crazy place we live, maybe it’s just me, where there’s this need to be cool or accountable or in sync with some ideal. When I hear the song careless whisper (I do a stunning ukulele version, by the way) it makes me think of being 8 years old in Hawaii because it was the most popular song on MTV that month. I’m probably not going to scream, TURN IT UP! but I’m not necessarily going to hide that I’m singing along. I might scream actually, I do have a thing for that..
I don’t know what the solution is. There will probably always be people that I will try to look, act, sound, be cooler in front of than others because it’s something we do around people whose opinions we care about. One would hope that those are people who care enough about us to not make us want to put up defenses or walls to protect ourselves from being thought lesser than, when we express an opinion or a learn a song or like a particular tv show. And I’m not talking about good natured ribbing, though I would lay odds you’re joining me on the chorus of total eclipse of the heart, I’m talking about something crueler. Something that can almost be a deflection, a distraction because perhaps there is something you don’t want light cast upon. It’s okay to have secrets, to reserve parts of yourself (ideally not that there is someone in your freezer, I’m probably going to judge those tastes a little harshly) that you share with the closest friends, not from a place of fear, but of reverence? But we’ve evolved into a social order that puts so much emphasis on fitting in and being thought, I don’t even know if cool is the word anymore. I don’t know what the word is, I’m that much out of the loop.
I guess my problem lies not with what people think of me, but how afraid I am of what it could be. There’s not much validity to living there because at the end of the day, it’s my head I’m living in. Of course I don’t need to scream my love for certain musicians from the rooftops, but neither do I need to be ashamed of it because someone else doesn’t have the same associations, memories, good times to go with it. And I don’t need to express my dismay that there might be something they love which I find reprehensible just because I’m not an addlepated twit without a brain in my skull.
Yeah, still working on that compassion thing.