Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Don't Feel Like Dancin'

February is kind of a nutty month for me this year. It's the six-month anniversary of when I broke up with my ex, it would've been our four-year anniversary if we'd stayed together, and it's going to be the first Valentine's Day I've spent single since 2002.

There's some part of me that feels like I should be bothered by this; instead I just keep thinking, "Hey, maybe I should go see The Orphanage or Cloverfield on Thursday to celebrate, because everyone else will be doing romantic shit!" I...guess that's a healthy attitude to have? I honestly don't know anymore. I mean, even if I did have a boyfriend or girlfriend right now, I suspect I'd drag them to see a horror film on Valentine's Day anyway. Not because it would be ironic or something stupid like that, but because I really like horror movies. Valentine's Day is as good an excuse as any to see one.

Speaking of irony, can we please end this trend where people only like things ironically? Please? I keep ending up in embarrassing situations where folks start talking about, I don't know, liking big dumb action movies, and I jump in all excited because I genuinely love big dumb action movies...only it turns out that the people I'm talking to don't like action movies at all -- rather, they like them ironically, because to sincerely love and appreciate something considered the dregs of pop culture makes you deeply uncool, and also possibly a dork.

Seriously, this has happened during conversations on video games, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Stephen King, horror and action movies both, Sam Raimi...you name it. Inevitably, I drop out of the conversation feeling sort of lame and sad, because apparently I'm not allowed to like Sufjan Stevens if I also like Fall Out Boy.

See Also: the Graphic Novel Deathmatch (Alan Moore vs. Everyone Else), and The Great Genre Fiction Debate (Does Michael Chabon Write Genre, and If So, Does This Make Him a Bad Person?). Discuss.

What makes me sad is that it's a total double-standard -- you're considered an ignorant idiot if you only like popular culture, and you're considered a pretentious twit if you only like the high-brow stuff. I'd argue that those generalities are fair to an extent -- if you completely disdain one and avoid it entirely in favor of the other, then you sort of deserve to be mocked. The obvious solution, as I see it, is to find genuine enjoyment in both, because that's the sort of thing that allows movies like Hot Fuzz to happen and we could all do with a bit more of that.

Instead, we somehow ended up with a culture where it's only okay to like pop culture if you're doing it ironically, and after a while it devolves into this horrible M. C. Escher Mobius strip with creepy self-awareness on one side and a total lack thereof on the other. Only it's a Mobius strip, so it's the same damn side.

Look. When you profess to like Starbucks coffee because practically everyone likes Starbucks, and so by liking Starbucks you're somehow making a deeply ironic statement about the people who like Starbucks? THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG. Either you like it, or you don't. Nobody really cares either way, because it's fucking coffee. On the same token, liking My Chemical Romance "ironically" doesn't make you any cooler than someone who genuinely enjoys listening to them -- it just makes you a coward, because you won't own up to it the way the so-called idiotic masses do.

Liking something because it's popular doesn't automatically make you a moron, and liking something obscure doesn't automatically make you smart. My deep, overwhelming hatred for James Joyce's Ulysses doesn't say anything about my worth as a human being. Sincerely loving Die Hard doesn't make me dumb. The fact that I read my mom's old pathophysiology textbooks for fun doesn't make me intelligent. It just means I like doing those things, nothing more.

And since I'm really not sure how my musings on Valentine's Day turned into a plea for the return of sincerity to daily life, I think I'll leave it at that.


So@24 said...

This is a GREAT entry that I think everyone should be forced to read.

Die Hard is my favorite Christmas movie. I'm not even kidding, I actually love it.

Why can't I love MxPx and the Decemberists at the same time?

So@24 said...

Oh. And please, please, PLEASE go see The Orphanage.

No one has seen it yet! I'm SHOCKED it hasn't blown up.

janegodzilla said...

I think I'm going to try to see it this weekend, because after your recommendation and what I've read online, it sounds RIGHT up my alley.

And, since everyone says it's freaky as hell, I need to see it in the daytime, because otherwise I'm going to be scaring the bejeezus out of myself the entire walk home, and that's never good.

Die Hard is my favorite Christmas movie. I'm not even kidding, I actually love it.

OH MY GOD, I LOVE YOU FOR THIS. No one ever believes me when I say it's a Christmas movie, but it's seriously the best Christmas movie ever. I...I'm so glad I'm not alone.

Glad you liked the entry, my friend. Apparently, it was something I needed to get off my chest.

B2G said...

I LOVED Live Free, Die Hard. LOVED.

janegodzilla said...

B2G - I really enjoyed that one as well! The first one will always be my favorite, but I really and truly appreciated all of the explosions and mindless violence of Live Free, Die Hard. That's the kind of stuff I LIVE for.