Saturday, August 26, 2006

Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Confession Time. Those sections in the sidebar over there? The 'Reading/Listening/Watching' sections? They're um... not entirely accurate.

Yeah, sorry. I guess I've been living a bit of a lie the past year or so - or rather, a small set of fibs. You see, for one thing I could never listen to just one single album over and over again for an entire week - or however long it is between new posts. (What's that? I'm averaging well over a week between posts? Well... so I am. Thanks for rubbing it in.) No way. When it comes to music I have a kind of aural ADD. It's really rather sad. I'm the type of guy who, when listening to the car radio, is constantly hitting the preset buttons for a tune I really like - much to my passengers' dismay. If I find one, I have to then quickly hit all the presets once more to make sure a song I like even better isn't playing at the same time. I mean, as much as I like Blur, for example, do you think I could forgive myself if I missed out on a Pixies or a Garbage track because I was too busy listening to Damon Albarn sing about how we're all really drug users in the end? Of course not. So the preset OCD will persist, and my music listening motto will continue to be, "Listen to as much as you can, as fast as humanly possible." (Feel free to ignore the fact that that statement makes no sense.) So, what you see in the 'Listening' section is often what I happen to be listening to at the exact moment that the blog is being updated. Oh, and one thing I am not, mind you, is ashamed of the music I listen to - and I certainly listen to my fair bit of schlock. After all, I'm the same guy who recently boasted about having Bell Biv Devoe and Avril Lavigne in his collection. Most people who weren't fifteen year old females in 1991 and 2002 would be utterly embarrassed to admit that. Me? I'm just a Sk8ter Boi sayin' "Word to the mutha!"

The 'What I'm Watching' section, on the other hand, is much more representative of the truth. I average about one or two movies a week depending on my mood, and thanks to Netflix, I always have a steady stream of them at home - which is essential because when it comes to film school... well, let's just say I'm riding the short bus. All the films that everyone on Earth has seen, I seemingly haven't. Or, at least that was the case a year ago. Nowadays, I'm much more mature, and am probably ready to at least start talking to the cool kids in my own grade. But, here's the thing (and I've mentioned this before in previous posts.) The films that all the cool kids like? Well... I think they suck, quite frankly. No, not all of them, but what I find makes a great film isn't often the same as what a cool kid does.

It's the same thing with books - and here's where we reveal my most glamorous untruths yet. The book on display over there on the right? Yes, I'm probably reading it, but I'm also probably reading something else too. Something I'm (and this is where music & books go their separate ways in my messed up little mind) probably waaaay to embarrassed to even admit to consider reading, much less post on a blog. What's more, I'm probably enjoying it... thoroughly. It isn't one specific title, but rather, a whole slew of them. I guess I have to come completely clean here and say that I like, for lack of a better term, trash literature. It's true - and it's a source of much low level humiliation for me. Now, don't misunderstand - I don't like all of it. I have to draw the line somewhere. Grocery store romance novels with Fabio on the cover are out. So, for that matter, are Sweet Valley High novels. But, if I'm I'm having people over, it's not uncommon for me to want to cover my bookcase with a sheet. I can only imagine what my guests might say...

"My word, Dolores, look at what this knave has shelved in his bookcase. Stephen King? Tut tut and come now. This just shows a complete lack of regard for civilized culture."

"Mmmm yes, Hubert, I completely agree. I mean, good heavens, it's bad enough that we should be subjected to the likes of... Jurassic Park, but to display a copy as dog-eared as this? Well... it almost belies belief."

Suffice to say, I usually don't invite people over very often. I am making progress, however. No, not so much in reading "cultured material", but in actually caring about what other people think of my choice of literature. This attitude was on full display several months ago when I wrote about those two books of Mad Libs that Dan Brown filled out - Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code. Yeah, they were horribly written, but in both cases I actually kind of liked the story being told. Do I deserve disdain? For that?

Don't answer. Because, I know for many of you, the answer will be yes. Fine - so there's too much Spencer & Scarpetta being read and not enough Ulysses and Uris. So what? Shouldn't reading be about enjoyment? A few people think so, Nick Hornby among them. Take a look at his recent essay in which he suggests ways we might get more out of reading (it's short and very well written. Also, if you're a music fan and have not read Hornby's 'Songbook', by all means do so. It's superb.) He puts the hoity toity high-falutin' culture vultures in their place much better than I ever could. He also stresses that it's important to enjoy the act of reading, no matter which type of book does it for you, and that you're wasting your time reading something you don't enjoy. Read a book, or listen to a CD, or watch a movie because you want to, not because somebody else tells you you should. Hear Hear.

And so, I close this post with a renewed determination to not feel like an cultural imbecile because I gravitate towards Harry Potter over Heroditus. I've purged my sins before you, my humble readers, and resolve to be more honest when displaying my book/CD/DVD du jour. Promise not to laugh? OK, good. Then, I promise to leave the presets alone. Avril's on... and we all know how much you like her. Ick.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh come on!Let me just say I've been trying to read the likes of jane Austen and I've already renewed the book twice and i'm only on page 50. Finally I had to return it today b/c the library has holds on it. ( I put another hold on it and maybe I'll get to page 75!) Harry Potter here i come! I can't help but remember a little snafu you had years ago with "Angel of Darkness" those librarians man.....BEWARE!

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you were pretty well behaved with the radio buttons when you visited me earlier this year... or was I just not paying attention? Or does this aural ADD only occur when you are the driver? Cuz I do remember that time... oh about 15 years ago... when you rear-ended that lady in Oak Square because you were frantically switching radio stations and did not notice she had stopped in front of you. tsk tsk. :-)

9:13 AM  

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