Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters
socratic

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Everyone is different every sperm is sacred

People often seem to ignore the importance of the title of Gary Coleman's brilliant commentary on inter-racial relationships and diversity in a post-industrial post-religious post-religious post-morality society, Diff'rent Strokes. The lesson is that it does take diff'rent strokes to move the world. Not everything is going to appeal to everybody, and though we can advocate for the positions we prefer we can't dismiss those we dislike out of hand. I know I am guilty of this at times but I try to argue rationally against things I don't like rather than just sneering and calling them stupid and saying that their mommas are so fat that when they sit around the house they really SIT AROUND THE HOUSE.

That gets boring after awhile (Hey Jim, do you want to go explain to another redneck why them social s'curity reforms proposed by the pres'dent will actually be hugely detrimental to him while benefiting them rich liberals in Hollywood whut he hates? It'll be the hundred and fourth one this week) and you do tend to lapse into dismissiveness but it's important to have reason and evidence to back this up with, and it's important to try not to act this way when the stakes are purely aesthetic.

I've been riding fakingsincerity for not appreciating Albert Brooks' Defending Your Life and although I was only half-serious I probably overdid it, even though not liking this movie means that you're a tasteless moron who hates laughter and probably has herpes. Retards with VD have the right to hold an opinion too. thelxepeiakat did it to me regarding Dashboard Confessional in an act of poetic justice that I did not appreciate at all. I could defend myself by explaining that yes I KNOW it's wuss music, and that listening to it is tantamount to endorsing Emo, which is tantamount to taking a huge dump down the throat of every musician working today, however I need it. See when I listen to good music like Beastie Boys I tend to get an adrenaline rush that swiftly turns to anger and bitterness and leaves me pounding out screeds with a sneer on my face and a lump of coal in my heart. I'm naturally a pretty masculine guy (I've been called an Alpha male more than once, and never an Omega) and when I hear "Looking down the barrel of a gun, son of a gun, son of a bitch, getting paid getting rich" I get a surge of testosterone and pretty soon I'm thinking about punching someone out. When I want to be calm and sensitive and insightful and all that good shit I need some castrated man-child wailing "So what if your friends think I'm crazy, well I wasn't trying to impress those girls anyway, they're all theory, and no action, where I'm from we live like it's the greatest attraction." It balances things out and makes me mellow enough to express myself. We all make sacrifices for art and self-expression. Jesus died on the cross, I listen to Dashboard Confessional. He's a lucky son of a bitch in comparison but we play the cards we're dealt. Plus sappy love shit dampens my misogynist tendencies, and that's a good thing. The side effect is that I sometimes find myself mouthing lyrics that would have Jack from Will and Grace saying "That shit is gay" I have to live with that, not you.

I could defend myself in such a way, but I won't, because that's not the point. The point is that everyone should be able to enjoy whatever choices in art they prefer or need or whatever, even if those choices are atrocious and marks you as completely unlayable to the opposite sex. When I rail against something it's usually the commerce of it that offends me, not the art itself. I don't give a damn about Britney Spears (whose parents didn't have enough respect for her to spell her name correctly). I give a damn about the selling of Britney and how it takes spotlight, funding, and opportunity away from others who actually have something to say. Some people naturally prefer shitty light-pop music and that's fine. It's the fact that corporations push this shit to the exclusion of all else that pisses me off.

I picked up Dashboard Confessional because they had a Cd that was on sale for $5 and the song titles looked decent. Their music soothes me and frees up my creative juices. I purchase their stuff for that reason, not because some corporation tells me to. If some corporation told me to I wouldn't stop doing so, because there's a marked benefit to me in doing so.

Life's too short not to enjoy what you like. It's totally fine to give people shit for their taste and I do that and expect it to have done to me, but that's just giving shit. It's a fun bonding activity for the whole family. When you start taking it seriously is when you cross the line of reasonable and become something of a fanatic. It's funny how the short form of fanatic, fan, has become a self-identifier for so many people. I try to stay away from it except for people I am really fanatic about, like Larry David. I will go out of my way to read every Larry David interview and view every Larry David program I can get my hands on because I love the vast majority of it and he speaks to me on a very deep level. I wouldn't ask for his autograph, because that's bullshit, or stalk him or anything, but would overpay to see a performance of his and I'm willing to defend Sour Grapes despite its flaws.

That brings me to another point, which is that most artists are inconsistent and it's okay to like only some stuff. You don't even have to make a chronological claim and say "Wow that band was great until they went all corporate in 2002." You can like and dislike different tracks on the same album. There's no need to be loyal or explain away your preferences. I enjoy Good Will Hunting but that doesn't mean I particularly have to like Affleck and can't loathe Gigli. Nicholas Cage is an inconsistent actor, and it's fine to respect his good performances and loathe the ones where he seems to have a weasel in his underwear.

Reasonable people can disagree about all sorts of things. I don't expect everyone to like all, or even some, of my work but that doesn't mean it's not good. I extend the same courtesy to others who are out there trying to express themselves or make an honest buck.

I apologize to readers of theferrett (for all 2.8 of you who don't read his blog he's the groundbreaking first lesbian head grounds-keeper at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) for posting something related to something you read there but done better. I wanted to make a slightly different point than he did.
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