Monday, November 08, 2004

A Rare Glimpse Behind The Fascade?

I've been reading a lot lately. Nothing actually important, mind you, but the kind of things that most would consider to be a complete waste of my time. No, I haven't made much more of a dent in the social drama that encompasses much of Elizabeth Gaskel's Mary Barton, but I did read the online New York Times. I haven't begun Sinclair Lewis's biting satire, Babbit, but I do love to read the wity, elitist, left-wing cultural barometer that is (not to say that I don't love it, but I'm actually too cheap to become a "Salon Premium" subscriber and instead rely on the free day passes - the beauty of the Internet being that I don't actually have to pay attention while they play, what is essentially, a two-minute ad for whomever the daily sponser is). And I guess I'd be lying if I said that this isn't anything that I actually consider important. My daily perusal of movie rumour at Ain't It Cool News and my deep, yet cynically distanced, interest in American politics were both part of what I always liked to imagine was a part of who I am and what I talk about.

I guess that's what worries me. As much as I love the clever debunking that Christopher Hitchins dishes out in Vanity Fair, perhaps I'm beginning to realize that this poseur, ironic personae is becoming a part of me. I see it in the people around me as well, and yes, it reminds me of myself sometimes, but that is what frightens me.

Yesterday I wrote a review of The Incredibles, which should see print in this weeks edition of the Sheaf, in which after a first read over, I found to be incredibly banal. I thought to myself, "There isn't enought witticism in this movie review. My earnest interest in themes like family values and the dynamics of superhero politics is going to cost me points with the hip, culturally sophisticated university crowd." But then I said, screw it. My review was honest. The crack in my carefully constructed facade.

Today the cracks continued to appear. In MSN conversation, it became clear that my sincere excitement over the new Star Wars trailer wasn't all that contagious. My attempts during the Sheaf arts meeting to explain why the humour in Shrek 2 wasn't good because it wasn't honest, was met with confused looks and the conversation turned to the popularity of the Sheaf's sex column. Around the time I got home, excited about the pending release of a video game I realized that perhaps I wasn't as ironic or cynical as I liked to convince myself.

The final chapter of my daily crisis, which began with analysis of my Internet reading habits, came full circle - or not quite. The realization came while reading an article at Salon about teen characters in popular television shows like The O.C. (of which I'm not quite hip enough to enjoy, but I can pass that off as being too good for television and not merely indifferent). I realized that I'm not a character on a television show. I'm a human being. And as a human being, I'm allowed to have enough complexity to at times be earnest and child-like, and at other times be cynical and sophisticated. I don't have to fit into a character-type. And that's what I had been doing.

In the end I realize that I can enjoy my online magazines, while still be enthralled by the joy of a children's movie. I can read both Mary Barton and The New York Times. And I realize that this blog probably doesn't make a lot of sense, but it felt good to write. And it's been a while since I've written something like it (see my post on Annie Hall for a slight insight into my own personal neurosis). And that being said, take this for what its worth.


At 12:03 a.m., Blogger cait said...

Actually, your post makes a lot of sense to me. I've recently come to terms with the fact that sometimes, I am a sickly sweet, ridiculously mushy romantic. I've gotten quite far into Mary Barton, and I'll admit here (secretly) that it's not so much the social comment as it is that I want Jem to realize that Mary is in love with him. I don't know if you read my post, "All Growed Up?" but I think that the cynicism I talked about in that post extended to many aspects of my life. I, for one, am trying to give it up. I am just admitting once and for all that I'm a big geek who's obsessed with Arthurian Legend and British Invasion music and isn't quite as interested in German metaphysics as she lets on.

At 9:31 a.m., Blogger Ewan said...

As a guy who enjoys the arts more than every single other member of the football team, i've learnt to deal with the fact that my tastes are somewhat unique. I sort of deal with this by limiting conversation to points of common interest and reserving my more passionate conversations on topics that really matter to me for the people i know are on the same level.

There are many intelligent people on campus, but i've found that this unfortunately doesn't necessarily mean they have much of an appreciation for quality.


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