it ain't easy being Green(ie)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

In Praise of Self-Absorption

Ok, so, recently I have heard and read reviews of many of the things that I enjoy, from books to music, as well as television. Most of them contain the phrase "Self-Absorbed" in some form or another. In all of these reviews this term has been used with the utmost contempt, the reviews themselves are often (if not all of them) positive, but in a certain cynical voice. They level the sort of "it is too smart" or "the critic's will love it" argument that plagues so much of entertainment. Now I will admit to the fact that I both consider myself at least partially "Self-Absorbed" and smarter then the average person, but more importantly then these facts is my opinion that the world is not improved by entertainment (be it film, music, book, or television show) that does not in some way challenge or expand the intelligence of it's audience. I'm not saying that we should abolish all forms of entertainment that aren't composed of SAT words and complex plots with twisting moral arguments and dynamic or innovative relationships. But I do believe that we should not automatically dismiss, or possibly worse, indulge them only as high minded critical darlings. Passing these things off as only meant for a snobbish elite does work to satisfy those of us who wish to be included in that category but does a lot more to the people who accuse us of being self involved and uncaring of the problems of others. And instead of "dumbing down" these programs we should instead encourage more people to give them a chance, instead of dismissing them or indulging them we should ask that they should be given a chance not only from the audience they are target to but also from those who could enjoy it if they put in a little effort.
but to get back to my original point. I think that the things that cause these kinds of entertainment, and here I will give some examples, "studio 60 on the sunset strip", the works of Dave Eggers, the music of Bright Eyes, and various other literary darlings, indi films, and emo front men, to be called "self absorbed" is the same thing that makes them good. These artist are so self examining and introverted that their expressions are made in the forms of them selves. They become the protagonist of their own creations, which while it does fit the definition of "self-absorbed" doesn not warrant such a negative connotation. Yes these characters are often pleading to be loved or indulged, but how many of us don't want those things. What is important is that these artist take what are common desires and explore them, dissect them, and extrapolate them to try and discover more about them and how to resolve them and what they mean about us as people. And I will definitely grant that this is a difficult thing to do without actually being self-absorbed but most of those things fall short on so many levels that the monacer of "self-absorbed" is pushed out of the review by words like: flat, blundering, or terrible. I will also admit that some of the things that I have mentioned above do fall short on some levels, sometimes Aaron Sorkin can be a bit pandering, and sometimes Bright Eyes can be a little to hopeless, and there are a boatload of flaws in Emo (which I contest have little to do with self-absorption and more to do with issues of sexuality and male posturing) but these flaws have nothing to do with the inherent "self-involvedness" of the work, they stem from the standard human flaws.
but perhaps I'm just to self-absorbed to think otherwise

Monday, November 27, 2006

Why This Man Could Build You a Deck

(now this is not the actual gentleman who inspired this debate he is a workable substitute)

while out with my great friend Amy (whilst she was still in this country.) we happened on a gentleman who looked much like this one. now the important fact, and one that my argument will hinge on is that we saw this person in line to see a rather sentimental kind of Emo band. this i think makes a big difference.
anyway lets get to the argument. i mentioned how this gentleman was quite attractive, and her response was one of agreement but she put forth the idea that he would be unable to build her a deck and was therefore not a suitable candidate for a relationship. now i completely understand her desire to not be involved with someone on the basis of deck building prowess, but i suggested that there was a chance that this fellow could in fact build her the structure that she desired. her hypothesis was based on the fact that he was a very well groomed person and that he was stylishly attired. now i certainly agreed with these two facts as i was initially the one who made the comment about him being attractive, but i proposed that these facts not automatically lead to her hypothesis. i first tried to defend the idea that his appearance made no promises, neither for nor against, his abilities as far as deck construction was concerned. for the remainder of our initial debate i took this position, a kind of human "you can't judge a book by it's cover" maxim. this line of discussion raged on as we waited for the doors of the venue to open and through a brief and somewhat awkward bit of flirting with an attractive young man in the line behind us. unfortunately by the time we had entered the performance space neither of us had budged on our ideas and when the opening band started to play we found ourselves united in the topic of how terrible their performance and lyrics were. by the end of the show our initial unresolved debate was forgotten and we moved on to the more exciting events planed for the evening.
but now i have a second line of argument that while i do not believe it will win the argument as Amy is vary head strong (and i believe enjoys debating against me regardless of her own personal beliefs). this new tactic centers on the important fact of where this encounter had taken place. as i said before we witnessed this person whilst waiting in line for a concert of a specifically aestheticed band, and i believe that this factor must be taken into account when looking at his abilities in reference to decks. i propose that because he was aware of the style of band he was about to enjoy as well as the attire that would be most appropriate for the event of a live musical performance no judgment can be made on his unrelated skills. i argue that he was dressed for this event uniquely and not in a position to display other talents he may have, especially ones that are not as broadly required (nor are easily displayed outwardly), such as deck construction. so, while i do not endeavor to make the argument that he certainly could build the deck that my friend desired, i do make the argument for the possibility of him to have such a skill. i propose that his general well groomed appearance at an event that prises this action makes no deceleration that he does or does not have skills of a more utilitarian nature.
of course i understand how the assumption could be made, and i would be entirely unsurprised if upon testing this gentleman he was in fact unable to construct the required deck. but i feel that just because there are others who both can not fulfill the request of a deck and maintain a similarly dandy-esque appearance does not establish that all who have this style have the same deficiencies.
in the end i wholeheartedly support my friend's demands for someone who is proficient in certain practical arts i believe she must discover a more accurate gauge, or testing criteria, before she can declare a potential suitor lacking in that skill.


Also i almost definitely could not build a deck, but i can bake you a cake.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Things change, and I Had a Plan.

now not so much.
things are spiraling, not really out of control more like out of existence.
tomorrow is my last day at BN and as much as i really (really) am happy about that i felt a lot better about it when i had something lined up after words. today i got the email that i did not in fact get the job that was supposed to conveniently fill in the employment gap left by the BN. now i have to start selling my soul to temp agencies and look again for a job. and I'm just oh so excited to send out 15 resumes and get all of zero responses from any of the people i send them to. i know I'm at least qualified enough to call in for an interview, and at the very least just tell me that you don't want me. sitting and waiting by Gmail every day is starting to cause me physical pain.
Pointlessly successful Subway flirting last night on my way home from voting.
voting results made me feel better. perhaps my country isn't completely screwed. now i just hope we can round up someone decent to run for president in 2 years and really fix this country.
also National Novel Writing Month started last week and so far i have all of 1153 words written (less then two pages) i need to accomplish something soon or my life really will suck.

now that i have no plan i need a job and some kind of motivation.


PS new book review should be up sometime tonight