07 December 2007
4 the litmus test
s and i have known each other for a bazillion years. since back when he was straight and i looked like a lesbian.
the very abridged, slightly dramatized version: we dated, we broke up at barnes & noble, s became gay, we went to college, s became ungay, we dated again, s became gay again, we broke up again, i wrote The Poems, we silently fell out, i got better hair, s came back. at which point meggie- who was a little behind the times- finally found out s was gay.
so here we are now. both of us pretty much the same. still indecisive, overwrought, tightly-wound elitists. but the thing that amazes me- because i've become rather accustomed to my friendships unfurling uninterrupted throughout the years so there are few surprises along the way- is the things upon which we do not agree.
as always, it comes down to movies and music. everything, it seems, always comes down to movies and music.
when you start dating someone- hell, even when you're just becoming friends- there's always this exploratory musical/movie phase. those moments of oh my God, you like hanson just like me??! or anne of avonlea shaped my world view too!!!. the times when you feign an unadulterated love for the eagles or roxy music or godspeed you black emperor because it seems feigning that love somehow renders you infinitely more desireable. somehow, this is how we (or maybe just me and the freaktastically pop culturally aware) build our bonds. movies and music.
a boy once went so far as to fake u2 fandom for me. as in he bought the entire oeuvre so we would, by default, have something in common. i've yet to determine if that was sweet or psychotic but i do know we could've maybe been spared a many-years-long hassle had he owned up from the first. and that, in the end, it somehow seemed a fraud- like i'd dated someone i never really knew due to this fabricated fandom. as though movies and music were really that important.
but still... somehow they really are, right?
movies and music are a jumping off point. they make you think- or at least done well, they are supposed to. most importantly, they give you something, anything, to say. i can wax on about the glories of the pavear translation of dumas for days on end (such cadances! so comical!), but excepting certain crowds, that won't win me many admirers. movies and music, however, are egalitarian and considerably more accessible. i can say i LOVE gogol bordello and if you LOVE gogol bordello we can clap our hands, say yeah, and commence a lengthy conversation on how much we both LOVE gogol bordello. (perhaps our ancestors reacted similarly to the mere mention of motzart or brahms.)
but are movies and music really that important? are they a dealbreaker?
here s and i are all these years later- exactly the same, except for the movies. when he was in town this fall, i made some off-hand allusion to the wonders of shopgirl. admitedly a movie with subtle charms, but i thought it hardly warranted the tremor of horror that shook him. there've been other instances like that. my admission that the lake house "wasn't all that bad." his dismissal of august rush as "crappy sap." that sounds silly, but there are these moments of oh my God, do i really know this person? and all because of a movie.
s and i aren't going anywhere. after everything, i don't think we could even if we wanted to. we're in it for the long-haul, differing movie opinions be damned. but what i really want to know here, and what i'm getting no closer to answering, is why it really matters?
why did we dismiss those people in college who loved staind? why did i snort in derision when my 15-year-old cousin, trying to prove his coolness, proudly and unabashedly boasted, "i listen to blink-182"? chrissy's myspace song is "kiss from a rose." yes, it could be ironic, but i just assume that's the anthem of his life and dismiss him as a human being for putting a song from a post-keaton batman movie up on his myspace profile. but then, i listened to amy grant until i was 17. surely i'm no judge.
so my question, which i've articulated inarticulately here, is this: in a world in which people are infinitely complicated and nearly impossible to ever fully understand or predict, why does it all come down to something so simple and reductive? why are movies and music that important? if they really even are...