Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
"Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten
From the Battery to the top of Manhattan..."

As the sound of Beastie Boys fills my ears, I am reminded of a theatre friend of mine, who told me recently that the reason white suburban kids listen to hip-hop is because their existence makes them feel unfulfilled and normal. By listening to hip-hop music, they believe that they are cooler and more edgy.

I wanted to argue, because - while not a connoisseur - I have a handful of hip-hop albums in my collection. However, I couldn't. It's absolutely true. I want to be cooler. It's why I listen to hip-hop albums. It's why I read Kerouac. It's why I watch spy movies. It's why I like performing at Hunger Artists Theatre more than at Westminster Community Theatre. It's why I like hanging out with the teenage girls in "Assassins" who seem to have a crush on me (besides the more obvious reason that they are both interesting, funny individuals). Doing these things make me feel like a much more interesting person than I probably am.

This is one of the reasons that I admire open fanatics of Star Trek, Buffy and Farscape more than most people do. Most of them realize that their obsession is not considered "cool" or "hip" or "keen", or whatever you damn kids say nowadays. And yet, despite the damning label that puts on them ("You're a 'Farscape' fan? Ohhh. Check, please."), they continue with their practice. Why? Because to do otherwise would contradict their personal ideals. How can you not admire that?

This is the main conflict of my lifestyle. I often claim that I don't care what other people think, that I live my own life, that I play by my own rules as to what to wear, what to watch, what to listen to. Yet, is it a just a coincidence that I listen to the best-reviewed albums, go to see the best-reviewed movies, wear t-shirts with only the funniest slogans? Am I just as bad as the fans of Britney Spears, "Fear Factor" and "White Chicks"? Instead of embracing the mainstream, I embrace only what has been proven to be high-quality. Isn't that basically the same thing? Living my life through what other people tell me to enjoy? And is my dislike of George Stevens, Tennessee Williams and The Shins simply a chess move strategy to try to "be my own person" to those who might try to call my bluff?

As I now listen to Nellie McKay (whose incredible album I would not have bought had it not been for a "Grade A" review in Entertainment Weekly), I wonder what my life would be like without Roger Ebert, L.A. Weekly or metacritic.com. Would I avoid the entertainment industry altogether? Would I stay at home all the time playing Spider Solitaire on my computer and masturbating (perhaps the two things in my life that I discovered I enjoyed without anyone else's help)?

Let me think about it. In the meantime, I'm going to find out what Rolling Stone said of Badly Drawn Boy's latest album.

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