Here, as is often the case in jazz, an apparent paradox is at work: to sound like themselves musicians begin by trying to sound like someone else.
Denial is the Supermeh
Look at me, at my blog, at my life and work and self-identity, and it may surprise you to learn that I feel like a fake geek. It’s because I have something to hide. I liked a lot of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — I almost certainly liked it more than many geeks or nerds will say they did — and you know what? Fuck you for making me feel bad about it.
This isn’t about seriously disavowing serious topics for serious reasons. This about denying the existence of sequels you didn’t like. This is about the ultimate dismissal of an artist’s work because you don’t want to process it. Vanity. Pretend a food doesn’t exist because you’re allergic — not because you don’t like it or don’t know how to chew it.
This is like saying “meh” on a grand scale. John Hodgman described meh as “the essence of blinkered Internet malcontentism. And a rejection of joy.” As Hodgman put it, “It’s part of the toxic Internet art of constant callous one upsmanship.”
Denial is the supermeh.
A holodeck that coaxes you into revealing personal details about yourself for advertisers and is funded by product placement.
1 Canopic jar kept empty for my wits.
Here’s a thing, though: I both agree and want to add onto this. I think interviewers, reviewers, critics — the “people” in question — should pay more respect to the fact that the film is the talking. That’s a big deal.
At the same time, a lot of film exists in this larger context of media and marketing and audience relations and the web presence and the trailers and all that and I think compelling, provocative things can be done — maybe have been done — in that space. The movie must talk but so can the whole apparatus around the film, including the junkets and the behind-the-scenes Blu-ray add-ons and all that stuff.
A film is art because film is an art form. Can the whole larger context of all the antics and shenanigans surrounding the film be a performance? Can that be art, too?
Imagine the early days, before all the punctuation was there. Imagine scribes or poets or whoever trying to write about a previous work, something like The Massacre of Troy by Aiakos. No italics yet, this is before italics. Quotation marks are just about to happen, you’ll see.
"Aiakos didn’t massacre Troy," says one scribe. "Did he?"
"No, no. I mean—"
"Is this a massacre perpetrated by Aiakos or is this a work about the massacre and that work was written by Aiakos?”
"That. The second thing."
"Okay. Yeah, we need something there."
"A way to say where the title ends and the author begins, yeah."
"Parentheses? Are those ready yet?"
"Something a little less forceful, maybe? I’m just going to put a mark on either side of it for right now. There: ‘The Massacre of Troy’ by Aiakos."
"Now we can separate the title, the work itself, from the author."
"Yeah, when I said it out loud I heard it, too."
"That could go too far."
"Yeah. Good tool, though. Pretty good design. We’ll just try to be careful with it, I guess."
A more specific example, by the poet Sanyō Rai (頼山陽):
- Ki (起?): Daughters of Itoya, in the Honmachi of Osaka.
- Shō (承?): The elder daughter is sixteen and the younger one is fourteen.
- Ten (転?): Throughout history, generals (daimyo) killed the enemy with bows and arrows.
- Ketsu (結?): The daughters of Itoya kill with their eyes.
We’re working on a video this spring and summer about childhood heroes, representation, and how these things matter. We want to hear your stories so it isn’t just about our experience. To tell us who your heroes were and to be kept updated on how you can be involved, email email@example.com.
(we made this video last summer.)
The Doubleclicks are genuinely stellar and great and this shall be wonderful.