I was doing some paid hair modeling for a Vidal Sassoon workshop yesterday. And that may sound glamorous, but two things to understand are (1) the pay is not impressive and (2) my hair stylist was a 50something-year-old named Bill who was absolutely lovely, but had a distinct smell and a distinct combover. Still, he was easy to talk to, which is my favorite quality in a hair stylist.
Anyway, while I was waiting for the hair cut to begin, I was reading another interview in “The Onion.” This time with author James Ellroy. I felt almost assaulted by his opinions in the interview. Which makes for a provocative read.
I especially liked what he had to say in response to this question, “You said you don’t read newspapers, you don’t have a computer, and you don’t go to movies. At what point did you feel like unplugging from contemporary culture?”
Here’s part of his response:
I can’t stand dipshit, tattooed, lacquered, tarnished, depilatoried younger people talking their stupid shit, stage-sighing, saying ‘It’s like, I’m like, whatever,’ and talking in horrible chiches, rolling their yes when they disapprove of something. I saw that the culture was pandering more and more to this kid demographic… I began to see more and more billboards for vile misogynistic horror films, white-trash reality-TV shows, neck-biting fucked-up vampire flicks, and stoned-out teenage-boy pratfall comedies. Bad drama, bad comedy, that portrayed life preposterously, frivolously, and ironically and that got to me.
On the one hand, my reaction is, wait…I’m technically one of those younger people “talking their stupid shit” that he’s talking about. And on the other hand, I completely agree with him about culture and its portrayal of life. It’s draining on the psyche, the soul. Too much consumption of that kind of culture makes me more likely to talk in horrible horrible cliches and such.
It’s a real danger of contemporary times, I think. For instance, today, I got sucked into a few episodes of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” And after awhile, you start identifying with those people, rooting for those people, and you’re no longer watching it ironically to shake your head at their lifestyle. Their lifestyle becomes normal. And that’s not okay.
As consumers of contemporary culture, we need to hold on to our critical eyes. That’s why I think it’s great when the media puts out articles like this one on Lady Gaga. And that’s also why I think this YouTube comment is great:
@JU5TlNBIEBER judging from your username, your opinion is invalid.