Monday, April 13, 2009

Trolls (Or People Who Are Just Angry).

Recently, on this blog and on another blog I like, some derisive and unpleasant comments have popped up.

I don't frequent a lot of discussion boards or blogs, and so am a latecomer to the term troll.

Troll is a seductive word to throw around, because it automatically nullifies the speaker. There are contradictory viewpoints, and there are trolls; the former is to be considered, the latter to be dismissed. (In this case, I would say the shoe fits, but trolls don't typically wear shoes.)

When someone (anonymously no less) mocks, criticizes, or makes a personal attack on something I've written, here or elsewhere, my first reaction is shock and indignation. How could they? I am accustomed to friendly banter, at best, and silence or non-sequiturs (Pete) at worst on this blog and on Verbungle.

"You often seem surprised that there is a reaction [to your blog], or a negative reaction, and seem to really resent that such a thing at all could exist," the point was made to me by someone who knows quite a bit about reacting negatively to me.

It's a worthy point. If I'm going to put my petty, bourgeois, angsty thoughts out there for anyone to read, why shouldn't I expect (if not welcome) the consequences, whether good or bad? Why make something public, and then be surprised -- happily or unhappily -- when something unpredictable happens?

I'll admit I was sort of stunned when it turned out that not everyone considered my thoughts on men and singles events to be entertaining and actually cried foul. It did make me think twice about blanketing generalizations across a demographic, which is something that frankly, I can't promise I won't do again, because well, I still think it was kind of funny. But it opened up a discussion, which was one of the things I hope to but often fail to do on this blog.

If you take the time to post a thought -- a real thought, as opposed to blind slander or angry mockery -- to this blog, I owe you a debt. If, on the other hand, a you want to spew anger, I can only turn to resignation or pity, because you are never going to get the kind of return on your energy that you need.

Music: "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sunny and Rainbow.

It's spring, which means it's time to post my favorite springtime photo ever, taken several years ago in New York.
Be sure also to check out the close-up of these defeated Easter treats. It looks like they, too, suffer from allergies. Original posting here.

Music: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Feel-Good Friday Film.

Came in on Synecdoche, New York as it was in progress. It's exemplary as a cinematic, two-hour uncomfortable moment. In the same evening, I received this e-mail. Please enjoy these uplifting passages from Charlie Kaufman's script, as you head into the weekend.

"Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to but doesn't really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope for something good to come along."

"I've watched you forever, Caden, but you've never really looked at anyone other than yourself. So watch me. Watch my heart break. Watch me jump. Watch me learn that after death there's nothing. There's no more watching. There's no more following. No love. Say goodbye to Hazel for me. And say it to yourself, too. None of us has much time."

"What was once before you -- an exciting, mysterious future -- is now behind you. Lived; understood; disappointing. You realize you are not special. You have struggled into existence, and are now slipping silently out of it. This is everyone's experience. Every single one. The specifics hardly matter."

"I will be dying and so will you, and so will everyone here. That's what I want to explore. We're all hurtling towards death, yet here we are for the moment, alive. Each of us knowing we're going to die, each of us secretly believing we won't."

Music: "Little Person"

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

One Night Stands: 'Gotta Stay High'

Unless you are among the modest number of people who purchased and really listened to the album Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too in 1998, then you probably only know one song by New Radicals, and that's the single "You Get What You Give," which, in itself, is not a huge incentive to hear more.

Frontman Gregg Alexander has many talents, but naming a band is not one of them. Despite the exquisitely poor name of New Radicals, which sounds like it was named by a corporation, their one album is one of my favorites and for some reason "Gotta Stay High" has been in my head for the last three days (no, I don't do drugs).

Aside from being the lead singer, Alexander wrote and produced all of the tracks on MYBBT, then virtually disappeared. One of my favorite band tidbits is that the lineup features Danielle Brisebois of All in the Family. It's Brisebois who says, "Make my nipples hard, let's go" on my favorite track, "Mother We Just Can't Get Enough," though unfortunately it is cut out of most versions on YouTube. Check out Brisebois' bio: She has been sampled by Jay-Z and has written hits for Natasha Bedingfield. Way to skirt the child-star curse, Danielle!

It is sad to me that Alexander isn't very visible anymore. I really liked his style, both vocally and musically. In places on MYBBT, he channels Mick Jagger.

I was wondering what it is about this album that makes it, to me, a better pop experience than most. It must be the fact that it's Alexander's project (as opposed to a team of producers'). His energy in it is palpable. It's kind of earnest, in a very non-radical way.

Music: "Gotta Stay High"

P.S. Apologies for the thoroughly uninspired and unclever nature of this post. I forgot how working full-time can really take it out of you.