Monday, November 12, 2007

Sanctimony

Not much posting yesterday, as you you can obviously tell by looking at the blog. Lacey and I got a ton of work done on our backyard, however, in anticipation of our hosting the AIC awards banquet this coming Sunday.

This is going to seem like a weird thing to talk about, but discussions today on the Austin Improv forums reminded me that this post of mine accounted for the single highest blog traffic day for me, by a factor of four or so. It is also a post about which no one at any time ever said a single word to me, even though I have proof that quite a few people read it. Oh well. I should also say I stand by my central assertion, that one need not like what you like, nor is it proof that one has a chip on one's shoulder against what you like. It merely means that one has other interests. Nor should one feel ashamed of stating those priorities or having opinions. One need not be part of the informed cognoscenti to hold those opinions, and one isn't disqualified from haviing opinions for lacking the correct pedigree and credentials.

But enough of that, because I want to turn both me and my argument around and talk about sanctimony. I'm all for getting polemic in public ways. We're artists, and while people in the arts often have tender egos, their often terrific verbal sparrers and polemicists. That's all fine and good. I love having things I believe and trying to articulate them.

Buuuuuuutttt......

I hate when that position-taking element creeps into the art itself. Lacey and I have been watching a ton of Weeds lately, which overall is pretty good. My single biggest complaint about the series, of which we've watched almost the first two seasons, is the revival and reinsertion in the culture of this song by Malvina Reynolds. Take a listen:



In season one, this version played before every episode. Seriously, it's catchy as hell and worms its way into your brain. In season two, it's reinterpreted by different artists, so now there are 12 more versions of it floating around out there.

Here's my beef with the song. I don't necessarily disagree with the sentiments expressed in the song. Heck, overall I'd say I probably agree with them. My problem, then, is that the song agrees too much with itself. There's no doubt in the assertions put forward in the song, a dreadful air of superiority, which renders it propaganda. This is why satire is killingly hard, because it's hard to make art that doesn't end up just coming across as preaching.

I have the same beef with Lemony Snickett's little holiday trifle from McSweeney's, The Latke That Couldn't Stop Screaming, which showed up at my house recently becuase I got a McSweeney's Books subscription. The sentiment of the book I agree with (all religious cultures in America should be afforded their place in the sun rather than being shoehorned into the Corpotate XMAS mono culture)--it's the haughty tone I can't stand. It made me think to myself "Go screw yourself, silly overpriced hipster children's holiday book--I'm a goy who knows what a latke is so get over yourself."

Which I guess is not that far from my reacting to sentiments and discussions outside works of art which dictate to me what sentiments are "acceptable." I don't mind agreeing with you, I just mind being told I have to.


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2 Comments:

Blogger majcher said...

There are people who don't know what a latke is? It's a sad, cold world that we live in.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

There are people who don't know what a latke is?

Apparently not, according to that book.

10:32 AM  

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