Five For Friday: Against the grain

(This week, to mark the release of Harry Potter And The Exception Of Quidditch Part Nine Part Three (?), Five For Friday takes a stern look at celebrated pop culture phenomena that passed us personally by.)

Travis: Reality Talent Shows.

 American Idol, America’s Got Talent, etc. I didn’t like the people who could technically sing well and belt out music theatre type garbage when I was in high school, or when I was in college and it seemed like a cappella groups lurked around every wrong turn. I also don’t want to watch those people on TV.

Tyler: Jackass

Jackass succeeded The Tom Green Show, which I loved, as MTV’s outrage of the moment.  I respect the Jackass boys for what they do, and they’ve all carved out pretty solid careers for themselves.  Johnny Knoxville, especially, is a talented actor just waiting for the right role to break out.  But their shtick?  Yeah, I mean, no.  Not for me.

Nathan: New Wave Folk/Roots Movement

Mumford & Sons? Heard like two songs. The Civil Wars? I’ve seen pictures of ‘em. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros? I heard their song on a car commercial once.  The Avett Brothers? Heard an album on an airplane recently.

Sign I am getting older: I am not as interested in knowing every new musical sensation. These groups are all probably good, but I may never know, because I just don’t have the energy to explore that I once had. At least not with music. Movies, on the other hand, are a veritable jungle of possibilities in my mind.

Travis: Weeds and Six Feet Under

I lump these two shows together not because they are necessarily similar, but because they are both shows that, at least at one point, were highly-regarded premium cable TV offerings, which should have made them right up my alley. Instead, I’ve watched a total of about five minutes of the two shows combined. I’m not even opposed to liking them, they just never seemed like something to sit down and watch.

Tyler: Wilco

Some years ago, I described Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, over which most of my collegiate pals were dousing their drawers, as “arch, ironic non-music.”  I stand by this assessment.  Wilco fucking suck.

Nathan: /

I don’t want to watch cat videos all day. I own a cat. I don’t want to watch some inarticulate teenager sit in his dank bedroom in low-res video while he talks about the latest Panda Bear album. I don’t want to subscribe to anyone’s YouTube channel.

Now, I recognize that youtube has immediate value as a place to catalogue and make accessible all sorts of historically significant footage; that alone makes it one of the better things to come out of the internet. YouTube as a cultural phenomenon, however, is something totally different, and vapid – humanity’s wasteland.

Twitter just seems like information overload. I tried to follow Jim Emerson’s twitter feed for a while, but it was too much to keep up with. And besides, Facebook has sort of become Twitter for your friends.

Travis: Uncle Tupelo.

Being from St. Louis, the Tupe is one of the few cred-worthy musical exports of the past couple of decades. I’ve heard Wilco and Son Volt, the two bands Uncle Tupelo spawned, and had varying levels of affection for Wilco over the years (Son Volt always seemed pretty bland), but couldn’t name a single Uncle Tupelo song. Am I missing out? Maybe. Or maybe I’m glad to no longer live in a place where they are deified (I love you, St. Louis, but you twang too much!).

Tyler: Adele

Dear Adele:

Look, you seem like a nice girl.  You name your albums after your age, which is so cute.  You’re going to learn a lot in the coming years, and are very talented.  I hope to watch you blossom into a genuine pop-soul star.

That said, for the moment, your music is Winehouse Lite.  Have a drink or something.  I’ll be waiting; not like I have much choice, as you’re everywhere.



P.S. – “Rolling In The Deep” is nothing more than average.  Keep in touch, honey.

Nathan: Boondock Saints

At one point in my life, I would’ve told you that Martin Scorsese is my favorite director. While that has changed in recent years, I still don’t see the point in watching Boondock Saints when I could watch Mean Streets or The Departed again. From every description I’ve ever read or heard, this sounds like the type of movie that is loved by the same people who love Scarface and GoodFellas for all the wrong reasons. Avoidance seems to be the only viable option for me.

P.S. One reviewer on Amazon says, “Its one of the only movies that actually makes going to church look cool.” Yes, this is all the evidence I need to keep me away from this movie.

Travis: Getting a Tattoo.

Seems like pretty much everyone around my age and younger has got ink. It seemed like a cool idea at one point, but I could never figure out what I’d want on my body for the rest of my life. Now, as more than one friend regrets a tattoo choice, I do not regret mine.

Tyler: The Doors

My older sister was one of those loony teens who framed and hung an “American Poet” poster, but that’s not it.  The sludgy, bombastic product of Jesus Morrison and his fellows has never and, God willing, will never appeal to me.  “Touch Me” excepted.

Nathan: The Da Vinci Code 

It would be par for the course for a Christian to avoid Dan Brown’s literary phenomenon based on theological grounds alone. Though I’m a Christian, I’m not afraid to read a work of fiction that purports a bunch of half-baked historical fantasy and heresy-lite. I tried to read it just to see what the fuss was about and couldn’t get through the first chapter. A part of me felt left out of a cultural conversation, but the rest of me has standards. I’m not a particularly fast reader either, so there’s the issue of throwing time away, too. I’ve also chosen to avoid the film, mainly because Ron Howard directed it.

Travis: Lost

At some point, I was given the first season of Lost on DVD by someone insisting I’d be hooked. After one episode, I wasn’t, so I decided not to invest twenty or so more hours of my life to try. From the reactions to how the show wound up from many diehard fans I know, I’m glad I didn’t.

Tyler: The Lord Of The Rings (films)

Nine-plus hours of my life.  Gone.  Never getting ’em back.  Thanks a pantload, Tolkien.

Nathan: Critically Acclaimed Cable Shows

I don’t really wear it as a badge of honor, but I’ve never had cable in my entire life. As a direct result, I’ve never seen a single episode of The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, and so many other shows that people love. I hope to rectify this some day if I am injured or sick and required to be bedridden for an extended period of time. The time commitment involved in seeing these shows seems monumental to me. Why take the risk in getting myself involved in a cable series when I could watch the entire filmography of Kenji Mizoguchi? Not a question that most people ask, I know. Truly, critically acclaimed TV shows have been the victim of my unyielding interest in film history. This is one cultural phenomenon that I wish hadn’t passed me by. I guess there’s still time. 


2 thoughts on “Five For Friday: Against the grain

  1. I actually did read the Da Vinci Code. At the time, I worked at a library and brought a different book home pretty much every day I worked, and we were encouraged to read the books that everyone asked about (which led to me reading a lot of poop). It had really short chapters and each ended on a cliffhanger so I got hooked and I ended up reading it in about a day and a half, and seemed like its payoff might be clever if outlandish. Instead, the ending made me feel stupider for wasting my time.

    I too considered Boondock Saints for this. No desire to see it, though the documentary about the director of it seems like it might be interesting in a trainwreck sort of way.

    And I love Jackass 😦

  2. I’m not really a big Uncle Tupelo fan (though I really like all the formal connection groups), I will recommend “March 16-20, 1992” to anyone who will listen. It’s a stripped down album for the most part; roots music before roots music was a thing. The rest of their stuff has left me sorta cold, though.

    And tattoos seem like the stupidest thing that anyone could get. I know I won’t be the same person I am now in 40 years, so it seems better to me to stay away from anything that sort of permanence.

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