Sunday, September 2, 2007

Today, I feel both apathetic and spiteful

I woke up late today. I don't know what to blame this one on- my cell phone went off, but the next time I looked at it it said 8:27. (I have class at 8:30) I swear I didn't fall back to sleep- who knows what happened. It it possible, I think that it had been going off for twenty minutes or so before I woke up, as I distinctly remember waking up very slowly. Disappointed in myself for letting this late-waking become a pattern, I rushed off to class. I remarked to myself that I was perhaps the worst-dresses person on campus- wearing one of the 8 remaining shirts I got from the camp that I used to work at (a dreadful shirt, truly- I'm glad the pattern is on the back so I don't have to look at it), some carhartts(think lumberjack pants) and crappy tourist flipflops. Usually I don't care about my dress but something about the combo of lumberjack pants and flipflops brought it to my attention. I don't think they mix well. Oh well.

I was late to class; Intercultural studies. That's right, the class I missed altogether last time. I'm setting up a great track record. I'm not sure if I'm glad it's with the most laid-back teacher or not- if it were with a Korean professor, I'd probably fall into a dark cloud of disapproval and be done with it. However, Mr. Laidback has a sarcastic tendency and there was definitely a strong chance of public reprisal. Luckily, entering through the back door mid-diatribe seems to have averted it. I really, really hope my PDA comes soon so that I'll have a reliable alarm clock. Maybe I should just set my computer as an alarm, I have a handy program (Citrus Alarm Clock) that will play an MP3 or playlist and doesn't need to be reset every night. However, its one big problem is that if you leave headphones plugged in or volume down, you're hosed. I really wish my normal alarm clock would work here.

Here is where the spiteful part comes in. I was thinking today in literature class about how very much I despise literature. I love books- in fact I spent a few hours yesterday cataloging in an XLS file all the books I've ever read(it will take a while to think of them all, or most). It's a lot. However, that's fiction or documentation or whatever- I'm thinking more of poetry and prose and all the crap that you were forced to read in high school. Like this, "I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud" by whats-his-face Wadsworth:

 I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay: 10
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood, 20
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

That is so much crap. Okay, you like daffodils. Deal with it. I've had it up to [here] with this kind of veiled meaning. If you want to tell me that you like daffodils because you envy their carefree 'lifestyle', say so. In that many words. I'll let it slide that flowers don't have a lifestyle because they are inanimate, non-sentient PLANTS. I think the world might be a better place if Wadsworth and everyone like him were born as flowers to begin with. Last night I read Araby. It was awful. This story it supposed to be chock full of metaphor and deep, symbolic meaning. Oh, give me a break. Why do people choose to express themselves in such a way? Does it give them some kind of satisfaction? I'm sure you've all heard some idiot sixth grader tell a riddle like this one:

Crap like that is exactly what literature is. Sixth-grade stupidity raised to the Nth level. People who write literature crave to be understood, so they wrap up how they feel in line after line of crap that doesn't actually say how they feel, you have to have a Ph.D in something worthless to understand what they're trying to get across. And that's what they LOVE. The fact that they can write something that others cannot understand is enchanting.

When I was little I used to play catch with my brother. I'd throw the ball as hard as I could and be happy when he couldn't catch it, because it made me feel strong. I was 7 or 8. That's exactly what so-called writers do. They think they're the intellectual elite because their writing is so bogged down with confusion and illusion that the common person can't tell whether they're describing bacon or their lover.

Get over yourselves, literature people.

Oh, I see- you can pack so much more meaning in when you're not actually saying anything, right? There is no communication going on. The writer puts down some verse about how dreary and nasty Berlin is(but really is trying to make a commentary on how life is a disappointment). Somebody reads the story about Berlin and decides that there is strong metaphor and and veiled meaning. Perhaps the message comes across the same as the author wrote it, probably not in most cases. What happened is not communication, just empathy. Somebody wrote something that evokes the same feelings in some minority of the population. It's not communication if a thousand people can read a passage and come away with 100 different meanings. It's garbage. Most of the time this story is just a story about Berlin, but then some magic happens when the right person with too much time on their hands and not enough reality reads it and since they're in the same mindset, they can see the same meaning in the passage. The psychologists have a words for this. It's called projection, and it's a trait of mental illness.

So suddenly we have lots of people running around proclaiming how much they appreciate the work of some 'artist' or 'poet' who couldn't get a real job and spent so much time on their 'work' that they developed a unique style and became consistent. Art is the material product of psychological aberration. Creativity and inspiration are one thing- without creativity, we'd have been riding donkeys until the rapture. What I'm raving about is useless creativity. What does poetry do? Make other poets happy. What does art do? Make other artists happy. It seems that most people have a little 'artist' or 'poet' in them because they can appreciate these things. Apparently I don't. What does that minority sector of humanity do? How would the world change if suddenly that sector of the population who label themselves primarily 'artists' or 'poets' or any other similarly meaningless descriptor of useless people- disappeared? What if the section of the brain that appreciates useless creativity were suddenly erased in every person? What would the human race have lost? Anyone who appreciates useless creativity will be scratching out their eyeballs at this obviously bigoted and uneducated commentary. But what would we have lost? Only that self-aggrandizing section of the human element that contributes nothing to the rest and exists only by its own self-importance.

How many of the great writers of useless verse turned out to be a bit nutty? How many great 'impression' painters ended up being completely batty? How many modern day 'artists' get their inspiration from their drunkenness or drug trips? If you are an inherently logical person, you can at least see my perspective. If you are the kind of person who appreciates art, you will never understand why I'm being so mean and unsympathetic.

Want to know why I'm so angry? It's because this disease of uselessness is taking over today's youth. Ever heard the word 'emo'? What does it make you think of? If you're not an emo, it makes you think of a pathetic sector of the population so caught up in their own angst and self-pity that they do can do nothing but buy awful music CDs and work entry-level jobs... poorly. These kids have no motivation, they feel that since nobody feels the true pain of their soul, it's not worth putting effort into anything. They don't see the inherent beauty of the world and wonder at it, they think about how unfortunate they are for not being popular. The same thing goes for goths, hipsters, yuppies, and liberal-arts majors. The other side of the coin is sports. Sport is the same thing as art. It accomplished nothing except getting South America all riled up about Futbol and starts riots in Europe. It exists only for it's own self-satisfaction. It has no purpose.

I could write an entry as long about sport, but there's no point- it's the same story in different words. The difference between art as a useless endeavor and sport as a useless endeavor is pride. What does a winning athlete get? Fame, money, popularity, confirmation of superiority- everything that the world says one needs to be proud. Student athletes the world round are, this very minute, neglecting their studies so that they can earn their varsity letter and be happy. What happens to all the athletes? In high school, they are many. Some are turned away, they don't make the team. This is the first round of rejected athletes who feel useless, the pride that they were striving to attain is denied. The next round is college sports- many of the high school athletes have laid down their passion for pride, er- sports, rather- in favor of weed, beer, or the opposite sex(and sometimes, very rarely, their studies). In college the athletes here are much fewer, again the pride that all the high school athletes wanted to move to the next level in college is denied. The same thing happens with the transition from college sports to pro sports. The sports not-good-enoughs have worked their whole lives up to this point, believing all their lives that they'd go all the way, for nothing. They have no backup plan. All the adults who told them 'shoot for your dreams! You can do anything if you put your mind to it! There's no limit to what you can accomplish!" Sorry, that only works in elementary school. Not everyone who puts forth their best effort gets to be a pro football player. Only those that put forth the best effort get to be pros. If 100 people have the goal of being the one that is best loved, only one can win.

The encouragement of useless endeavors in any form is destroying my generation.

These are the views of Ned, the tactless utilitarian.

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