The Some Day Cynic

August 5, 2013
By

My brother asked me whether I wanted to go see Pacific Rim or Blue Jasmine… And, in trying to subdue the cynic in me who was so certain he’d hate both - I tried to exorcise some doubting demons… And then started thinking about all those all time greatest albums on my shelves.

Some Days

There might be some days when we should temporarily unplug the past and re-upload ourselves with a limited store of memory. It may be the only way to slay the beast of cynicism.

Now, cynicism’s a fickle friend, a fungal frame of mind, an antagonistic symbiosis that can sometimes over-stay its welcome. I need it and love it for fueling those rants, righteous declarations of disgusted offense directed at or caused by the actions of a corrupt entity – which could be any level or body of government or could be a broken parking meter, still – cynicism uncannily edifies such articulation.

But cynicism risks assuring that I’ll never see the movie I want to see, never read the book I really want to read and never hear an album like that one I loved before…

My memory’s recollection is too stubborn, swearing on the sanctity of my hallowed heroes of that past – certain, all too certain, that things aren’t as edgy as fourteen years ago or even four years ago or however far back… To that one perfect piece of art that somehow sutured itself into some unconscious part of my brain, the part effecting perceived self-style.

Your memory, your perfidious perception of self, will lurch back on an invisible cerebral leash, keeping you from going into that art house to see the latest bit from an up-and-coming director who’s influenced by the influences of your own very favorite influential influences… Because maybe you’re all too certain that…not to be too passé for 2014, but…that movie probably, supposedly: “sucks.” It’s probably derivative, it’s probably insipid, it’s probably transparent in theme and indelicately thumping it’s tone.

The past is precious – it’s a big part of its immortal reign. It’s partly why the reunion album can only, you’re certain, be a hollow shell of what you consider (or towards what “everyone else” herded and stampeded a bottle-necking wave of popular-perception) to be that band’s “quintessential” album from eight years ago.

The world changes so much in eight months, let alone eight years. I can’t (or shouldn’t have to) care as much about that record on some days

…Otherwise it’s like never dating anyone else because of the idealized angel who essentially broke your heart (if you admit it) by being so perfect and yet so callous in how she called it off with you…

It’s not you, it’s me, it’s not the album, it’s you…

But wait. I love this record. No, I really really love this record. Still love this record. This record is heartbreaking because it’s so good. It makes me feel that ineffable feeling… of feeling alive! You know? Maybe it’s deceptive endorphins perfectly percolated and sluicing through my bloodstream at that particular chorus with its perfect overlay of echo and redolent pour of reverb on that tastefully jangled (somewhat caustic-toned) guitar… OH! The special, sweet, singular hallelujah of that one album, that one movie, that one book that made you –and-still-continues-to-make-you—feel good…feel alive.

It doesn’t mean that all of the new works of the world should come to you as some kind of insult – a disrespectful rip-off of your exquisite Ex…

…Because if we can’t allow at least the possibility that this new work can be, possibly, just possibly, beautiful in its own way, even if it’s not, then that “new” band could just slide off the cutting board like lucid onion skins into the trash of forgotten oblivion.

“New band” can have such a stigma to it. Even if the group’s following a revivalist’s path up the winding, wooded road to the chamber-pop cabin or if their clomping down the winding stone stairway to the dungeons of doom-metal to sharpen those same old axes, if so, we have to give them that chance to swing, a chance to serve, a chance to sing…

Even if it sucks.

Maybe it doesn’t? Maybe it’s you?

Maybe it really does suck. You’re mind will never really let you settle with it.

If you dump out some of your memory, or, rather, you store them away safely, then you avoid wearing them out. If your “past glories,” the arts you revere most, are always with you, perched on your shoulder, a gremlin gatekeeper pre-judging what you keep and what you castigate, then either it’ll ruin you or you’ll cause it to rot… Why cross the same babbling creek twice, thrice or every other week… The creek will start to lose its majesty, at some point, as you regard and re-regard and re-re-regard it…

There’s so many other rivers to cross. Some are going to be swamps that really do “suck.” But you have to stretch out your senses, as a surveyor of culture.

Because The Godfather’s a great movie, but it’s just 170 minutes… There’s only so many tracks on the golden oldies playlist. The new Bob Dylan was born four times already but either he was buzzed-up too early by blogs and melted into a hater-sniped tailspin like Icarus …or not enough ears opened up to him. But that’s naïve of me to think of it all so simply.

Toss out your judgy memory, though, and it’s startling how fast naivety takes control. Naivety vs. Cynicism…  Are you nostalgic? Are you nervously and self-consciously just trying to keep up?

Or are you just listening to music. Listening to a band making new music. Does it suck or is it actually kinda good? Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone else that you’re liking it. But, Their last album was definitely better though, trust me.