Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Favorite Thing: August 2010

The Wilderness Downtown "Video" for Arcade Fire's "We Used To Wait"



I am pretty sure everyone understands why this video is so damn amazing, so I am not going to use this post to talk at length about the tremendous artistic and technological achievement. Though, if you have not watched it yet, please stop reading this – watch the video – wait a day to let it marinate in your brain/heart – then come back and read this writing.

Here is a link, I will wait:

http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/

What I want to point out is my own hypocrisy and how it reflects a greater cultural trend.

Arcade Fire is a “great” band – a fact I am both aware of and do not deny (I sometimes deny). They have become bizarrely famous by making generally top-notch, arty music with an inclusive tone. I have zero issues with them being famous; it is that I do not LOVE inclusive toned music. Bringing people together ranks far below my desire to have a kinship with the artists themselves. Arcade Fire, as a result, is not my cup o’ proverbial tea.

Instead of leaving my hang-ups there, a grudge developed and I became obsessed with how their last record was being reviewed. In my humble opinion their music gets overrated because their big tent approach and the “indie” media’s need for a somewhat singular greatest band. I must have read 25 reviews about The Suburbs while seething quietly, which is exactly the same thing I did with the shit sandwich Inception.

Then I saw the aforementioned video and I remembered that, unlike that insult of a film, I liked Arcade Fire. Even during the seething stages, I was still listening and like a bunch of the record*. I “threw the baby out with the bath water” and I despise this intellectual shortcoming. The idea of having an overarching certainty about an opinion with out nuance really grinds my gears. While watching this video I realized that my drive to discuss my topics of interest in a focused, convincing manner has forced me to lose site of my actual preference.

I believe I am not at all unique in this failing. For a particular sub-sect of the population, the drive to have a strong opinion on every major popular cultural issue has created an epidemic of overreaching and over-generalization. Who is to blame? (Ready to have your minds literally blown?!?!?!)

1. OUR PARENTS: If you read at least two articles about Millenials, then you know that the rap on us it that we were coddled like baby chicks (AWWWWW). From what I understand, we were all told that we were special and our opinions were especially unique/interesting. This idea has been publicly agreed on, so ostensibly it will be believed as fact forever and ever. This suggests that currently a generation of this ilk of young folk are moseying around thinking they have novel thoughts on everything – especially when they are give a forum to do so.

2.THE INTERNET: This is an equally well-worn theory. The Internet gave a voice to the previously voiceless. The world of discourse has been flattened and as a result any opinion has the potential to be heard on a global stage. Gravitas, which previously came from years of experience and the publication’s own track record, is now aped with the hope for a similar effect. The Interweb gave the intellectually entitled more than enough a rope to hang themselves**.

My hope was this essay would act as a first step towards my recovery, yet it is packed with the type of concrete certainties it was meant to send up. The first step is acceptance, so I got that going for me; however, while writing this sentence I learned the second step*** involves religion (can o’ worms) so I am going hang out at step one for awhile and talk to my broker about investing in the booming soap box industry.



*Top 3: “We Used To Wait” – “Modern Man” – “Sprawl II”
**To be clear the hanging in this metaphor is to act like douche.
***Apparently, the whole 12-step thing is religion based. Who knew?***
****Barbara Mikulski

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