Wednesday, July 27, 2005
So, here I am in the land of the self-indulgent. It feels good to be here. It's very free and all that. I'm here, only in part, because of a certain male rock writer who has this certain book out right now. He drove around the country and visited locations of "rock deaths." He smokes pot and he divulges his inner-monologues about his ex-girlfriends and splatters the pages with his ultra-nerd grasp of pop cultural factoids and adamant opinions. This is cool, for the most part. I really dig his writing and love all his pop culture refs, because I have prided myself on being a supreme geek when it comes to quoting Seinfeld, or making reference to a Led Zeppelin song, or a Liz Phair lyric (which is what I owe for the title of this blog) or the sad, complicated life of Gene Tierney-- y'know, just whenever it seems relevant (and that's never for most people, and always for me.) But, in "my generation" (whatever the fuck that means) pop cultural references seem to be the great equalizer, our democracy. But, that's a whole other bag of cats.
So, for the most part, this guy is great. You know, he's really accessible, he succeeds at being funny and he writes about what's really important, like free-basing cannabis in a rental car using a car lighter. Or backing up why Paul Westerberg is brilliant songwriter with the fact that the high school in Heathers is called Westerberg High or how great it is to watch Christopher Hitchens on Charlie Rose (cuz that brilliant dude is always on Charlie Rose, man).
He generally has similar views on rock stars as I do. Like, on the subject of Sid Vicious (a dead pop culture god that I have been inordinately obsessed with this summer) he writes this: "Sid's inability to play his instrument is the single most crucial element in the history of punk...the fact that he could not do something correctly-- yet still do it significantly-- is all that anyone needs to know about punk rock...It's like that scene in The Breakfast Club...Anthony Michael Hall's character says "So, I'm a fucking idiot because I can't make a lamp?' 'No,' says Judd Nelson's character, 'You're a genius because you can't make a lamp." Sid Vicious was a musical genius because he couldn't play music, which is probably an unreasonable foundation to build one's life on. Which only grew worse when he met a terrible person and decided his love for her was so intense that she needed to die." After recently reading "El Sid," by David Dalton and re-watching The Filth and the Fury I really couldn't have said it better myself.
This writer is always hyperbolic and conviced that he is utterly right under all circumstances (he writes his opinions in fact/statement form and tone), now this is both charming and really annoying. The man is flawed. Deeply. He seems to be totally cognizant of this and extremely self analytical. This gets annoying when he delves into his relationship misadventures. Unfortunately, it seems as though he is a little (if not a lot) of a misogynist and doesn't really know it. (This is a guy who says that Robert Plant-- one of my all-time rock and roll heroes-- is "overtly" misogynist, which I REALLY disagree with!) (I can argue why he's not a women-hater, but rather a big "appreciater" of women if I am pushed. This is an articulate guy who can hold his own on Charlie Rose, not unlike Bruce Springsteen. But I digress.
The reason I started writing today and the reason I started a zine with my best friend in 8th grade is because I was reading the thoughts of men and I identified with them too much. That is to say, I loved what I was reading, but the assumption that only "young men have a Led Zeppelin phase," really pissed me awf.
There seems to be very little room in a lot of dude-writers' heads that concern the real thoughts and passions of women. I do not blame them for this; I cannot speak for all women, let alone other men. I would never pretend to. This is why I feel the need to write and read. I think that writers write because they want to connect with their reader, and they want to feel connected to the life they're living in general. There's nothing more satisfying or exhilarating than connecting with another person, understanding them. They're nodding their heads vigorously and so are you and you're "getting it." For me, writing is a struggle to achieve that. When you do, it's sublime.
This is the beginning.