Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs - Chapter 1

So I said I'd post once a week, but let's go with a maximum of one week between postings. I just got the book "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs - A Low Culture Manifesto" by Chuck Klosterman, and after finishing the first chapter I needed to post somewhat of a response.

The first chapter, This is Emo, was a long, cynical rant with liberal swearing about how love can never work. At first I thought, man, this guy is way too negative. Now I think man, this guy has a point. People are always saying they're in love with celebrities. In love with people they've never met. Well, Klosterman is right in saying that what people really love is the characters played by a particular actor or actress. Personally, I love Patrick Dempsey. At least, that's what I used to say. Now I realize that other that the fact that Patrick Dempsey is hot, I said I love him because I see him as doctor Derrek Sheppard, a.k.a McDreamy of Grey's Anatomy fame. I have never met him, but I doubt he is as kind, sensitive, and sacrificing for love as his character is. He probably doesn't really have much to do with Ellen Pompeo, his onscreen love interest. Crushes on celebrities are a normal part of life, unquestioned, and natural. But really, how normal is it to fall in love with a representation of a person seen only on a screen?

Movies and television, according to Klosterman, don't only warp who we love. They also warp what we expect of love. Media love always works out so perfectly in the end. The chapter talks about "When Harry Met Sally" situations, where best friends discover they've loved each other all along and they all live happily ever after. I'm sure it works sometimes. Sort of. But real life is generally a little more complicated. One person is usually the only one of the two with any romantic feelings. The other person has kept it at friends so long for a reason. Or else that person has never even considered romance there because it isn't really there for them. A lot of the times, hoping for a "When Harry Met Sally" situation is just a whole lot of false hope.

I'd love a turbulent road ending in true love like Ross and Rachel. I'd love it that everything would almost inexplicably work out perfectly no matter what mistakes were made, like Bridget Jones. I'd love true love that can transcend everything like that shared by the characters in the musical Rent. That would be so great, that it took a book like this to remind me that none of those stories are real. They are fictional stories that never really happened. Yet people base their whole love lives on these fictional stories, suffering crushing disappointment when the real world doesn't match up. Sometimes there doesn't need to be life changing conversation every second. As Chuck Klosterman says, there's nothing wrong with silence because you don't have to always say something. Look for meaning in words, because silence usually doesn't really MEAN anything.

Now this chapter hasn't made me give up on love all together. It just made me realize that's it's silly to expect the kind of as seen on TV love that everyone thinks is the way things really are. If I were always to expect something Ross and Rachel - esque, I don't think I'd recognize something much more real and much more magical.

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