I was invited to this facebook group this morning. Its description is so so good and made my heart swell as I was reading it. The irony-as-a-way-of-life thing at Wesleyan bothers me to a degree you can’t believe.
You have Claire Kaplan ’09 to thank for the following:
I’m Tired of Being Ashamed of Things I Like
Bands. TV shows. Movies. Towns. People. Websites. Hobbies. Sports (theoretically). Clothes. Stores. Food. Operating systems. Furniture. Hygiene products. Guy stuff. Girlie stuff. Even big stuff, like politics and religion.
College students don’t like to think of themselves as easily led. So, prove it. There is no “I like it ironically.” There is no “yeah, I kinda like it, but at least I know that it’s bad.” There is no “it’s a guilty pleasure.” There is no “no, seriously, this one song of theirs is good — but don’t worry, I realize that they suck in general.”
You know it isn’t ironic. You know that, honestly, you can’t see how it’s bad. Yeah, you’re probably guilty — but it certainly doesn’t seem like they suck in general.
An obvious companion to this, and too often overlooked, is not liking the stuff everyone seems to have agreed is awesome. The worst is when you go along with consensus, even voicing your so-called opinion to others, and then you meet someone who is willing to voice the opinion that you actually share. Probably everyone feels like a spineless jerk in this situation, but I only know for certain that I personally want to hit myself.
I am hereby outing myself!
Claire Kaplan genuinely likes Evanescence, Natalie Imbruglia, The Juliana Theory, Boston (though I am woefully unknowledgeable about most of their work), Bruce Hornsby, Coldplay, Iron Maiden, Journey (” Boston), KISS, Mike Oldfield (he’s new age), a LOT of kids’ movies like Tall Tale and High School Musical; Miss Congeniality, teen-girl flicks like She’s the Man and Ella Enchanted (wow, this is harder than I thought it would be) and a few adult-chick-movies like The American President. I still like The Best Page in the Universe. I like shopping for offbeat and hippie-type clothes, and can do it way longer than almost any guy, although I hate that stereotype. For awhile, I had a skincare regimen. I think I’m sort of pro-life, and even though I consider myself feminist I really like the idea of cooking food for a bunch of guy friends who don’t know their way around a kitchen, and doing their dishes while we hang out. I’m not sure if it’s still true, but I used to like a good romance novel.
I can no longer pretend to like OR have been pretending a familiarity I simply do not have with: Armor for Sleep, Belle and Sebastian, Coheed & Cambria, Bright Eyes, the Clash, the Cure, David Bowie, Elliot Smith, the Flaming Lips, Frank Zappa, the Futureheads, G Love, Grateful Dead, Iron & Wine, Jimi Hendrix, Le Tigre, Led Zeppelin, Phish, the Pixies, the Shins, and Bob Marley; Snatch, most Tarantino movies, Dr. Strangelove, Farrelly brothers movies, Coen brothers movies, Cool Hand Luke, The Big Lebowski, and Kurosawa. I don’t think Radiohead is as great as I’m supposed to, and it’s so rare that I like a movie deemed “classic” or “a masterpiece” that I’m excited when it happens. I didn’t really *get* Brazil. I’ve never been into awkward-humor or mean-humor, which is why I can barely sit through Christopher Guest movies and usually hate the middle-segment interviews on the Daily Show.
Well-said, Claire, well-said. This should be handed out as a pamphlet during Orientation and Wesfest. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when self-conscious young people desperate for human kindness are ripped from the loins of their high school, thrown together and left to stew, they will at some point break into some form of the Indie Name Game as a get-to-know-you (or, rather, get-to-know-how-cool-you-are) activity. And since indie as a genre exists to some degree as a masturbatory exercise in obscurity, you know how that goes.
I, Xue Sun, don’t see what the big deal is about The Catcher in the Rye and wrote my college admissions essay about emo. Yeah–I know.
Holly adds: The Catcher in the Rye fucking sucked. In addition, I still listen to the Backstreet Boys, loved The Notebook and have read both of Bridget Jones’ diaries. Viva la fucking revolucion, Claire Kaplan.