Thursday, January 29, 2009

"The List" is Lacking!

I've never been good at following or joining. People often ask me to attend a meeting of this organization or that club, and I just can't. There's nothing wrong with like-minded groupings, and I do belong to a few. Being a joiner is no worse or better than not. But for the most part, "joining" is just not me. I've tried it and found myself losing myself--my patience, my time, my identity. It's just something I'm not very good at, and I'm becoming comfortable with that.

Upon evaluating my "List: 2008" (below), I find most of it lacking in originality or really memorable items. I think it's true that 2008 was shallow in some parts of the arts pool. But I also find that I'm not wading in as deeply as I once did. Most of my lists pretty much match the popular, top-grossing lists from any entertainment rag. In short, when it comes to the arts, I'm beginning to be a bit of a follower.

Now, I'm not much for snobbery--disliking something just because it's popular or liking something just because it's obscure. What I'm getting at is I'm nauseous from a diet of soul-candy, of what the media is telling me to like. We know the nominees for best picture and the top-selling albums aren't really (necessarily) the best things released last year. These are mostly the things that got the most hype--some deservedly, most because of corporate machinery.

It's the corporate machinery that I find myself caught in, ground through gears and belts of artistic tedium. I stand beside the things I've listed as having gotten to me. Kings of Leon and Metallica put out really good albums. I thoroughly enjoyed Tropic Thunder and Fringe. But the best thing I took in last year was Graham Greene's novel The Power and the Glory, and it was published in 1940! My book list probably shows the most originality, so maybe I just need to read more.

My resolution, though, is to dig deeper. I know music and film, and I know there must be something coming along in 2009 that will really nourish me, though the popular media likely won't serve it. It's hard because fatherhood and pastoring limit the exploration time I enjoyed in younger days. But my artistic senses have only sharpened as I've aged. I will NOT go gentle into that good night, driving along the cultural highway in a state of hypnosis. I will redouble my efforts to discover truly touching and meaningful entertainment that will stick with me beyond 2009, which is more than I can say for most of what I encountered in 2008.


Unknown said...

Yeah, Man! I hear you! My list(s) would probably be even sadder than your own... And shorter.

And that's depressing--I used to be so... cutting-edge with that stuff. Now it's all corporate and old hat...


Anonymous said...

the list = forgot me passing the bar ;) hahaha that was definitely a highlight.

robert c. pelfrey said...

We're all in this together. I'll be using the blog to share things I come across in my more comitted exploring. As with the subjective nature of arts and culture, my findings won't always resonate with others. But it won't be for a lack of digging and sharing.

And yes, Karen passing the bar was a huge highlight of 2008! I remember when she was a lowly high school student screaming on the volleyball court. Now she's a lawyer screaming in a different court ;>)

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