Monday, October 15, 2007

People, Places and Things We Can Now Give Up On.

Are you carrying around a dead weight? Hoping that sooner or later he or she will be into you? Hoping that Hip-Hop will make another classic album? That the third world will one day make dollars? That Bush will make sense? Are you waiting on Clay Aitken to get naked with a female? Let me introduce you to the so thrilling it’s sinful pleasures of giving up on people. My favourite preacher once said he enters everything situation with a hypodermic and a gun. If the situation can be fixed, inject some medicine. If it’s a dying horse, shoot the sucker. Point your guns at the following.

1. MySpace

Ludicrously ugly and un-navigable from the get go, MySpace’s success was a stunner from day one especially since Facebook, which came out at roughly the same time (and his since surpassed it) was far more viewer friendly. The MySpace page was such a colossal eyesore that you could almost judge people by whether they had one or not. It was also responsible for some of the most laughable acts of hubris in years, with barely talented musicians all proclaiming themselves stars of a sort because they suddenly had 500 friends, none of whom would buy their records. With frustrating loading time, and a dogged refusal to innovate in any way that normal people would appreciate, the space soon became as much a dinosaur as friendster. And that long promised radical upgrade is only a away.

2. Ryan Adams

It was once our favourite pastime: waiting on Ryan Adams to make that country rock masterpiece. Lord knows we needed one— Sweetheart of The Rodeo, Honky Tonk Masquerade and Guitar Town were getting mighty lonely. But instead, caught up as he is in sleeping with famous women and having more hissy fits than the baldy from Smashing Pumpkins, Adams hasn’t found the time to deliver on that admittedly tall order. Instead we get the Ryan Adams record or rather, one every week; a CD of mostly tepid, country rock, with two or three all out stompers to help keep the faith. And they keep coming. If this were sex you’d begin to wonder if consistent quasi pleasure beats never having the orgasm that always seems around the corner. For some, that’s enough. For others it’s easier to believe that the bang did come, and the problem was us. Or maybe, like Terence Trent D’Arby and Lenny Kravitz, Adams was over praised from the start.

3. The End of the Cold War

People who believed that the US won the cold war made the crucial mistake of confusing war with battle. It was a curious 20 years, with some Americans taking credit for the fall of Soviet Communism, as if a suicide counts as murder if somebody else wanted to pull the gun. But some things were meant to come back to life. And Putin, sick of hearing how China’s greatest debtor somehow won a war against his country has been letting his horns show. Communism may have been a bad thing overall but it was the one thing Russia did well. And some people prefer the politburo to the Russian Mafia. So as journalists end up shot, former spies end up poisoned and dissidents end up disappeared, we can count down the years until the hammer and sickle comes back. And just in time too. My CCCP t-shirt still looks cool. Quite frankly I missed the cold war. Mutually Assured Destruction was the one thing not preventable with a condom. Many thought the right country won at the time (OK, maybe Americans and Pinochet), but the rest of us knew it was only a matter of time before the bear, rumoured dead would wake up from hibernation. Meeting with Iran? Yup, I think that he just growled.

4. Cable Series

The Sopranos are gone and they have taken with them the world. The world of the cable drama anyway. So after running out of hairs to scratch from watching John from Cincinnati and laughing at the future drag show that was Rome, the sad realization came upon me that the era of the genre and gut busting cable series is over. The mix of powerful writing, unrestrained acting, violence and real time sex was powerful indeed but it also smacked of the forbidden—as if we were watching something that we really should not be, biding time in illicit pleasure until somebody pulled the plug. So now instead of the brilliant, daring or merely shocking, we now have the good, pleasing, “edgy” but unbrilliant cable show, Dexter, Weeds, Tell Me You Love Me, and the Tudors. Ironically enough the better are shows are now on network TV. Or maybe I’m just saying that because I cannot get enough of Burn Notice.

5. Michael Jackson

If you still had hopes, you’re even more wacko than he is. And step away from those little boys while you’re at it.

6. Peace in the Middle East

Should we blame this one on Abraham? It’s the biblical thing to do. Atheists may want to, but to do so would mean to believe in God in the first place.

7. The Great Reggae Record

Sure it was overstuffed, overblown, self-indulgent and at least five songs too long, but Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers’ Jahmekya was also the last reggae masterpiece. Well the second to last, before Til Shiloh. But Jahmekya, was by any standard a stunning record, the sound of a band recognizing a world bigger than their own and responding without a second thought and sometimes without first one. So there was disco, funk, rock, but also a return to drum and bass basics that showcased the seminal talents of Stephen Marley. Pity that they released the crappy Kozmik as the first single and the crappier Small People as the second. To this day, most people judge the album by those tracks, a shame because roots Reggae will never make a record as brilliant again.

8. The Great American Novel

Was any thought more ludicrous to begin with? The concept has always smacked of self-consciousness and identity crisis, as if one could ever come across a singular work of fiction that speaks to the 8 million Americas that reside in New York alone. The very idea of a novel to end all novels is preposterous for it supposes things that could never be quantified: a universal definition of singular greatness, and the idea that one book could speak to such a heterogeneous and conflicting population. And should that goal happen, what would be left of American Literature? What would be the point for any American to continue writing? Where would the American novel go but down? Notice nobody is out there beating themselves trying to write the great British, Russian or Swedish novel.