When I was little I had this naive idea that the reason anyone was writing in a national newspaper, or had a book a in good bookshops everywhere, or had CDs in high street record shops was cos they deserved to be there, they were not only good but they were the best. This made the fact that I didn’t like the most of this stuff even more upsetting. The implication of their ubiquity was that everyone likes this stuff, why don’t you, what’s wrong with you?
The attention, or the implied attention, of all those people (the public) made mass media entities seem like unassailable authorities to me. It took the internet to help me realise that newspapers, book publishers, record labels, movie studios, music journalists were not what I’d thought; were not the arbiters of good judgement/taste, the people who held culture in their grasp, without whom we’d live in a wasteland. Creativity and skill weren’t as scarce as I’d come to believe.
Tho, I still have a problem even knowing when I like something. I was brought up to ignore my own liking or disliking or indifference (that sounds a bit like a joke, but isn’t).
The idea that you (one) should eschew every tainted thing. Every homophobic/misogynist song you listen to, a bank with “unethical” methods of investing, every “evil” supermarket etc.
Back in the days when I began learning about “the way the world is” I thought that this was possible. People kept saying boycott this thing or that company, I believed it was possible to remove yourself from the chain/process of all “evildoing”.
This still bothers me cos — I was going to come up with a plausible, respectable sounding reason as to why it bothers me. The truth is that I haven’t got a pat answer that I can tell myself that quells the nagging feeling that’s why this bothers me.
That someone is going to point the finger at me and I woun’t have any legitimate explanation. Collaborator, colluder, apologist.
Finding inspiration/enjoyment in “problematic” things and feeling ashamed. e.g. Gwen Stefani’s Wind It Up video (may contain pre-roll ad). Forget her “credibility as an artist” or similar nonsense. I like the song, the video’s fun, but I can’t ignore the presence of “her” Gwenihana
“They’re ever present in her videos and performances — swabbing the deck aboard the pirate ship, squatting gangsta style in a high school gym while pumping their butts up and down, simpering behind fluttering hands or bowing to Stefani. That’s right, bowing.”
Of old I’d just be like “well no more Gwen for me then”. But I don’t do that now. I still feel that I should. Seeing as tho it’s impossible to extricate your self from “everything dodgy” I feel I should be at least attempting.
This idea that if you don’t you’re colluding, you are exercising whatever privilege you have by carrying on as you were, by saying nothing. Enabling.
You’re still eating meat, you’re still shopping at Tesco, you’re buying clothes unaware of the conditions under which they were produced, you’re buying electrical items unaware of the conditions under which their parts were produced/obtained. And what would you do if you found out the how and you didn’t like it?
And so on.
Everyone* in “the West” is participating is systems of exploitation, of all kinds. I spose I’m supposed to conclude here.
“Let’s all commit suicide!” or “come the glorious revolution” or some such: I don’t have a statisfying conclusion to this post.
Anyway this is today’s instalment of “hey, what’s up with me this day (night)”.
Lots of inverted commas, much “you” used in the 3rd person, I find it easier that saying, “one” and sounding faintly ridiculous.
* not sure if this is hyperbolic or literal everyone.