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Thursday, September 14, 2006

silencing the hater

One of the unfortunate byproducts of being a culture critic is that you by definition are a hater. Radio sucks. The new movies? Formulaic and trite. Contemporary literature--bleh! And the kids these days call that a concert! Look up and before you've even reached 30 you've become this angry, bitter, unsatisfied person starved for culture that speaks to you--stuck in some wretched old-school loop in the meantime. Some of the smartest people I know are afflicted with this condition. But as the writer Jedediah Purdy pointed out, Gen X-ers' negative and downright nasty cynical pose is a cop-out, a ruse to avoid taking a chance on something and believe in anything. A nothing ventured, nothing lost, attitude ultimately will get us nowhere.

Good news on this front: I loved Idlewild. Little Miss Sunshine is the funniest movie since "Something About Mary." I was on a roll! So in my ongoing quest for personal betterment, I trekked out to Best Buy to pick up (yes, purchase!) a few of the current recent "popular" music releases. I put a smile on my face and quietly laid them on the counter. The brother behind the counter took one look at my selections, then shot me a long, sideways, now-you-know-better-than-that glance. I tried to explain my quest for positive reinvention, to adopt a sunnier outlook. Not to hate just because.
He grunted.
"Beyonce, I can understand," he said. "But Justin Timberlake?"
Well I really like his new single with Timbaland, I stammered. Timbo produced the whole album....
"I just can't get with that whole 'sexyback' thing," he said. "When did sexy go out of style?"
Good point, I thought as i popped JT's album into my car CD player, launching one of the most exciting R&B albums I've heard in quite some time. When I got home I heard the rest. Beyonce's new album sucks.

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