Klostermeme III

Chuck Klosterman IV is rife with meme fodder. The Klostermeme series will feature these questions, my answers, my speculations on how Klosterman would answer and an invitation to the reader to answer these questions in the comments! It will also challenge my recollection Roman numerals. So far I have failed because I forgot to put III between II and VI.

And so…

Assume everything about your musical tastes was reversed overnight. Everything you once loved, you now hate; everything you once hated, you now love. For example, if your favorite band has always been R.E.M., they will suddenly sound awful to you; they will become the band you dislike the most. By the same token, if you’ve never been remotely interested in the work of Yes and Jethro Tull, those two groups will instantly seem fascinating. If you generally dislike jazz today, you will generally like jazz tomorrow. If you currently consider the first album by Veruca Salt to be slightly above average, you will abruptly find it slightly below average. Everything will become its opposite, but everything will remain in balance (and the rest of your personality will remain unchanged). You won’t love music any less (or any more) than you do right now. There will still be artists you love and who make you happy; they will merely be all the artists you currently find unlistenable.

Now, I concede that this transformation would make you unhappy. But explain why.

dave matthews bandMy answer: Because the music you like is part of your identity. Like with books and movies, people seek out others who agree with your taste. That’s not to say that I couldn’t be friends with a U2 fan. Plenty of people in my circle love them. But it’s easier to share the common bond of taste. You can go to shows together. You can talk about the lyrics you like. You can identify on a deeper level using music as a template. Not only that, but having been into metal and then punk and indie in high school, that was part of my rebellion. It was how I differentiated myself from the right wing assholes I went to school with. There were lyrics about alienation and punk culture that I related to. I never felt the same way about the crap they liked. It was shallow. Would I have turned out the same way if I’d found emotional significance in the Dave Mathews Band rather than The Smiths? I think not. Klosterman says that I wouldn’t experience a change in my personality, but this is impossible. I might still be a liberal who attempts to do the right thing. I might still love nature and animals. I might be a happy goth. But I would be listening to Matchbox 20. This is incongruous. I would find Sugar Ray lyrics satisfying. There is no way that I wouldn’t undergo a fundamental change in my personality. I like my personality. I like my friends and my husband. That is why I would be sad.

Klosterman Theory: Because of his “your personality doesn’t change” clause, I’m really not sure. Perhaps it’s because his previous books would no longer reflect his opinions.

Put your answers in the comments!


Hellboy II: Creature Overload

I feel the need to refute every other review out there for this film. The majority of reviews are raving about Hellboy II: The Golden Army. But the reasons they love it are the same reasons I think it fell flat. Guillermo Del Toro is a fan-boy director. He is a 13-year-old boy trapped in the body of an arrested adult. Sometimes that works. But in this case, it did not.

The plot is completely nonsensical. One of the last of the albino elves wants to re-raise an army of gold transformers in order to destroy all humans and Hellboy must stop him. Fair enough, but I have questions. Why did the Albino Prince wait so long to attempt this? Was he just working out one day in his lair next to the Subway and decided he was done with humanity? His plan seems to have several steps involving unleashing various monsters upon the Earth. He must also find his twin sister who has the last piece of the crown with which to control the Golden Army. But according to her they have a psychic connection so he can just find her whenever he wants. So why does all of this take so damned long? Just so Abe the fish man can fall doomedly in love with the Albino Princess? So Hellboy and Liz Sherman can have that cliche movie argument where she is pregnant but instead of just telling him like a normal person would, she gets all pissy and throws fire balls?

hellboy II drunkNo. It’s so little Guillermo can make more creatures. CREATURES! OMG! CREATURES! Look at them all! Goblins apparently come in all shapes and sizes. There are some flat-faced dudes too. And some small leachy things. And tumor babies. And this guy with big teeth and no eyes. And a big-assed Treebeard/Godzilla hybrid…and…and…Where was I? Oh yeah. In the middle of a movie. I guess we can have the bad guy battle Hellboy now. He’ll do all those flippy moves we saw him do earlier. But this time it will be against HELLBOY so it will feel fresh and new.

Also, why did the Albino Prince sacrifice the LAST of the Elementals when he knew that Hellboy would have to fight it? So he could get even madder at the humans? Did he think he could win Hellboy over by telling him, after the thing had destroyed half the city, that it was the last of its kind? Albino Prince should take those odds to the roulette table and stop messing with endangered species.

Still more questions: Why the hell do the Dream Team give Jeffrey Tambor such a hard time? As far as I can tell, the man is just trying to do his job directing the B.P.R.D. He has some pretty valid points about Hellboy being insolent. I guess no one likes their boss. But really. Give the guy a break. What are they going to do instead? Open a bakery? Work on their doctorates?

tecate lightOK, so it wasn’t ALL bad. There were a few shining moments. Ron Perlman is at the top of his game any time Hellboy acts like Hellboy, accepting cigars as motivation and drinking beer. One scene involving drunk Hellboy and Abe talking about women and singing Barry Manilow was a highlight. Though it definitely felt like product placement for Hellboy to have a locker filled with Tecate LIGHT. That’s right. Those silver cans sheath the low calorie version of the classic Mexican beer. I love a cool, refreshing Tecate myself, but I greatly doubt a candy enthusiast like Hellboy would bother with light beer.

Product placement aside, those moments felt like a callback to the comics. But a Hellboy movie should be ALL callback. Del Toro is too easily distracted by his creature-making abilities to bother with a script. And America is too dazzled by his world to pay attention to why we are there in the first place. Why am I the only one who sees this?

Man. I need a Tecate.