10-02-09 - Indulgence

There's this very disgusting type of indulgence that has become very popular in the last ten years or so. It's watching things that are forbidden to us that we secretly lust after, but watching people of a type other than ourselves do it so we can at the same time condescend and get the pleasure of feeling superior to them. I find it especially revolting because it's very dishonest. I guess people who watch things like "Desperate Housewives" get this pleasure; they feel "oh how trashy they are" but at the same the reason they like it is because they really want to be like that.

We love catching public figures having affairs because we can feel all superior ("how could they", "what sleazes") while at the same thinking "oh that intern is pretty hot, I'd like to tap that, way to go Dave".

Mad Men is one that particularly bothers me. The setting becomes an excuse to show mysoginistic chauvinistic racist behavior and it's okay because "that's how it was at the time". We the viewer can delight in feeling superior (oh look how they treated gays back then we're so much more advanced now) while also indulging our secret desires for repressing women and cheating and drinking and all the things we're not supposed to like.

I think a lot of smart white people who listen to rap are doing the same thing. On the one hand it's all very ironic and we can feel superior to the uneducated blacks and their classless worldview. But at the same time it's an excuse to secretly indulge in someone singing about sleeping around and treating women as objects with their booties and being all about the money and selfishness and your shiny grill and the benjamins and whatnot. It's sickening.

Dave Moulton is kind of a nut job, but every so often he posts some great stuff about old bikes he made or stuff about frame building in general ; he just posted this one which is one of the most beautiful bikes I've ever seen. It's pretty much how I wanted to build my new bike, but the practicalities of lights and water and fit get in the way (you may notice the drop from the seat to the bars on that bike is very high). (See also his gallery ; sadly it's some custom ass thing and not just plain HTML the way it should be )

When one of those pop-up fake virus scan things hits me in firefox these days, I don't try to close the box, it's too risky. Instead I have a batch file that does :

taskkill /IM firefox.exe

and I just run that to close the box. (also helpful when firefox does that awful "firefox is already running but not responding" nonsense ; if you can fucking tell that it's not responding then give me a button to kill it and launch a new one right there in the message box!).

That way you are sure to just kill the whole app and not accidentally hit okay on anything. I would *love* to be able to disable javascript and popups completely in my browser, but sadly it's not really practical any more. (In theory you can disable popups and then just allow them when you actually want them, but I find that breaks most web pages; eg. when you do go ahead and okay the popup, it comes up blank or missing data; I think it has to do with server-side popup generation, they get screwed up if they aren't allowed to do it right when they want to). (I find flashblock messes things up a lot too, when you finally allow it the page still doesn't work right, but that's still worth the pain for me).


Dave Moulton said...

Just goes to prove, it takes one nut job to know another :)

raigan said...

You need to listen to some better hiphop! I'm surprised since you were in SF so long, and the bay area is where a lot of the good stuff is from.

Try some Blackalicious, Del/Hieroglyphics, Mr. Lif, Qwel, Edan, MC Paul Barman.. there's a lot of amazing shit that's the polar opposite of the music you described.

cbloom said...

Yeah, good point, I do listen to some of that stuff. I was mainly commenting on main stream "hip hop" that wallows in anti-illectualism and glorifies thuggery.

(Seattle has some pretty decent local hip hop too, Champagne Champagne and Fresh Espresso for example)

Raigan said...

I guess it's the same with any type of music, what gets played on the radio (and what most people listen to) is always complete garbage!

cbloom said...

I think it's a bit different, which is what I'm trying to say in the post. Obviously all mass-market pop is pretty vapid and generally glorifies a disgusting life of consumerism and superficiality and stereotypical sex roles, but I think the popular "gangsta rap" in America is particularly odious in its combined escapism/condescension.

old rants