Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Dork in Disguise: In Defense of Crap

Confession: unless you are referring to a Batman character or a Harry Potter book, I am probably only pretending to have any idea what you're talking about. I'm good at sounding like I know what I'm talking about by picking up scraps from the conversations of hipsters around me and vague references in articles I read on the internet, but my knowledge has no depth. I'm a superficial sponge for fragments of culture, and while I talk big, I'm still more likely to be sitting in my room  watching Pretty in Pink for the gadjillionth time than going to that French movie in that art-house cinema. Yes, I do genuinely take an interest in that stuff, but it's not fun

A woman in my poetry class today was talking about actress Jennifer Coolidge and her role in Legally Blonde (it was relevant to the class, I swear). The woman was trying to remember another film where she plays a stepmother, and I immediately, and extremely sheepishly, asked "is it Cinderella Story?". Yes, obviously. I made my awkward 'Iamsuchadork' face and people laughed, with one woman at my table declaring me 'busted'.

I would like to be able to defend this knowledge, to mention the fact that I watched the film with my late grandmother and has particular memories tied to that, or make up a story about it being for a 'class', but that would be denying the fact that I just like really crap stuff. I like bad movies. I like donuts and pizza and McDonald's hamburgers. I collect plastic dinosaur toys. I own a 'Best of Duran Duran' CD. And not just like: I love this stuff. I mean, I really cannot tell you how excited I was when I discovered Die Hard 5 was going to be a thing.

I embrace high culture and the arts. I read sophisticated literature and go to art galleries and listen to legitimately good bands. But that stuff, even though I'd never give it up, just doesn't make me happy in the same way as Starship's 'We Built This City (On Rock'n'Roll)'. Daniel Clowes makes amazing art but Kate Beaton's Fat Pony is my happy place. 'Good' art and high culture make me think, and that is so important, but sometimes being able to not think is important too.

I'm sure I can pass quite well for an elitist Melbourne hipster, and I'm pretty sure that's what plenty of people take me for, but scratch the surface and you'll discover I am actually a super massive dweeb. I don't spend my time alone reading Foucalt (who the hell reads Foucalt for pleasure, though), I spend it running around the kitchen pretending to be a velociraptor (fun fact: my computer just suggested 'appreciatory' as the correct spelling for velociraptor. really, computer?). I have long ago embraced my status as a huge dork, even though I still pretend I'm super cool when I meet new people (I mean, I am super cool, but, like, not that kind of super cool).

So here's to loving stuff which is awesome but also totally shit. Here's to instant coffee and buying a cake from Coles for an afternoon snack. Here's to synthesisers, all the time, in all the songs. Here's to every film Bruce Willis has ever made. Here's to ridiculous webcomics about butts. Here's to the first album I ever bought myself being by Hilary Duff. Here's to Supernatural marathons and still reading terrible teen novels at twenty years of age. Here's to awful. Here's to, secretly, beneath the surface, being a massive, massive dork.

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