I don’t often defend myself; as a free speech beneficiary and staunch libertarian, my base ethos is one of self-determination: I do what I want, you do what you want. Or, like Ben Harper says, “My choice is what I choose to do / And if I’m causing no harm it shouldn’t bother you / Your choice is who you choose to be / And if you're causing no harm then you’re alright with me.”
Every now and then, though, some criticism comes along that makes you reassess your way of being; or, in this case, your way of writing. I got a phone call from a friend yesterday—who, from the beginning, has read virtually everything I’ve written here, so he’s put up with more than my fair share of bullshit—questioning those things about which I’ve recently chosen to write. Something to the effect of (and I’m paraphrasing), “Dude, you’re writing about Justin Timberlake, American Idol, and sports. I know that’s what everybody is thinking about, but what the hell does it have to do with anything?”
After some self-reflection, here’s what I realized (and here’s where I defend myself): I don’t think those topics, as standalone ontological entities, are at all important--not even Justin Timberlake (please don’t tell him I said that). I don’t count myself among those addicted to cultural vanity, or those who use that vanity as distraction from matters of legitimate importance—spirituality, war, hunger, equality, happiness, health, family, etc.
One more piece of premise, then I’ll explain what the hell I’m talking about.
Most important, I don’t write these posts for me. I write them because people tell me they’re entertaining, and because, although pervasive, wanton distraction is evil, spending a few minutes a day decompressing is fine, even therapeutic. It’s the same idea that underlies The Onion, YouTube, and one-hitters: sometimes you’ve gotta take a load off.
In short, there are two basic ideas behind this blog: one, that it’s important to have an open forum on important topics, on things that “matter.” Two, that it’s important to have an outlet for ignoring all of it.
So how to synthesize those two opposing priorities? By talking about things that have no obstensible importance—like American Idol, Justin Timberlake, and a political science major—in a way that resonates with real emotions, and which corresponds to genuine import. Blake Lewis, for all his beatboxing excellence, does not intrigue me nearly as much as the metaphysical structures he evokes: liberty, joy, excellence, and iconoclasm. At the same time, worshipping his performance on an ipso-facto basis—in other words, extolling him for his sake, or in conformity with American Idol-mania—would be hollow and unholy.
The issues I cover all correspond to a certain real-world issue or emotion, and are chosen because they have cathartic value. To surmise otherwise would be a misconception of bloggal proportions (for a definition of “bloggal,” please see derek.jeter.isgay.com), and a crippling insult to the existential consciousness in which I claim to dwell. I’m sorry for any confusion, and I eagerly await this week’s American Idol finale, which will usher in the dawn of a spiritually awakened globe.
Stay Substantive, Prime Time TV