Friday, September 30, 2011

not I'm bitter or anything.

So there are these flyers everywhere for some kind of sermon series a local church is doing on Song of Solomon, the words of which I love, even though the entire erotica part kind of went over my head as a kid. Lush verse, beautiful words. Me and a friend of mine concluded one night over a dish of pomegranate seeds in an apartment that's served as a crash pad for Indian medical students for the past three years that this book would make a fantastic Bollywood movie, what with all the daughters of Jerusalem chorusing Athenian in the background, love and poetry, dream sequences through cities and gardens, "One blink of your eye, one jewel of your necklace..."

As I get older I find I've gotten more liberal about everything else, and less so about religion. Not in a fundamentalist kind of way, but in the sense that I get really irritated with something with an essence so beautiful and inscrutable and sacred is marketed like a club flyer or a brand of perfume, attempting to tap into the confusion about love and all that icky cootie stuff.

I tried to explain to my coworker and great Pagan of Distinction (whose snarky Naked Gun commentary is on the side) why this kind of thing irritates me. It's hard to explain. Part of it's the graphic designer in me that knows how much full color printing on cardstock costs and thinks the money could have been better spent helping people or something, and the whole marketing to my demographic of white angsty suburban questioning Christians by appealing to the need for love and the desire to be around people my age cuts a little too close in a way that hits a nerve.

The closest analogy I could come to was the packaging of classical music as a commodity to be background music for a dinner party, to make your baby smarter, or to relax to something innocuous. Maybe someone will fall in love with Beethoven after hearing it on a compilation. Bach for Babies, Mozart for Modern Romantics. Whatever. Maybe something like this will be the first step to trigger a spiritual reawakening for some fellow traveling soul like yours truly discovering underground tuneage through a K-Tel indie rock compilation that included the Minutemen and the Melvins. It's not necessarily that the end is so bad, it's just the means and manner in which it comes. And I hate the feeling of being marketed to.

The blatant marketing to the 18-30 demographic, those of us who are on the spiritual kick, and possibly looking for love. What better way, perhaps? Easier to meet someone at church than the bar, gives you a good story later on, maybe you have some mutual friends. Maybe you'll like the same generic indie bands with vaguely spiritual overtones and that new book by whoever's cool this week.

I snark, but there's a little bitter in here too. It's hard for everyone, but it's especially difficult for quirky religious like yours truly who relate to neither the America&Guns&ValuesWhenIt'sConvenient or the Trying-To-Hard-To-Be-Cool-And-Relevant binary. The similar spiritual perspective thing is the prerequisite for anything serious, and even that seems hard to come by. I know there's way more nuance and I'm being harsh, but this is more or less what I come across. If there isn't an astounding lack of intellectual depth, the opposite extreme is to be so philosophical and esoteric that there's no room for life.


Anonymous said...

thatgirl rails orson whales

Randal Graves said...

First, three gold stars for arguably the finest track on Facelift.

Second, this is why you should convert to paganism. Something troubles us, we just burn some bones, or decapitate/blood eagle someone.

Third, you need to lighten up. You wouldn't see me get all pissy about those fucking Andre Rieu waltzy comps, the bastard.

Fourth, articulation failure 404, so I'll just stop.

Randal Graves said...

Hey, where's the shot? I worked long & hard for over 10-15 seconds on that thing. I want a refund.

thatgirl said...

fun stuff!

I'd vouch for 'Sea of Sorrow,' but hey, I'm not going to try and convert you.

Besides, if we were in Old Europe, I'd probably have been sacrificed to Odin or his equivalent a long time ago.

Is Andre Rieu the Steve Vai of classical music? That might actually be a disservice to Steve Vai.

Randal Graves said...

Oh, that's up there, certainly.

I don't think Odin takes his sacrifices via face punching.

And I already answered your question! But riddle me this, Duchess, should Mr. Vai follow the hallowed principles of one Mr. Simmons and market his own line of stage fan?

thatgirl said...

Only if it comes with an accompanying bottle of shampoo and aquanet. Personal brands and all.