I recently chanced upon a blog entry debating the vulgarity and homophobic tendencies of the recent spur of Brokeback Mountain internet cartoons. The subsequent user comments were surprisingly all agreeing with the blog author, furthermore accusing the cartoonists of being childish, bigoted, and taking us “backwards as a society.” As you can see from the comments section, I partly disagree. While one or two were cheap, inappropriate and (perhaps to some) offensive, the better half were quite good and deservedly received a few chuckles.
I have no intention of undermining the opinion of neither the blog author nor its followers, but rather wish to stimulate a debate on this particular case as well as the general issue of homosexual jesting. How far is too far? Comparing beastiality to homosexuality? Or less?
Lately, I’ve been listening to a song of Sufjan Steven from the album Illinoise, ‘John Wayne Gacy, Jr.’ − a poignant, emotionally upsetting tune reciting a serialkiller’s disturbing, yet fascinating life over the course of 200-odd seconds. A few days ago, driving home with my girlfriend in the passenger seat, I made an effort to try to explain to her the intricacy and beauty of this song, and how the lyrics, accompanied by the somber vocals and intertwining piano/guitar backdrop made this song an astonishing one despite it not being very melodic, in the way she expected songs to be melodic (read: shitty chart music). The concept of considering these factors when rating a song seemed preposterous to her. I was aware of this and had without much difficulty predicted that exact reaction, but the reason I even bothered playing it for her in first place was the subject of the song.
Look underneath the house there
Find the few living things, rotting fast, in their sleep
Oh the dead
You see, the thing that got to her was the fact that it was about a serial killer. Not a made-up character, not a John, Tom, girlfriend or ‘Baby’ ambiguously personifying the concept of love, jealousy or hate. The generic, inconspicuous lines of lyrics that are so often used in similarily melancholic songs was replaced with spesific tales of his life, both of the direct literal kind and the more vague metaphorical kind, alluding to the very faults of your everyday John Doe. John Wayne Gacy was a real person that had lived, loved, seduced, molested, killed − all those fascinating things − and now he was eternalized through the means of a song, consorted by facets of music and sound.
Even more, they were boys, with their cars, summer jobs
Oh my God
Are you one of them?
The fact that this song managed to make a person that originally had an indifferent to negative opinion eventually like it, based strictly on its subject matter and the lyrical eloquence embracing it, struck me as a fucking beautiful thing. I wasn’t so much in love with it either until I paid greater attention to the lyrics, and now, proven by a lengthy blog entry, it’s my first proper musical romance of two thousand six.
And on his best behavior
In a dark room on the bed he kissed them all
He’d kill ten thousand people
With a slight of his hand, running far, running fast to the dead
Coincidentally, the movie about John Wayne Gacy entitled ‘Gacy’ was aired on the telly yesterday, and of course she was as vigorously excited to see it as I. It was indeed intriguing to see the disheartening actions that my good friend Sufjan kept singing about in my car on my way to work take place in a live-action flick.
He took off all their clothes for them
He put a cloth on their lips, quiet hands, quiet kiss on the mouth
At first glance, ‘John Wayne Gacy, Jr.’ is unseperable from any other given tune. Dig into it, delve just a little below the surface, and you’ve got yourself an extraordinary fragment of art that will unravel itself layer, by layer, by layer, by layer.
I’ll leave you to contemplate on its closing words.
And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floor boards
For the secrets I have hid
I’m an inherent sceptic about most of what comes out of American popular culture. I’ve found it to be the healthiest (quite literally) stance I can take, as it’ll prevent a massive let-down and allow me a pleasant surprise if the subject matter turns out to be of a certain caliber.
When a TV-show looks like a new Shawshank without the feelgood factor mixed with the nerve, pacing and shrewdness of Escape from Alcatraz, that scepticism is fighting like a bull not to get caught in the hysteria.
Admittedly, I had certain expectations upon watching the first episode of Prison Break, but they were carefully acclimatized as to accomodate the usual capacity of a new TV-show. I wasn’t let-down, but that’s not said I’m no longer a sceptic. Moreso, if anything. If you haven’t been in touch with me earlier, you won’t know that I’m quite dissapointed in the somewhat overestimated series ‘Lost’.
I’m quite dissapointed in the somewhat overestimated series ‘Lost’. Now you know.
I’m not making this a full-out rant on TV-shows, but the factors that sway me away from a show such as ‘Lost’ is primarily the long-windedness of it and constant inctroduction of seemingly irrelevant and uninteresting plot points that doesn’t appear to have a shred of bearing. The sense of watching scenes and episodes that feel like nothing more than fillers is not one I really want to expose myself to. I don’t have all day to watch the telly, so I’ve gotta weed out the shit.
Hopefully this won’t be the case with the Scofield bros, and hopefully it won’t drag on for several seasons. These shows so often look like they can’t be stretched over multiple seasons due to the nature of the subject – this is no exception; hey, let’s break out in season 3, yeah? – but whaddyaknow, we’re dealing with Americans. Let’s keep it as tight and intense as it is at the moment, shall we, Fox?
I’ll be watching, but I’ll keep my eye on it.
Lemme have a try at this again.
I always say I’ll give it a go, give it a whirl, try to make it last this time around, yet I always candidly and accurately exclaim that ” it probably won’t last.” It’s not often I’m right, but I’m right about that.
Sometimes – sadly to some, delightfully to others – the predicament is fulfilled prematurely. Prematurely, as in the baby wouldn’t have been able to walk his first steps. As in never even living to enunciate its first expressions of recognition towards its parents (His? Hers? It wasn’t bleedin’ born!). Prematurely.
Alright, anyway, so if you happened to stumble upon this “blog” and happen to be reading this, try to stick with my for a little while and see how it all turns out, yea? I like to think I’m quite a pleasant guy, but then again my mum does too, and I’m not gonna tell you the time of day she tells me that. Perhaps, you know, once in a while I’ll throw something on here that’s worth reading and debating. Critique, praise, bashing et cetera is welcomed and encouraged, the latter mostly for entertainment value.
I’ll try to post quite often, at least compared to the 1-post-per-quarter ratio I’ve been sustaining thus far.