Uncollected Ideals

I am writing a book. This means that I do a lot of research that manifests in the reading of many, many books. Subsequently (and somewhat inevitably), I have read a lot of really shit books. No, let me rephrase - the books aren't shit, I just don't like them. Often, I can tell that structurally they are well written, well put together, sometimes even the subject is interesting or rendered in interesting or evocative language. But, whether it is good is really an individual matter.

I certainly like a lot of shit (most of which has appeared on this blog at one time or another. Just wait until I get to the full Ke$ha post I've got up my digital, blogging sleeve). This does mean though, that I am regularly confused about what it is I genuinely or fully like. Literature, like every art form, is comprised of many facets that must work together in the eye of the audience (reader, viewer, etc) for them to view it as a complete success. This, really, is where I fall down. Often I like aspects of a book or a film but cannot categorically state that I loved it, because while the costumes, score and set were great and cohesive, the acting was wooden and the plot unbelievable. This means that I am very annoying to talk to about art, not being able to fully agree or disagree with most points as, as far as I can see, they are all as valid as one another and are usually ill conceived generalisations anyway. I guess you could say that I am fairly anal.

And now we get to the crux of the matter: It is interesting to me that in order to make sense of one another we are socially forced into Having Opinions. We so strongly associate people's opinions with them that we must have strong ones of our own in order to have a voice at all. When the cats fight the dogs we cannot suddenly turn into a pristine white dove and rise above the battle, we must pick a side. Even if we don't want to, it seems we are forced into this on a regular basis throughout our daily lives.

For example, you can't just be anti Conservative, you must be extremely Liberal to show your utter resentment for anything that could be construed as having flavors tasteful to those Conservatives, who are our enemies. While this may seem like playground tactics that, as we grow, we feel we have left behind with our Nirvana t-shirts and Avril Lavigne CD's, we do not notice how we each are forced to employ them all the time. We attribute phrases like Guilty Pleasures to things we realise we have to distance ourselves from unless they come to embody us in the eyes of our peers. It never occurs to us that liking something tacky or stupid does not necessarily make us tacky and stupid. After all, we didn't make it; we are an onlooker. Staring at a car crash does not make us killers or sickos - we are merely interested, which can only be a good thing, right?

But this is not a simple or fashionable viewpoint. Just as it is not simple or fashionable to state that you like the Prime Minister or you want a nice home with nice things in it because these are Middle Class ideals, which makes you bourgeois and elitist. You have to at least put on a show of hating the established order, even though every one can sense the artifice as they too are instrumental in the maintenance of its structure. I must like one thing or it is automatically assumed that I hold the apposing opinion. In other words, Moderation and Complexity are despised by Conversation due to its undramatic and indirect nature.

But then, this is what fashion is all about. When I say fashion, I don't merely mean it on an aesthetic level. I mean it in terms of all the facets that make up the art of living without cracks in your social veneer. All of our truths are moderated by fashion - we don't want to appear insane, or worse, Middle Class, do we?

This blog is an example of that fractured, undecided form that has no voice in society. What philosopher would want to read a blog about pop culture when it is so below them? Likewise, what fashionista would concern themselves with the dull, intellectual issues of Plato's concepts on love or Nietzsche's mitherings on the alienation of the modern man?

However, to try and fix these halves together somehow, I'm going to start a series of posts about books I have read. These will be books I have either TOTALLY LOVED or TOTALLY HATED. Within this, however, will be a myriad of conflicting thoughts that may very well appear confusing or ill-thought through. But it is in fact the opposite; it is through the meticulous deconstruction of the collective facets that my overall opinion will be formed.

The first one will be the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, comin atcha anytime soon. While comprised of many separate parts, like fashion, society, each and every one of us, I will have an opinion on all of it. But please, feel free to disagree.

So here's Hedwig singing about The Origin of Love, which is all about split halves.

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