02 May 2016

Thoughts that wander from pop onward

I wish I could learn to like the current popular music. It seems that every day a new singer-rapper-entertainer appears on the scene and becomes a nationwide sensation. I can’t keep track of them all. It would be a relief to me if I didn’t find them so drab; I’m always happier with myself when I genuinely feel attracted to trendy stuff.

Here I’ll attempt a self-diagnosis. Part of my problem is that I listen too closely. Another way of putting this is that I take everything too seriously. I guess that one is supposed to let the newest pop hits play in the background while neither tuning in to their fine points nor altogether tuning out.

Of course this is only my personal impression, but it seems that a lot of the visual arts, including painting, have also adapted to playing the role of background scenery. Like if you have the misfortune of finding yourself in a fast food franchise, note the art on the walls: its message can be translated as: “Dear customer-spectators, feel free to sort of notice that I’m here; but don’t worry about investing much of your energies in perceiving my deeper attributes, for I am devoid of depth by design.”

(NOTE: After re-reading, I dislike the surrounding paragraphs, but I’m leaving them unchanged for no good reason.)

So audio and visual art have both been tamed: they now willingly serve as the backdrop to some other center of attention. Although I favor artworks that demand and reward one’s mind MUCH more, I’m not saying that this “second-banana art” is an evil thing—it’s just interesting to note that this is the trend.

I wonder if movies will eventually follow the same path. Perhaps they already have? I think of a movie as something that a viewer actively attends to—by following its plot, luxuriating in its poetry, and so forth. Yet to engage in social networking with one’s portable communication device is far more interesting than the events or moods of any movie (I say this sarcastically); so it would be better if each movie were simply to provide an audiovisual setting for one’s online chitchat, like an artificial atmosphere.

I am not against the idea of art being limited to the decorative. The world keeps changing; who am I to complain? I’d love to surf the crest of the new fad’s wave.

But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about cows. Cows seems so docile, so compliant. How did cows arrive at such a biddable disposition? When I imagine the epoch of the dinosaurs, I can’t figure out where cows might’ve fit in to that world, or what the ancestors of cows might’ve looked like, way back when. I should research this—maybe the reason certain people hold cows to be sacred is that they’re so gentle. Did cows begin this way or become this way? Are cows the “lucrative pop music” of the animal kingdom? I’ve heard that each individual cow has four stomachs… Or is it four separate chambers to a subdivided digestive system? Now I wonder: Is there any living creature that has multiple brains?

Cyclops: one eye. Humans: binary vision: two eyeballs cooperating. Third eye; spiritual wisdom; to see with the mind’s eye; to visualize by imagining… I’ve heard that certain insects have something called a compound eye. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I once saw a housefly land on a table and clean itself; at least it looked like it was cleaning itself: it moved its arms—or feelers, or whatever you call them—in an obsessively compulsive fashion over its head, and, while doing so, it appeared to be caressing its eyeballs physically: washing them the way one might wash one’s breasts.

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