Thursday, May 28, 2009

With Apologies to Stong...

Maybe this is just my own nuttiness again, but maybe not. Do you ever feel that certain writers, actors, musicians, artists, world leaders, or other types of glitteraty are your buddies? I mean, they aren’t of course, and may well have died long before you were born. Still, you have studied or consumed enough of this person’s work that you consider he or she a buddy of yours. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Pop culture has to revolve around this - and by pop culture, I mean anything from Tutankhamun to Tina Fey. I feel, and certainly other people must feel that I/we/they/whatever pronoun floats your boat have, for lack of better term, a “personal relationship” with certain pop culture figures, despite never actually meeting them.

Though this “buddy theory” has probably occurred to me before, I got to thinking about it while walking through the National Gallery in DC, specifically in the sense of artists that are “buddies of mine” despite the lack of introduction, due in no small part to most of these artists being dead for hundreds of years. DC has a Giotto - an old buddy of mine from my Florentine days. There are a few Botticellis around too, and a pair of minor Hans Memlings, buddies as well. DC also has America’s only Leonardo, and though I’ve seen several other Leos on the Continent, he can’t be a buddy of mine.

Much like in the silly notion of indie rock cred, Leonardo can’t be my friend because he’s too popular. Same for the rest of the Italian Ninja Turtles. While I dig them all, they are simply too “mainstream.” In this sense, I mean that too many people care about these works for one to have a personal relationship with these artists. Ensor and Delvaux and Ted Rousseau are my buddies, whereas Picasso, Dali, and Van Gogh belong to the people. Even Monet I’d count in the non-buddy category, despite that fact that he played a major roll in three different relationships, inspired a short story of mine, and was a catalyst in the creation of a half-baked art movement that I invented 10 years ago. Monet is simply too radio friendly.

Obviously, this theory can run to every facet of pop culture. People dig Apatow and Arrested Development because Jason Bateman and Michael Cera can be your buddies, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise can’t. George Carlin is my buddy, Bill Cosby belongs to the masses.

You could even extend this theory to religion. I think this is a major failing of Protestantism, particularly fundamentalism. These are based on the aforementioned “personal relationship” involved with Jesus Christ. I mean, who’s more famous than Jesus? How can somebody have a personal relationship with him? This is something the Catholics got right - buddy theory easily corresponds with, say, John the Baptist or Catherine of Alexandria. The saints and the hierarchy humanize the whole thing, rather than making everyone just another anonymous Michelangelo fan.

Anyway, send some comments out way, let us know who your “buddies” are, or if you fall in the highly logical camp that I’m just full of shit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i was afraid this was going to turn into some obama dick sucking thing... "silly notion of indie rock cred"... shees, thanks for spitting on my life's work...
but you're missing the point, and treating the world's great artists like the a female teenaged cure fan would or the guy that hated nirvana for signing to geffen...