17 August 2010

Lunch with a libertine

"We're going do some wake boarding this Sunday, wanna join?" Joey asked when she took her last bite of the crab sandwich. I was a bit surprised when I found that she lately joined the wake boarding flock. There has never been a faint trace of this long-legs-big-eyes doing any outdoor sport at all. After all, her almost pale long pair of legs are what I am most fond of.

"No, as I told you many times before, I avoid all things hip. I just feel sickeningly joyful to reply with a bland 'no' anytime someone asks me to do something hip like wake boarding," I heartlessly answered, as I couldn't really recall how many times I'd explained that to her. For the record, I'd also rejected her repeated invitations to lame karaoke, smoky BBQs, 'prison in the sea' junk trips and silly meet-up events with random strangers.

That's when Joey started her rant against me. "What's wrong with you? Do you hate everything? You're always saying how you don't like mainstream stuff, but you have an iPhone for god's sake! The latest album you bought was Gorillaz, and you're a huge fan of the Fratellis. Now, how can you say you're an alternative guy when you are so obviously mainstream?"

"Just the other day you told me how you think classics like Goethe and Shakespeare are a million times better than anything that was written today. But c'mon are you still wearing tights? Just because a few old guys put together a list of classics, you take that as the absolute truth without even reading most of them, while you don't give anything that's modern a chance. Even though you say you hate authority and want to think for yourself, it's clear to me that you DO bow to certain authorities and only selectively hate things for no apparent reason."

"But I thought it's a fact that Goethe and Shakespeare ARE better than modern day writers like Stephen Fry?"

"Well, that's just what the critics say" Joey said, "and critics are just people like you and me. Why don't you read the classics for yourself and compare them with some of the best books of today, like books by JRR Tolkien or Stieg Larsson, and see which ones put you to sleep the fastest!"

"No, classics are classics for some good reasons. Critics are only there to tell you what the reasons are." The two chicks sitting next to us were listening, but I went on, "take the German folklore Faustus as an example, as I've just watched another adaptation of the drama earlier, it's a classic because it says something universal about humanity. The deal with 'the devil' in exchange of things otherwise humanly limiting will likely to have reference to human beings forever. It stands the test of time, it is still the situation we could face even nowadays! And that's why the theme is a classic and people still make things based on that. Goethe was a genius because he took up this theme that says so much about humanity, complicated the story, and made it into a play and for a large part an epic poem."

"Whatever! Goethe was a 'genius' only because he existed before the rest of us and got first dibs on that idea! But there are many people who exist today who have just as genius ideas. Your head is just too buried in the past to see the great things people are doing today!"

OK, so she might have a point. I needed to modernize my argument, so I tried something different.

"Another reason that makes something a classic is the creation of new possibilities. Zombies are never the same after, probably 28 Days Later? The idea of fast running zombies broke through a whole new range of possibilities for the whole movie genre. Plots can be managed so differently now and that breakthrough kept the genre running for sometime. The single idea of changing the movement speed of zombies opened an entirely new world. We certainly need some innovation in vampire movies better than making them sparkle, just saying as I'm a big vampire fan! And I'm quite sure Human Centipede is not going to become a classic but a mere cult, as it doesn't open up a new set of possibilities but inducing disgust only."

"You are sooo biased. You think zombies is a classic theme because they innovated into 'running zombies'? But isn't the definition of classic something that lasts forever and doesn't change at all? If anything vampires are the way more classic theme, involving yearning to escape, a lust for forbidden love, and a passion for romance. These themes will never fade away!"

I started to get tired of arguing with Joey as she was much nicer to look at than to argue with. "You're a bigot, just admit it," she said playfully as she kicked me with her long leg. "Anyway, we still have about an hour...wanta have fun?" I looked around and checked if the chicks were still listening to our chatter.

It was a tempting offer, but I had something much more fun in mind. "Sorry, but as I told you before, we guys aren't all just interested in sex. Don't you see I've got my NDS with me? I'm just about to finish a game too, so why don't we just catch up next time?" Joey tossed her hair and muttered, "God, you're boring!" before bouncing her way back to the office.

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