Tag Archives: perspective

Love-hate Labels

5 Apr

Nath has plenty to say about hipsters. Most of it is does not really make use of his otherwise extensive vocabulary,  nor is it really suitable for general audiences. Which is strange, considering how ridiculously pretentious I can appear. This post spurred some more thought on the subject – I am sick in bed, Nath is painting his little guys, so I am left with nothing better to do than ruminate for an audience!

After describing the music and literature that drives him, David says this: “I fully accept and admit my pretentiousness, because if I don’t, my bookshelf will pretty much scream it at you if you ever visit my house.”

I suppose I have to disagree, in a rather long and boring post.

At university, I am doing literary studies, philosophy and art history. I am a huge geek for classic literature, especially poetry (am currently working on a verse novella in sonnet form, don’t laugh). I’ve studied philosophy since I was 9. I can speak Chinese, am learning Norwegian and have plans for French and Spanish.
Some of my favourite music: My Dying Bride, Zulya and the Children of the Underground, Björk, Satyricon, Belle and Sebastian, Pink Floyd, Tori Amos, Shostakovich, Blonde Redhead, Julia Fisher’s take on the Four Seasons, Lama Gyurme and Jean-Philippe Rykiel.
Some of my favourite books: Orlando by Virginia Woolf, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Ariel by Sylvia Plath, All My Pretty Ones by Anne Sexton, Philosophical Fragments by Søren Kierkegaard.
Some of my favourite films: Howl’s Moving Castle, Eat Drink Man Woman, The City of Lost Children, Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!, Amadeus, Marie Antoinette, Dancer in the Dark, My Life Without Me, A Clockwork Orange.

Pretentious, much? Apparently so. But does this change if I don’t give a damn? Add Spice World and Showgirls to my favourite films, Spice Girls and Lady Gaga to my music, Harry Potter and various Marilyn Monroe biographies to the books – does the picture change a bit?

To me, being pretentious happens when someone is intent on cultivating a particular image of being cultured/grim/fantastic/sparkly/intelligent/whatever to fit a particular label like hipster or goth or artistic, without actually being cultured/grim/fantastic/sparkly/intelligent/whatever. Intrinsic to trying to creating the illusion of being ‘fill-the-blank’ is another layer of illusion; the idea that you aren’t trying at all to fit into that particular cultural subtype, you just somehow fell into it (which obviously isn’t true at all).

I have given up subscribing to labels, or caring what people think about my interests. It just seems so counter-productive, and people that label themselves as something only end up losing credibility – if you say “I’m a hipster”, I automatically think, “Mmmm, okay, so what you are really saying is that you are suppressing everything ‘unpopular’ or unusual about you and projecting yourself through the socially-categorized lens of ‘hipster’ instead”. The whole notion of pretentiousness reminds me of this scene from another one of my favourite movies:

Nobody wants the same thing all the time. Nobody could honestly say that they liked every single characteristic of a social label and nothing else beyond. That’s like deciding your favourite 100 songs are the Triple J Hottest 100, and that you hate everything else.

Ultimately, invented personality is pretentious. Honest individuality is not. To the uninformed outsider, I probably appear very pretentious; I’ll wear that because I don’t really care. However, I think it’s revealing that Nath won’t lump me into the ‘hipster’ category with all the people he mercilessly pays out – ironically, it is ‘real’ people with honest interests that are often the ones that pretentious people are so eager to emulate.

Rambling. Flu. My brain feels like mashed potato. Bedtime.

A loldog as a prize for anybody who stayed until the end (looks just like baby Posie):

xx Bunny Florentine

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The Mean Reds

23 Mar

I’m like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.

So, here I am again. A different postcode though. And it appears that I have grown a thorny shell at some point between 2006-2007 and now. Maybe it’s automatic; subconscious self preservation perhaps?

I miss my puppy like crazy; sometimes it feels that I could pretend everything was okay if she was here. There is a dog here but we are simply not on the same wavelength. He knocks people over, slobbers like he has rabies and takes great delight in rifling through the garbage. My darling puppy is dainty; she springs through the overgrown backyard like a little lamb, climbs into your lap and pins your shoulders to cover your face with kisses, and has a tremendous sense of injustice when we dare to laugh at all the silly little things she does. She even knows all the individual names of her toys and brings the specific one you ask for..

She is so sad when I leave her, and I hate that it is not just a few days or weeks for her – it is a significant portion of her life. If she lives for 12 years, that is 4383 (ish) days which I could possibly spend with her. Yet here I am, a million miles away from her, in the midst of a 13 week semester that is such a huge chunk of her short life. She is going to be mad-spoiled when I get back to her. Oh – also she turns 1 on May 16th. We’re having a birthday party for her – invites via facebook, if I love you enough.

No, it’s not just puppy love or lack thereof – a lot is going on. I feel so silly. A lower IQ and less style, I’d be practically emo. As much as I need an outlet right now, I don’t want this blog to turn this into a Debbie Downer skit. There are wonderful, amazing things in the world, even if they are beyond my line of sight right now – when I am reunited with them… words, words, words!

In the meantime, here are the best things I can think of right now:

  • the ski boots my friend’s housemate found on the side of the road – a size too big maybe and actually for men, but I’m overjoyed nonetheless
  • Bic Runga’s cover of And No More Shall We Part (originally by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) performed with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra
  • blueberries in general
  • Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula – he makes it a comedy (more than Sadie Frost and the special effects)
  • seeing Lady Gaga soon – I am embarrassed over how excited I am
  • and the best thing… the knowledge that “the mean reds” I seem to share with Holly Golightly (or “the depths of despair” as Anne Shirley would put it) will eventually pass. Or at least fade.

Next time with words, words, words,

Ophelia the Obnoxious  xx