The recent passing of Leslie Nielsen and the arrival of the holiday season have caused my mind to time travel back to when I was young enough to have no opinions on music or pop culture beyond liking something if it made me laugh and/or it could be delivered by Santa.
I probably watched those Naked Gun movies a hundred times. They were a formative part of my sense of humor and taste. Looking back, they are not the best movies I’ve ever seen. I probably wouldn’t even place them in my top 10 now. But, they may have been some of the most important movies I’ve ever seen.
They taught me what I like and molded me in various ways. Just like the corny music of Bon Jovi and MC Hammer bounced into my eardrums as a child, so did the deadpan comedic antics of Lt. Frank Drebin.
Was “U Can’t Touch This” as deep and profound as I’d discover U2’s Joshua Tree album to be? Absolutely not.
Was “Elvira” as authentic as “Diggin’ Up Bones”? Nah.
Was Naked Gun as engrossing as Wall Street would eventually be? No way.
But, they are each equally as vital as the next.
Why is that?
Because through learning what I liked, I discovered what I didn’t like. Therefore, as my tastes matured, those early pop culture favorites stayed stowed away in the back of my mind and gave shape to what I enjoyed.
Everyone goes through this process in their own way.
Those nostalgic pop culture benchmarks help to remind us that just as not every movie has to be The Godfather, every album and song doesn’t have to maintain the gravity of “He Stopped Loving Her Today”.
There is room for everything, and everything influences the next thing.
That being said, there is a fine line to be drawn and evaluated. Being silly or disgenuine simply because you are pandering to your audience is insulting to everyone. Frank Drebin was funny because he was a character oblivious to the world around him. “U Can’t Touch This” was a catchy song because it captured the zeitgeist…it didn’t chase it.
They were each authentic in their own way and although they were easily digestible and somewhat forgettable…they were just memorable enough to have left a mark that is still here some 20 years later.
That’s the key. Making your mark. Much of the music released in the contemporary lacks any conviction, be it silly or serious. For the most part, people see right through marketing schemes and lowest common denominator music in this scene. But, the line continues to blur.
Here’s to a 2011 that finds more artists creating their own moments instead of chasing the ghosts of Texas music past. Whatever form, shape and sound those moments take should be left up to the art of the songs themselves and not an Excel spreadsheet calculating the money made from t-shirt sales.
Those t-shirts eventually end up at Goodwill, transcendent art lives forever. Just askLeslie Nielsen and MC Hammer.
–Lady Gaga just proclaimed that her next record will be the record of the decade. Let’s tap the brakes a bit on all that noise. While meat-dress designers everywhere are rejoicing, I’ll have to see what tricks she has up her sleeve before I’d even declare it the album of the week it is released. She’s a crafty and gifted pop songwriter, and I think she’d be even bigger without all the odd shenanigans, but it’s hard for a pop album to ever reach album of the decade status.
-We rolled out the first layer of our new site and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. Tank hopes to have the forums rolled out by the end of the year!
-The Christmas music on the Drop has been well-received. I have to be in the mood for it and so do so many others. That’s why the Drop works well for this purpose. If you tire of Christmas music,you can just skip until you land on a Josh Grider tune or something. Good stuff.
-The craziest year I can recall in football (at all levels) continues. I think Bo Pelini’s head is still rolling around Kyle Field. What an excitable dude. How does he recruit any 18 year old kid after that display? He and Mack Brown should trade places for a bit. My Longhorns could use the type of swift kick in the pants he would provide after the 40 Acres has spent all these past few years in MambyPamby Land.
-Haven’t forced our newborn daughter to take the photo with Santa yet…not sure if we will. But, why is it that no matter when you go by that set-up at the mall the kid in the lap is screaming?
-Speaking of Christmas. My favorite Christmas special is the claymation Rudolph. It’s cheesy, but has always hooked me for some reason. It comes on November 30th. Nothing says Christmas like broadcasting a beloved Christmas movie four weeks away from Christmas.
–TCU to the Big East. That’ll be real fun for all those athletes and sports not named football. But, the focus is on academics. Rrrrriiiight.
–Cold weather’s only been here for a short while and I’m already sick of it. Is it April yet?
-No movie or album of the month this time around because we will be posting our year-end best of’s soon.
-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.”-Mark Twain