Monday, February 13, 2012

Paul Goodman Changed My Weekend

 Friday night Jenna and I went to the Eastman Theatre (I am spelling theater with the "re" rather than the "er" to show how classy that joint is) to watch a documentary for one of her classes. The documentary:

Paul Goodman Changed My Life — A film by Jonathan Lee

Was really good. I'm guessing most of you have never heard of Paul Goodman. I hadn't. I had heard of the Psychotherapy model he helped invent and develop. I had heard of countless individuals he helped influence. I had heard so much about the movement he was crucial in defining, but never about him.

One of the signs called him the most influential man you've never heard of and I can see why.

In the late 20's and early 30's Goodman was the definition of a radical. He was a Jewish family man, poet, writer, anarchist,  bisexual, pacifist, rabble rouser. I won't go into his whole story, but if you have time to read a few things about him or go see the movie at the Eastman, it's worth it.

So, to the point Thomas! A lot of what I've written and the reason I have written it was because I wanted to live my life more actively and be aware of the world around me. I'm having a shitty day today, but overall, I think I'm doing that significantly better than I was 2 months ago. That is exactly what Goodman wrote about.

Neither John Hughes, nor Johnny Depp would
ever lie about juvenile delinquency.
Ricki Lake on the other hand made a career out of it.

Paul Goodman recognized a lost frustration in the youth of 20's and 30's. He wrote about and for what people called Juvenile Delinquents. The post war / changing world left many young men without a purpose, a goal, or an individualistic path. So they found strength and purpose in unity. Dancing street gangs started popping up all over town. He challenged them to recognize and combat their situation by bettering themselves and their world. Question the system and use your power for good.

What really hit me was how Goodman constantly challenged himself and those around them to think about how they think, what they do, why they do it, and the reasons behind them. His thought were logical. His ideas were revolutionary. His approach was unorthodox. He was basically a freak of a man with an amazing mind that was well ahead of his time, but too vain to last long.

Like everything else, the movie and the night got me thinking. I made the decision to buckle down on my personal... the only word I can think of is... academic, but I don't think it's really what it is goals. I don't want to waste as much time is what I'm saying, and I want to challenge myself and not get lazy and complacent. Yes, I realize reciting facts from a article is not a brilliant feet (but I am good at it!).

Pictured: Art. 80's Bateman style!
I am the kind of guy who thinks too much about everything. Who tries to find the message behind old episodes of Dawson's Creek. Find the art or genius in a Bugs Bunny cartoon or random terrible Indie movie or teen comedy. I don't see television as a waste of time, because a lot of the time I can really get something out of it, even if it's just random pop culture trivia. At least that's what I tell myself. Truth be told, Son's of Anarchy is just a really cool show. It's not going to change my life (I mean, it's not Lost). The reason for this rant is that TV and movies are fun and I love them, but for me they are the easy way out.

I have been saying I want to read. I want to be productive. I want to do this and this and this and this and no where on those lists were getting caught up with the second season of Boardwalk Empire.

Note to self: Get caught up with the second season of Boardwalk Empire.

In all honesty I've done a lot of that. I've been gymming. I feel pretty great. I have been eating way better. I gave up on The Governor because it was just pretty bad. I started reading Game of Thrones and it is awesome. I have pretty much kept up with my blog (give or take/thanks for those of you who responded last week. According to my poll, 6 people have read my blog almost 1000 times). I've done a lot of it, but I'm still not doing as much as I want.

Break down of stuff on my mind right this instant.

We're trying to buy a house.
Kickball starts in April.
I'm a really adequate bartender and I'm having a ton of fun doing it.
My job has been driving me crazy and making me do a ton of shit, but I'm really good at it.
I have friends I look up to.
My wife is smarter and more motivated than I am (which is saying a ton, because I think I am really really smart, just ask me, I'll tell you!)

I have a ton going for me. Some would say I am blessed.
I would say... whoa whoa whoa... blessed seems a little strong of a statement.
When they insisted, I would say, alright, I'm blessed. Then I would anoint the shit out of everything.
Others would just say I'm lucky.
Some would say, he worked hard and he's gotten to where he is. (Truth: Never really worked that hard, I just sweat a lot at weird times and people assume the best of me because of my non confrontationally chubby cheeks).

Spoiler Alert: Your mind will be blown!
So I am giving myself a goal. I want to read for at least two hours a day. 2 hours is a completely arbitrary amount of time, but on random nights when Jenna is at class or doing work, instead of being destroyed by 11 year olds who are better at video games than I am, or watching Netflix movies, I want to get some solid reading in. Doesn't mean I can't do both, but once I start with the TV or video games, it's hard to stop, so books come first. It helps that I am reading Game of Thrones, based on a show I've already watched, but the book is way better.

So this blog entry could have been really good, but I don't think it was. Like I said, I'm having a shitty day and I think I'm off. Also, the dichotomy of feelings toward Parson Brown really threw me off my game. I haven't even made a joke mocking one of my best friends all week. I guess my mind just isn't all there right now. Maybe this post will put an end to my creative impotence. Then I won't be surly and bitter towards the world like an accountant. That way, besides marrying way way way beyond my means, I won't end up like Peter. Oooh, there it is! Peter burn! He doesn't even read the blog, but his wife does!

(Surly, bitter, accountantish and creatively impotent were all jabs at Peter... just so you know, Tina)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Readership and a Review

I need to make this relatively quick, because work is really busy and I thought about this at home last night, but I didn't do it. Which means I will not be proof reading. Jenna will do that, make fun of me, then I will go back and fix things in shame.

Sadly it will look like teenage Clooney
... but with graey hair.
I started this blog as my public display of the motivation I started to feel after turning 29. I'm not sure if motivation is the right word, but it's either that or intense fear and self loathing for getting old and grey and becoming worthless. I'll stick with motivation. (and that mini rant isn't true, I'm not scared of any of those things and I'm way too unreasonably confident and self satisfying to be self loathing, plus as soon as I go gray (I used both spellings) I'm going to look just like Clooney.

But anyways, I write the blog as a way to keep me in check and potentially, albeit briefly, entertain myself and the few friends I know who routinely read the things I write.

More often than not I know people simply "skim" the blog because they don't care about me or our friendship at all *cough cough* Lrian Boughner and Lim Joughner (no relation).

Then, out of nowhere, I get comments from people who like the blog or read the blog or had the blog forced upon them by facebook telling them it was available to read because I told facebook to tell all the people I know.

Facebook really does bring the world together and forces us to read or look at things we typically would have no interest in. Totally worth $100 billion, I mean did you see that Kristen Bell sloth thing, how funny was that. Oh Ellen!

Okay, so yes I put it out there. I'm confident enough in my opinions, views, and ramblings that I don't mind who reads what I write. I'll happily discuss my ramblings with anyone (please talk to me!) and I think they are ridiculous enough that if anyone is offended and they continue reading they will find a sentence or phrase within seconds that is so stupid they'll say, "oh this guy isn't a jerk, he's just an idiot."

Idiots get away with everything, just look at the Republican primaries.... OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHh political burn!

So the point of this already pointless blog. Last weeks "Parson Brown" post was, in the history of all the world's blogging, the second most controversial blog every published. The first being the classic KickJames post about Casey at the Bat, found below:

The Chronicles of Kick James: No Kickball In Mudville: Hubris, Unhealthy Expectations, or the Ball is Too Small:       A Scientific Analysis of Ernest Thayer's Casey at the Bat . 

Some people, some very dedicated readers absolutely hated both No Kickball In Mudville and Parson Brown. The funny thing about this, is when I typically write a blog post I either black out and don't remember doing it, or I anguish over how stupid I think it is and think everyone is going to hate it. I have literally only looked at three blogs upon completion, smiled, nodded my head and said, "Good job Tom Chew. Gold. Solid Gold!"

Bet you can't guess what two of the three are? Oh, you can? Yeah I guess that makes sense, since I'm talking about them right now.

I thought this picture was going to be a part of a
funny adult blow up pool mishap, but that's just
                                                                 getting baptized.
Back to it. God this was supposed to be quick. Superbowl, huh?

Oh yeah, I'm getting into pretty good shape and my brewing has increased. When I say my I really mean Brian's, but he is kind enough to talk to me about it and he let me pick out the last recipe. He also has kegging equipment now, so we will be in a blow up swimming pool with a fire roaring and mini keg  readily available before we know it. It'll probably be warm enough by March, so that's good.

Seriously, back to it. I try to write so people enjoy it. When I write a contentious blog or something someone just doesn't get or doesn't connect to I feel bad for wasting their time. Contrarily, when I write ridiculous ramblings that lead to nothing, I don't feel bad at all. Hmmm... I'm sure some famous psychologist or another would have something to say about that.

So what I am saying, through all of this, is who are you? I have almost 1000 hits on the blog and I really don't know who even reads it or what you like. Tell me who you are, comment or email me or say it on facebook, I don't care how you do it. But who are you and what would you like to see more of. I will cater to your needs and leave my other opinions and thoughts to the bleeding ears of my poor wife.

I also wanted to say thanks. Thanks for giving me your time and reading. Even if you do just skim, I feel validated. I don't feel loved and I hate you, but at least I feel validated... Let's talk about passive aggression (Just kidding, that's its own blogpost).

So without further adieu, I meant for this blog to be the paragraph about who reads and what you'd like to read about and the following.

Here is probably the best response to any blog I've ever written: and it is in support of Parson Brown. I was surprised at the mixed reviews, because I think everything I do is amazing people were so honest and genuine with their "meh feelings," which I really appreciated. I asked my friend Mike, who I know reads every week what he thought and here is his response. See you this weekend readers.

I spoke (updated my status) without thinking earlier, by saying should I read it twice?, because truthfully I had to read it a few times, and reference the lyrics, wikipedia, and almost a real encyclopedia, to understand it.  

Kudos, it was over my head, partly because I know none of the lyrics and partly because it was so reference rich.  Skip to the point; it was awesome in every way.  

As a literature minor (Babs Epstein always thought legal studies majors were essentially lit minors, as our curriculum requires almost as much lit as it does law) I understand the importance of drawing comparisons from the literal into the symbolic and back again, and making sure to distinguish the times and the cohorts and the individual feelings within the spectrum of populist appeal.  You managed to do this effortlessly and casually while simultaneously utilizing an astute perspective unique to everyone else.  

The great authors wrote what everyone knew but were unconscious of, what everyone felt but could not articulate, and what everyone became to know as common, while revealing a point destined for revolutionary change. Ok, forget the revolutionary change as it regards to your blog about Parson Brown (Xmas lyrics will suck forever I'm sure, despite my addiction to Christmas music between the last week of November and January 1st every year). 

Gold Mike, pure gold!