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)

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