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Culture

People Are Like Food

Photo taken from: Closet Cooking: Ribeye Steak in Wine Sauce

Have you ever noticed how the best tastes are acquired and not immediately liked? As I was enjoying a nice hot cup of black coffee, I thought to myself, “When did this happen? I mean coffee… and black?” That’s disgusting– to the undeveloped tounge. Black licorice, onions, spicy foods, medium rare steak, Hawaiian pizza, espresso, and the list goes on…. Okay I lost some of you back there ( I personally can’t account for spicy). But the point is that there are all kinds of strange and different foods out there that given only a first try, might leave a bitter taste in our mouths. This can be summed up in the popular phrase “first impressions are everything.” And while there might be a hint of truth in that statement, I think that it does a disservice to not only our taste buds, but our potential relationships as well. How many times have we wanted to hit the reset button and reintroduce ourselves because of how much of a goof we made of ourselves (I speak from experience)? And how many times have we written people off because of something they said just once or it might have been just the expression on their face (some people just have a surly disposition)?

Now let’s not take this analogy too far. I’m not suggesting that if we just eat something for long enough we will like it or that we even should like it. No matter how much one eats dirt, it still tastes like dirt (and so does Turkish coffee– it’ll put hair on your chest). So it is with people; if someone is rude, they will confirm it time and time again. On the other hand, sometimes coffee gets better with each taste. It goes something like this:

  1. Disgusting
  2. Less distasteful
  3. Tolerable
  4. Not bad
  5. Kind of tasty
  6. Delicious
  7. Costanza!

And you’re hooked for life. Of course there is this scenario:

  1. Annoying
  2. More annoying
  3. Intolerable
  4. Nasty
  5. Never gonna touch the stuff

Notice this is a much shorter lists. If something is more distasteful every next taste, we won’t be so patient.

Now this is not a rule for life but more of an observation of life. For example when Peter asked Jesus “should we forgive 7 times?” (feeling pretty generous), Jesus responded with seventy times seven! But that is a different matter– a much more important matter; the issue of forgiveness. I am simply suggesting that just as we would like to be given a second chance perhaps we can return the favor next time someone starts to get under our skin. I think we would all be a little happier whether at work, a restaurant, a friend of a friend’s house, a park, or anywhere we might run into a new face.

I have found that giving people the benefit of the doubt most of the time really helps to grease the wheels of human interaction. I have often been on the “stick-foot-in-mouth” side of things and sometimes have had the opportunity to redeem myself but also have had to leave that one embarrassing snapshot of myself.

Getting back to food, as I mentioned above, some of my favorite foods and drinks have been acquired over time and if I hadn’t tried it multiple times I never would have been able to enjoy that sweet aroma and satisfying sip of black coffee or the delightful taste of a cheeseburger with the works. Humans really aren’t that different from food. They are not only meant for daily consumption (metaphorically speaking) but are to be cherished and enjoyed. What could be better than to share a favorite meal with an acquired friend?

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scott pilgrim vs the world

Michael Cera, indie rock, demon hipster chicks and 7 evil-ex’s. What more do you need to watch this film? That’s exactly how this film was marketed. After much coaxing, I finally sat down to watch this much-heralded teen flick. While I am not endorsing this film, nor attempting to review it I would like to point out some observations I had about it (here’s an actual review http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/scott_pilgrims_vs_the_world/). The movie itself seemed to be this generation’s Weird Science meets Ferris Bueller meets Comicon. I rather enjoyed the ridiculousness of this film but in the end, much like eating too much candy, I found myself wondering why I continued to see the bottom of the box.

However, Scott Pilgrim also seems to be somewhat of a generation-defining movie, carefully manufactured and packaged for young males, appealing to their love of music, video games, and pretty girls who are willing to go out with muscleless, shaggy-haired nerds because they can play guitar (a bass guitar no less). Scott Pilgrim is the new cool. He’s shy, easy-going, musically inclined, awkward, a lady-killer of sorts, and packs a powerful PlayStation punch.  He is the young everyman. This I think is what resonates with Millennials (Generation Y) and what made it an instant cult-classic.

The question I have about this film is “what kind of type and anti-type is being presented?” And what do young people actually admire? Being in the graphic-novel-made-into-a-movie genre, it speaks the language of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains. If Scott Pilgrim is the new Ferris Bueller, then what are the major differences between what the past generation upholds as ideal and this one? One of the major differences I see is in their relationships. The relationship Scott and Ramona have is largely one-sided and basically grows out of a boyish fantasy come true until he gets a dose of reality. This generation seems to place great value on relationships (although more emotionally-based than physical attraction-based) and yet is agnostic about them. The end of the story is still open. In almost all of the previous teenage-angst (although Scott Pilgrim is technically a twenty-something who is dating a high-schooler) movies of the 80’s and 90’s, the boy still gets the girl with a more traditional happy ending. This underlies the brooding skepticism of this generation about relationships.

One other major difference is the music. And for that I really enjoyed the film (revealing my disgust for 80’s music). The movie is almost like a really cool and funny Guitar Hero music video with a Kung-fu twist. I really liked the musical interludes and the epic bass battle between Scott and a pretentious Vegan. This generation’s music is much more artful than the previous “party music” of the ’80’s. It is still armed with the angst of the grunge era and yet has a soft underbelly of emotionally driven lyrics. Overall, I would not recommend this movie because of the constant sexual double entendres and lack of any real story. With that being said I found it to be rather amusing and quite telling of what younger folks are being bombarded with. I say bombarded because I still think that even though the message of care-free agnosticism (about everything) is what is being pushed, I believe millennials are still not there. I believe that they are more optimistic than previous generations give them credit for. But that’s just my take on it.