Monday, June 9, 2014

Dude.. That’s deep!

A few years ago, opinions began to actually matter. The more opinionated you were, the better. The more dismissive in a romanticized sense you were of others habits and opinions, the better, you were a rebel then. The more books you claimed to have read and analyzed, the more poetry quotes you post on your facebook and twitter pages, the more underground music you listen to, the better.

Better what? Well depth of course! You’re living the bohemian life where everything is an emotional roller coaster, everyone is an artist or an appreciator of art, and the lingo is the same because only people with that level of depth deserve to exist and everyone else should be shunned out.

Well, my humble opinion says that is bullshit.

I admit, the whole bohemian style of things was interesting at first. And there is some truth in it: underground music and good books along with a great cup of coffee and maybe some poetry is indeed beautiful. Visiting cultural places and having opinions about existential issues as well as political and cultural issues is important. But all this does not matter if it is fake, which unfortunately is lots of times.


So here is my tiny experience with this mad bohemian world that has come to exist in the groups of the 20 somethings I know. We start off by opinions on politics, and how the world should go, an what’s wrong with our countries, which is all fine and dandy having lived through a revolution, then it turns to music; underground music, classic oldies, Fayrouz & Ziad Rahbany who are a genre of music on their own, and this is fine too because usually the music is good until you start getting the pretenders and you start noticing: if you don’t like the new guys who are supposed to fall into the above genres then you don’t really belong. Next, we move on to the books and ideologies; everyone has a strong view on things, and starts discussing ideologies; anarchism and socialism and fascism and capitalism. The passion with which the ideas are being communicated gives one a sense of absoluteness: this cannot be wrong, these people must know what they are talking about. Then, we come to the books, which gave me the first hint of fallacy. You see, most of the new books are just that, new! They lose a lot of the essence for the sake of ideas that are not necessarily solid. Stories have been getting raving reviews while lacking character composition, scene composition, and plot, but because they are falling in that large bowl of bohemian depth everyone is so dying to dive into, they are considered masterpieces of art. The last measure of depth, and the second clue, is the cultural sites. I won’t claim to know so much of anything, but suddenly, old Cairo and down town Cairo have become places where young people flock to in order to live the bohemian depth. For me, since I enjoy the architecture and the stories spun from history, I expected those people knew where they were going or what they were doing, but unfortunately, it was the new “cool” as such settings adds to the look of depth they cherish so. That got me thinking; do I really like Fayrouz and underground music that much? I prefer Abdel Wahab with his very chic music and Bon Jovi with his in your face songs. I will still hate the contemporary books. I will try to learn of the places I visit before just admiring the sites like a tourist in my own country. And, as I like some of the underground music, some of them just suck!! Ideologies, much as I admire them, should be analyzed for pros and cons and discussed objectively with points on application, not dismissed and definitely not changes on the whims of the collective.

There is this movie called Almost Famous about the very young reporter who goes on tour with a rock band and meets this groupie girl who is mysterious and crazy and teaches him all sorts of new things in life, only to find out that she’s a silly lost teenagers with a crush on a band member who lives in her own imagination. If you’ve seen it, then it’s clear what I’m talking about. If not, I guess by now the idea is clear: My generation believes that culture is the new cool, without understanding the real meaning or price of being “a cultured” person. We are becoming groupies to this fallacy, with no depth at all really; more like an optical illusion made out of an elaborate lie.

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