Friday, September 18, 2009

Why I Dislike Plays, Concerts, and Sex

I saw God of Carnage last week. It was cool to see Jeff Daniels act in real time from only thirty feet away. What wasn't cool was sitting in a crowd of 1,078 white people who woke up that morning and decided they were going to adore the play before it even began. There's something sickening about the kind of communal sycophancy that takes place at a well reviewed play. Everyone upright and engaged, eager to guffaw at every erudite cultural reference spewed their way. Their maniacal appreciation as cheap and prefabricated as that of their middle class counterparts who attend Friday night tapings of shows like Two and a Half Men in Burbank.

The other night I took a date to the Phoenix show at the Greek and realized that the only thing worse than plays are concerts. Here, the audience members not only decide that they're going to admire the performance before it happens, but they decide they're going to have a profound emotional experience too. They're going to stand, they're going to clap (but what if I can't hear the lyrics over the clapping?!) and they're going to -- good God -- dance. How can you coldly assess the quality of a work of art while sweating and dancing and holding onto the dark-eyed biped next to you and telling her you love her and this band's so great live and does she want another beer and you're so fucking happy right now and ... as you see, concert going is an artistic endeavor fraught with absolute fucking peril. And the worst part is the band actually encourages this grotesque interactive defacing of their work. At a sporting event, where "crowd energy" is equally vital, at least there's always some sort of vocal minority which opposes the cherished home team and thus provides some semblance of criticism.

After the concert, I took the date back to my place and realized that the one thing even more objectionable than concert going is fucking. Here's an activity that everyone loves! It's impossible not to. I'm a guy who doesn't even like some of the more mainstream shows on HBO. Some of my favorite programs are on premium channels in fucking Canada. And yet here with sex, I'm forced to take part in the celebration of an endeavor that every single demographic -- Persian, middlebrow, retarded, Jewish, geriatric, gay, hipster -- universally adores! It's healthy! It's primal! It gets a 100% on metacritic. Because it objectively feels great. And how could it not? It's genetically impossible not to look forward to sex. Is that not terrifying? Participating in something that is inarguably awesome? Something that three billion years of evolution have conspired to ensure is enjoyable. That night, as I regarded that girl beneath me, deep in the throes of some kind of ecstasy or another, I couldn't help but see hidden behind her face the mean smirk of a happy fat black lady in a movie theater screaming at a film she decided she'd enjoy before she bought the ticket, artificial popcorn butter dribbling down her too recessed chin, clogging pores that will never again in all of history be quite as elastic as they are right now.

No comments: