The Eye of the Beholder

“La Lecture” by Pablo Picasso

Little-known secret: I’m not particularly cultured or well-educated.

Sorry to disappoint you.

I mean, I have some refined tastes and I’m well-mannered when you’re not the shitty driver next to me I just muttered murderous things to from the safety of my vehicle.

But I don’t know about things I should know about.

I have a reasonably high IQ, so I can learn things quickly and fake people out. But because I committed most of my youth to athletic pursuits and wasted almost all of my reading and viewing hours on fictional escapism, I’m now more ignorant than a person who writes things as often as I do, and is raising a human being, should be.

I think we can all agree our Trivia Crack percentages paint a pretty distinct picture of our education and should be listed on our resumes. Yes, I’m ashamed that while I win the vast majority of my games due to my nearly 9-out-of-10 correct answers in Sports and Entertainment, my scores in Geography (79%), History (77%), Science (77%), and Art (76%), leave something to be desired.

What kind of a fraudulent writer gets 25 percent of his questions wrong in the Art category? This guy.

You see, I’m guilty of wanting to be the guy at parties that knows everything about everything, but I’m evidently not willing to put in the work to do so.

I love film.

But I’ve never seen Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Schindler’s List, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, or The Shining. But I’ve watched Back to the Future and Office Space and Terminator 2 a combined 14 million times.

I love music.

But I’m not obsessed with Elvis or The Beatles (though I acknowledge their greatness), and I don’t really get why everyone loves Bob Dylan and The Clash. I dig The Doors and Robert Johnson and Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones, but I almost never play their albums over the new music I get so much joy out of discovering and sharing.

I love books.

But I’ve read so little of Twain and Orwell and Salinger and Hemingway and Dickinson and Vonnegut that I literally feel shame when I think about how much I’ve ignored the best at what I aspire to do. I just always liked reading Dean Koontz and John Grisham and Michael Connelly novels so much, I never stopped until I was old enough to gravitate to non-fiction.

Am I wrong, or bad, or dumb for making those choices?

I don’t know. Maybe.

What does it mean that I know Chandler’s last name on Friends and the specific date Marty travels back to in Back to the Future and that I’m close to a walking encyclopedia on the Chicago Bulls of the Michael Jordan years, but that I’ve never read The Catcher in the Rye or Fahrenheit 451?

What does it mean that I generally prefer cinema to stage performance, and photography to oil on canvas?

I started thinking about cars.

About fashion.

About architecture.

About food.

About wine.

About politics.

About religion.

Ask a hundred people about those things, and it’s almost certain no two people will align exactly.

Heidi Klum married Seal and I was like, what the-!?

Emmy Rossum married Adam Duritz and I was like, what the-!?

Tom Arnold married Roseanne Barr and I was like, what the-!?

But maybe there’s nothing to understand.

Maybe trying to is a big waste of time.

There are people who want to live in desert mountain caves and kill people who don’t agree with them because they believe in different versions of the same story.

I don’t understand why they wouldn’t rather be nice to people and attend fun parties on Saturday and hang out on the beach and go to a great concert and watch a ballgame on television more than blow something up. But they wish I was dead, so it doesn’t matter that I don’t get it.

Kim Kardashian is the most popular person on Twitter. Her stepdad is now a woman.

So is one of the Wachowski brothers.

I adore this painting by Pablo Picasso.

I don’t like the one above at all.

But I bet most art fans do.

Just like most music fans love The Clash.

Just like most literature fans have read the classics.

Just like most film buffs have seen Casablanca.

Whatever I am needs to be okay. Whatever I am IS okay. I secretly think all the things I like are better than all the things you like, but I’ve learned enough to finally understand that input gets filtered and measured so differently from human to human.

The diversity should be celebrated because it’s anything from boring.

Maybe so long as no one’s getting hurt, we just let people be themselves, no matter what.

We know what we know. Love what we love. Want what we want.

And most of the time, there isn’t any “right” or “wrong” attached to it. It just is.

Every day more things are created. More things to get to know and love and want.

Things you get to make and put out there.

Things I get to make and put out there.

And not everyone is going to get it or love it or want it.

But some will.

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13 thoughts on “The Eye of the Beholder

  1. mjmsprt40 says:

    So you don’t know everything. Who does, except for God?

    My landlord and I were discussing something similar the other night– in this case, my peculiarities in what I know something about and what I don’t, and therefore fall apart in conversation with “normal people”. Ask about the Bruce Partington submarine, I’ll know something about that. Ask about the Chicago Cubs and particular players on the team— I don’t care enough to follow that, so don’t know.

    Everybody has their interests.

    Like

  2. zombiedrew2 says:

    Ah, the Jordan era Bulls and Terminator 2. You may not know everything, but it’s clear to me that you know the important things :)

    Like

  3. Fahrenheit 451?…. It’s ok…. I think I read like 98% of it. The premise is interested but it looses steam…and the book is super short. don’t sweat it. Of course, you are still my source for cool new music. BTW, just got a new I-tunes gift card. Start thinking. ;-)

    Like

  4. jgroeber says:

    Love this. I’m terrible at trivia games. Rotten. But I can Pictionary anyone under the table. Maybe we are who we are. Our lives have provided the toolbox, which we can tweak when we’re really motivated. But we have to begin with loving the skin we’re in first. (Yes, I’ve shamelessly mixed my cliche metaphors. You’re welcome.)

    Like

  5. As far as I’m concerned, as long as you’ve seen Office Space, you’re okay. Everything else can be taken care of by Wikipedia.

    Like

  6. Here is the thing, I was exposed to art, opera, ballet from the time I was an infant yes literally. I lived in Europe as a child and wandered all the great museums, large and small for years. Saw great theater, on great stages. Some I love, still. Other, not so much. I love all books, modern and classic. But not all of it, it is a matter of taste. I love modern theater, some of it but I love movies too. Some modern art is great, other stuff will my dog does better in the morning in the back yard. Between the Beatles and the Stones, give me the Stones every single time. Love Dylan but in small doses. Give me Willie, Lyle and the rest of the Outlaws, any day. Then give me the oh Santana, Freddie Mercury and Prince, yeah lets start there.

    We are humans. We have personal taste. There is nothing wrong with it, doesn’t make us good or bad people.

    Like

  7. I prefer to have varied interests away from preconceived notions of what should be admired and what shouldn’t. To each their own I say, because if we are all the same, liking/disliking the same things, we become too sterilized in life. I want to meet someone who sparks a new interest in me. One who sees something possibly for the first time because of my interests. From ballet to hip-hop, basketball to yoga, The Shining to The Goonies :-)

    Like

  8. anitvan says:

    So just curious…what do you currently have playing on your ipod?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Currently most-played albums:

      Jack White – Lazaretto
      Walk the Moon – Talking is Hard
      Imagine Dragons – Smoke + Mirrors
      Yellowcard – Lift a Sail
      Vance Joy – Dream Your Life Away
      Hozier
      Mat Kearney – Just Kids
      Milky Chance – Sadnecessary
      Noel Gallagher – Chasing Yesterday
      Red Wanting Blue – Little America

      That’s some of my newer albums, though.

      In a month, it will be 75-percent different and include the new Lord Huron and AWOLNATION, for sure.

      Thanks for asking. I like talking about music.

      Like

      • anitvan says:

        Interesting selection. You stumped me on a couple and I had to search for them on rdio. Great stuff! Lazaretto to never gets old man. Reminds me a lot of that Alison Krauss/Robert Plant collaboration, very rootsy. But with that dirty nasty guitar. BOOM!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. carsonblue says:

    I like this post.
    You know, it’s hard to hear that someone doesn’t like something that you think is great… Even if that person is a relative stranger.
    I don’t know why that is.

    I would encourage you to give Salinger a try, though. ‘Nine stories’ in the bathroom might feel as rewarding as a few rounds of Trivia Crack… I’m just sayin’

    Like

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