One Man’s Garbage

So I think I had this “revelation” a little while ago, but I think it’s been steadily pounded into my head over the past few weeks. We all know the saying, “One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure,” and I’ve started trying to apply that to my own life in a few ways, primarily smaller ways. So here’s what I’ve really come to terms with: hating on other people’s interests is really just a big old waste of time that doesn’t benefit others or yourself. Here’s what I mean.

The epitome of this epiphany for me lies in everyone’s favorite pop star: Taylor Swift. When her fourth album came out, I was not a fan. She’d made the transition from country to pop, and I didn’t like her new stuff. I kept hating on her for numerous things, like repetitive songs, so many boyfriends, leaving country, bad live singing, and maybe some other things I’m forgetting. Even when her newest album was released, or actually when “Shake It Off” was released, I disliked that too. I hated the song to start with. Then I listened to it more and more, and I really came to enjoy the song. And at that time, I started to consider the lyrics to her song. “I stay out too late/Got nothing in my brain/That’s what people say/That’s what people say/I go on too many dates/But I can’t make ’em stay/At least that’s what people say/That’s what people say/But I keep cruisin’/Can’t stop, won’t stop movin’/It’s like I’ve got this music/In my mind saying it’s gonna be all right/Cause the players gonna play…” all the way through the chorus. At that point I realized that I was one of those people. I didn’t want to be a hater. Who am I to really judge her on her own decisions? I realized that I was making silly choices with her. Her songs really aren’t that repetitive. Do they say the same thing? Some in essence, but remember those times in school when you’d have to read something and restate it in your own words, or find a way to say something without using the same words as the author? Well Taylor has done that so many times, it’s actually pretty amazing. Like how many ways can you express heartbreak? I can honestly tell you I am not able to write a dozen songs with different lyrics about the same general thing. I’m actually a little impressed. On the subject of the same heartbreak things, a lot of people undermine her dating choices, and I can say that I was, and maybe still am one of them. But honestly, why should I care at all? Don’t tell me you haven’t made the same mistake over and over again before, and I would bet that millions of people weren’t raging at you in any way they could. I’m not saying her dating choices are good, but they’re hers, and I now see that it’s wrong to criticize her actions, when she is probably hurting more than any paparazzi can tell us. So she writes songs about it as a coping mechanism. She get’s money for it sure, but I think now that there is something deeper behind those songs. Why are any of us entitled to undermine her emotions? I think 99.99% of us aren’t qualified to say anything about it to her. That’s going to be between typically her, and the guy. MAYBE a friend or family member. For everyone else though, we need to just back off. And as for her transition from country to pop, I realized I was making a big deal over nothing. I was so wrapped up in the hater bandwagon that I forgot I actually like pop music. I like her more country, but I wasn’t giving her new stuff a fair shot because the label “pop” was slapped on it. And that’s wrong of me, and wrong of anyone else who does it. Ultimately, I was being so mean to Taylor, even though she probably never heard a word of it from me. I was wrongfully mean and judgmental, and now I am a fan of hers again, because I think it takes courage to expose yourself in front of people. I try to do it through this blog. Most of the time I get between 10-20 views per post. Her songs and performances are viewed by millions of people. That’s an immense amount of pressure on the human spirit. I don’t buy into the “fame makes you happy” viewpoint. I think they have it just as bad. Maybe even worse, because the wounds they suffer from are psychological and spiritual and emotional. If the worse problem you have is a physical ailment, I would consider them lucky. Healing the body is a million times easier than healing the mind, heart, and soul. For those who know what it’s like to ache from that turmoil, you should have a semblance of an idea on how Taylor feels, and you have no right to talk as if she has no problems because she’s rich. Most often I think it’s reflecting inner turmoil and it’s easier to criticize her for it than yourself. I know first hand cause I do it too. But that doesn’t make it any more right.

Sort of on this subject is just music in general. I watch YouTube videos and so often the comments are so vicious and scathing. Why? I really could care less if you approve of someone’s actions. I don’t think that means you get to point fingers. “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5. It is not our responsibility to judge an artist based on their music. The extent to which we should judge them is whether we like it or not, and then listening to it or not. I sing “All About That Bass” and “Bang Bang” a lot to myself. And what do I get? I get told to shut up basically. This comes from friends too. I really don’t care what the song says. I listen to those songs less for lyrics and more for music. I don’t let the lyrics affect me, or I try not to. “Bang Bang” is all about nailing as many people as you can! I still like the song. I still sing the song. I can understand where other people would be made uncomfortable by it, but I don’t think that gives them the right to order me to stop singing it. I really wouldn’t mind as much if they told me that it bugs them because of lyrical content and requested I not sing it around them. I get irritated when people tell me “No!” or “Stop it, now,” as if it’s my duty to obey them. Am I guilty of this sometimes? Probably. But it really gets to me when people insult my music selection, as most people do. I do NOT want to listen to Christian music all day long. I love that music a lot, but I love other music and I want to divide my time amongst them. Like it especially bugs me when one person completely blocks out my music selection because they don’t approve, not letting the radio station sit on a country station. Again, I can understand requesting a station change, but expecting us to never listen to country music because you don’t like it, and you somehow have the right to decide that, rubs me the wrong way. Honestly, let people listen to their music and make the music they choose, without sequestering that as if they’re entitled to it.

These next parts a bit on the larger scale, at least for me. I struggle with this a lot, and I will catch myself doing it and call myself a hypocrite a lot. I hate hypocrisy, but I can be one sometimes. I am not above the law. Anyway, the next part is about hobbies outside of music. In particular things like tv, sports, extra curriculars, etc. I tell people I like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but what I get most often is a reaction like, “Uh-huh, that’s nice. Something else now.” Or it can be something like The Big Bang Theory. I know many people who are like, “That show sucks,” or, “It’s not even funny,” or, “It doesn’t accurately portray nerds.” Oh really? Who are you to say that this show is terrible? Maybe you don’t like it, but that’s not to say the show is terrible necessarily. It happens to be one of the most popular television shows on right now. It’s ratings are always stellar. I find it to be absolutely hilarious. And as for the nerd thing, I beg to differ. Am I that kind of nerd? No. Do I think that represents ALL nerds? No. Do I think there is a certain population who does fit that mold? Yes. If you’re so ignorant as to say that people don’t go to comic con, have extensive comic book collections, action figures, cosplay, posters, memorabilia, referencing it in daily conversation, you’re wrong. In fact, I know a person who could fit that sort of description, though comic books seem less popular. However, these are 30+ year olds, and comic books were a lot more popular when they were children. Anyway, it also applies to sports. Football>tennis. Basketball>ultimate frisbee. At leas that’s what society says. Better fund the school football team over all the other ones, and other departments like school newspaper, theater, English, math, etc. All so those football players can have their precious new jerseys. What importance is a jersey? It tells you which team you’re on, and who you are. I’m pretty sure you can get the point across without brand spanking new jerseys every year. I know for a fact that the school newspaper and theater department are entirely self reliant. There is no school funding for it at all. That makes it so much harder to get new things. Like one spotlight is something like $6000. And that’s one piece of equipment. I’m not sure where the theater money goes; it probably is distributed to directors and such partly. But let’s see. The entire first show we did raised approximately $4500. My estimate is that the entire department over the rest of the year will bring in $15000 or so. Again I don’t know where it goes, but new equipment is a rare occasion, and it never comes in a great amount. We just loaded the set shop up, but I’m pretty sure the other crews went relatively dry on new stuff this year. We’ve been using the same wood and screws and drills and saws and paint and bits for years and years. Anyway, that’s some more things I dislike in favoritism. A really personal one is again the computer for me. I use my computer for a wide variety of things, including entertainment. That means I look at Facebook, I watch YouTube, I watch tv shows, and I play computer games. Those are MY interests, but I never ever tell anyone that I play computer games. Why? Because they don’t freakin’ care at all. I’m super embarrassed any time I say I like to play computer games. Nobody I’m around really does. A big part of my life I keep to myself. “How are you Jacob? What’d you do today?” “Oh nothing much. Just sat around the house, watched some tv.” A more accurate answer would be, “I totally played this game and I did bla bla and we won and it was awesome, but then I played another one and there were so many mean and nasty people and it sucked and it made me feel bad and now I’m in a really bad mood.” Well, that’s not even specific. I don’t tell my friends, I don’t tell my parents, I don’t tell strangers. But apparently I tell the internet. I hate that pressure, because so many people just look down on playing computer games. So I pretend I don’t.

The last one is personal lifestyle choices. This can include all I’ve already mentioned, but goes even farther. This is like who you associate with, what kind of food you eat, who you’re interested in, what religion you follow, etc. Like why is there a huge fuss over vegan or vegetarian or omnivore? I really couldn’t care less what you eat. Will I give you a little flack if you don’t like something I like? A little in good humor and surprise, but I really don’t care much. You won’t eat steak because it’s an animal? Okay, I don’t understand it. I love steak, but it’s not like I’ll criticize you more than a quick joke about not eating meat. However, it’s my understanding that it can go both ways. Why would you criticize me FOR eating meat? I’m pretty sure there are four teeth in our mouths specially designed for eating meat. I like the taste of meat, and some animals are for eating. Some are for loving, others are for eating and milking and shaving and stuff. Sorry, that’s how I think. It’s not all one way or another. The other one is a big topic, and that’s religious choice. I really hesitate to dive into that, since I think I’ve made my religious views quite apparent in the past. But this is more about criticizing other religions, which I do all the time! And it’s still wrong of me! Is it important for me to know about other religions and that they’re false? Yes, it very much is. That doesn’t allow me to be disrespectful, but I am. I am really disrespectful of other religions. Not the people exactly, but the beliefs themselves. Unfortunately, the most common recipient of my hate is Mormonism. But it still doesn’t deserve it, no matter how absurd I find it. What’s funny is how often I criticize Mormon doctrine, but how much I love Mormons. Like I legitimately love them. Most of them anyway. There’s so much to like about them. At least in my experience. I’ve never had them knock on my door and give me their sales pitch. But I go to school with them, and I’m friends with them. They’re so nice to me. I love my Mormon friends with all my heart. If any of them read this, I want them to realize that I don’t hate them. I think it’s a fine line, and maybe some people reading this won’t understand, but it’s how I feel. It probably sounds hypocritical, because I feel like a hypocrite when I rag on their theology, but then go and love the people. I think that’s what I’m supposed to do, as long as I’m not being hateful, which I probably am sometimes, and that’s not okay. I apologize and will make an honest attempt not to do it any more. That being said, I am seriously considering moving to Utah after graduation, and there is no way I would do that if I didn’t really love the people I was going to be around. They’re so much easier for me to be around than atheists or agnostics or Muslims or whomever. But that’s probably because of how similar Christianity is to Mormonism in views about people and government and such.

That all being said, I probably came off as a little hateful and hypocritical. But that’s okay with me, because this is me trying to get rid of that. I don’t want to be hateful of things, no matter how silly, even if it’s Taylor Swift. Hatred is an ugly color that nobody wears well.

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