Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Valley of the Mall Rats

I have done it. I have sold my soul to the devil. I have, for the first time ever, purchased a handbag that cost over $100.

There it is; there, that black inconspicuous looking one in the background. This picture doesn't really do it justice. But before you try and convict me, I want to attempt to defend myself.

I have spent the past few afternoons at the mall. Sounds like a nice way to pass an afternoon, right? Noon, one, two p.m. - a good time to shop: the mall is less crowded. Everyone's at school or at work, right?


Apparently there are people in this town (Roswell, GA) that do not work and do not attend school. I knew such people existed, but I had no idea they existed in such mass quantities! They shop like crazy. They go in the mall for one very specific item. They are on a mission. They have the time and the energy to go through mountains and mountains of apparel to search for that one thing they MUST have. I always wondered how housewives managed to coordinate outfits better than the First Lady of the United States. It's because they have NOTHING ELSE TO DO BUT SHOP.

Granted, I did see one lady walking out of Toys R Us with a kiddie swimming pool for (I'm assuming) her kids. That's sweet. There's a Mom who gets shit done during the day. I wonder if she made at stop at Bloomingdale's on her way out of the parking lot, with the pool in her $100,000 SUV.

In Nordstrom's, there was an incredible mother-daughter pair, akin to the likes of Ivana and Ivanka Trump, or Mrs. and Paris Hilton. I'm talking bleach blonde hair, black (most likely armani) suit on the mom, and matching bleach and pounds of makeup for the girl, who looked about eighteen. She's probably 14. They were purchasing a handbag made of black leather and the most disgustingly tacky gold chains I have ever seen. No doubt the "purse" cost over $100. In fact, I was curious to see how much it did cost - the answer? $998. FOR A PURSE. As the cashier finished the transaction, I overheard the mother say, "this purse is just fantastic. It's just delicious!"

So, please. Don't be angry with me when I tell you I've spent a considerable amount of money on a bag that will hold my shit. I've been under the influence of capitalism. I've been hanging with the wrong crowd.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cheerios and DaVinci Codes

I woke up this morning to a bowl of cherrios and the New York Times review of the upcoming summer blockbuster, The DaVinci Code. I expected the critic's opinion of the film to be less than stellar, but what I truly reveled in was his unabashed attack of Dan Brown's novel, "the movie that inspired the book."
Of course Mr. Brown's novel was a screenplay before it was ever a novel, and this seems glaringly obvious as one reads this atrocity of a work of fiction.

A few months ago, I was reading an interview with Mr. Brown in which he stated that on beginning a day of work, he and his wife (who apparently is also a novelist, please please let her be a better one than her husband) begin the day with breakfast, yoga, and then continue on into their four to five hours of writing. FOUR TO FIVE HOURS? It takes him FOUR TO FIVE HOURS to produce something that lousy???

Granted, I never finished The DaVinci Code. I couldn't. I literally (ha ha) couldn't make it through the thing. Apologetically, I do make concessions to those who looooove the book, as it is a piece of entertainment, and I give it to Mr. Brown: there are certainly less interesting narratives. BUT THE WRITING IS UNFORGIVABLE.

So my question is, what the hell is America's obsession with mediocrity in the arts? We certainly don't praise mediocrity in any other arena, namely in business or economic matters we are over-producers, stellar workers, we take pride in what we do. Right? Then again, maybe not. Our President was a C average student and we're damn proud of that, capisce? Or are we too afraid to admit to ourselves that we truly are mediocre? Or, is it the opposite? Do we love being mediocre--is that why we classify any artistic effort that soars above our heads to be snobby or inaccessible?

Of course I will go see this movie about Jesus gettin' it on with Mary M. I have to, right? Otherwise, how could I have a conversation with anyone for the next month? Also, if the movie is good it's good, but if it's bad, that's a month I can spend tearing it to pieces. Isn't that what's so wonderful about art? That we have standards we can hold our choice of pleasure up to? I haven't quite mastered the art of applying this same dedication to greatness to my personal life, but when I have figured it out, I'll surely let you know.