Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Apologia Pro Weblogia Sua

So what's this blog about, anyway? (Unfortunately, the nature of online writing prevents me from dusting off the old punchline about how "it's about 200 pages, nyuk-nyuk.") As the subtitle implies, it's an arts-and-entertainment blog. And as the title warns you, it's almost entirely about arts and entertainment that's old, and in some cases very old.

I've always had non-current tastes. As a kid growing up in the '80s, I would listen to my father's Broadway cast albums, intrigued by the snippets he and my mother used to play in the car -- my favourite song in The Sound of Music, by the way, was the one they cut out of the movie, "How Can Love Survive?" I preferred old movies, old TV shows, and songs that didn't try to rhyme "man" with "banned." ("Man" rhymes with "ban." Not "banned." Okay?) As I got a little older I also wanted to be a playwright, and so of course I started reading all the plays I could -- but the plays I read were mostly from the '30s and '40s and '50s. By the time I started a drama course in my freshmen year of college, I was demanding to know why we were studying a dullard like Arthur Miller instead of great plays like Born Yesterday and, I kid you not, The Moon is Blue (don't laugh, it's a great stage play, as I'll argue in a future post).

Most people learn to appreciate non-current entertainment as they get older; I had to re-acquaint myself with all the culture I missed growing up, so that I was the only person of my generation who didn't see a single episode of The A-Team until the show's 20th anniversary.

And yet I'm not really a nostalgia buff. I know people who like to watch old movies because they are more wholesome, or have less swearing and violence and sexuality, or because they just represent a period where the culture was less repulsive to them. I don't object to that view, but I don't share it; I'm not at all bothered by four-letter words and I don't think, factoring in the censorship issues, that the movies of the '50s reveal a more wholesome culture than the current one. (Or, for that matter, a more repressed culture. '50s repression is one of those things that only the director of Pleasantville considers a serious issue.)

Well, I've overwritten a bit here. In my next post I'll be more brief as I explain what exactly this blog is about. Stay tuned.

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