This morning, my problem child*, Raven, horked on the carpet in the foyer and shit on the bathroom floor. He obviously got into the eggnog and partied too much last night. He’s like the teenager I never wished I had, and it’s a good thing he’s so cute because he’s a pain in the ass sometimes. I was grumbling under my breath as I cleaned both up, and of course, he’s acting as if nothing’s wrong. Merry Christmas! What a great way to start off what’s already a trying day. Before I go any further, I want to stress that I am not dissing people who really get into Christmas. I understand that it’s a thing for many people for one reason or the other, and that I’m the weird one for not caring about it. I’m used to being the weird one, but it’s alienating when it seems like the whole world around you is celebrating something you either actively hate or just don’t give a shit about.
Side note: I don’t care about holidays in general, my birthday included. I don’t see the point of putting so much effort into one day. I feel the same way about weddings,** anniversaries, and any Hallmark holidays. Don’t ask what I think about Valentine’s Day unless you want me to get completely apoplectic.
I try to keep most of my distaste to myself because I know my opinion is not popular, and I don’t want to rain on other people’s parades. I just wish that people who love Christmas would at least try to understand why some of us may not find it as merry. For me, it started fairly early. I wrote an op-ed in junior high school about the commercialization of Christmas, and that was, what, thirty years ago? More than that. Good god. Am I really that old? ::checks all the white hairs on head and concludes, yes:: Anyway, it’s only gotten worse since that. I’ve already wrote that post, so I’m going to focus more on how it feels to be an outsider. I like to joke that I’ve been raised by wolves, but it’s not far from the truth. My parents are first-generation Americans, and they didn’t know much about American culture before they moved here.*** As a result, I missed out on a lot of cultural touchstones that other people my age instinctively seem to know.
In addition, things that have mass appeal have rarely been my thing. I know a lot of people**** think I’m a contrarian because I hate tradition and because I’m an asshole. I can definitely be the latter, but I don’t hate tradition, at least not reflexively. Give me a second, and I’m sure I can think of something traditional that I like….Um….well, there’s…how about…damn. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something in a few hours.
The other big thing right now is Star Wars. The new movie is out, and to the relief of many Star Wars fans, it doesn’t suck. You may not be surprised to find out that I am not a big fan. I saw the first one when I was a kid and didn’t like it. I think I saw the second one, but I’ve seen clips from it recently, and I don’t recognize any of them. I definitely have not seen the third, but I do know about Ewoks. I think they’re really cute, which also puts me at odds with society in general. I saw the Christmas special which EVERYONE agrees was horse shit, except George Lucas, who denies it ever existed. I’m glad the new Star Wars is making the fans forget the prequels ever existed, but I simply do not get it. I’ve had people try to explain the appeal to me, and while I can intellectually understand that it was groundbreaking at the time, it doesn’t strike a chord with me. I hasten to add that I’m not a huge sci-fi fan. I much prefer fantasy, thank you very much.
I feel like there’s something wrong with me, though, because I don’t care about things like this. I don’t like Star Trek, either. I recently saw several episodes of the original, and it was almost unbearably bad to me. I know part of it is having to experience it at the time, but that can’t be all there is to it because people younger than I am enjoy Star Trek, too. I don’t like the Beatles or Elvis, and I thought Gone Girl (the book) was atrocious. I couldn’t make it past the first page, and I couldn’t understand for the life of me why it was a best-seller. I watched a few episodes of Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, but couldn’t get into either. Granted, the first episode of GoT I saw was the Red Wedding episode, and the episode of BB I saw was the second to last, but still.
That’s just a tip of the iceberg for cultural touchstones that leave me cold. Movie-wise, I’m even worse. I hated Pulp Fiction, Titanic, thought Brokeback Mountain was only OK, don’t like the aforementioned Star Wars or Star Trek, didn’t like The Godfather or the sequel (granted, it was on TV with commercials, but still. The mafia is boring as fuck to me.), thought Casablanca was mediocre, didn’t get the appeal of The Big Lebowski, and really didn’t like Taxi Driver. The Matrix had the biggest cop-out of an ending for a movie purporting us to think outside the box (Trinity kissing Neo to bring him back to like). It was so bad, I actually stood up and said, “That’s bullshit!” to the chagrin of my boyfriend at the time. I think the Dementors from the Harry Potter movies and the Nazgûl from the LotR trilogy are cute as hell. I think Love Actually has really shitty messages about love and am horrified that so many women love it. Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, and Laura Linney are the best things about the movie, but even they can’t save it. I only watched this movie because Alan Rickman was in it, and, man. I’m still bitter about it. This rant by Lindy West is hilarious and also sums up my feelings about the dreck that is Love Actually.
While we’re at it, I hate romcoms with the intensity of a thousand suns. I’m horrified at the messages that are perpetuated throughout them, which precludes them being funny to me. The basic message of most romcoms seems to be if you love a girl, then pursue her no matter what, and eventually, you will wear her down. There’s a word for that–stalking–and in real life, it’s a crime. Yet, in movies, the asshole is more likely than not rewarded for his abhorrent behavior. I can’t even blame dudes for this because women eat up this shit. “Oh, he loves her so much, he’ll do anything to be with her.” What if she doesn’t want to be with him? That apparently doesn’t mean anything. The secondary message is that she’s just playing hard to get or doesn’t know her own mind. The dude just has to show her that she really wants to be with him, and it’s all good! Seriously. Try any of the behaviors from romcoms in real life and see how creepy they really are. If the woman you like turns you down? Just keep asking her until she finally says yes! The fact that this bullshit is played for laughs just makes it worse. It undercuts the seriousness of the behavior, and if you try to point it out, the common response is, “Oh, relax. It’s just a movie.”
Side note: I felt that way about the movie, Amelie. It was critically acclaimed, and it has a really high rating on IMDB, too. I hated it when I saw it. I was appalled that this crazy woman went around meddling in people’s lives ‘for their own good’, and that she was portrayed as quirky and charming. To me, she was a lying sociopath who should NOT be in a relationship ever, but at the end, she gets her man (if I remember correctly), and they ride off happily into the sunset on his motorcycle. I have this on my list of ten worst movies of all time, even if I won’t ever talk about it.
Back to not liking what’s popular in general. I had a guy break up with me because I told him in excruciating detail what I thought about Pulp Fiction after we saw it. This was years after its release, and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like it. My boyfriend at the time insisted I would like it,***** which should have been my signal that we were not suited to be together. Needless to say, I hated it. I told him why, and he said, “I can’t be with someone with your viewpoint” and broke up with me. I said in an earlier post that I tend to be attracted to people who validate my feeling of worthlessness, and he was the perfect example. He also said that because I didn’t have to worry about money, I didn’t know true hardship. This after I told him about the traumas of my past. But I digress. I wasn’t expecting him to break up with me for not liking a movie, and it reinforced my otherness. I refused to see movies with people I was dating for several years later, and while I’ve let up on that dictum, I still have trouble saying if I really hated a movie if someone I like really liked it.
Side note: People are really weirdly invested in what they like and don’t like. I think partly because my taste is so different/bad, I don’t give a fuck if other people like what I do. Some people care a lot about it and if you don’t like what they like, you’re rejecting them. I can understand it on an intellectual level, but not on an emotional level. People have different tastes, so why be salty if the movie you love isn’t someone else’s cup of tea? I know that it’s nice to bond over shared interests, but I’m not saying you’re a lesser person because you like something I don’t. In a way, it’s similar to my dislike for Christmas. Just because I don’t care for it, it doesn’t mean I think less of you if you do like it. It’s just hard to have people all around me slavering over it when I just want it to be over. Because I am cognizant of how much Christmas means to many people, I try to keep my distaste to a minimum, but that can be alienating. Not only do I have to put up with the Christmas cheer 24/7 for weeks leading up to Christmas, I’m supposed to keep silent about my dislike/disinterest in it as well. That’s part of the reason I get depressed leading up to it–because I’m trying not to be too much of a bummer about it to other people. It takes a lot of energy to bite my tongue and not be a Grinch about it.
With that said, today hasn’t been terrible, the not-so-stellar start to it notwithstanding. It’s been low-key, and I’m not bothered by the well wishes from others, Christmas-related or not. I’m sitting here listening to the many versions of O Holy Night and relieved that Christmas is almost over for another year. There has been no blood shed this year, literally or Joe Biden literally, so I consider it a win.
*I know my cats aren’t my children.
**Full disclosure: I don’t care for marriage, which may color my viewpoint of weddings. Even if I were pro-marriage, however, I think I’d elope rather than have a wedding. It seems bizarre to me to take a whole year to plan a single day, not to mention spending tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. Both sides of the family have expectations about the wedding, including how many guests they’ll be allowed. You have to choose attendants and menus and colors and–I’m getting tired just thinking about it. Add that to how some women turn into total assholes about ‘their day’, and it’s no wonder that I’d rather have my teeth pulled out one by one while I am fully conscious than go through that shit. Also, I don’t wear white. Ever. But I was told that wearing a black dress for my wedding was The Worst Thing Ever, so there’s that as well.
***Separately. They met while attending grad school in Tennessee. My mother attended Peabody for her MA in psych while my father was attaining his MA in economics at Vanderbilt. They moved to Minnesota so my father could pursue his PhD in economics at the U.
****My mother, specifically.
*****He also insisted I would like Titanic. Is it any wonder we’re not together?