Sunday, January 20, 2013

"We're the Young Generation"


Doing a quick survey of interviews about the most recent tours of the "threesomes" (2011 and 2012); the question of the band's ultimate "authenticity" seems to come up repeatedly.  Are they a "real" rock and roll band or not?  Were they ever?  Are they now? As far as I can tell, the interviewers who appear to be male and of a generation to have witnessed the phenomenon, dismiss the whole thing as a entirely commercial attempt to capitalize on the British Invasion.  Because of the context in which it was first presented to them, they cannot remove themselves from these immutable judgments.

I was born a full decade after the phenomenon and am entirely emotionally removed from that context.  The interest for me is not about the original intentions of the formation or day to day issues of the band.

I could not care less.  (Warning: subjective and personal rant ahead. I'm only including it because I there are many others out there like me)  My entire initial impressions are based entirely on the TV shows and music themselves.  And later, the movie "Head". All commentary and subsequent productions (starting from the filming of "33 1/3") seem a distant set of secondary materials having little to do with the main corpus of work.

What I do care about is what and how I have LEARNED at a very early age through the exposure (and genuine love) for the show.  I understand it was shot to be intentionally accessible and addictive and even fetishizes the styles, music and actors.  Even putting all that aside, it has done something amazing to my neural pathways.  It has piqued my curiosity for the world it portrays in a way that nothing else has done for me.  I certainly have had similar experiences with books and movies and tv shows, but never as vividly.

It taught me to investigate all the jokes and references I didn't understand.  As a grownup, I can now point and blame this particular phenomenon as the starting point for the "curse" of my Insatiable Curiosity.

Oddly enough, I would not even identify myself as being "Obsessed".  I have certainly gone years without intentionally listening or watching or thinking about the band or tv show.  Only recently (since the December 4th, 2012 concert) have I decided to really begin exploring the topic of the influences and impact on the 20th century and beyond, and how it relates to me and my worldview and view of history.  I am certainly not alone.  See the (upcoming) post about Rachel Maddow.

As a writer of fiction and former PhD gradual student (in Linguistics), I had come up with an idea for a novel.  The main character would be a writer of fiction and a current PhD gradual student.  Her thesis would be called "The Influence of the Monkees' Television Show on American Popular Culture Prior to 1965".  Which is a joke.  Which her advisers and dissertation team would never accept as a serious defense.  Even though you'd think any "Popular Culture Studies" department would be agnostic, but they are all Beatles fanatics.  Eventually, she goes mad trying to complete her degree and can no longer distinguish media from reality and rejects Time as discrete moments on a mutually accepted-upon continuum.  (I escaped from the Linguistics program because I did not want all my hard work on a paper to culminate on a presentation given to an empty lecture hall.  And I did not want to be poor.  Not that I imagine this project could turn into anything that will make me famous and/or rich.  But it's a hell of a lot more fun than "The Effects of Lexical Aspect and Perceptual Salience".  (Which see)

I've been watching random episodes with an 8 year old (okay, doing my best to actively recruit/initiate him into the cult), but I find myself wanting to explain ALL the references.  Which is rather annoying to him. One of his first questions is, "How come they keep showing Peter's name when it's not him?"  I keep wanting to answer, "You've got a lot to learn about humor, kid."

So instead, I've started this blog-thing.  I keep wanting to name it, "Everything I've Ever Learned Came From Watching the Monkees".  I'll get back to discussing the episodes.

Soon.

I promise.

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