18 March 2011

4 Seasons of Loneliness

Listening to: Relentless Miracles, "Your Consolation Prize: A (Late) Mix for Valentine’s Day." This is my friend's annual mix and this time around it's "inspired by Xavier Dolan's The Heartbeats, 2046, In the Mood for Love, patterned wiggle dresses on Etsy, and snowfall in Trinity Cemetery, love over distance, and heavy bang-ed girls." What else you need to know? Go download it now.

Over this sure to be rainy weekend, there will be a Girl Talk concert, a disco night, a keg and bhangra party, and possibly a Sunday twang thang birthday that involves country, western, bluegrass, and rockabilly. Of course my attendance at all of these events will probably be non-existent because I need to be writing. Plus, did I mention it's raining?

The only thing I actually have to venture out for this weekend is book club, where we're reading Pride and Prejudice. The bonus book is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, something I've been avoiding for years. But since I've read Pride and Prejudice before and didn't want to rebuy it, I figured I might as well find out what the fuss is all about. I've never read a zombie book; I'm much more a vampire guy. Actually wait, no, I'm much more a Frankenstein guy.

Slate's Culture Gabfest was live at SXSW this week and they were talking about the new Jane Eyre movie. During their discussion, Julia mentioned that there were Bronte girls versus Austen girls. Immediately I started categorizing everyone I knew as one or the other. If you're unclear as to the difference, think Twilight versus Gossip Girl, respectively. Those are not my comparisons, it's from this Washington Post article. Here's some additional notes to help determine which one you are.

"Austen drew her drama from the world she knew. Her characters are engaged in real endeavors: dancing, trying to make or keep money, marrying, courting, gossiping. You’d never catch Mr. Darcy mooning about the moors in a raging snowstorm or locking up a crazy wife in his attic.

The Brontes drew their drama from the imagination, pouring passion and emotion into gothic tales of star-crossed lovers. Insanity. Revenge. Passion. Ghosts. Heathcliff, the hero of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, is memorable indeed, but he doesn’t talk like any guy you've ever met."
-The Austen vs. Bronte Smackdown-

"Jane Austen is easy to love. Her heroines are smart; her heroes are righteous. People say funny things and wear lovely clothes and spend a lot of time going to balls or sitting in drawing rooms, meaning that the scenery is just gorgeous. Everything ends happily for everyone who deserves it.

The Brontes are more difficult. Things don’t end well. The writing is beautiful, but Mr. Rochester and Heathcliff -- Charlotte and Emily’s two most famous heroes -- are basically thugs in morning coats. They say savage things. They emotionally torture the women they claim to love. They keep other women locked in attics and blame drunken housekeepers for bumps in the night. Things burn. People die."
-The Battle of the Bonnet-
My initial instinct was that I was a Bronte girl/person. I like Wuthering Heights a lot more than Sense and Sensibility, etc. And I once took a class on the Brontes -- just me, two other guys, and fifty women. In theory I like the idea of tortured love and moody atmospheres but then I read those descriptions above and decided that I was kidding myself. Of course I'm an Austen girl. I mean, I have the overt emotional capacity of an ant and I'd prefer a good gossip fest over just about anything, especially passionate declarations of feelings. Plus the moors tend to be stormy and I already shared how I feel about rain. So really, I'm a Jane with delusions of being an Emily. Or at least a Branwell.

I'm excited to have this new dichotomy to categorize people by, as the Team Twilight thing was only taking me so far. And yes I'm fully aware that Austen versus Brontes pre-dates Edward/Jacob by about two hundred years but it still feels fresh to me. Either way, be ready with an answer when I ask which one you are. Thanks.

And if you are into basketball, went to Michigan, or simply watched the Fab Five documentary last weekend, no doubt you're aware of the Jalen Rose versus Grant Hill talk. The lesson here, as I should probably learn, is that simplyfying things into "us versus them" is generally a terrible idea.

I kind of can't stop though.

Lately we've been working on a theory that posits that two of our friends represent opposing poles and you're either in one person's camp or the other. Camp Jason versus Camp Henry (not their real names). One is meticulous and a perfectionist. One flies by the seat of his pants and eschews details. One has quite a strong moral center, the other is basically a klepto. One prefers a more traditional type of ramen, the other likes it nuevo gunky. They are opposites but yet insufferably the same.

Both can sometimes be hard to get along with, are always impossible to argue against, and are ultimately wrong -- and right -- about things with random measure. Both are great people of course, but the underlying philosophies they represent help locate where our other friends sit on the spectrum. I know this makes no sense but I'm working on a clearer explanation, with examples and pictures and graphs. Maybe I'll even make a Powerpoint.