[By Nic Lindh on Saturday, 16 October 2004]
The other day High Fidelity came on Comedy Central and I ended up breaking out the DVD in order to escape from 1) The Bowdlerizations, where “shit” becomes “shoot”; and 2) the endless freaking commercials that interrupt any movie worth watching until you can’t-stand-it-anymore-and-must-kill-squirrels.
High Fidelity as it turns out is one of the few movies that don’t involve Gandalf, Obi-Wan, or serious World War II mayhem for which I broke out some cash. It’s tight, well-written, and has a perfect cast of freaks. John Cusack totally delivers as the sad-sack record-store owner who has serious issues focusing on what is important. The thing is, that as a guy who owns waaaaay too much vinyl, who spent an absolutely inordinate amount of time reading music mags in the 80s, and who still will never back down about which Sisters of Mercy album is really The Sisters at their pinnacle (It’s called First and Last and Always and the rest are tripe! There, I’ve said it, tripe! It’s all about First and Last and Always mumble mumble mumble sell-outs mumble Doctor Avalance mumble rocks! And it’s important, oh yes, very very important that this album matters!)
As such, I can very much relate to these rather sad human beings, and can unfortunately relate to John Cusack’s character down to the bones; when he starts delivering his obsessive instructions on how to create the perfect mix tape … I wrote those rules! I made those tapes! Those are my tapes!
If it weren’t for meeting the right woman at a crucial point in my life, I could have been that guy–obsessing over his decisions, trying to figure out why women weren’t what he expected them to be, etc. ad nauseum.
Because at some level this is What Men Do when left to our own devices–we obsess; we bury ourselves in meaningless minutia … it can be the reason why Only a Fool would buy a Chevy when Fords clearly Are So Superior, stats for The Oakland Raiders, the relative meaning of The Cure singles, the unbelivably stupid patches somebody made against Linux Kernel 2.4.6, or why Metroid Prime: Echoes has no chance of living up to the original.
The actual matter of the obsession doesn’t matter–it’s all the same. We obsess. And we can’t understand why women can’t understand how important our obsessions are.
That is, until we meet a woman who makes us take a step back and understand that these things may be important–for some definition of important–but that there are many other things out there that should take precedence to navel-gazing and minutiae.
Things like life.
Because us men, when left to our own devices, will not be about life, but about the sorting and categorizing of life.
And life is important.