Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Post

So, as a special for Valentine's Day only, thing, I decided to do a post on love. This will probably be the most emo post I will ever allow myself to write, but, well, sometimes it's hard to resist, you know? Especially since Stanford just managed to totally blow an overtime basketball game at ASU, but that's neither here nor there.
Anyways, I wanted to talk about love through the context of the hit indie comedy Juno. For the record, I'm totally hip and saw it well before it was popular, or even being advertised, really. My brother and I were bored on a Saturday afternoon in mid-December and I noticed it was playing and commented that it was supposed to be funny, plus it had the kid from Arrested Development and Super Bad in it. So we saw it.

And, well, we thought it was pretty alright. Obviously, Michael Cera completely stole the show (I still think of his line, "I try so hard" and laugh a little on the inside). I was kind of disappointed in Jason Bateman, but he was alright. Ellen Page was cool, I guess. I wasn't too excited about her. I'm definitely not convinced she really deserved best actress, but the young lead female in the hit indie comedy of the year always seems to get a bid for either the lead or supporting role, so I guess the Academy didn't have a choice.

My main complaint with the movie was the music. I thought it was frustrating that they spent all this time talking about music of one genre and decade, but we basically never got to hear any of the music they were talking about. In their defense, I don't think anyone in their right mind really wants to hear that music, but that's not the point, because clearly they shouldn't be wasting our time talking about it if they know we don't want to hear it. Then, they end up just playing crappy indie pop songs, just because that's what you're supposed to play in this genre of movie (I'm pretty sure that Garden State firmly established that rule, even though I assume it was being followed by lots of people prior to that point). I thought that execution was just frustrating and stupid and brought down the movie, especially since they kept going back to it, when it served no plot purpose at all. I blame that girl Diablo Cody (whose been nominated for Best Original Screenplay, I'm pretty sure). I sincerely hope she doesn't win.

But, now that I'm done talking about the movie, I can use it as a springboard for love, like I said I was going to do. So, near the end of the movie, Juno has a nice chat with her dad (played by JK Simmons, who will always be Mr. Jameson from the Spiderman movies, to me). In this chat, he tells her that she should want to be with someone who thinks she's amazing and totally awesome just for being herself. He gives some example talking about the ideal person believing the sun shines out of her ass, no matter what.

And, well, I'm not sure how much I agree with that sentiment. On the surface, it seems like a pretty good deal, right? I mean, the recommendation is, pretty much, don't go looking for someone, just be yourself and let them come to you. That sounds like a nice, lazy strategy. Even better, the ideal person won't require any work since they're consistently amazed by you in any case, so, double yay.

And, weirdly enough, there's actually people in the world who do think you're amazing just for being yourself (this might be a slightly strong blanket statement, but I'll stand by it for now). So, the strategy is basically wait for one of them to show up.

Disappointingly, I don't think this strategy actually plays out as well as it should. The problem is that love is, and always will be, about keeping two (or more, I guess, I don't judge) people (or creatures...or objects, again, I don't judge) happy. This strategy does a poor job of providing happiness for either party.

Let's start by looking at the person who think the sun shines out of your ass (he's going to be the boy, just because in Juno that was Michael Cera). What is his source of happiness? Well, he is privileged enough to be with the girl he idealizes. That seems pretty awesome, yeah? But is it forever awesome? Possibly. It's certainly not guaranteed, but it's certainly not hard to imagine him still feeling like the luckiest dude on the planet far into the future. So, that's a pretty constant source of happiness.

But, there's a big source of pressure and concern on his back, as well. He's got the girl of his dreams, but he's not really the boy of her dreams. The only thing he's inherently got going for him is the fact that she appreciates the ego boost of being the girl of his dreams. We assume she appreciates it enough to be with him. But, he's got relatively little else to help him. The result is that he can never feel safe in this relationship because he has to be constantly reminding her of the ego boost she's getting from being with him.

So, the cost to him is a life of servitude, in order to be certain that he can still have the only thing that is really holding her to him. As an example, what if sometime in the future she found someone who was cooler and funnier and otherwise more fun to hang out with, who also thought she was totally amazing and that the sun shined out of her ass. The only reason she would stick with Michael Cera (hypothetically, of course) would be potentially out of a sense of obligation (or if he could convince her that he believed the sun shined out of her ass more).

Personally, I don't like that deal. It sucks to be the guy who basically worshiped the girl and dedicated himself to her until finally she decided it was worth giving it a shot. Well, I mean, it was awesome while it lasted, but as soon as she got distracted it was pretty much crap (in her defense, the distraction was anorexia, but the second time it was really just at her whim, so my statement stands). And, in the other case where I worshiped the girl, eventually she decided that all the worshiping I was doing (and you're just going to have to take my word for it, but I was spending a huge amount of time to make her feel loved and hours per day) just wasn't enough and the relationship wasn't worth it. Yeah, that sucked too.

So, it sucks to be that half of the relationship, but, well Juno's dad wasn't worried about that half, now was he? Just because it sucks to be that half of the relationship doesn't mean there aren't plenty of people willing to take on the part.

So, now what's the advantage of being with someone who thinks the sun shines out of your ass? The thought process is that it's relatively stress free. The person likes you for who you are, so you can be you. This means you don't have to change yourself or anything. They're happy knowing that you're happy and you're happy because there's someone who thinks you're amazing. We'll even assume that you think this person is cool and fun and attractive (so, this is someone you want to be with and whose opinion you value). I think that's a fair assumption because, as I said, there's plenty of people out there willing to be that other half, so you can potentially be choosy on that front.

Intuitively, this sounds like a pretty good deal, but it has one key downside. The challenge is that you have no control of how they feel about you (and potentially, neither do they). They like you for who you are. Okay, so who are you? Yeah, I don't know either. So, then, what do they like? Well, they like you. Are they still going to like you in ten years? Quite possibly, but definitely not for certain. It's hard to know. How about even one year? Still, it's hard to know, since we don't understand why they like you.

And that's the crux right there. All you can do is be you and hope that they continue liking you. There's nothing else you can really do. But, someday they could realize that the sun doesn't actually shine out of your ass (since, obviously it doesn't actually, so all this time somebody's been getting fooled). And, well, when that happens you're pretty much done. You've got nothing else to offer them if the privilege of being with you loses the illusionary value it had. And, well, that situation sucks about as much as the other situation.

Of course, the next question is supposed to be, then what should I look for instead of the person who thinks the sun shines out of my ass? Of course, I don't really know.

Personally, and this might be because I'm a little negative at this time, I don't think there is a right answer. I think there's just different degrees of wrong (and, depressingly, giving up and just shooting for being happy alone is fairly wrong as well).

In the end, I guess the real goal is to find someone who, for some reason, has sunlight shining out of their ass who also randomly thinks the sun shines out of your ass (even though the sun can't possibly shine out of multiple asses, but you'll know it's actually coming out of their ass, and that can just be your little secret).

And, well, I don't think that's impossible to find, either. Of course, I have no idea how to look for it, but that's not the point. I hope that's not the point, at least.

Anyways, Happy Valentine's Day!

That is all.


No comments: