Thursday, June 16, 2005

I listened to some Israeli music today. Just sorta stumbled upon it..

It is true that a lot of Israeli music is just shitty copies of American pop culture. There are rappers and Britney Spearses and there is Mizrahi ethnic music which has no equivalent in the States but is still usually low-brow stuff. Coexisting with these strands is a large body of excellent and still widely listened to music.

The interesting thing about a lot of this music which also applies to many Israeli music is a much more complex approach to human nature and human relationships. It seems deeper than the stereotype filled garbage that is played in American pop music and on American small and large screens. In reality its not at all deeper. Its just just closer to reality. Characters in films, and artists in music simultaneously take life seriously and sardonically. Human interaction is filled with pain, miscommunication, lies, deceit, things unsaid, double meanings, momentum, sarcasm, boredom... These are not shown as disfunctional aspects of relationships, but as normal, expected every-day things. Humans are shown for what they are - inconsistent, irrational, moody, vindictive, vulnerable, manipulative, lazy, conflicting - and these adjectives rather than applying to one person for all of their lives can apply to one and the same person at different times of a single day.

A second aspect that seems to be grossly understated in American culture are changes in a person's outlooks and views as he ages. Somehow the mass culture doesn't recognize that a person changes over time. It basically avoids providing any serious realistic portrayal of the psychology of people as they get older. Or rather the complete cultural focus on one period of a person's life - youth - has crowded out even minimal focus on other age groups and has hampered the ability of people to understand the process of aging except as a journey initially to and then for a long time away from the elusive youthful ideal.

Its almost like there was an agreement made between Madison Avenue, Radio and Hollywood about 40 years ago according to which the mass culture has chosen to define the characters that we allow people to become. The people that are like each character are then clumped into market segments and society is built as an amalgamation of these market segments.

After rereading the last few paragraphs a thought came to me that simplifies the previously stated notions. Basically American culture has a very superficial approach to life. Its almost like for Americans life is a very simple thing and a deeper understanding or look at psychology and life processes is only necessary for celebraties and serial killers. Everybody else should be able to get through life on instinct and momentum. Any wonder that so many people end up on Prozac, Zanex and psychotherapy? No one ever equipped them to deal with life.


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