Monday, March 22, 2010
First a disclaimer. It is very likely that something in this post is going to piss you off. It's just my opinion. Try not to take it personally (it is NOT aimed at anyone in particular), and try not to hold the rest of the UCB responsible.
Ok. Now a story. I promise this long-winded rant has a point related to recent posts... hang in there.
A few years ago I accidentally took up golf. I went to a local range with some friends on a whim and discovered I not only liked it, but was pretty darn good at it. I was raised as poor white trash. No one golfed where I came from when I was a kid. It was a huge surprise and a refreshing change. I liked the "walk in the park" aspect, and I liked the beer. So I bought some cheap clubs and for a couple of years golfed through the summers.
But I gradually discovered two things.
First, the more I golfed, the more golf gained popularity in these parts. It had nothing to do with me - just a local trend based on income, social status, yadda, yadda... Random, but the crowds started coming.
Second - I realized I hated golfers. I mean hate. Not all, but certainly most. They were almost universally arrogant rich white guys who not only didn't give a crap about anything I considered worthwhile, but sucked the fun out of every trip to the links. From parking lot rudeness, to 6th hole rage, to pinching the beer-girl's ass - every interaction made golf far less fun for me.
So I quit. It simply wasn't worth the bull shit those ass-clowns brought to the party. Even though I liked it, even though I was good at it - it became tedium and I walked away. I didn't want to be "that guy" and I didn't want to be with "that guy".
But it wasn't just the golfers. It was also the rise in popularity. I have a character that tends to value the obscure and self-discovered things in life. General popularity - especially by parts of our culture I have no respect for can take the value away from something for me. Take movies - I hate Forrest Gump. Not just because it was a sub-par tear jerker, but because of it's inexplicable popularity with people who wouldn't know a good movie if it shit in their hat. Any small enjoyment I got out of Forrest Gump was striped away by the fact that it was popular with people I had little respect for.
I think you see where this is going.
I play much less uke today then I did a year ago. It's not because I like it less. I still write with it - I do grab it a few times a week. But I'm reluctant to perform with it these days. It may make me a bad person, but I want nothing to do with the types of people I see flocking to the uke lately. The second I saw a uke on American Idol I felt some of the fun and joy literally ripped away. Now that 2 or 3 uke players appear on every season of that heartless abomination of a show, it's like someone killed my favorite puppy.
It's not just American Idol. The relatively minor (but still significant in terms of YouTube) popularity of folks like Julia Nunes and Wade Johnston have ushered in what I consider to be a massive wave of bland, self-indulgent, musically uninspired, and generally annoying and rude players. Again - not all, but most. Much like the afore mentioned golfers - they make the playground less fun for me. Every single time I break my uke out in public I'm asked if I play any Julia, or Molly, or Jason Mraz. It's like a stick in the eye.
Not that the above people are not talented... they clearly are - and I'm not delusional about my own talent. I have zero aspirations about becoming a star of any kind. I really do this for my own satisfaction and for my friends. But again, through a quirk or flaw in my character - popularity with folks I want nothing to do with will suck the fun out of nearly anything for me.
I'll always play uke, but as the popularity increases, particularly with the spoiled sub-urban kids with shitty taste in music, more and more of the charm disappears for me.
So when I read a post like the one below from Deach, I wonder how much of this is true at some level for all of us. How much of the malaise we feel from time to time is about the golf - and how much is about the golfers.
Posted by Grumpy Coyote at 9:47 AM