Friday, March 26, 2010

Pop Culture Roundup

I started reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau this past week. Thoreau wrote this about his experience of spending two years living near Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. During that time he chose to live very simply, and later on decided to share his experiences. So far it reads like the book of Ecclesiastes: a lot of revelations about how we work for frivolous things, how there are philosophy teachers but no more philosophers, and how we pretend that we're more important than we actually are. It'd be depressing, except I believe that Thoreau's purpose is not to point out how awful we should feel but how much we should let go of in order to be free. This is a book that one can't rush through if one truly wants to digest it.

I'm also in the home stretch of reading For the Love of God for my book discussion group. The essays are very short, but so far have been very heavy on Eastern religious traditions and American Indian traditions. I'm partway through the fourth section, which has more Judeo-Christian writers such as Harold Kushner. I have nothing against learning from other traditions so long as I'm given some context for the language, and these essays don't provide it. I don't really expect them to, but they are nevertheless difficult to read through and/or pay attention to. Have I mentioned I don't really like this book?

I watched The Rise and Fall of Five Iron Frenzy DVD this past week. The main featured documentary is three hours long, and contains a lot of interviews with band members, concert footage, and a ton of footage of members screwing around. That last one got tiresome after a while, I have to admit. I think it was meant to provide a window into their lives during the time they were together, but mostly it was guys shoving their faces into the camera and making weird noises. I would've loved to hear more interviews instead. Reese Roper provides some voiceover stuff, but mostly just lets everyone else tell the story, which is about a Christian ska band that toured endlessly to the point of near-exhaustion, was more interested in playing secular venues as part of their sense of mission, grew increasingly dissatisfied with having to play Christian venues (particularly summer festivals), and whose members basically got older and wanted to do things like start families and move on to other projects. All in all, it was a good look into the band's career, and a nice way of wrapping things up for fans. There's a second disc that includes a ton of extras including music videos and footage of their final show, the latter of which I hope to watch soon.

Here's Weezer performing at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards: