Saturday, September 25, 2010

Social Experiment: Bored or improving myself?

I've been conducting an experiment. A social experiment, that is. As fun as it would be to send vinegar and baking soda exploding all over the kitchen, I have a cleaning check today, so that would be a definite no.

My experiment has been progressing over a few months now, and it started unconsciously I think. I once wrote a post on the stupidity of guys who think that seeing the cover of the 6 hour pride and prejudice decreases their manhood by virtue of mere proximity. I've known too many guys who are practically obsessed with taking away another guy's "man card", and less concerned with being a good boyfriend to a girl. Not a good combo. Really annoying.

And then I realized that I was doing something rather similar. Not to the same extent, of course. I'd actually seen a 4 1/2 second clip of the uber long pride and prejudice, and hadn't gone into girliness overload shock yet.

But I did tend to judge many things without having actually experienced them myself. I did the same with Harry Potter. No one was more vehemently opposed to the series than I was. Not because of thinking that they were teaching witchcraft or whatever. That's absurd, and I knew many, many completely marvelous people who approved of them.

But I was opposed because it really really really annoyed me that some people who never read anything would read HP, like it, and STILL never read anything else ever. They read it because of peer pressure and social norms and I was furious about it. I still kind of am, actually. But I realized that it wasn't J. K. Rowling's fault that she's just that good. It was just a comment on the idiocy of humanity.

Plus my mom was listening to the first book on the way to the airport once, and got me about 5 chapters in before it left me hanging. From that point on, I was doomed. Jim Dale is to thank.

The moral of the story is that finally, in the summer of 2008 (well after all seven were out, and the hype for the books had really died down) I caved. Within a few weeks I was halfway through book seven, at which point I got stuck for a while. I was listening to it, and some professor had discs 4-9 checked out for WEEKS. Professors don't have the same due dates, and this guy was seriously abusing that privilege.

I then realized that yelling at the characters, crying, staring gawk-eyed in disbelief, and dying inside when I couldn't continue with the story was probably a sign that I was hopelessly entangled in the web of literature that is Harry Potter.

I'm actually sort of glad I waited, though, because waiting for book seven to come out would have been utter agony.

I now own several hand-carved harry potter wands, the boxed set of all seven books, and have attended the midnight premiere showing of Half-blood Prince in costume. I'm on the "Inform me the SECOND tickets are available for Deathly Hallows" list at fandango. And I'm in the throws of planning a Harry Potter marathon for november before the movie premiere.

What was the point of telling you all that?

Well, it sort of explains my experiment. I realized that I was wrong about something that I judged based on what I thought I'd like, without actually trying to find out for myself. You really can't judge a book by its movie.

I've resisted everything even resembling a chick flick for years and years. Never read a romance novel. (crude or otherwise) Do NOT participate in widespread bawling during Nicolas Sparks stories. Some of the few I was forced into, I hated. Casablanca? What the crap was that?

Ever After is the exception. I've always liked it.

In short, I have more of a "man card" than some men do. Which is really, really sad. For me, not for the men.

My current experiment is, therefore, girly media.

It partly started with North and South. One of those British mini-series deals that I thought was going to explode my brain. Surprisingly, it didn't. Very surprisingly. The other part of it started when I watched West Side story on my own, and actually got very slightly choked up at the end. I was rather stunned.

I came to the realization that there were many things I had experienced, and hated, when I was younger, than I might actually appreciate now. I also noticed that there were certain things I had avoided on principle, and not out of reason. I started to get very curious, especially in seeing things at the library, and having easy, anonymous access to them.

Thus began the experiment. In the next several posts I shall detail the results. My current plan is as follows. I reserve the right to add or subtract anything from it, as I feel like it.

A * means I read/watched it before and hated it or didn't understand it, but am willing to give it another chance for the sake of the experiment. Everything else is something that I'd never really dealt with, so I was curious.

Pride and Prejudice*
Sense and Sensibility*
Gone with the Wind
Little Women*
Twilight (book)
Emma (To be fair, I had seen two versions of this. One was awful and one was good. I guess that's like a half star?)
The Notebook (another half star)
Sabrina new* and old
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Sleepless in Seattle*

That's pretty much it, for now. I'll add something if I think of it.

Ps... did anyone ever notice that on top lists of chick flicks, Julia Roberts is in at least half of them?

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