Thursday, March 16, 2006

Justifying an old soul

Back in August, I went back to Hong Kong briefly because my family was moving. My Mom told me to go over my drawers to see if there was anything I wanted to get rid of. In the process, I came across some elementary school test papers and a few memorabilia items such as a test I took in Sunday Bible School in 1986, and a screenplay from the days of my unsuccessful boy scout career in 6th grade. I thought about tossing them, but then I thought to myself, these are things that defined my entire shortlived childhood existence. These things remind me that I had a happy childhood. So I decided to keep them, along with the test papers on which I aced.

There's another school (which I respect) who believes that "as someone who has lost all of his archived data from 8 or so isn't all that bad of a thing. really knocks some mental cobwebs out. makes you realize that you're not attached to the past." I don't belong to that school. On the contrary, I belong to the nostalgia school. I collect momentous things from my childhood, e.g. He-Man, G.I. Joe, Ghostbusters action figures, DVD's, sticker albums, toothpaste, candies, comic books, stuffed dolls, etc. I listen to music like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Lloyd Price, Gene Chandler, etc. Someone told me, "You have an old soul."

I do. And you can't take that away from me.

Ostensibly, this nostalgic outlook differentiates me from the general teeny bopper population who can't wait to watch an Amanda Brynes movie or those twentysomething office yuppies who think that Maroon 5 or Linkin' Park is the shit and when asked if they have heard of Hank Mobley or Lee Morgan they shake their head becuase they do not have a doggone clue.

However, this old soul will ultimately save me from being conventional and put me on the "timeless" category. Because 50, 60 years from now, people are still going to listen to Nat Cole and Sinatra and Elvis, but Maroon 5 will be long gone without trail.

George Clooney shares this old soul with me in "Good Night, and Good Luck." For someone to make a movie like that and to cast Dianne Reeves and a swinging band to provide the fantastic sounds to capture the era, he must at least have taste.

"Taste" is what defines the unique from the conventional, the fresh from the rotten, the critical acclaimed from the mere popular. Good taste is an irreplaceable virtue.

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