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Kill Your Idols: A Lesson in Elitism

Strolling through Netflix I came across this documentary and decided to give it a quick look considering it spouts Yeah Yeah Yeahs on the poster, and I happen to love them.

I was pretty disappointed in the film, honestly, and I should have known better as I’m usually disappointed with almost every single music documentary I’ve ever seen. I think the clip from Futurama adequately sums up the vibe of the film very well.

Basically, it was a film in which old rock-n-rollers, who don’t want to be called rock-n-rollers, bash bands because they have more talent than they did; Insult them for being sell outs in being successful; criticize our generation for being less original than they were; and have the bands inter-insult one another: “Yeah yeah who?” Says one burnout who utters “fuck” every second word.

But don’t they see the irony in these kinds of statements? Every single generation feels they are the ultimate culmination of all that came before them and that could ever come after them. Hence the old stereotype of parents wanting their children to “turn down that racket”. These old “originals” can’t seem to understand that they’ve essentially turned into the thing they were initially rebelling against. And if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s hypocrisy.

These are people, from bands essentially wiped from human memory because of their anit-everything stance, including how to actually PLAY instruments. From where I stand, these 1970’s no-wave pioneers have absolutely no say in their criticism of music. Sure their stance was undoubtably original, and it hasn’t been done since, because now people actually take the time to learn how to play music, for enjoyment and entertainment. This kind of political-socio-eco-cultural art wave of music can only go so far. It literally has a limit before it even starts. It’s like those movies you see in art galleries: Where you only need to see about 30 seconds before you get the gist and understand the general message.

They problem with music documentaries is that they’re always from a moment, a small wave of people and a scene in which “you had to have been there to understand”. Its a veiled elitism. And they don’t even realize they’re doing it.

The critisim from both past and present performers was on a general restlessness of society. But what I find insulting is this idea of the masses as a faceless, social blob of zombies that have absolutely no thoughts for themselves. I don’t listen to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or any music for that fact because an advertisement, or a magazine told me to. I listen to music based on an aesthetic quality. Is that so bad?

Even for people who listen to Lady Gaga, Rhiana and other pop music performers, what is the problem? Sure much mainstream culture is spoon-fed consumerism which I think is where their argument should have been aimed at rather than neo-art-punks, but at the same time, that music is still designed to be aesthetically and widely pleasing.

What this documentary did was essentially destroy the idea of music for enjoyment. Music for escapism. Music for fun and dance. Because aparently such engagement with music is wrong.

I think Gogol Bordello said it best though in the film in that, the new generation is going towards a new nihilism, a happy nihilism. I prefer that vision a lot more than just assuming everyone is a zombie, eating the brains of corporate manipulation.

Listmania: Top 10 Drug Scenes in Film

Drugs scenes can be very interesting in films. Sometimes they are moralizing and judgmental. Other times we laugh at the hilarious hijinks. Either way they are very often well made and contain moments which linger long in our memories. Here are my top 10 drug scenes in films, some obvious but perhaps there are a few ones you haven’t seen before:

10) Almost Famous – 2000 – Cameron Crowe

I am a golden god!

This scene triumphs in its random spontaneity as well as following with a group chorus of Tiny Dancers.

9) Big Lebowski – 1998 – Joel & Ethan Coen

After he is drugged on his search for Bunny, The Dude enters this dreamy bowling-themed fantasy world.

8) Requiem for a Dream – 2000 – Darren Aronofsky

This film shows the ups and mainly downs of a group of New-Yorkers. And while it’s an extremely depressing, and often disturbing film, it’s visually stunning.

7) Easy Rider -1969 – Denis Hopper

It would be hard to make a list about drug scenes without the king of drug scenes. A crazy hippy fulled acid trip through the heartland of America. Like On the Road… but with more drugs.

6) A Scanner Darkly – 2006 – Richard Linklater

Your sins will be read to you ceaselessly, in shifts, throughout eternity. The list will never end

My favorite scene in both the book and the film, an inter-dimensional alien comes to read Freck all his sins when he mistakenly takes psychedelics instead of sleeping pills when trying to commit suicide. The poor boy can’t even get suicide right.

5) Pulp Fiction – 1994 – Quinten Tarintino

I couldn’t choose between the two scenes because I love them both so much. Vincent makes heroin looks pretty damn tasty in the picture above, while Mia accidentally overdosing shows the rather shady side to it. And it’s a pretty epic moment, of course.

4) Trainspotting – 1996 – Danny Boyle

How to choose in this film. The drugs never really look good and yet they keep doing them, and often we keep laughing. There’s the overdosing, the dead baby crawling on the ceiling, but the crawling into the toilet of ultimate scum that is gag-worthy every time.

3) Enter the Void – 2009 – Gaspar Noe

While slow moving, and this film definitely did not need to be 3 hours long, the scene in the beginning where our main character smokes DMT is undoubtedly the closest anyone will ever come to showing the effects on screen visually. The rest of the film, in which the main character floats as a soul above Tokyo contains memories of the neon-lit city scape which are pretty psychedelic  in themselves.

2) Altered States – 1980 – Ken Russell

I literally cannot pick one scene from this movie. It is seriously tripped out. But what would you expect from a film that is about a scientist experimenting with hardcore ayahuasca and other psychedelics  while going into a sensory deprivation chamber?

1) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – 1998 – Terry Gilliam

Probably the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of “drug-movie” and with good cause. The film is a hallucinatory adventure in which dinosaurs roam and your friend tries to kill you with a giant knife. And everything in between. But of course, it’s Hunter S. Thompson. No one can beat that. Set against the backdrop of Las Vegas, this film makes you feel as if you’ve taken a little bit from their drug suitcase yourself.

Bonus: Drugstore Cowboy, Knocked Up, Natural Born Killers, Black Swan