Friday, May 16, 2008

how the eff?!

Fellow shambler and all-around delightful jackass Peter recently inadvertantly introduced me to what I consider one of the most fascinating and visually stunning projects of all time: MUTO.

Watching this video and project unfold over the course of its seven minutes and 26 seconds, I can't help but just stare, mouth agape. I mean, how the mother-eff did this artist do all this?! How long did it take him?! Why am I not nearly that awesome!?

To get all deep on you (as I have several reasons to still be in a shambles state of mind right now), this video helped bring to light several slices of dark matter floating around my brain. Mainly, it made me think about what the hell I'm doing with my life right now. I mean, let's face it, Blu, the artist responsible for what might be the most amazing thing I've ever witnessed, clearly feels some sort of passion for his job (I'm guessing hundreds, if not thousands of hours went into creating that seven minutes of animation). Do I? Do most people?

One friend of mine living in New York City just informed me that he walked off the job on Friday. Literally just walked out. That's a bold move. He wasn't happy there, so he left. That's gutsy. That's also highly respectable. I mean, what's the point of staying in a profession or office or job or city or even relationship (if we really want to go there) that doesn't inspire you? It's cowardly.

Washington, DC, while not the only city to be afflicted with this type of cowardice, seems to enjoy a higher per capita of this unfortunate side effect of suckdom than anywhere else I've ever lived, both in the United States and abroad. There just seems to be a large mass of people here who have convinced themselves that they're content with just "going with the flow," whether it be at their jobs, in their relationships or simply in life overall. In other words, DC doesn't seem to strive to be spectacular (ahem, spectacularly douchey doesn't count).

After watching MUTO again, I began to realize that I, too, have gotten sucked into that. I'm becoming content or at least indifferent with the mediocre and that freaks me out -- like, really, really freaks me out. (But don't worry, not in that violent, shoot-up-the-office way, it's more like a "should I really be working and living in DC?" way, which come to think of it, I've always kind of pondered...)

But, for serious (and you know this is rare form of thought for The Anti DC), becoming just another DC hack is something I worry about...a lot. While I don't subscribe fully to John Locke's (the philosopher, not the guy from Lost, the last two episodes of which I plan to watch this weekend when I shun humanity and go off the grid Art Bell style to do some serious soul-searching) "blank slate" theory, I do believe whatever environment a person is in can greatly affect his or her behavior. And despite my natural born asshole wiring, I, too, am incapable of totally overcoming my environment. (Lest part of me tries to say otherwise, all I have to do is remember one shameful moment in time and I am instantly put in my increasingly douchetastic place.)

Alas, for once I don't have much left to say except, I guess it's just a matter of time before I turn into some gnarly-attired, unkempt, political-haired tool. Wow. I need a vacation. Help me.


Shannon said...

I've agreed with you on just about everything, except tight pants. But I disagree here. Ooh, debate!

I don't think your job has to be inspiring or amazing. It's OK to draw a check for honest work, then go about your life. Not everything has to be the greatest most important thing ever - some people take pleasure in living simply and going with the flow. If you don't want to live that way, and want a bigger sort of life, that's cool. But dismissing others as "cowardly" is sort of mean (that word stuck in my craw, as by your definition I'm a coward).

Now, people who hang on in lives that make them miserable, because they're too afraid to change? That's different. I've been there, and I've gotten out. But your post seems to be striking a tone of "if you aren't happy all the time, just walk, if you don't you're a coward." I think if I went through life thinking that I'd collapse from the pressure.

In summary: Viva mediocrity! Woo hoo for average!

I-66 said...

Goose, if it makes you feel any better you're a gnarly-attired, unkempt, political-haired tool to me.

Marissa said...


I see what you're saying and this here might be where we divert not only fashion-wise, but "meaning-of-life"-wise. To me, I view life as short. Very short. So, yes, I think people should strive to attain the best in EVERY ASPECT of their lives ALL THE TIME. That's called progress. When people stop doing that and get complacent, shit gets stagnant. Just look at our government and what it has become if you need a larger example. They've clearly stopped trying.

Happiness is more fickle, as what will make one person happy is not necessarily what will make another one happy. Being an engineer, for example, would not make me happy. But for some, that profession is their dream. However, I doubt they'd be "happy" (in my definition of the word) with being in an entry-level position for 30 years, especially when the possibility exists to, say, build the most amazing bridge in the world (or whatever it is that engineers do). Sure, they'd be making a nice paycheck either way, but when you're not completely satisfied with what you're doing for 40+ hours per week or you don't believe what you're doing now will get you to where you want to be later, I can't believe someone is doing anything but convincing themselves that they're OK with that. I would bet if given the option of doing something grand or doing something ho-hum, most people would err on the side of magnificent (perhaps, you're not most people).

For me, as a writer, I'm not happy with where I'm at. For now, it's fine, I suppose, but the second I start thinking, "Well, sure I'm not writing the kinds of articles for the kind of audience I used to dream about, but,'s a paycheck," that's when I start calling myself a coward. I want the best for myself work-wise and otherwise. Perhaps our definition of "best" is also different. That is quite possible. If the "best" to some other journalists is the Nameless Suburban Chronicle, then more power to them. I congratulate them, in fact, for achieving their dreams. For me though, the best is The New Yorker, so the second I stop dreaming and working toward that, and the second the word "comfortable" becomes interchangable with "happiness," that's when I begin to have a problem with myself. That's when I become a coward.

Moreover, aside from work, I think very similarly about personal relationships. People who stay in bad relationships for the sole fact that they "don't want to be alone" or have given up on finding someone they actually feel passionate about and meets their standards are engaging in a form of cowardice too. Unfortunately, I've been there, but fortunately will never be there again. (Nor will I ever mention anything quite so cryptically personal on this blog again. Plus, The Anti DC has resolved only to marry for money. Zing!)


Your Local Rampant Objectivist

Peter said...

Man, I should have never shown you that video.

Marissa said...


Whatevs. I bet you secretly love yourself some Ayn Rand style rants.

Peter said...

Ayn Rand rants are the only kind I will read any more. SHARING IS USELESS.