December 20, 2010

"Without a soundtrack, human interaction is meaningless."

"I once spent an evening chatting about the complexity of modern relationships with a male acquaintance, his ex-girlfriend, and her roommate. When I went to bed that night, I thought our conversation had been wonderful. Twelve hours later, I was informed that the ex-girlfriend spent the entire evening 'in a rage,' apparently becasue the other male in our foursome had been 'brooding and surly,' creating a tension that subsequently made the ex-girlfriend's roommate 'completely uncomfortable' with the nature of our dialogue. I never noticed any of this. .I never have any idea how people feel; they always appear fine to me. But if somebody had pointedly played Pat Benatars 'Love is a Battlefield' that night, I'm sure I could have constructed some empathy."

From Chuck Klosterman's  "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto" (comparing the TV shows "Big Brother" and "The Real World")

34 comments:

Ron said...

A depressing number of commenters here would be using Cee-lo as their main soundtrack...

work and travel said...
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edutcher said...

The guy sounds like he watches too much Lifetime Women's Network.

JAL said...

Why do "chatting" and "rage" not seem to belong in that close proximity to each other?

Clyde said...

The nice thing about my iPod is that I get to pick my own soundtrack.

Scott M said...

This doesn't seem to point to anything other than the fact that not knowing someone well presents the opportunity for complete misunderstandings. There are a wide swath of commonality in facial expressions and body language, but there are also idiosyncrasies unique to each of us that take time to understand and read.

That being said, "an evening" spent talking to the same small group of people should allow all but the most socially inept or empathetically-challenged to start reading those ques. Especially when things are described as "completely uncomfortable".

Brooding and surly can come across as equal parts aloof and cool (in a James Dean sort of way), but "completely uncomfortable" should have been evident through a myriad of tells ... unless of course the chick involved was a bene gesserit. Then, well, yer fucked anyway (literally and figuratively).

Clyde said...

And I don't have to interact with other people if I don't want to:

"Sorry, I can't hear you!"

Very useful phrase.

DADvocate said...

A depressing number of commenters here would be using Cee-lo as their main soundtrack...

Yep

Most communication is non-verbal, even when we're talking.

ricpic said...

A woman in a rage is something out of the ordinary?

traditionalguy said...

I would expect that emotional empathy is your strong suit, Professor. (I very much doubt that you are a man in a woman's body). The others in that discussion must have been hiding their feelings rather than joining in and speaking about them. It is secret keeping rules that screws up most relationships. Open sharing is a terrible threat to controllers who want to ration everyone in the group's approval and disapproval. ( Also see, Wikileaks).

Dave said...

I know many get sick of Wire fans bringing it up over and over, but one of my favorite aspects of the show was that--save for the montage the ends every season--all music in the show comes from nat sound that the characters are hearing rather than a pumped in soundtrack.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The others in that discussion must have been hiding their feelings rather than joining in and speaking about them. It is secret keeping rules that screws up most relationships.

Women are masters at this passive agressive tactic. You are supposed to be able to guess what they are thinking and if you don't you are in trouble....if you can intuit that then you are expected to apologize for ....something or whatever.

The main reason that I have few women "friends" is that I just can't play that game. It is just too tedious to deal with people like that.

dbp said...

I wonder how perception of a social interaction would vary, person to person, if each were listening to a different soundtrack during an evening together:

Joe has Wagner on his earbuds, Sally is listening to lite-rock from the 70's, Sam has on jazz and mariska is playing a mix of AC/DC and Metallica.

Would these people later be able to agree on what they talked about or how they think other members of the group were feeling?

It would be an interesting evening, or if not--you could just turn-up the volume.

ironrailsironweights said...

Chuck could have nailed the ex-girlfriend and her roommate. After all, a three-way is every man's fantasy.

As long as it's a woman-man-woman three-way. If it's man-woman-man everyone's going to think the men are gay. Unless they very carefully limit themselves to shish kebob-ing the woman, with absolutely no male-to-male contact.

Peter

Scott M said...

As long as it's a woman-man-woman three-way.

Unless neither of the women involved like you very much personally. That makes it a bit tricky.

If it's man-woman-man everyone's going to think the men are gay. Unless they very carefully limit themselves to shish kebob-ing the woman, with absolutely no male-to-male contact.

It's not as "hard" as it seems, but yes...you have to avoid that man-man contact at all costs. Even to the extent of pulling a hamie.

Trooper York said...

Three ways are very messy and not worth it. I mean the logistics of it are a big pain in the ass. And it especially bad if the girls have feelings for you. And if they are twin sisters well you are really fuc...errr...too much information...errr...I just hear it's messy.

Damn those fuckin' Giants. Talk about getting fucked.

Jana said...

I do love that book. Klosterman is an entertaining writer.

EDH said...

From Chuck Klosterman's "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto" (comparing the TV shows "Big Brother" and "The Real World").

I'm gonna watch some TV!

murgatroyd666 said...

"Honey, what's wrong?"

"Nothing ..."

Uh-oh.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Re: soundtracks in real life.

I've always thought how cool would it be to have our own music theme, like in the old movies.

When a "bad guy" enters the room he would be accompanied by the dum dum daaaah bad guy music...... Then everyone would know just who is playing what parts.

bgates said...

He doesn't need a soundtrack, he needs one of these.

Scott M said...

Three ways are very messy and not worth it.

Blaspheme. Even the most unsatisfying threesome I was a part of was better than 99% of all other one-on-one encounters...and that's still saying a lot.

rhhardin said...

My soundtrack of the day is You Bonnie Rait.

I'm a sucker for interesting harmonies.

No tune but lots of voice-leading, mostly avoiding the tonic.

Life's soundtrack judged according to musical value.

Scott M said...

I've been listening to the Tron:Legacy soundtrack since Saturday. Lot's of electronica contrasted with anthemic orchestral scoring. Excellent work for Daft Punk, who to my knowledge have never scored a movie before.

Christy said...

Some people don't recognize non-verbal clues, pure and simple. We've all met them. That is a separate issue, of course, from recognizing the signals and still not having a clue as to why someone is mad at us.

deborah said...

I'm supposing Dylan and the Stones are out.

LordSomber said...

What's love got to do with it?

Mary Beth said...

I think it is more likely she decided she should have been mad in retrospect. Otherwise, why didn't she change the topic? Why didn't any of the other people notice she was upset?

Lem said...

We need a soundtrack for the once in a lifetime moon eclipse later tonight..

Jennifer said...

Ok, Dexter.

Pogo said...

"I once spent an evening chatting about the complexity of modern relationships ...Twelve hours later, I was informed that the ex-girlfriend spent the entire evening 'in a rage,'"


I suspect that 'ex-girlfriend in a rage' is the baseline, with variations including slamming down the phone, making belittling remarks about men in general, and screaming unsatisfiable demands.

"Ex-girlfriend in a rage" is his facebook status.

Pogo said...

Actually, even with a soundtrack, most human interaction is meaningless.

The music just punctuates the ennui.

Clyde said...

Oh, come on, Lem. That one was too obvious: Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon.

I went outside during totality, which fortunately matched up with my 3 a.m. lunch. Nice and clear down here in Florida, not too chilly. Pretty cool.

Clyde said...

And I supposed that "ex-girlfriend in a rage" is better than "girlfriend in a coma."