Romanticism: The Pitfall of Distorting Identity
It is currently Algebra 2, so I am typing this article carefully as not to be seen. I respect the class—don't get me wrong—however right now we are reviewing information so that fellow classmates still understanding the material can master everything. I've worked ahead, and understand the material. This is a preamble that has no relation to the article.
When you look at a Picasso painting, you may feel disgust or intrigue at the distorted faces of those he depicts. In Guernica, the painting by him that I adore, the faces are so horror-ridden and terrified and skewed that all it depicts is that emotion and confusion. Brilliant. But we don't look at people like we do a Picasso painting, we glance and assess on their looks, attractiveness, etc. We neglect their intellect or experience, the quirks that make people truly beautiful or interesting or sexy. It's a human thing, judgement, and we shouldn't feel bad. Instead, let's try to understand this and perhaps fix this inaccurate quick-judgement we place on people.
Now it is winter break, two weeks later. It's like a jump-cut through time. You see my thoughts from weeks ago connect to the thoughts I'm having today, completely skipping the in-between-moments we've learned to call "everyday life". Living a life with romanticism is often like that—you live each moment like a jump cut; the boring in-between-moments of "everyday life" are skipped and suddenly you're two hours or days or weeks in the future. The manga and movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World sums this up, each scene cutting to only the moments that further the plot. Here's the backstory as to how I was impelled to write about this
- Looking at books for gifts at Barnes and Noble[s?]
- Realize I can't give a 13 year old Sandman because obviously
- Scott Pilgrim manga jumps out and attacks me off the shelf, I pick it up
- Ambivalence as to if said 13 year old could handle the sheer greatness of Scott Pilgrim
- Acceptance that I was getting this book for said 13 year old
- [20 minutes later]
- I've finished half of chapter 1 and stare blankly into the pages
- Got to this part -->
*FLASHBACK INTO CHRIS' MEMORY*
it is 10th grade, the sun smiles upon our young[er] chris barclay
//scene: The Library//
Michael Watts walks through the library, Chris looks up from his book, "[I forgot what book it was]", Chris yelps to Michael Watts
Michael stops in his tracks, reels his neck 180 degrees like an owl
Chris speaks again
"Hey what book are you carrying"
Michael looks down at his book. Looks around the library. Teenagers with sullen appearances glare up at him. Michael quickly glides over to Chris and in a hushed whisper utters. . .
"its scott pilgrim, man, the best book, check it out"
Chris laughs wholeheartedly
"YEEAahahHH MAN I'll TOTALLY CHECK IT OUT SOMETIME HAHA! Nice Seeein' Ya again even if it is in a memory sequence" [^_^]
*End Flashback of memory*
I've been prone to romanticize a little bit throughout my lifetime. It sucks. It's setting yourself up for failure before even starting. It's like pouring melted copper into the jet fuel line. You hope that it'll make the fire of the rocketship dance with brilliant colors but your rocket ends up exploding. Or something. oK Back to the drawing I saw that one day on the board of the Algebra 2 class. Not only was it quickly drawn, but deliberately and beautifully. I compared it to some of Picasso's paintings I see. I could point out how the head is in the shape of a heart, and how the proportion of the eyes could symbolize how the viewer is seeing the painting with eyes that unfairly judge the character. I could also point out how the lack of detail on the woman parallels the simplicity and superficialness of the romanticized visions we have for others. How the figure of her body is exaggerated in order to evoke the feeling that she's depicted sexually as well as romantically. The figure is an accurate representation of how we romanticize others: We exaggerate them sexually and romantically, only see them superficially, and look past their flaws and blemishes.
Romantics often hold this principle true to life as well as partners/crushes. We look at life as this immaculate, beautiful gift strung along by destiny and hope. Everything works out in the end, we all have a purpose, it is beautiful. That's still how I think. . . it's endured throughout my teenage life and I don't expect it to be gone anytime soon. I'm guessing that's also how most of my generation thinks: optimistically and irrationally and romantically
I've read that we become cynical when we feel the world has hurt us. My generation—kids growing up in the 2000's—has never felt the pains of war or factory-work or genocide. We've been told stories of heroes and love and life to get us to fall asleep. "Woke" is a common phrase that means being aware of social and political issues, however I feel as though it can be used somewhat ironically by people who share things on Facebook or Twitter—people like me—and don't actually help further a cause. I feel as though truly becoming "Woke" would mean suffering through a nightmare, and not many of us have had to do that. Is our naive optimism blinding us by trying to protect us, or will it create a society that tries to further the progress of humanity by hearing calls of injustice? I guess history will have to tell that story.
Ah, the French Revolution. That time when the French won liberty from their oppressive monarchs, creating the storyline to Les Miserables. However, this freedom turned out to be evil, and they ended up suffering the nightmare that was the Reign of Terror; a repercussion for their romanticized vision of freedom. That's it. The romanticized vision of freedom and victory. Perhaps the romanticized vision of a utopian society will melt our meta-modern generation in the end, provoking WW3 or another Reign of Terror, or maybe we'll have a utopian society, or maybe we won't. Human nature is fickle and monstrous and beautiful and flawed. We have the capacity to be good or evil.
So Scott Pilgrim ended up meeting this perfect girl who he fell in complete love in. He romanticized about her. Then he met her 7 evil exes. Then he defeated them. And along the way, he recognized Ramona's flaws and beautiful facets: she could be cruel and ignorant, yet she's learned from her mistakes, etc. The movie ends with Scott fighting himself—fine I'll use it as a metaphor. He fights his evil self, the one that romanticizes or something. I need to read the books, but I'll use it as a metaphor for now. Then he "defeats" himself. It's great, and hilarious. I want to live a life like that—I think I am. Alas, only history will tell. I should scrap book or something.
By the way, the Death of the Absurd videos are all filmed, they only need editing! Get ready!