Joji and the issue of Human Complexity
On Youtube, there exists an online creator named Filthy Frank.
Those of you who know about him already are probably wincing. Filthy Frank is exactly what he says he is: filthy. His videos are incredibly offensive—to the point of me not wanting to associate myself AT ALL with him at school or home—and dark. His content is often childish and stupid. It's also hilarious and insane. The cinematography is seemingly lousy and unplanned, yet completely brilliant in its own way. The characters are strange and repulsive, yet at times tragically relatable. His work is an art form in itself, trying to embody the often cynical and obnoxious qualities of modern society.
Frank is a loser. He is a mysogynistic, racist loner who screams his petty insults and grievances into a camera. He is also a character on a television set. He is not real.
What person in their right mind would ever want to play this character?
All I really know is that his name is George Miller, and that he lives his normal, everyday life somewhere in Australia. He has hopes of growing his channel, creating new music (under the name Joji), influencing the world, finding love, the normal stuff. Probably the class clown, he found that he could make people laugh at the expense of political correctness or the respect of races/gender/politics/anything emotionally charged. But he is human, a tax-paying citizen with his own private life outside of his career. He's also made beautiful music, hidden away from most of the public.
Listening to this music is a jarring godsend. A message that his popular content is just mocking, and not supposed to be taken seriously. That it points out the flaws, and the artist behind the work has his own sadness and conflicts and trivial disappointments. His art, his comedy, is just entertainment to the conglomeration of people who, just like him, wake up to the ugly face of the morning news everyday. His music is beautiful, and true, and personal. "Filthy Frank" is just a Machiavellian way of feeding the ugly truths about society to a society unwilling to digest more. It confronts problems with comedy, and in the end, forces us to laugh at ourselves.
We should also take a look at the other side: optimism and faith in humanity. If I'm being honest, the only reason I want to is because I want to link a song by Chance the Rapper.
If you've looked at the news in the past years, you may understand that America has seemed to have progressively dug itself into a deeper and deeper hole. There are those building ladders, however. Chance the Rapper is one of those people who genuinely wants to better the condition of his childhood home, Chicago. With federal funding being removed by the governor, children in the city are left without schooling or supervision. This budget cut, which would've otherwise been under-publicized, was made extremely public by Chance, who met with the governor to discuss the importance of the Chicago school system. The meeting was incredibly unproductive, and Chance came out of it disappointed, yet even more insistent on giving these children the schooling they deserved. Chance subsequently (and highly publicly) donated from his personal pocket 1 million dollars. Though his donation doesn't even hold in comparison to what the systems deserve, he openly challenged the governor to "do his job" and supply the system with funding, and encouraged the public to fundraise aid for the Chicago schools.
This type of optimism and determination is presented in his music, whereas George's music provides a somewhat flawed and human approach. And where George's character, Frank, provides the cynical, surrealist truths about society (racism, mysogyny, hatred, ugliness, isolation, etc.), it attempts to mock the system in a way that people respond to. They say its easier to sway the opinions of a person who's laughing rather than someone you've offended or reached personally. There are importance in both figures—however different they may be. Societal people like Chance provide the example of how to work morally in today's society, whereas Frank points out the tragic facts about us all, struggling against a society sick with moral vices. And it truly is interesting to see how these two young influences are working together to form a more progressive society.
Afterthought: "Joji's" song, Thom, samples Wes Montgomery's version of "Polka Dots and Moonbeams." It's cool to see them displayed side-by-side:
Here are some accompanying images that I found particularly striking while thinking about ideas in this article.
Note: It's now been many months later, and I, Chris Barclay, have returned to this article with some more insight. Perhaps why authenticity is so important is because we only really find it with the repulsive. Looking into the mirror deeply you see that you're just this disgusting freak, a alien-like gross gut-filled meatbag. The whole "Oscar Awards" thing where people play dress-up for the week and we all sit and watch and pretend to care—it's all just bland. Theatre, drama, the real. That's exciting. It's good to realize that you're a freak—it's actually thrilling. Absurd. Just this hilarious thing that doesn't detract at all from the meaning of it. The porn industry earns more than Hollywood, who the fuck are we kidding? Society's got this skewed image of being normal, like the guy in class wearing the football/baseball jersey who points out every weird thing anyone else does and vehemently denies being uncool himself, but in actuality it's made of freaks who don't admit that they're freaks. At least Frank confronts that we are unempathetic scumbags—but the problem is that we're not just racist and mysoginistic and awful. We're also capable of love, and flawed, and hurt deeply by the notion that we're alone every minute we're not talking to someone else or reading a book, which is a lot of the time. We're alone a lot of the time and it's hard communicating to others especially if we don't want to come off as a freak. But we are freaks (see: Hollywood earns less than. . . ) fuck it, I'm done copying Big Red Son by DFW. There's a connection there.