I liked myself until I sold out

I hate arguing on the internet. I really do. It shortens your lifespan, gives you cancer, affects your stool, and anything else you can imagine. I believe it’s the true sign of nihilism in our times. Two parties connect through the electronic ether to insult each other’s genitalia over topics that neither of them have any intention of changing their opinions on.
I try to surf the net in a hermetically sealed pubble, avoiding things that might anger me, like maddox.com or chick.com. But every now and again I run across something that drives me up the wall.

The link you see here is to a comic called “Questionable Content”. The story-line is pretty conventional, as romance comics go, but it makes up for it with gradually sexy art style, snappy one-liners, and sexual tension you can cut with a knife. The storlyine is in the vein of Maison Ikkoku or Kimagure Orange Road. Boy Meets Girl, Girl moves in, Boy loses girl, Girl comes back with her sisters, you get the idea. It’s about a mopey twenty something named Marten who find himself taking care of the buxom yet mentally unstable Faye after her apartment burns down in an unfortunate toasting incident. All this with the world’s cutest ambulatory PC. It’s not hard to see why this comic is popular. Women identify with Faye’s complete control of that sweet skinny indie boy marten, and guys identify with Marten’s agonizing dilemma of whether to score with one of two hot chicks (Faye’s Subculture-in-transition boss Dora being the other hot chick). The dialogue is florid and full of recursive wit. The art style has gotten exponentially sexier in the comic’s two year life span.

Another concept that the comic makes fun of is music genre armies. In the world of Questionable Content, you are never just interested in “Metal” “Goth” “emo” or “indie rock”. There is now always some kind of uniform and personality that goes with it.
I found the comic that got me going way back in the archives, right about here. Someone mentions that they like the Killers and the other characters balk the notion that they might be making another album.

If you take the two seconds to mention that the Killers suck, you might as well relinquish your hipster license and get into real estate. There was time when the Killers were playing the Commodore room just like the rest of the seldom heard. And now they’re played on the radio, and suddenly they’re some kind of aural torture. Bloody commies. I mean, I don’t have to worry about the Killers at all. I listen to their music just enough not to loathe it. They made their money from their album and various accolades that came with it, such as the MTV music video award (As a thousand indie rock fans cry out in terror, and then suddenly silence). What gets me up in arms is the idea that humming along to “Mr. Brightside” is some kind of godless crime against music.

I happen to believe that the success of a work of art is a function of how many people experience and respond to that work. I know that would make a lot of shitty movies and annoying music successful, but it’s the responsibility of artists, or at the very least critics to recognize that there’s something going on when an album sells a million copies. People did not spend money on it under any kind of duress. I do not have the clear channel death squads showing up at my door with cranial implants. 13 year-olds respond to britney spears because they want to be cute and self-absorbed. If you don’t like it, then you’re probably not her target market.

With the costs of distribution decimated, you can’t shriek victim and cry yourself to sleep listening to your mogwai albums. On a level playing field, the powers that be must be fought on their own terms. So instead of deriding everyone in earshot for having so-called shitty music taste, make like a good little consumer monkey and start pimping the stuff that should be selling.