re: post below, they just don’t make anti-drug commercials like they used to.
this was played throughout the early-to-late 90s (i.e throughout the better half of my childhood), on every station i watched and at the exact times they knew i would be watching (early morning before school, during afternoon snack and pretty much all day saturday and sunday).
Illicit substances are used as a crutch for a whole smorgasbord of life’s little ordeals: family dinners, school presentations, oral surgeries (performing or receiving); but what happens when drugs cross paths with that greatest trauma of all, love?
Herewith, three songs exploring the two-to-tango of love and narcotics.
Suede - The Chemistry Between Us
Oh, Class A, Class B, is that the only chemistry between us?
Basically, they’re a couple of drugged up kids in love. Or does it really count as love? In my case, I’ve had friends whom I’ve genuinely cared about, but whom I’ve had my reciprocal doubts over. The type of friends who always seem to be distant or disconnected in the light of day, yet come running with hearts on sleeves and drunken embraces a-flyin’ once the booze (a drug, non?) starts flowing. Same basic deal.
Drunk vs. high vs. sober: are experiences in different states worth any less or more? Maybe a drug can help get you past an emotional barrier, or alcohol can make you such a shameless idiot that you’re not embarrassed to open up. It might just come down to whether you want to (can afford to, am I right?!) be high or drunk during all your interactions.
A booze-weather friend might be someone you can learn to live with and hazily appreciate while also loaded yourself, but the boyfriend who’s only into you when you’re both chasing the dragon (flashbacks to Christiane F.) might just be more trouble than he’s worth.
Passion Pit - Little Secrets (Penguin Prison Remix)
Let this be our little secret
No one needs to know we’re feeling
Higher and higher and higher
Alright, I’m already starting to veer dangerously into the land of iffy interpretation here, but let’s just dodge that bullet by assuming I’m completely right. Which I am.
This song is full of lyrical references to the narrator’s neighbourhood and family members (especially the shame and pain being wrought upon them) and is marked by the twin airs of furtiveness (found in kids doin’ bad stuff) and awed wonder (found in drug newbies): “Oh have you ever felt so goddamn strong?”
Let’s get down to brass tacks here: I’m picturing a couple of boonie-‘burb teens who’ve taken a shining to that most glamorous of drugs, meth. Back in the day, the running gag on TV was always junior high kids (do we even have such a thing in Canada?! I still don’t know what junior high is) makin’ out and gettin’ their braces stuck together - youthful romance in blossom! I guess next it’ll be “Hahaha, look at those awkward methed-out kids getting all mangled up in each other’s rotten teeth – oh to be young and in love!”
No sympathy on this one, and no romanticizing of these junior ne’er-do-wells: let’s just all agree to leave the meth alone, and to never do anything to shame ourselves in front of our neighbours. Walks of shame excepted, of course.
David Bowie – China Girl
I’m a mess without my little China Girl
Wake up in the morning. Where’s my, little China Girl?
Yes Bowie’s love affair is with a drug, China White, but so what, who cares?! Is his love, his “intense feeling of affection and care towards another person”, any less real when he’s already gone to great lengths to orientally personify the inanimate object of his affections? He doesn’t love China White per se, but rather the stereotypically ridiculous girl he regards it as in his drug-induced haze. Love!
And you know what, it’s just a slippery slope at this point. We’ve already let the gays marry each other, who’s to say a guy shouldn’t wed his drug of choice? Personally, I’m hoping we move quickly on legalizing polygamy with brand personae, as I’d like to make honest men of my lovers Johnnie Walker and Jack Daniels.
All of these threads converge, in one way or another, upon an event there is no way for the audience to anticipate. This event is not “cheating,” as some critics have argued, because the prologue fully prepares the way for it, as do some subtle references to Exodus. It works like the hand of God, reminding us of the absurdity of daring to plan. And yet plan we must, because we are human, and because sometimes our plans work out.
“Magnolia" is the kind of film I instinctively respond to. Leave logic at the door. Do not expect subdued taste and restraint, but instead a kind of operatic ecstasy. At three hours it is even operatic in length, as its themes unfold, its characters strive against the dying of the light, and the great wheel of chance rolls on toward them.
When I talk about Magnolia in my seminars and workshops, some people object and tell me it’s too long. They say it’s too melodramatic. They tell me it pushes the boundaries of reality. Yes, thank God.
As the rain thunders down, we see the nine characters singing about their pain and guilt and lack of self-worth, knowing it’s just not going to stop “til you wise up.”Now that you’ve met me, would you object to never seeing me again?” Claudia asks Jim Kurring. Until they can accept themselves for who they are, until they can forgive themselves and accept their own sense of self-worth, until they can let somebody love them for who they are and let the past go, it’s not going to stop. Just “wise up.”
In the end, as Jim Kurring tells us in his voice over narration “Sometimes people need a little help. Sometimes people need to be forgiven.” In the very last scene, Jim Kurring’s voice-over narration takes us to Claudia, and she has a long, vacant look into the camera. And then, she smiles. So simple, so bright, so elegant; I had not seen her smile once during the entire film.
“And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that these strange things happen all the time.and so it goes and so it goes and the book says, ‘We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us.”
The pettiness of it, the strange lack of passion for any kind of moral or editorial authority, always struck me as weird. We felt like, we’re serious people doing an unserious thing, and they’re unserious people doing a very serious thing.
The mistake they make is that somehow facts are more important than feelings.
There’s got to be a way to translate people’s ability to be titillated into a way to inform them that’s not necessarily PBS. There’d be money in that.
And maybe everyone learned another little Daily Show lesson in media criticism—confronted with the spectacle of the media-political complex, the only possible response is laughter.
So the idea that everything was not only accepted, but appreciated, was my favorite thing about New York. But also that there was a certain energy, that people were like, ‘You know what, fuck it, I’m going to do something I want to do.’