Friday February 19th, 2010

Klausner on Crash and Kermit

klausnerThe New Yorker’s Book Bench interviews Julie Klausner, whose new book is “a dating memoir that manages to avoid excessive self-deprecation, self-pity, or self-flagellation.” Among other issues, Klausner discusses whether an entire generation of young men are “a bunch of wimpy little Kermits.” Here she is on the importance of shared taste in pop culture:

In the book, you repeatedly assume a guy with the right taste in books, movies, and music will automatically be a romantic fit for you. Your assumptions are proved wrong, to hilarious effect, but as someone who obviously cares about culture, where do you draw the line? For instance, could you love someone who though “Crash” was totally awesome?

Do you mean Crash the Oscar-winning movie about race, or Crash the David Cronenberg movie about people who get turned on by car crashes? Neither movie is an acceptable choice, but don’t get a ride from the guy who likes the second one. As for the question, I think that since the nineteen-fifties, when the counter culture was created, it’s been important for creative and critical people to connect about what they do and don’t love, and I think it’s a tribute to the influence of social networking and its association with youth culture that we can finally develop contempt for teen-agers who define themselves by a hyperlinked list of bands or book titles. The “you are what you like” thing is just suddenly immature, and when I saw the preview for 500 Days of Summer, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt fell in love with Zooey Deschanel as soon as she recognized a Smiths song on his iPod, I reacted really virulently. Because it should have been enough for a guy his character’s age to go for a girl who looks like a pinup, with eyes like swimming pools—it wasn’t until she tipped him off that she and he were the same on the taste-o-meter when he felt safe enough to fall.