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Sunday, December 03, 2023

I'm tired.

I'm tired of snooty literature discussions, of modern art, of dissection of simplicity, of professors masturbating their egos with the knowledge they spent large portions of their lives learning.

I'm tired of academia.

And why not? I've been living in an academia-dominated world for almost my entire life and I'm positive I'm not alone.

I've never known a life of real work or problems. Think about it. What's the last thing you worried or complained about?

"Ugh, this class is ruining my life!" or "F***, I have to get up early tomorrow."

I'm not saying I am not grateful to have such petty problems or that I'm going to start watching the Blue Collar Comedy tour, but, at this point in my life, coming down off the high horse from the stables of the ivory tower feels way more real.

But I don't even do that. I just experience that lifestyle from different media and then I write columns dissecting it.

O Irony, you win again!

Anyway, "King of the Hill" is one of my favorite programs on television.

"Man, that show is boring," a lot of people tell me. But they don't get it. If they think it's boring, they think real life is boring, because that's what it is. It's a show about Hank Hill - a high-school graduate who works at propane store in a small town in Texas and then drinks beers with his buddies in a back alley.

That's it and it's real.

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Take, for instance, this Sunday's new episode in which Hank and his cohorts pass a locally renowned housing inspector in a store. The inspector is treated like a celebrity, eventually bringing one of the men to comment on the strangeness that the inspector is actually a mortal being of flesh and blood. To reiterate, they're praising a "god-like" housing inspector.

But the show isn't oblivious to what it is doing. There are quite a few clear jabs at academia and the people who are wrapped up in it.

Professors, students, artists and many other pseudo-elitist intellectuals are portrayed with a very realistic arrogance and pretentiousness that is not seen many other places on TV.

One other show that does pick up on rampant academic elitism though, is "The Simpsons."

Many shows in the long series of "Simpsons" seasons have been based around the college experience and almost all of them have that one professor who's just an all-around cerebral douchebag.

For example, this Sunday's episode, the "'90s episode," found Marge Simpson in the '90s going to college, where one such professor takes her fancy.

Among other pretentious things, his worse offenses are pretending to like whale songs instead of regular music and garishly calling attention to all of the things he knows or has read.

Admittedly, "The Simpsons" portrayal of these kinds of situations and people are more heavy-handed than "King of the Hill," but both get their messages across.

TV doesn't have a stranglehold on anti-academia sentiments though.

There's plenty of music out there too.

Now, maybe "anti-academia" is not the best choice of words to describe music, since there are few songs that are as blatant about the topic as those shows.

No, music doesn't try to be for or against academia - there's just a feeling. It's a feeling of realness that is indescribable until heard.

For me, the realest band I've heard in a long while is Creedence Clearwater Revival.

First of all, John Fogerty's voice is so utterly raw and sincere in everything he sings that you have no choice but to truly believe him.

You believe the first-hand stories about salt-of-the-earth, hand-to-mouth, working-class people, from poor towns of the South.

To top it all off, the music is muscular and simple. There are no frills. No bridges, no crazy tempo or key shifts and barely any drum fills.

"Born on the Bayou," "Green River," "Proud Mary" and so many other songs make me want to give up all I know now for the kind of simplicity only living in the wild can bring.

The mixture of academic-ennui with these kind of media influences have left saying lately, "Man, I just want to do some real work with my hands. I need to chop some wood or something."

But the truth is if I really wanted that change, I definitely have the resources to make it happen.

It's not going to.

So what does that make me, or anyone in the same situation? A closet-academic? A hypocrite? A phony? I honestly don't know.

Sup, existential crisis.

Whatever. I'll just take comfort in knowing Fogerty is actually from San Francisco.

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