September 23, 2009

You wreck me, baby.

My girlfriend innocently posted this quote on my Facebook wall last night:
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
-Ben Franklin
She was merely making reference to an inside joke (yes, about Ben Franklin) that we have, so I was able to forgive and continue to date her. But just looking at it reminded me of the dozens of times I've seen this quote thrown around by uncreative people I know, unnecessarily promoting their love of American-style lagers/eighteenth-century free thinkers/a combination of the two.

And if not that, this:
"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."
-Frank Sinatra
Now, as an almost-Philadelphian, I love Ben Franklin. And as an Italian and enjoyer of wonderful singing voices, I love Frank Sinatra. But to boil them down to these generic, college-happy poster-friendly quotes makes me want to punch someone in the face. They're probably two of the coolest hundred people born in the last 400 years, and now a ton of people will partially know them for saying some stupid shit about getting plastered.

But the worst is by far this:
“You have four years to be irresponsible here. Relax. Work is for people with jobs. You'll never remember class time, but you'll remember time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So, stay out late. Go out on a Tuesday with your friends when you have a paper due Wednesday. Spend money you don't have. Drink 'til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does..."
-Tom Petty
To borrow a phrase from John Malkovich in Burn After Reading, "What the fuuuuuuuuuuhhhhck?" What the fuck does Tom Petty know about college? Did Tom Petty even go to college?

(goes to Wikipedia)

He didn't! Motherfucker. The worst part is, it's hard to disagree with Tom's sentiments. College is a thousand times easier than real life, and it's definitely the best time for most people to let loose and have as much fun as they can. If someone had said to me three years ago, "Hey, let's take it easy on the studying tonight and go out drinking," I'd say, "Sure." Most people would.

But when the masses adopt something, it inevitably a) starts to annoy the crap out of you and b) becomes full of crap, itself. I thought Garden State and Juno were really good movies when I first saw them, and now I fucking hate them. And they haven't changed as movies, and I haven't really changed as a person. But they were quoted a million times, and people began to publicly and openly adopt them as inspirations for their own lives, and as a general rule, most people are disappointing and uninteresting. And, perhaps viewing the films with a more critical eye the second or third time around, the movies suffered. And now, Tom Petty suffers, as well. A quote that was probably innocent at the time now seems insufferable and indicative of the bland, banal people who threw it up on their Favorite Quotes.

I still love Full Moon Fever, and I think Runnin' Down a Dream was the best four-hour Peter Bogdanovich-directed documentary I saw in 2007. But there's a part of me that kinda hates Petty, Sinatra and Franklin, and it sucks because it's not their fault. But as the guy in Seven who owns the sex shop where the girl gets killed by the knife dildo says, that's life.

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