Monday, September 17, 2012

Genre Favorites Blogfest: Or, How Trying to Narrow Down to One Choice is Painful

Alex J. Cavanaugh launched a blogfest for today, Sept 17, for 'Favorite Genre' for Movies, Music & Books
and the additional category of 'guilty pleasure' for one of the others.

On the one hand, it takes very little prodding to get me to give my opinions. Two reasons for this:

1. I am a Human, and it's one of the things humans love most: blurt their opinions, ideas & beliefs, preferably flung wide and far.  This might annoy some people, probably because it tangles up their own efforts at doing the same, but when you think about it, where would our species be without it? Dragging our cars on flat runners because the first fellow to think of a round wheel kept his trap shut, that's where.

2.  It is just fun to share this kind of stuff.

But on the other hand, these kinds of questions are very hard to answer.. my favorite genre?
I only get one choice?

I'm not saying I have multiple personalities, but the various moods I tend to have have established their own borders, treaties and sometimes uneasy relations.

But I'll give it a try.

Movies: Favorite Genre

Oh I'm already regretting trying to find one answer. But I said I'd try so I won't even discuss the narrowing-down process, since really, that'd be cheating wouldn't it? Slipping in other answers under pretense and all.

OK: Science Fiction. I'll hold that up as favorite.

One reason: Seeing STAR WARS on the big screen when I was a kid was my first 'religious experience'.
The opening scene, with the fleeing blockade runner soon followed by the star destroyer which kept going, and going, I could almost feel the weight of it above my head.  That was it, that unparalleled moment seeded me as forever a Sci-Fi fan.
Science fiction scratches the itch for a lot of moods actually:
action: the majority of sci-fi movies.. some greats: the Alien line of movies, Pitch Black
history & political intrigue: movies like Dune
philosophical & contemplative: 2001, Moon, Solaris, Blade Runner

Music: Favorite Genre

Good Gods, this is even harder to narrow down than movies!  This is just cruel.  Music maybe more than any other media is very much about moods.  I add music so often here I even have 'Music Video' as a searchable label.
Well, I committed, so here goes.

Hmm.. I don't even have a 'proper' label for this genre.  Call it 'Ethereal'.
Maybe again because it is similar to a religious experience.  Maybe humans have a need for such feelings, and as someone who's not fond of the majority of religions outside of an anthropological and historical context, we scratch that itch how we can.

Ethereal is how I term bands like Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, Mazzy Star, Loreena McKinnett, Stellamara, Sky Cries Mary, Azam Ali...

Play the video at the bottom for one of my favorite songs: it helped keep my sanity through some really rough times.

Books: Favorite Genre

And just about as hard as the other two. Tough competition, though narrower field than the other two, but maybe not surprising, I'll again pick Science Fiction.

Broadly defined I think Science Fiction could include not just the obvious such as Asimov & Bradbury but even some of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Science Fiction does what I will likely never be able to do, but really really want to: explore other worlds.
I enjoy exploring this one, but I'm not content with it: I desperately want to go to other planets, find other life forms, be introduced to alien civilizations.  Oh it hurts fiercely that I can't. What a crummy century to be born into: just enough knowledge and tech that we're pretty well done finding most of the places on our world, with enough ability to find other worlds, but not even close to what we need to contact them or get there.

So Science Fiction it is.  Really, I live in this world everyday, so for 'story time' I prefer to 'visit' other worlds.

Though my girlfriend tells me, since I think about & spend most of the day with minis, no, I really don't live in this world ;) But close enough I still want more!

Guilty Pleasure 

A tough one.  Not sure I feel guilty about anything I enjoy. What? Someone else not liking what I like should embarrass or shame me?  Hardly.  Not my fault they have such bad taste that they don't share mine.

So, for what I enjoy within these that would likely cause many to think it should be a guilty pleasure,
(since it seems many people think anything 'dated' is something to look down on)
I will go with 'Epic 50's to 70's fantasy/historic/spectacle films, for the Movies genre of course.

Maybe these don't all fit in one category for most people, but they do for me.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mysterious Island, Cleopatra, Lion of the Desert, Spartacus, Jason and the Argonauts, so many more.  I just love the 'big sweeping adventure' movies of this era.  Great fun.

Enjoy the song- a piece of perfection:


Tim Knight said...

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who found this blogfest harder that he'd initially thought ;)

Some great choices there, by the way. I haven't listened to the Cocteau Twins since I was at university, so thanks for that.

Anne said...

Well, well, well Ferret-a religious experience. Now what would you suppose the adaptive advantage for having such a need would be in the human animal.

Movies for me would be Asian films.
Music would be rock.
Books would be fantasy.
Guilty pleasure-I'm Irish, if I smile I feel guilty about it

Laughing Ferret said...

Quite welcome Tim! I love that song

Anne: which type of Asian films? I really like the Japanese style horror films of the last 10 years or so.

I don't think there is probably an adaptive advantage to such experiences actually- kind of an overwhelming empathic overload. My suspicion is it is a side effect of the empathy we feel and need, that is evolutionary selected for because it helps us relate to others of our species, to help and protect each other. Kindof like how we have a 'maternal instinct' response to cute baby animals of many species, not just our own, because it is selected for in us to have it for our own. I think this pleasurable-reward emotion for empathy is triggered by abstract emotional experiences such as nature, music, amazing visuals, -that euphoria or 'religious experience' isn't likely present as a result of a an advantage that won out and selected by an environment or circumstances, but like having the nurturing instinct triggered by a puppy, a mis-firing of the people-to-people empathy we have for survival, it is nevertheless enjoyable and can be significant to the individual. I suspect there is a lot about our nature as a species that is a side effect of something else.

Paul of the Man Cave said...

I had EXACTLY the same feeling watching the opening scene of star wars as a 5 year old - the Star Destroyer went on and on and on!

My kids can hardly believe that I saw all six movies at the cinema on release...

Great post, I'll do this challenge too

Anna Smith said...

Old movies are brilliant, nothing embarrassing about them at all. Great picks :)

Jeremy Bates said...

Well, we agree on one thing: Sci-Fi. My music tastes vary but hard core to the bone, I am a rocker.

Michael Awdry said...

Some great choices, but I'm going to avoid been drawn on this one. The last time I tried one of these I started arguing with myself as to the correct choice!

Jocelyn Rish said...

I agree, it was really hard to narrow my choices down. I completely gave up with music - my favorite can change several times a day.

I enjoyed reading about your favorite genres,

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Your reasons for enjoying science fiction mirror my own. Seeing Star Wars back in 1977 was indeed a religious experience.
Thanks for participating in my blogfest!

Nancy Thompson said...

Love Spartacus!

Sherry Ellis said...

I like your new music genre - ethereal. Good one!

Isis Rushdan said...

I love Dead Can Dance, Mazzy Star, and Loreena McKinnett!!

S. L. Hennessy said...

You sir, have excellent taste. And not just because I picked a lot of the same things for my genre favorites :)

But seriously, awesome choices. I even love your guilty pleasure category. Those are some of my favorites as well.

Lexa Cain said...

I've never heard of "ethereal music" but you explained it so I got it. It was so much fun to read about your favorite things. Great blog hop! :-)

Anne said...

I like a wide variety of Asian films. Akira Kurasawa was a master and influenced most of the great American directors. Check out his film Dreams sometime. I also like the animated films (not anime). Millenium Actress and Howls Moving Castle are fantastic. You'd appreciate the artwork in those. My daughter speaks Japanese so we began having films imported years and years ago to help her learn. She speaks it so well that when she speaks German, she speaks it with a Japanese accent!

I agree with you that it's probably a side effect of a necessary trait. It causes us to seek the sublime, resulting in the creation of art. And that elevates our humanity allowing us to share it with one another regardless of culture. It is located though in the mid-brain and not in the neocortex which leads one to speculate on the presence of such a need in other mammals. An idea worth playing around with for fun.

Hendrid said...

Nice to see someone else still likes the Cocteau Twins (even if Liz's hair cut is a bit questionable).

Interesting read all told. Cheers

Siv Maria said...

Great classic epic films like Moses are wonderful to watch, I love them too and I would love to see Loreena McKinnett in concert! Nice to meet you :)

Headnhalf said...

Awesome update, I think I'll be stealing this idea, in responce to your lament:
What a crummy century to be born into: just enough knowledge and tech... but not even close to what we need to contact them or get there.

Check out this little development, it should put a smile on your face:

Laughing Ferret said...

Thanks for all the responses, much appreciated :) I didn't get much chance to go blog visiting myself- had a bit of food poisoning it seems, so didn't feel up to much of anything, so will try to get out after-the-fact.

Paul: I feel sorry for anyone who was too young to see Star wars in the theater first run. My Dad took me to see it 6 times in the theater. My sister had discovered 'slumber parties' and we both wanted out of the house ;)

Thanks Anna! I agree, many of these old movies are just amazing.

Jeremy: Cheers! I do like some hard music as well, though for rock it doesn't move much past classic rock, but I enjoy harder strains within punk & industrial

Michael: I almost took a pass as well, since narrowing down to just 1 choice is very hard- I'm just not that exclusionary by nature.

Jocelyn: exactly: favorite can change pretty fast for me too. Thanks!

Thanks Alex! and fun idea, thanks for putting it on :)

Nancy: I love that movie. Though have to admit: not a Tony Curtis fan, something about him is creepy & bugs me. Still though, excellent movie.

Sherry: Thanks :) I've used that term for years, since I haven't run across anything better yet

Isis: Great taste! ;) I saw DCD in concert once, in a pretty small theater (normally for plays) and ti was amazing. It felt like an alien cathedral of a semi-aquatic race, sometime in the future. Odd description, but seemed right.

Thanks SL! No surprise you like the Sci-Fi :)

Thanks Lexa :)

Anne: So I guess you have seen Ran? I love that film. I;ve seen moving castle: very fun, I'll look into Millenium Actress. Must confuse Germans hearing her with a Japense accent :)

Thanks Hendrid! an amazing band, glad to know someone else enjoys them too! hair can be odd- I give musicians a complete pass on their looks- I wouldn't care if they looked like a slug crossed with a cactus, as long as they sound good- too much emphasis on how a band looks instead of killed the radio star and all that.

Siv : Thanks and good to meet you too :) Yes, Moses is another great film! It's very hard not to MST3K a couple lines when watching it.. I always end 'Let my people go' with 'you damned dirty ape' ;)

Thanks Headnhalf! I'll check out those links- that first one sounds promising.. hope they can get something like that functioning.

Alfrik said...

SCI FI: The Lensman Series Gener
Fantasy: The Black Company Series
Guilty Pleasure: Rolling great Dice
Hmmm most liked song... Talk to Me by Stevie Nicks........
Most Liked Game Fantasy Rules!

of course after a few adult beverages my answers might vary :)

James Garcia Jr. said...

Hey there. Cool list! I especially liked the shout out for epic classic films. I actually still haven't seen Cleopatra yet. I'll get to it soon. My family knows that I love receiving dvds as gifts and that I am trying to fill my shelf with the classics.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Thought I might be the only person in the world to like Pitch Black.

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