I recently started reading Chuck Klosterman’s “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs” which, if you didn’t know, is a collection of humorous observations he has made about life. The first essay starts out: “No woman will ever satisfy me. I know that now, and I would never try to deny it. But this is actually okay, because I will never satisfy a women, either.”
He then proceeds to talk about how society has been presented, through our entertainment, with a false image of love. We have been brainwashed by the When Harry Met Sallys and the You’ve Got Mails into thinking that love acts or looks a certain way. It’s what he calls “fake love” and he says it is everywhere–movies, books, music, television.
“Coldplay songs deliver an amorphous, irrefutable interpretation of how being in love is supposed to feel, and people find themselves wanting that feeling for real. They want men to adore them like Lloyd Dobler would, and they want women to think like Aimee Mann, and they expect all their arguments to sound like Sam Malone and Diane Chambers. They think everything will work out perfectly in the end (just like it did for Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones), and they don’t stop believing, because Journey’s Steve Perry insists we should never do that. In the nineteenth century, teenagers merely aspired to have a marriage that would be better than that of their parents; personally, I would never be satisfied unless my marriage was as good as Cliff and Clair Huxtable’s.
Pundits are always blaming TV for making people stupid, movies for desensitizing the world to violence, and rock music for making kids take drugs and kill themselves. These things should be the least of our worries. The main problem with mass media is that it makes it impossible to fall in love with any acumen of normalcy. There is no “normal,” because everybody is being twisted by the same sources simultaneously. You can’t compare your relationship with the playful couple who lives next door, because they’re probably modeling themselves after Chandler Bing and Monica Geller. Real people are actively trying to live like fake people, so real people are no less fake.”
I think he is right on the money. I know that certain movies I’ve seen, books I’ve read, and songs I’ve heard have contributed significantly to my idea of “Mr. Right.” And they make it hard to be satisfied with something less, which everything will be, because my ideals are based on something that doesn’t exist.
I had never thought about it quite like that before.