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Three Things I’ve Been Wrong About

July 10, 2009

pumpI HAVE AN embarrassingly poor track record when it comes to making predictions. True foresight requires a wisdom far greater than the fleeting shreds of perceptiveness with which I’ve been granted, and for some reason that keen sense of things to come has always eluded me. Forever mocked by history’s cadre of bold visionaries (the Buzzcocks come to mind), I am forced to stew in the acceptance a maddening limitation, namely that I have no future as a futurist.

Still, a lifetime of misses and miscounts hasn’t stopped me from making predictions with brash presumption, as if my pointed conjecture is destined for canonization in the text of some sacred scroll that will one day be unearthed by future scholars from the caves of Mount Nyainqentanglha. It’s fun to predict — even if one’s predictions end up being a laughable display of myopia.

Consider three of my past misjudgments:

Email has no practical use – My mother, the visionary that she is, signed up for AOL in the early 1990s. The first time she showed me its email feature, I reacted with the kind of wandering disinterest one feels when listening to a Dave Matthews song.  I thought: Why do I need one more method of communication? I can make a phone call. I can write a letter. Nowadays, of course, no one bothers to do either of these things. But email … What can I say? It caught on.

The Strokes are an affront to rock music — I just wanted to slap Julian Casablanca when I saw the video for “Last Night” in 2001. How dare these guys steal from the rock ‘n’ roll gods of prior decades (see Buzzcocks reference above) only to shamelessly re-package a classic sound as if they were bringing something new to the music world? Well, after a while the band kind of grew on me. And, of course, the Strokes have been absent from the airwaves since 2005 — a fact that makes their fetishized brand of low-fi twangdom much more palatable. 

Samantha Mathis is a good actress – The first time I saw Mathis, in 1990’s Pump Up the Volume, I thought, this kid is going places. Mathis stole the show as the film’s cute, caustic love interest. With her expressive smirkiness and thrift-store outfits, she easily upstaged Christian Slater’s dorky basement deejay schtick. I figured it would only be a matter of time before she and I attended the Academy Awards together — she would accept her third Best Actress Oscar, and I would keep busy as a seat-saver. Today, Mathis is hard to find. Her star has be been eclipsed by the likes of Zooey Deschanel, whose dry delivery, dark hair and big blue eyes have made her an emo fantasy of worldwide appeal. Looking back on Mathis’s turn in Volume, I think I just liked her haircut.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolina Maine permalink
    September 15, 2009 7:24 pm

    Boy, when you fall out of love…you fall out of love…wonder what Zooey will be remembered as 10 years from now…LOL!

    Where have you been?

    I quit Twitter-it was awful. I’m on FB all the time though–find me if you want to be friends.

    • September 16, 2009 2:45 pm

      Oh, no– I would never trade in Zooey… unless Clara Bow comes back from the dead, then all bets are off.

      I hear this Facebook thing is catching on. I’m still not on it.

  2. Carolina Maine permalink
    September 20, 2009 4:46 pm

    Haha, you’re too cute!

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