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Friday, April 19, 2024

Literary Lessons: Pharcyde Intellect

There was a point in time when I had a crush on someone who listened to Pharcyde. Naturally, this meant that I created a Pharcyde Pandora station and listened to it constantly. Luckily, Pharcyde is truly a great hip-hop group with music that I ended up enjoying, so this acquisition of tastes was not completely pointless. (This was unlike the time I got into marathon running — much, much less enjoyable without the propulsion of a crush. You go runners, but I’ll be waiting at the finish line with some Chinese food.)

In any case, this Pharcyde crush turned out in the end to be not that awesome of a person after all. But, as literary clichés go, “all’s well that ends well,” and at least I learned about the song, “Passin’ Me By.” Moreover, as literary clichés should go, “it doesn’t matter why you accomplished something, you still did it.” This is much like attempting to acquiesce the tastes of someone you think is spectacular to (in some sort of strange sci-fi way) absorb their awesomeness.

Reading a book is kind of a commitment. Unless you are one of those who can easily tap out of a book without reading the end (I’m looking at you, people who fall asleep during a movie and don’t worry about the plot twist), classic literature can take a busy person about a month to finish. Even if some guy only read Bronte because he wanted to impress the cute person who he saw reading it on the bus one time, he still read it. That’s what matters. Time and effort was put into the endeavor of reading a book and the work ethic, as superficial in motivation as it may have been, led the reader on a pretty thought-provoking intellectual journey.

As I paraphrase the important literary figure Tina Fey, in her novel approach to life as a woman living in patriarchy, “Bossypants,” ‘exist-ith always people more awesome than thou, but one must emulate such persons to be a better human oneself.’

Remember that one time you were like, “Yeah. I think that the girl who complimented my shoes likes ___. I’m now going to take a class in ____ to impress her.” If you took that class, you get an award. It may not be an official award, but you can think about it as a metaphysical award for commitment to self-improvement.

People need to be less concerned about why someone is reading something, and just be happy that people are reading anything. Literature teaches humans about things that many of our college brains cannot yet comprehend: true love, destitute existence, religious awakenings, fantastical excess or absolute sorrow. Anyone who reads should be congratulated for their efforts. The same goes for the girl who learned 10 words in German to impress the cute exchange student, or the guy who spent three hours on the internet learning about the history of staplers because an adorable girl working at his favorite coffee shop was wearing an ironic shirt that said, “I love staplers.”

My friends, let us not judge people who only read important classic books of literature to seem cool to others. Although I have not taken a statistically significant sample, I would bet that the amount of books that these supposedly “fake” intellectuals have read is slightly more than those “real” intellectuals who are giving them flak. The same goes for people who pass judgment on those who only watch Sundance films to discuss them at Mishka’s, or for those people who only are vegan so they can announce it at dinner parties. When people are doing good things, it seems like a lot of meaningless effort to chastise them, and a lot more productive use of time to be all, “Bro… cool.”

Now, I will go and turn on my favorite Pandora station, Pharcyde of course, work on getting through Absalom, Absalom and contemplate life. When I’m old, I’ll be a scholar on many subjects. Moreover, hopefully I’ll still remember the things I learned even if I don’t remember the people for whom I learned them.


To revel in 90s hip-hop with EREN KAVVAS, you should email her at ebkavvas@ucdavis.edu.  



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