Thursday, June 26, 2008


True to the stereotype that plagues anyone who graduated from my beloved alma mater, I found myself sipping coffee in a lobby of a five-star hotel last weekend listening to some lounge music. While I have certain reservations of perpetuating that tag roughly translated to female genitalia, good music and pistachio cake made it all worthwhile.

The topic was somewhat strange considering present company at that time. While Mama San is your typical workaholic honor-student, I never figured her to be one who would appreciate mor abstract topics of art and literature. On the other hand, Jay, while not without depth, rarely discusses anything of philosophical and artistic value outside of his shirt business and forays into the realm of romance. Yes, the relationship challenged people were at it again, overANALyzing silly details of our inability to find significant companionship other than our crazy little troupe.

I find it somewhat strange that just because we were situated in a place of supposed sophistication and "class" that our discourse would touch upon high brow subject matters. It's quite awkward discussing my influence admiration to the works of Alan Moore, Jim Lee, Chris Avellone or Neil Gaiman outside of an online forum. Pleasantly surprising was Jay's wonderment for Vincent Van Gogh and the late George Carlin, something that was a totally unknown to me, despite knowing the douche bag for nearly a decade. People can indeed, surprise you from time to time. We needn't ask Mama San's literary influences, for fear of having to remember some overbearing statistical business drivel of a certain multinational corporation. Either that or I simply didn't give much of a damn simply because the lovely Mama San prefers romance novels, something that I wouldn't even consider good bathroom reading. No offsene meant Mama San.

I've alwasy considered sharing one's artistic and philosphical influences good coversation material. It presents me the opportunity to try and outgeek everyone else while throwing obscure internet culture in a real world setting. It also allows one an in-depth analysis of other people's personality and psyche. While it doesn't necessarily paint the entire picture, a small teaser is more often than not a good launching point for further inquiries and discussion. While this may sound like a bunch of new age hipster talk associated to Mactards who sip coffee in Starbucks while updating their Friendster/MySpace/Facebook/Twitter in their overpriced plasticky gadgets, it does have merit.

Assuming that influence is anchored on admonisihing the rhetoric of that person or that body of work, certainly we can derive an idea of how to place this person in our personal lives. While perception and adoption of such concepts aren't fully accurate, the notion that such beliefs can embed themselves in our minds presents an interesting, and sometimes amusing, dynamic.

Of course, that doesn't mean that influence alone can tell you of a person's ideology or belief system. Obviously it is just one aspect, and as I've said, merely a launching point for further investigation. To do so would create a situation ripe with conflict.

But what about the self? Would reviewing the various influences, and the changes in one's own view of such influences offer an appropriate venue of self-assessment? I don't see why not. Growth is best measured by seeing change or the lack thereof. What compromises that have been made or whatever conviction remains can tell us a lot of what we've become.

Thinking about it now, it seems that sharing one's influence is a selfish act with the positive externatily of learning about those who we share with. Besides being able to show who's got the bigger intellectual penis, we can step back and ponder on what we've just shared just then and compare and contrast from what we would have said years before. It wouldn't be too weird to shit bricks after realizing how much has changed or has remained the same.

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