How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Hanson (and other pop culture confessions)
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Having been born and raised a Jew, it is very rare that I find myself dwelling on Catholicism. Yet there's one element of the Catholic faith that I find bizarrely appealing: guilt absolvement. Yes, you Catholics have it easy. You just waltz right into that little wooden telephone booth, admit you're having an affair with the neighbor's wife, say a couple Hail Mary's and you're scott free.
You lucky bastards.
Some of us don't have it that nice. We Jews only get the guilt-free-thing once a year at Yom Kippur, just one big "Hey, God, sorry 'bout all that shit. We cool?" And since Yom Kippur is still months away, I'm going to turn this forum into my very own confessional, my very own telephone booth o' sin. I have some guilt that's eating away at me, and I'd like to address it before it becomes overpowering.
Forgive me, internet, for I have sinned.
I enjoy the musical stylings and rosy-cheeked attitude of Hanson. At first. I wrote it off as a passing, foolish fancy. Me? Andy Pressman? In love with this generic pop crap? I pride myself on my refined, haughty-record-store -clerk-esque taste. So why was I smiling whenever Hanson appeared on MTV, all blond-haired and blue-eyed like some beaming Aryan youth group?
So I began denying it. People would openly trash the trio and I would join in.
"God, someone shoot those kids," my co-worker would say, as the melodic voices of Hanson filled the air. "Someone should have them sterilized for the future of mankind."
"Ahah hahah," I chime in, "Yes! They're wastes of good organs."I say with authority. I say with confidence. I say these things with a straight face, even though I'm lying. I know it, secretly. Each time I call for the destruction of the Hanson triumverate, a happy-go-lucky piece of me shrivels up and dies.
It became too much of a burden. I realized that I had to come to terms with this passion. So one evening, a year to the day after the release of their first major label album, I finished my drawing homework early and sat down for some mega quality time with my Zachary doll (purchased on eBay, $15.99).
"Zachary," I said, stroking his long, luxurious hair. "Zachary, help me through this time of trouble."
He said nothing, of course, but that wasn't the point -- He didn't need to. As I gazed into his deep, blue, painted-on eyes, the answer came to me: I love Hanson because they're sincere. They write their own music and lyrics, play their own instruments. They never got breast implants. In other words, they're the complete antithesis to everything I despise about modern teenybopper bands.
Let's look past their music for a moment; if you think of them as beat boppy hacks, nothing I say will change that. Except that THEY'RE ALL GRADUATES OF THE OBERLIN MUSIC CONSERVATORY.
That, of course, is a lie. But what if they were? Would that change your opinion of them? Would you adore them for the tiny, cute, little white boys they are?
That's a heavy philosophical concept for you to mull over.
In truth, it's not their music that won my heart, or the hearts of Young America. No, it's their wholesome good looks. They're exactly the kind of fun, danger-free music I'd want my kids listening to. Like the Beach Boys, except without the massive drug use. Like Britney Spears, except without the disturbing kiddie porn subtext. No, Hanson won't corrupt your kid. Hell, they'd probably help her with her vocabulary homework, sit her down and sing her a sugar sweet song about her multiplication tables.
Wow. That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, while I'm at it, I'd like to get a few other gulty pleasures off my chest. In no particular order:
- Hackers, movie
- Everclear, band
- The Noid, former Dominos spokesthing
- Pokemon, death cult
- The Real World, television show
- Tom Green, "comedian"
- David Arquette, "actor"
- That redhead girl from That '70s Show, attractive young lady
I hope you've learned something from this. We've all got guilty, hidden pleasures. I'm taking pleasure in the fact that I'm bold enough to admit mine; now it's your turn. Are you into Eminem and little boys? Three's Company and (god forbid) the new Star Wars movie? Come clean. You'll thank me for it.
Andy Pressman has just kissed any remaining indie cred goodbye.