A conversation last night @ ABC Club got me thinking. And no, it wasn’t the one about 18th century British literature. It was about Favorites (That’s my favorite!!).
In this era of away messages and Facebook and avatars, we all have become numb to the idea of creating a profile – an online persona that summarizes us up to the outside world. There are just the standard answers that you rattle off, just like, when you’re little, you automatically know the answer to “What’s your favorite color?” and “What do you want to be when you grow up?” (Purple & a teacher, thanks for asking.)
But actually deciding your 1 (1!) favorite, that’s a whole other soap opera. Firstly how do you even qualify “favorite”? For the purposes of this entry, I’m defining favorite by the selection’s personal relevance and its longevity (I mean, I’ll always love 'Camp Nowhere,' but I’m just not sure that film has stood the test of time…) – What does it mean to me (and why), do I want to share it with people and would I need to have this item on my electrically-wired desert island?
So, with that totally arbitrary definition nailed down, it’s time to think long and hard and make some tough choices.
Television-wise, it’s clearly a no brainer. Not only was 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' a critically brilliant show, it was the most influential piece of pop culture on my life - literally something I would not be the same without. That’s my favorite! Favorite episode: Halloween:
Movies! After a temporary brain fart last night, I remembered that
'Say Anything…' is in fact my favorite film ('Before Sunset' is so good though!). I don’t understand how Cameron Crowe could make such near-perfect movies as 'Say Anything...' and 'Almost Famous' – and then bring us 'Vanilla Sky' and '
Favorite song? Well holy shit. I have a new favorite song every week, and I’m not sure there’s an easy way to measure this – Play Count is first thing to consider, but my iTunes at work is way too new, and the song list on my iPod is by no means an exhaustive representation of my CD collection. The old Mini might hold the more accurate measurement, but it’s got to be about more than how many times you listen to a song, right?
I feel like your Favorite Song should be independent of an associated event. For example – I feel like I have to eliminate ‘At My Most Beautiful’ because it’s associated with our wedding, and would therefore always beat out everything else. Actually, such awesome memories are associated with it, it would then become my favorite movie, television show and song. Done:
So, that's eliminated, and the analysis continues...
But here’s the thing.
The beauty of a movie is that you have hours to connect with characters, and when it’s your favorite, you get to really know those people. So even as you go through different stages of life, and your tastes change, you will still love that movie, you just might relate to other parts more. Like, 'Say Anything...' – when I first saw that movie, my favorite part was Lloyd’s speech about not wanting to buy, sell or process anything as a career. I loved how he was so idealistic and able to talk about what he actually wanted to do with his life with adults. Now thinking about it, I am particularly affected by the scene where Lloyd teaches Diane to drive. They’re literally falling in love in front of our eyes, and it’s such a normal, realistic interaction. Where I am in my life has sort of determined which part of the movie I’m drawn to – making the whole movie better every time I see it. (Of course, there’s also the “Bitches man!” scene, as well as anything featuring Eric Stoltz in a chicken outfit… So there’s always something to relate to and love. See above paragraph about it being my favorite.)
But with a song, you only have 3 minutes – maybe a more sophisticated music lover would argue that a song can evolve with you the way a movie does, but I’m just not sure. I find it very hard to think about a song that meant a lot to me in the past that I still love as a song and not just a memory– the forerunners for favorite songs tend to be songs that I loved for some reason in the past that now hold sentimental value.
And – on the other hand – I find it heartbreaking that there are songs I’m just now discovering, and I wish I had had them in my life so much sooner.
So, with all of those caveats, I am naming ‘Piano Man’ by Billy Joel as my favorite song. I am naming 'A Better Son/Daughter’ my favorite song of the moment. And I am naming Ben Folds as my favorite musical artist. Phew.
Favorites that require less explanation:
Book: Handmaid’s Tale
Beer: Anchor Steam
Maybe I’ll start planning an honorable mention list.