Coming To Terms With The End
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
How do we really know when something has come to an end?
There are the natural ends to things that have run their course, like “Gangnam Style,” whose surprisingly vivacious run on the Billboard charts has outlived nearly every expectation. Do you think any expert could have predicted that a K-pop star named PSY would infiltrate the American market with his self-effacing rap smash sung almost entirely in Korean? Alas, the sidestepping song has finally peaked in popularity following countless radio plays, Halloween costumes, and memes galore.
In terms of pop culture, there are the manipulators high up who command our airwaves, deciding exactly what the American public will consume in the months to come. Song play and TV shows and movies are dictated, coaxed to life by bigwigs with monetary goals in mind, then quietly snuffed by the same men and women who devote themselves to starting and ending what we as a country take in every single day. Why else did Madonna’s “Give Me All Your Luvin’” get an overly aggressive number of spins in the first 24 hours of its release and then all but disappear from the radio days later? It’s less a natural end and more controlled, but an end we should all expect to know and understand after years of exposure to the process.There are, of course, those things that we know to have a short lifespan at their very incarnation. We go into movies like Remember Me knowing full well that the experience will be mercifully contained to a scant few hours, though the memories will certainly live on in infamy. We listen to an album by Taylor Swift knowing that we’ll one day outgrow it, remember it, return to it, and outgrow it again. Concerts come and go, acts like Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Phantogram, and M.I.A. rolling into venues across the town and playing their short sets for audiences who remember them only through pictures on Facebook and Instagram, tweets, and reviews written for a college newspaper that would change a life.
There are the memories of fleeting events that defined a life at their occurrences. Meals at my Beantown staples like the Regal Beagle, BBQ joint Sweet Cheeks near Fenway, Bon Chon over in Allston, Zaftig’s brunches on hazy Sunday mornings: all short, yes, but each one worth every penny. A two-day excursion to Maine, two years in a row, will always be coated with gold whenever I look back on them—full of hugging, nonstop dancing, swimming, soccer, and pancakes. Day trips to Cape Cod, weekends in New York City, summer nights overlooking the Hudson River, drinks at Mary Ann’s, all of it with other editors—they each went by infinitely faster than I would have ever imagined, and I would do anything to get each one back.
Then there are those things that live on forever. A fellow editor recently suggested that at our spring alumni event we hire a DJ to play hits from our childhood that have stuck with us, songs like “Macarena” and “Mambo No. 5.” There are the timeless pop culture couples, in the deepest corners of our entertainment-obsessed hearts, that still yearn for each other even outside of the confines of their venues. Pam and Jim, Coach and Mrs. Coach, Jay-Z and Beyonce—they’re the stories and couples we invest our hopes and dreams in, knowing that they’ll pay off with timeless grace and reality.
I firmly believe that every memory I made, every person I befriended, each Late Night mozzarella stick, 30-second Sexual White Chocolate dance party, slap of the printer, Team Tears powwows, Monday night Scene meetings paired with the usual Wednesday and Sunday evening production nights, will remain with me for the rest of my life. The things I learned from my time on The Heights—first as a wide-eyed sophomore staff writer, then as associate arts editor with two of the most inspiring people I’ve had the pleasure to know, and finally capped off with my victory lap as arts editor alongside two of my best friends—are the things that never come to an end, no matter the circumstances at hand.
Readers, friends, family, please know how grateful I am to have both written this column and participated in this incredible newspaper for the past three years. Although this is my last column as editor, I hope to keep the things you have taught me for years to come.
How do we really know when something has come to an end? Sometimes, it just doesn’t.