Arts, Movies, Column

Two Truths And A Lie

I don’t like chocolate. I was born in India. I’ve never read Harry Potter.

Two truths and a lie-I’ve used this same combination of phrases the past couple weeks in my first classes and club meetings, which inevitably began with a round of awkward icebreakers. For some, this puzzle shouldn’t be hard to solve. For others, it might be. No matter how well you’re acquainted with me, though, one of the truths is still surprising.

Truth is, I’ve never read Harry Potter-never picked up one of J.K. Rowling’s beloved books of magic and wizardry. Never.

What’s worse-I don’t know if I’ve watched all the movies either, but before you pull out your wand and broom and get angry with me for being an under informed Muggle, let me explain.

My mom never took me to the theater to see Sorcerer’s Stone or to the library to read Chamber of Secrets. I wasn’t raised with Harry Potter. And that’s really all there is to it.

Growing up, as the oldest kid in the family, I had no one to show me what was cool when it came to books, movies, and music. And since my parents weren’t into those sorts of things, my understanding of what was relevant or even classic in the arts world was weak, to say the least.

I knew just a handful of songs by The Beatles, I’d watched only a scene or two from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I had no idea who Audrey Hepburn was. I hadn’t seen the “Thriller” music video until sometime in high school, and I never saw an entire episode of Seinfeld.

I missed, and in many ways, am still missing, important insights on popular culture-not just of my generation, but of our society throughout history as well. I’m at a deficit, and I know that.

What I don’t know is where this lack of knowledge leaves me now. Am I irrevocably lost or is there hope for my seemingly uncultured soul? (Professor Braman, I’m specifically asking you.)

I’ve never had a problem admitting I don’t know something. In and of itself, it’s not a bad thing, because if you know that you don’t know, there’s always the possibility of learning-of discovering and becoming informed.

I am not hopeless.

While I’ve been at Boston College, I’ve thrown myself into the arts completely, trying to remedy the failings of my adolescence while simultaneously keeping up with what’s current.

I’ve listened to recent albums I probably wouldn’t have before, like Blood Orange’s Cupid Deluxe, and I’ve shuffled through some songs I really should’ve heard a long time ago too. (Thank you, Sean Keeley, for making me that Bob Dylan CD.)

I’ve visited contemporary art exhibits, including Mario Testino’s In Your Face at the MFA and Mike Kelley’s gallery at PS1, and I’ve seen more traditional ones as well, like Edgar Degas’ Looking Under The Nude.

I’ve checked out both new Hobbit movies, despite not wanting to, and I’ve finally made it through all nine hours of Lord of the Rings, more or less unscathed.

I’ve learned to take advantage of everything that this school and this city has to offer, from ballets at the Opera House, to musicals at the Wang Theatre, to tiny acoustic concerts in Robsham.

Suffice it to say, I’m more artistically cultured than ever-all thanks to the people I’ve met, the classes I’ve taken, and the organizations I’ve involved myself with over the last two and a half years.

Even now, though, I’m not going to say I’m as knowledgeable about the arts as I should be. There’s a whole lot I still don’t know, which basically just means, there’s a whole lot out there for me to go and explore-starting with a book or two of Harry Potter.


January 26, 2014