overcoming average(?)

because it’s something the world just needs less of

dec 30, 2010

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my good friends and band mates nate and tim run an arts organization based in their hometown of santa clarita.  their goal is the showcasing of arts of all kinds specifically from artists based in the suburbs.  it’s called proxart and you should take a couple minutes to check it out.

they also put out a quarterly magazine which you should definitely check out.  an article in this last issue particularly struck a chord with me.  it was a photo series that focused on the idea of manhood in the suburbs that was shot in my hometown of riverside.  it was a very well done series, and the next issue will have the accompanying set titled “womanhood.”  having spent the past 21 years in riverside and preparing to become a dad who’s suddenly thinking about things like school systems and who the neighbors are, it really got me thinking about what role my hometown played in shaping my ideas of manhood and if i want those same ideas passed on to my child.

what was funny in the photo series was that they captured what i feel like riverside has always been: a culture of apparent stereotypes taken up another degree.  as a kid and teenager i remember knowing that real life wasn’t supposed to look like how it did on tv, but it seemed to resemble it closer than i thought it should anyway.  all the guys were “GUYS” and if you weren’t like that you were probably a band nerd, a stoner, or one of the few members of the intelligentsia.  i wouldn’t have considered myself any part of any of those groups.  growing up in a suburb can lead to a lot of feelings of alienation and isolation, which is why i think a lot of modern art is what it is.  as someone who has had to deal with what “manhood” really looks like after not having a father to teach me, i wonder if my own feelings of alienation were perhaps misplaced.  not that i wasn’t alienated from the more popular image of manhood, but that that image was more of an imitation than a true example.

as many things as there are wrong with riverside or suburbia in general, there’s just as much that’s good about it.  i’m not afraid of spending the rest of my life in riverside or even necessarily about raising my kids here.  manhood is so much less about being good at sports or having the best yard than it is about giving your child an identity and providing a safe place for them to fail.  you can do that anywhere.  you might even be able to do that easier in the suburbs.  the question is if you’re willing to trade that for a potentially narrow view of different cultures.

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Written by matt

December 30, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Posted in decemberblogging

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