Sally Forth, Young Men

PISTOLS AT DAWN: A NEW COLUMN EXPLORING TWO STUDENTS' JOURNEY INTO MANHOOD AND MUSIC

Abe: I got so damn pumped when I saw the trailers for the new Elijah Wood movie. It’s called “The Green Street Hooligans” or something like that.

Here’s the setup of the film: Nerdy Crimson Editor gets kicked out of school for a crime he didn’t commit, and goes to England. There, he joins a football street gang. Right off the bat, he just starts beating fools up. And from the look of the trailers, he seems to feel great about it!

Which brings us to this column. Henry, why in the hell are we writing a column for the Crimson Arts section? Wouldn’t you rather be out making some black eyes? All getting your adrenaline flowing? I mean, who even reads columns in the Arts section?

Maybe we can make ours readable by stripping away the veneer of intellectual insight and high-minded criticism, and just flat-out screaming about our emotional reactions to various artworks.

Like Elijah Wood might do, if he wasn’t kicked out. Also, when we commit our first murder, we won’t get all weepy about it.

I’ll start. Henry, I have been feeling very emasculated ever since I heard the Jay-Z remix of Kanye West’s “Diamonds from Sierra Leone”.

I mean, Jigga has a line in there where he says “How can you falter / When you’re the rock of Gibraltar? / I had to get out the boat / So I could walk on water.” I’m no rocky outcropping of any kind.

In fact, I’ll be honest. That song is just about the only hip-hop number I’ve learned the words to since “Willennium”. Because hip-hop scares me and makes me feel like a sissy-mary.

Do Jay-Z and Elijah Wood make you feel impotent too, Henry?

Henry: Desperation? Art? I feel woefully underqualified to be writing on such topics, or to be writing at all. As my roommate likes to tell me, “Henry, you are woefully underqualified.”

Why should anyone care about my opinion on this or that piece of music or film? How much do I not belong in the arts elite at Harvard, you might ask? Even if you might not, here’s how much: I played high school sports, I don’t chain smoke, nearly half of my sweaters sort of fit me, and I am not a vampire.

For those of you with any sort of standards, stop now, and never return to this column.

I have got angst, though, and that I can give you. I’m 19, for chrissakes, what could be worse than that?

Abe, you’re middle-aged now, but you were once 19: don’t you remember the pain and the suffering, the desire to express yourself through online journals and black-and-white photography? Or through listening to music made by other people on your headphones?

What better way for us to make clear our desire to streak naked through the Yard at the beginning of finals period than to write a bi-weekly column about life, liberty, and the pursuit of hot music?

Slam poetry might be better, I suppose, but I hate it, so let’s stick to this. Abraham?

Abe: I mean what I said about Elijah Wood and Jay-Z. This column should chronicle our journeys into manhood. Or at least multi-celled-organism-hood. Or something like that.

I’m not sure I’m ready for the fascism of becoming a Green Street Hooligan—if only because I don’t work out enough—and I’m certainly never going to be taken seriously if I spout off rhymes like “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man! Let me handle my business, damn.”

But that’s the whole point! We’re experiencing art as snappily-dressed dilettantes, and we’ll make no bones about that! I think this should be a column in which we are brutally honest about our innermost feelings. It’s okay to cry just a little bit. It’s okay to laugh. It’s even better to snort.

We’ll just play the self-deprecation angle in our column. I’ll write about how I’m trying to become a man through abandoning or embracing different works of art, and you’ll write about how you’re trying to become an artist by turning into a different sort of man, namely a woman.

I’m already making progress! This summer, I read a Bukowski novel, held myself back from seeing “Revenge of the Sith” more than once, and, as I mentioned before, memorized the lyrics to a popular rap song! In the future, I think we will write about such frightening experiences.

Henry: Father Abraham, we’re quite possibly the slowest journeyers into the realm of manhood to have ever have crossed the overlong crevasse of De Onmogelijke Adolescentie, but dammit, we enjoy it.

In the words of MY favorite poet, Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi þor Birgisson: “[Long, drawn-out silence. Very drawn-out.]” What does it mean to be a poet, or, better yet, what is prose poetry? Is this it? Nope, because I can’t write good, and that’s got to be a part of it.

Is it art if we happen to write about ourselves, so long as we dress suitably shoddily and adopt the appropriate illegal habits?

I don’t mean to stereotype, or, better said, I do mean to, but I don’t mean it when I do. Mostly, I need to start wearing a black turtleneck and chain-smoking Pars that I keep in a wine glass.

Speaking of art (sort of), have you heard about this exhibit at the MFA, which is, I kid you not, an incredibly rich man showing off all his expensive things.

Yes, I suppose most of it IS fine art, by any definition, but the theme of “these are my things, you are cripplingly poor in comparison to me, my apartment smells of rich mahogany” is carried throughout.

Next to every painting is a sign about where in one of his 40 houses he keeps that particular piece, or, better yet, how he carries it with him to each of his 40 houses. The title? “Things I Love: The Many Collections of William Koch”. That bastard!

We will write about summer loving, just kickin’ it. We own many leather-bound books. You shall bow before us.

Staff writer Abe Riesman can be reached at riesman@fas.harvard.edu

Staff writer Henry M. Cowles can be reached at hmcowles@fas.harvard.edu