Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What WOULDN'T Jesus Do? (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, tee-hee!)

I'm baaacckkkk.....

Took a well-deserved break there...bet you all thought I was gone for good!...needed a little recharge time and I've been hard at work finishing the first short film I've ever made. Very excited about it...I'll throw up a link here when we publish it to the old world wide web tonight...

Anywho, today I will be talking about Christianity a little bit. Yes, the old polarizer that is organized religion...faith vs. science...the whole spiel. But, out of respect to a population that has been overwhelmed by religious debating, I'll try to make my redundancy quick, and my insight fresh. (What more can you ask for???)

“If Jesus came back and was actually mad at me for not believing in him, I’d tell him to stop being a douche-face.”

There goes the "not publishing anything that could hurt my political chances later in life". Oh well, rain down the lightning bolts, my judgment day shall arriveth!

As you all may know, some people in this world believe in God. (Crazy, I know.) For perhaps the first time ever, it is now somewhat acceptable NOT to believe in God. (Yay!) Now, I'm not going to sit here and talk about what you should believe or what you shouldn't. Many of my friends are raging Atheists or Agnostics who instantly write off religiously inclined people as idiots...

Ok, I'll admit it, I occasionally fall into this group.

As a proud Agnostic, I think people shouldn't need to be afraid of God or want to go to heaven to do the "right" things in life, (this will be covered in a later post about Game Theory and the book Non-Zero. If you all want to have your minds blown, read Non-Zero by Robert Wright.) I've already stated that I think it's dangerous to ever think you KNOW anything for certain. Faith-based decision making is troublesome on many levels - no need for logic and reason, propensity to see your religion, and therefore YOU, as better than others, and so on. (And I know that Science is just faith - faith in the belief that just because something has happened it will happen again - but there seems to be some pretty solid evidence for this...) And beyond all that, Christian religious beliefs (along with Jewish, Muslim, etc.) just don't make any fucking sense. There are, like, fifteen Jesus stories in different cultures and traditions...you really believe yours is the true one? It's just too damn convenient. Humans needed a way to control people on a massive scale so there would be some semblance of law and order...how better to do it than tap into our base insecurites and loneliness? All this heartache and trouble isn't worthless, because someone is watching out for you AND you'll be happy forever in heaven! Yay!

Which would be all well and good, except it's just not the deal. Another human instinct is to look for the truth, to want to know what's actually happening. And this is why there are more self-identifying Agnostics than ever before in history. Jesus COULD be the deal, we just don't rightly know...Zeus could be the deal, God could be the couch I'm sitting on, who knows. I am know there is much about existence that we don't know and can't perceive, but making any conclusive decisions about it is, well, conclusively stupid. And it scares me how many people are still conclusively sure about some random dude from thousands of years ago being the son of God.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that it's really easy to hate on Christianity. I, and lots of other friends I have do so regularly. But I think, as we're trying to understand and communicate with each other, that it's important to find things about religion that are "good" ideas. There are plenty of books documenting good things about religion..bringing people together, searching for answers, supporting those around you, etc. But there's one thing in Christianity, in particular, that I've recently decided I like, and it's something often seen as an example of annoying Christianity:

"What would Jesus do?"

This line gets made fun of constantly...I mean, it is kind of ridiculous...WWJD? But, I think when you look at what it's actually saying, it's pretty fucking cool.

Who knows who or what Jesus really was...whether he was a group of people, what he looked like, anything. We don't know. I think it's almost certain he wasn't the fucking son of God, but other than that, all we really know is what it says in the New Testament. And from reading some of that, he appears to be one chill-ass mofo.

Here's how I see it going down. The straight-edged, prudy Rabbis wanted everyone to be wearing fucking black clothes in desert summer all the time, and like, do all this Jewish shit that no one really wanted to do (not eating pork being just one example of the insane amounts of fun the Jewish bible cuts out from life.) In comes this dude, Joshua (Jesus's actual name), who's been smoking way too much weedsies and says, fuck that, fuck all this hard shit, I want to just be chill and have a good time with my crew, and we'll all be mad cool with each other 'cause life's all about love, so yeah, fuck you, Rabbis. The Rabbis got pissed, the Greeks (or Romans? Meh, who knows anymore...) got scared, and in a truly phenomenal (though not uncommon in those days) display of hatred, crucified the poor hippie.

But his love thing struck a chord. Because all of a sudden, everyone was like, wait, when I love other people, and hang out with people who love me (and though "Love" is a somewhat undefinable term, I tend to think it means giving yourself to those around you, caring and acting as though they are as important as you are) life becomes better for me! And though none of them understood truly why this was (again, you'll read about that later in my Non-Zero column) it seemed to work.

So, back to WWJD. I like this because it says "When you are in a tough spot, and don't know what to do, what would Jesus do?" Now, presuming Jesus was this chill, love-loving free spirit, I tend to think if one stops to think in a moment of crisis "What would a hippie do?" it usually makes for some better consequences for all parties. Peaceful = better in my books.

So yes, doubters like me, I understand why it's easy to write off religion. But the difference between us and those who are unquestioningly faithful is just that: doubt. We must constantly reassess our own beliefs, and look for good ideas in others. Call me a stupid hippie, but I'm in favor of sitting down and figuring out why it's cool to be chill and love each other and not be douche-baggy. If you have to believe in God, I guess that's fine providing you actually follow through with this love business.

(But, like, could we PLEASE take religion out of government...pretty pretty please? Time to figure out how to make life best for humans without the crutch of an "ultimate creator" or "heaven". We, being all life on this planet with humans, presumably, as the intelligent controllers, have a planet to figure out how to live on.)


Aaron Sydney Golden

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rossio's Million Moments or Why You Must Have Absurdly High Standards in Life

I really thought today was going to be my day off. My mind needs a break, I thought. Five straight days of writing is ENOUGH.

Well, so much for that. It'll happen, just not today. I've already had two more ideas for posts, and that was before Michael Jackson died...

Not going to linger here, but quickly - yes, I guess it's sad Jackson's dead. I don't know, I more think it's sad he was a raging chi-mo (child molester) who went insane. But more importantly, here goes the media. Prepare to hear about this story for the next forever. It'll start with the - "Oh my god, he was so great, we're so sad!", quickly turn into the - "Wow, what a tortured soul, poor man", then head into the - "Well, he made those decisions, he's was pretty fucked up, so let's all take a moment before we deify him", then finish with the - "Ah, but life goes on, and new people will replace him! Let's move forward everyone!" There will be slews of commentary, anecdotes, and tributes until they've sold every last newspaper (I think we need a new phrase - greatly increased their website hits counter?), and milked the loss for all it's worth.

I'm sick of it already. It'll get in the way of important news and CURRENT events. Because, his death is no longer current. It was current this morning. Now, it's over. More things are happening CURRENTLY, at every moment of every day, that need to be talked about.

And all I can say is...sucks for Farrah Fawcett! ZINGA! (not 'cause she's dead, you know, just 'cause no one'll remember this day for her death...I'm going to hell...)

ANYWAY, onto today's post.

Terry Rossio is a Hollywood screenwriter. You just might have seen some movies he and his writing partner have written (Shrek, Pirates of The Caribbean, Alladin, and others)...let's just say he's had some hits. He also writes a website: www.wordplayer.com, a fantastic resource for young screenwriters, and it is clear that he is both an extraordinarily smart man, and a person who cares deeply for artistic quality. Though some of his movies are pretty shitty (Godzilla, Treasure Planet), he does a pretty good job of explaining why. It's an important lesson to aspiring screenwriters: if you're working with the studios, you don't get artistic control. The suits do, and they want to sell tickets, not make great movies.

One of Rossio's columns is a list of thoughts about life, aphorisms that he himself has written. A lot of them are pretty great, but one stood out in particular...I hope good old Terry is all right with me using it here:

"Each experience comes at the expense of a billon simultaneous others, so thank goodness we lack the imagination to have a clue as to the enormity of what we miss.”

I will refer to this as "Rossio's Million Moments." I understand neither the world "million" or "moment" appears in this aphorism, but it sounds better than "Rossio's Billion Experiences"... if it bothers you, you can munch on a nice steaming plate of my ballsack.

At first I just liked Rossio's Million Moments at face value. Presenting life as not a series of things we do, but things we don't do, unimaginable other experiences. But after letting it fester in my head brain, some pretty big ramifications from this sentence presented themselves to me.

Rossio, I believe, is lying. He is playing with his audience (maybe even with himself) and either on purpose, or inadvertantly, handing a writer the single best advice they can be given. Let me explain...

Rossio claims we don't have the imagination. But I think he thinks we actually do. We're humans, we have the power to choose one thing instead of many other things. It's how we're different than other animals. And these choices are not created equal...they have different ramifications for everyone involved. If I buy a Bowflex, I will get a bill in the mail and I can pay it or not. These are two simultaneous moments to choose from. If I don't pay it, I will probably lose my Bowflex, but I'll have money for other things. If I pay it, I'll have less money, but get to work on my chiseled physique. Because presumably that's why I bought the thing! I wanted IT! Therefore paying for it, to me, is the better option. (Ok, that was a sloppy example, but I hope you get my point...some decisions are better than others...:)

This basic decision making applies to EVERYTHING (suprisingly, many people are piss poor at it for some crazy reason...another post), but I will start by applying it to two of my favorite things, art and humans. This is where the second part of the title comes into play, because I believe that by heeding Rossio's words, it's not that one SHOULD make the best choice, it's that one MUST DEMAND the best choice be made.

ART: When a writer sets out to write a movie, he must come up with beats, or moments that will play out in his story. Scenes where characters do or say things, and things happen to them. When a painter paints, he must decide what to paint, etc. Composers, poets, whatever, anyone who creates...

Now, when one starts trying to create great art, they find out that they must work hard. That they may be talented, able to come up with some decent things right out of the gun, draw pretty well. Create things people like with little to no effort. However, you quickly learn that you have limitations, habits, and pitfalls, and that you need to set yourself up for greatness, that it won't just find you.

So you find out you need to re-write. Or re-draw. You need to go through what you've made, and decide if there's a better MOMENT, or character, or picture, or idea. Rossio said that every moment comes at the expense of a billion others. So as an artist, you must find the best moment. This means you must try things, tens of things, hundreds or thousands of things if need be. Because you can. Because there are limitless options for every moment. In this way, you will create greatness.

Example: Up vs. The Hangover. (Sorry if you've haven't seen them...if you haven't, just insert any two movies that are popular, one that's actually good, one that isn't.) Two big movies this summer, enjoyed by lots of people. I saw both, and I think they exemplify this idea. Up has found moment after moment, and drawn fascinating connections between them (the old man has tennis balls on his walker that later get used to ward off dogs). They clearly took the time to try many different things for each beat in the story and only settled on the right moment when it was pretty unanimously decided to be great, thus creating a very good to great story. Because this is what happens in great art. This is what seperates the Beatles and Radioheads from, well, shitty music. They aren't happy to just have a "good" song. They pour everything into every moment of every composition, making sure they're extraordinary.

Now, The Hangover was a very "funny" summer movie. I laughed. Hard at times. But it was just too fucking easy. To me, it was clear they settled on quick ideas, didn't do their homework, didn't allow time to really find the best moment. It's a Vegas comedy, you better bring something new to the table...Is Mike Tyson truly the funniest thing you could think of? The movie reeked of cheap laughs...easy comedy like a "scary tiger" or "crazy police" (It also had one of my worst enemies...what I like to call, the "Uber Moron". One character - Zack Galifanakis here - is designed to be unnaturally stupid so that when he says ridiculous things, the other guys make fun of him, and we laugh as an audience because we agree, what he's saying is stupid! Unfortunately, that's actually just the writers writing idiotic dialogue...the character isn't truthful, he doesn't exist.) By allowing a mediocre product to go to theatres, the makers of this movie said, "As long as people come through the door and laugh, it's ok to be lazy, because greatness isn't what we're after, it's the dollars!" They could have made something special and illuminating, historically funny, but couldn't have cared less.


HUMANS - Ever wonder why you like some people and not other people? Why that one guy is so annoying, but that other friend is really cool? Here's my theory. People that you like pick better moments. This is an active choice. When we're presented with a situation, we can act differently. There is a reason why some people are well liked and others are not. Well liked people actively pick make better decisions on how to act, pick better moments. They don't just go with their instinct, they stop and decide their next course of action. By surrounding yourself with people who choose moments that agree with your sense of right and wrong, sense of what's cool and what's shitty, you are saying that that person is a better moment chooser.

So what does this all mean? It means, you must have absurdly high standards for the choices being made around you. For your paintings, politicians, movies, music, beer, cleaning supplies, EVERYTHING. Because everything is not created equal. You have one chance to live life, to surround yourself with objects, people, and ideas, they might as well be the best ones. Some things are created by those with willingness to imagine better options, and those things are better. Don't be satisfied if that person is "nice enough", or that movie is "funny enough", or you're "happy enough". You are a human, you are the first species to have the power to do what Rossio says you can't: Imagine the choices you're not making. You have control, the power to make different choices, and if you start imagining and making better ones, you will be happier and have better people around you. They'll be happier, because you're cooler, it's one big contagious happy disease, and everyone wins.

Because the point is, after all, for us to maximize the happiness. Kudos to Rossio.


Aaron Sydney Golden

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Funk: Long Overdue Respect

Part of my writing before I started this blog was aphorisms...you know, things like "I think, therefore I am."...little snippets of thought meant to clearly impart knowledge or raise questions in often ironic or humorous ways (what would we do without you humour and irony?) . I'm thinking sometimes I'll start posts with them. The conclusivity bothers me, and it can make me sound like a pompous asshole. But remember the motto...no one knows anything for sure. (including ME!)

"Canines and ketchup are similarly clever in that they’re allied with the most dominant forces in their respective worlds, thus ensuring their survival. Canines with the powerful human, ketchup with the unbeatable french fry."

I thought of that at one of my restaurants (yes, I work at multiple restaurants...because working a just one wasn't destroying my soul quite enough...) This particular restaurant serves the unbelievable Canadian delicacy that is "poutine" (french fries covered in cheese curds with hot gravy on top, melting the cheese into the fries.) This is one of those foods that makes you wonder why the most delicious things have to be unhealthy (cookie dough, pizza, hot fudge brownie sundaes...) Because if vegetables tasted like poutine, I'd be a giddy and dedicated vegetarian.

Now, what is interesting to me is that some people actually don't enjoy poutine. Mystifying, I know, but "the gravy is too much", or "wah, it makes my heart hurt." Pussies. In terms of taste, this dish is STRAIGHT DELICIOUS! And this, my wonderful readers, brings me to today's topic...


Funk music, in my opinion, is incredible. Transcendent. The best. (In my one and only screenplay, the main characters are in a funk band, that's how much I love it.) There is absolutely nothing not to love about the crazy hard beats of Earth, Wind, and Fire. You can't listen to Stevie Wonder and not bob your head. I'm listening to it right now. I just want to get up, and throw down crazy styles. I don't love dancing, but I can't not dance to this shit.

Sugarhill Gang, George Clinton, Kool and the Gang, Jamiroquai...just some examples of funky tune-age. And what awesome names! Parliament-Funkadelic? Are you kidding me?

And it hardly ends there. Funk is in everything. Club dance music, jam bands, disco, hip-hop...all just mostly funk. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Black Eyed Peas? More like Funky Hot Funk Peppers and Funk Eyed Funkpeas. Breakdancing? Pish posh. Should just be called...Hard Funking.

So where do people get off not calling funk the greatest?

Look, I know everyone is different. We all have our idiosyncracies...I don't expect everyone to love everything I love. I understand if you think football is boring. Or if you can't get into RPG video games. But funk?

Honestly, when people ask me what my favorite music is, I used to not know what to tell them. Liked jam bands like Dave Matthews and Phish for a while...Radiohead's amazing, I love me some Beatles, and I'm a sucker for classical music. But, I'm not always in the mood for these things. Hm...what to say? In a blast of clarity everything clicked! The funk! No matter what time of day, if I'm happy or sad, I AM ALWAYS DOWN WITH FUNK!

I'd like to see a study of the effects of funk on a person. Why does it make me need to thrust my hips so assuredly, or wave my arms so goofily? Are there little funk men and women that live in the vibrations that fly into my head when some soulful funk gets started, and jump around my brain pulling all the dancing levers? If so, how do I get that job?

So I ask, people, are you really giving funk it's proper due? Are you really opening yourself up to the funk? And if you do claim to love the funk, are you vocal enough? Let's bring funk out from behind the closed doors of dive bar DJ booths. Out of specialty Sunday night "funk" nights, and into the mainstream. I swear, funk is the key to life...if the Iranians were listening to more funk, they'd be much more chill. That and smoking weed (different column...:)

I propose a funk minute on earth. We'll call it "Global Funk Break" Maybe at like 2:49 pm E.S.T. everyday funk music could blare from every street corner, and wherever you are, you just get to be straight funky for a minute. I know this would mean loud funk music in the middle of the night in, like, Africa, but whatever. It's for the good of the planet. Shut up, Africa.

So yeah, you probably like funk more than you think you do if you think you don't like it. And if you do like it, and I'm preaching to the choir...let's enjoy the funk, and eat some poutine, and go to bed happy.

And for those counting, I used the word funk (or a derivate like funky) 35 times in this post. That's how much I love funk. Shit, 36.


Aaron Sydney Golden

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gay Marriage and the Revolution of Revulsion

Feeling a tad burnt out on posting...my one post a day plan might have been a bit ambitious. But don't fear, I have many, many things to say, so even if I get lax at times, I promise I will return.

A quick aside: this internet thing is totally insane. I am a published writer now! Granted, no one but me had to decide that my work required or deserved publishing, but it's published all the same. Freedom of speech is the strongest weapon we "powerless save-the-world-ers" have against the powerful "no-the-world-is-fine-'cause-I'm-rich-and-powerful-ers", so I give the internet five thumbs up (my two plus one from each of my "followers"!) Amazing.

Anyway, I thought this would be a good time to throw up a column I wrote a little ways back. I intended to try to get it published (for real-like), but I think it's best here. Side note: What you're reading is my mom's edited version. Thanks, mom. (www.gailgoldenconsulting.com...doesn't she look great???)

Gay Marriage and the Revolution of Revulsion.

My name is Aaron Golden. I was born in the weed-isn’t-a-big-deal, draft-dodging liberal utopia of Canada (which is hardly as socially liberal as people give it credit for, but for the purposes of this article, the stereotype can stand.). My parents are University of Chicago intellectuals, my mother a psychologist, my father a professional musician. My first passion was musical theatre, I went to a mostly male private school, and my aunt is…let’s just say I call her my lesbi-aunt. Plain and simple, my upbringing was a textbook recipe for becoming a raging homo.

But something weird happened: I grew up loving pussy.

I still love it. It’s the best, women are the hottest. It’s unfair really, as my parents would have been open, accepting, and loving had I been gay, something the majority of young homosexuals have to live without. I had loads of gay theatre friends, who were always somewhat shocked that a football- playing straight guy would be as open and unfazed by their lifestyle as I was.

Because, theoretically, any argument opposing the gay lifestyle is just idiotic. To say gays shouldn’t marry because it takes a man and a woman to create kids doesn’t take into account the vast overpopulation of planet earth, the number of unwanted children who already exist, and the potential love and support that gay couples can give to children. To say a child needs both a mother and father is equally off-base, since as we don’t take children away from single fathers and mothers. Yes, I believe a child needs strong male and female role models, but as has been demonstrated time and again, others beside parents can fill these roles and it’s the parents’ duty to ensure their child is loved and supported. Besides, this whole line of argument implies that the only justification for marriage is procreation. To be sure, this is the traditional Catholic position, but most of us believe there are other excellent reasons to marry. And since we allow heterosexual couples who cannot or will not have children to marry, this point seems pretty irrelevant.

To say God says being gay is wrong…well, with separation of church and state, this should be a non-issue. If we need to take government out of marriage altogether, so be it. Legalize civil unions for everyone, and then find a church, synagogue, or any other religious institution that will marry you. If your church doesn’t believe in gay marriage, fine, they don’t have to perform it. But God is, supposedly, love.

However, and this is a big however, as a heterosexual, I have to admit I find gay love totally weird and incomprehensible. It is an absolutely foreign, almost lunatic concept to me. If I had never been told about gay love and sex, it never would have crossed my mind as an option.

As I looked around Huffington Post at pictures of gay couples and gay weddings, I was surprised at how foreign it still is to me. I support and love gay people and their fundamental right to be married, but I also think it is problematic to criticize others who see what you do as revolting.

I know this is a harsh word, but gay sex is revolting to me. (Lesbians not quite as much, but that’s beside the point.) This isn’t right or wrong, it’s just truthfully how I, and obviously many other people, feel. And this, finally, is my point: we’re surrounded by people who happily make choices that are so insane to us, assaulting our very sensibilities of what is right and wrong in the universe, that our instincts and emotions are thrown into confusion and terror. However, we must learn to calmly listen to these feelings of revulsion, and, if they have nothing to do with our own immediate lives, ultimately let them go.

This applies to everyone, gay and straight. I am also revolted by obese people gourging themselves at McDonald’s, or a person who spends ten hours a day playing online video games, or dare I say, picturing lots of heterosexual couples knocking boots. Conversely, I rarely clean up after myself...growing up with a housekeeper meant "messy shirts on floor" became "folded shirts in drawer." Suffice it to say, this amazingly didn't last after the housekeeper, but my "shirts on the floor" did. Revolting! People are constantly revolted: interracial couples, bizarre religious practices, sexual fetishes, clothing choices – the list goes on and on. Even food customs: “How can they eat THAT?!” Every single person on earth does something that others on this earth would find revolting.

Other people’s revolting behaviors create upsetting visual images, I get it. But these behaviors make others happy or satisfied or uplifted. So we should accept and support them. The only reasonable restriction is that they don’t hurt other people. Otherwise, they must be legal options. At the same time, we of the “open-minded” contingent must remember that overcoming one’s instincts, especially when they are as powerful as revulsion, is exceptionally difficult and requires a high degree of maturity. We must be patient and understanding, and not just assume because we love our personal peculiarities, other people should as well. We’re all allowed to be revolted, and, frankly, we don’t have a whole lot of control over it.

So, yes, gay haters, I get it. If two gay men walk down the street, you might picture for a split second what two dudes doing it would look and feel like. The mind is imaginative; you might even have to think about what it would be like to have a dick in your own butt. Oh well, you’ll think about unpleasant things in your life before and after that experience. Sorry, but there will never be a world without gay people. If it makes you that upset, go live in a cave.

And to all my gay friends whom I love dearly, enjoy your disgusting lifestyle! Hooray!


Aaron Sydney Golden

Monday, June 22, 2009

In the Grips of Overwhelming Transformation

So I acknowledge that there's a whole lot of personal, diary-type of shit (got my shoulders waxed for the first time today...hurts so good...) that is going to end up here, that many people won't care about...No one cares how you feel, Golden! But I am also using this blog to document a period in my life. A period of growth, change, and coming into my own as an adult human, and I think some self indulgence is allowed.

The title from this post comes from last night's episode of HBO's "True Blood" (solid programming)...a character was referring to another character's change into a vampire, and how it explains their erratic behavior, mood swings, etc. I thought it was a very fitting and vivid mental picture for change and growth in general. I don't know if the writers of the show intended to completely explain the last year of my life in a sentence, but the parallels to becoming an adult are striking.

A little backstory...I moved out to Los Angeles to be an actor and be with my girlfriend. Until that point, I had never lived farther than two hours from my giant, amazing extended family...I'm the youngest of three so I had four parents growing up. I'm classic youngest child...by the time the ball rolled on to me, my parents were much more relaxed. They're first was a smash hit, the second, a late, but powerful bloomer, and then me, he of much success from little effort in his early life. Then I moved to LA.

Let me just say, becoming an adult is fucking insane. You grow up your whole life looking at these big people running around, acting like they know what they're doing. And though you see a couple cracks (why is mommy crying?) in the armor, you assume that things will magically make sense when you're older. My plan: High school - get hammered a lot, have lots of fun, get good enough grades. College - study acting, get hammered, have some sex. Post college - get serving job, get agent, book commercials, book movies, BE FAMOUS RESPECTED ACTOR! Seemed so simple...

The first two went well, sans a couple hitches (tearing ACL, early heart break, acting professor telling me I wasn't the shit...) but then real life hit. KAPOW!

Turns out everyone is just making it up as they go along. That there's no manual, no book one receives on their eighteenth birthday. That "maturity" is not about age, but rather one's own idea of themselves. That no one will be handing out grades or awards. And that things just don't always turn out peachy rosy.

So when I got out here, I realized I wasn't an actor, that I was going to use this splendid brain I inherited and try to create movies. Brilliant movies that were beautiful, funny, challenging, and truthful. Because I think great movies are the BEST. But man, I never realized what kind of pain and loss one needs to conquer to honestly come into their own. Because once you put one thing on the table, you have to put everything on the table, and you find out some pretty harsh things about yourself and the world. (you are not the first, best, or greatest, you will die one day - another column, the world will go on without you, etc.)

Anyhow, to anyone else struggling through their own transformation, just be ok with everything because you decided to do something brave. The easy thing would have been to never attempt to discover your power. Because the only way you can discover your greatest power is by finding your greatest passion. It's tough but all you can do is own it. If you own it you find new confidence. If you own it, it becomes your own. If you own it, you can start having fun again.

But you must go down first.


Aaron Sydney Golden

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In Defense of Offense

One blog post and I already have two followers! Booya...at this rate, by my three hundredth post, I'll have...four million followers! (don't worry about the math, it works.)

Now that I have introduced a little of my worldview (much more on that later!), I wanted to take this post to both talk about why the shit I've decided to "blog". God, I hate the word blog.

As I said, I'm a professional server (I'm really fucking good too...I like NEVER mess up orders!) that dares defy the odds to tackle the Hollywood machine. That's all well and good, but what will I be talking about here and why do I think anyone will care?

Well, ok, first, writing a movie is really hard, and a ton of fucking work. While I'm making movies to tackle some of the thoughts I will write about here, I have many more reflections and ideas that simply won't make it into a film. To write a great film (something I have not done yet), one must create an absurd amount of interesting ideas, hack them to pieces, then hope, eventually, a story emerges that both fascinates and educates. Usually it doesn't. Anyhow, this takes a very long time, and I simply can't fit all the things I have to say into that medium.

Why not just write columns then? I believe in the power of entertainment to educate. Reading can be fascinating, and I try to do as much of it as I can, but I often find my mind wandering...blame it on my generation, on the vast amounts of weed I've smoked, whatever, but I find moving pictures, evocative music, relatable characters and dialogue, etc. to hold my attention, hold my mind effortlessly. And hold it firm, like a firm man hug. Then the ideas can flow freely into the brain!

So, this is my compromise. Rant and rave about the world I've found myself in (hell, I didn't ask for this, none of us did), and try to write a great film while I'm at it.

But really, why?...'Cause life is the craziest thing that's ever happened to me.

Now for a little disclaimer. It is of my opinion that the main reason art is so integral is that it opens lines of communication and understanding betwixt human beings. Why are communication and understanding important? This seems to me the reason for most of the problems on this planet. People unable to put our common needs and the good of humanity above their own immediate desires because, hey, they're needs are simply MORE IMPORTANT. "I am a me, I am no one else. I like to make me happy, because I AM me, therefore I need to work for me, and they need to work for them."

NOT THE DEAL. Understanding creates empathy, which creates trust, which creates more communal happiness...However, that's a (or many more) post(s) for another time.

In my efforts to communicate and understand, I will be shockingly honest. I will say things in this blog that are offensive, crude, and inappropriate. I may even say things like "Delightful Faggot" or "Hairy Jew Balls". I've been told to watch what I say on this thing...it could hurt my career! Hell, I might even be kicked off blogspot. (If that happens, I will be continuing the blog on a new website...no one can keep me down!) And all I ask is, if you ever find yourself angry about something I've said, think about these four things.

1) I have already stated that anything I say "conclusively" is only based on my understanding of the world at the youthful age of 23. I don't know anything for sure, and I am all about revising my opinions should new, pertinent information be given to me. If I decide to go into politics at forty and some douchebag anus face tries to bring this shit up, I promise I will call him a douchebag anus face to his douchebag anus face.

2) Where is your outrage coming from? Please ask yourself that before you attack me. Are you mad because I misunderstand something? Are you mad because I'm drawing the wrong conclusions? You might be right, but remember, NO ONE REALLY KNOWS ANYTHING. That's the point. If you think I'm wrong, convince me so, and we'll move forward. Everyone wins.

3) I am writing without many filters and fairly unedited. I do a lot of my best writing on the fly, and I personally like to read writing that sounds like real thought, not "professionally prepared."

4) This is a big one. I admit the language I use is colorful. My friends and I (and probably you and your friends) use lots of words that people find "offensive". But to illustrate why I think it's ok if I say "Sizable Nigger Schlong", I will use this specific bad word.

Everyone asks, "Why can black people say Nigger, but white people can't?" Simply put, black people tend to not hate black people, but are familiar with people that do. This is a word so closely related with irrational hatred, that there is a big fence around it. But, I don't hate black people (at least no more than any other kind of people.) Why don't I hate black people? Because it DOESN'T MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE. People are people. Hatred of an individual for no reason other than race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., is done. It's idiotic. It's over. If you do it, you're holding the rest of us back. Go drown yourself in pudding (best way to go out!)

But then, Aaron, why use these words? Why turn off potential readers? Hm...they're funny. They elicit a response. They illustrate how much farther we have to go as a society. And, frankly, I'm more likely to read something if I relate to it, and people relate to our differences.

There you go. I'm tired of worrying about offending. I'm sorry if people's feelings get hurt, but I won't apologize for my honesty. If I make mistakes, I will correct them. I hope blogger doesn't kick me off, but if I'm still here in a week (and still have two followers after this column!), maybe I really do have something, and we'll have some FUN.


Aaron Sydney Golden

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Intro to Pragmartistry

Ugh, I have a blog now. I'm such a weenbag.

HI! Let's begin.

Pragmatism: an approach that assesses the truth or meaning of theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application.

Artistry: creative skill or ability.

(Taken from the little Macbook "dashboard" dictionary do-dad that magically beams onto my computer when I hit F4. And to think, there was a time when F4 really only meant F4.)

Pragmartistry: Faux-clever word invented by one Aaron Sydney Golden (est. 1985, a year after Winston Smith got F-ed in the A by Big Brother) to attempt a definition of his place in this F-ed up video game we call existence.

I am an aspiring screenwriter/filmmaker in Los Angeles, and being that this is the first blog every written by a screenwriter, (HA) I hope people will respond to the things I have to say.

I am a White (cliche!), Jewish (cliche!), Canadian (the cliche hat trick!) attempting to create great films in Los Angeles. And I mean, GREAT. I believe that what success means to me, and what I am attempting to do here is, though not unprecedented, certainly not the normal path for many young screenwriters trying to "hit it big". I think. Who knows.

That's a big theme of mine. Who the fuck knows? No one, that's who. Fucking amazing.

Anyway, here's where pragmartistry comes in. I am not fully pragmatic in that attempting to become a professional artist is anything but sensible. However, I am not a true "artist", creating purely out of a desire to create, in that I tend to think the success of artistry should be defined by the practical effects it has on people.

Pragmartistry: The creation of art with clear intent of purpose, wherein which success is defined by its practical, positive effect on people.

News flash! Many people in Los Angeles are not artists. This is the land of commercialized entertainment. They are not here for the good of humanity, do not see movies as a tool of human evolution. Every movie in your local theatre is designed to pay for an extension on a studio executive's house. Every television show has gone through "testing" to ensure the broadest appeal so each and every one of us will have at least two swiffer sweepers. Because life without a swiffer sweeper is...well...fine, actually. Everyone makes their money, humans are given their escapes and distractions from the mortgages and pink slips, and everyone joins together in producing copious amounts of carbon dioxide.

However, "artists" are full of shit. Well, no, artists who create without the need to explain or actively aid in the bettering of humanity are full of shit. (Mind you, anything I ever say that sounds "conclusive" is merely my opinion based on the knowledge I have accumulated thus far. If anything I say is wrong, and you have good knowledge as to why, PLEASE tell me, as I always strive to understand "The Deal".) There must be the burden of understanding placed on artists. I have no problem with an artist who doesn't want to explain their work for fear of giving the audience pre-knowledge of their intentions, thus hurting the potential for truthful reaction...but Lars Von Trier can suck my dick. Artists who won't explain their work are a)full of shit, b)lazy, or c)utterly selfish, at the expense of the rest of the planet.

So....where does that leave me/us? I'm of the opinion that art is playing an integral role in human cultural evolution. That we are at an amazing crossroads, where we're ripping the very roots of our societies up in order to maybe survive on this planet for a while longer. To maybe make life better for everyone on board (yes, potentially at a cost to you, Mr. Hollywood suit.) To maybe attempt to really understand our universe and enjoy it a little more.

So, in conclusion, this blog will be all over the place. Nothing is off limits. I don't know what I'll talk about, but, as this is my first blog post ever, I promise I'll get better.

Pragmartistry: Nonsense, just like everything else.


Aaron Sydney Golden