Color Commentary

Posted by Ace on April 18th, 2009 filed in from the Comments

Yoko shared her thoughts at some length about Memory (and has been the only one to do so to date, at least here.  The Empress herself read the entry, but limited herself to commenting, “And yes, you should buy a yearbook,” across the Easter dinner table, while doing things she forbade me to write about.)

Yoko: I also have a very regrettable senior yearbook picture- I have a mullet. Somehow, in my mind, I thought this would make me look cool, but I too winced when I got the proofs back, even then.

I saved the mullet for college.  It looked particularly great on ID photos.  My personal favorite was the duplicate driver’s license photo that the DMV snapped of me after my friend Ogre rode me there on the back of his motorcycle, the one where I hadn’t shaved for a week and was wearing an OD army shirt with the sleeves cut off.  The interns at Giant Media Conglomerate later blew that one up into a 4′ x 6′ banner on the color Xerox machine, and hung it over their workstation.

Y: Other pictures of me in this yearbook have me wearing the same sweater, even though they were taken at different times- you would think I never changed clothes.  Sad.

I actually made an effort to wear pretty much the same thing every day, at first because it was easy, and later because I thought it helped make me more iconic.  All I changed was my t-shirt.  Is that more or less sad than having it appear that way accidentally?

Ace: …if by “good” one means, “purely happy, unmitigated by regret or stained by context”…

Y: In my older age, that has not become my definition of a good memory. There is no joy for me that is not mixed with another emotion, as I do not use paints without mixing with another. (figuratively, Ace- I don’t paint.) Any memory that has some happiness to it is a good memory.

I think yours is a very balanced, healthy definition.  I don’t paint with one color, either.  It’d be nice if I could stick to a single palette, though!  I think I knocked my brush-cleaning jar over onto the tabouret…

A: I didn’t want to remember it how it had really been. I wanted to remember it the way I had perceived it…

Y: Isn’t all memory subjective? How you perceived it is how it had been for you. How a videographer shoots a wedding is how he/she saw it, or how he/she creates the memory. It’s not how it really *was*.

Interesting.   Analyzing my own (previously unanalyzed) thought process, I find that while I acknowledge human memory as subjective, I don’t automatically confer the same status on technological methods of recording past events, despite the presence of a controlling author behind them.  Rather, I rate them on a sliding scale depending on how much of the data available in consensual reality they duplicate, and to what degree that duplication is or isn’t tweaked by the author.  A cartoon or an oil painting of me at my wedding done by someone who was there is very subjective, because those mediums inherently demand that the artist decide what’s included in the work, which of my features to depict, what I’m saying, etc., and the viewer will have to fill in a lot of it his own mind.  A photograph taken of me at my wedding (the raw stock anyway) is less so;  the photographer decides what’s included in the picture, and has some capacity to orchestrate the composition, lighting, etc. to create the effect he desires, but unless he busts out Photoshop or the airbrush, the technological basis of the medium provides a certain core of data that is less subject to manipulation, and requires less interpretation from the viewer.   A video in turn is even less subjective, because unlike a photograph, a video takes that core and multiplies it over a sustained instance of time, plus adds a second sense to the mix, vastly increasing the effort necessary for the author to manipulate it.

I’m not sure such a summation stands up to logical inquiry.   (And Goddess knows what’ll happen if and when we get up to the Strange Days/ Brainstorm level, and our subjective realities can become consensual…)  I do observe, though, that the one constant in all those descriptions above is the one thing my subjective memory of the experience can’t include:  how I looked to other people!  So maybe I should have said, “I didn’t want my opinion of how I had looked and acted contradicted by any objective evidence otherwise.”  :)

Y: What’s most interesting about yearbooks, to me, is what people wrote in them….  Some of the things people wrote in mine mystify me to this day.

The things written in mine were generally comprehensible.  What mystified me were the abbreviated quotes people would put below their Senior Pictures.  (“RS.O.F22-47+6QBFE!!!!!!!!)

On the other hand, everyone found my quote equally mystifying, despite its literal comprehensibility.  I would prefer not to relate what it was, as it was so unique that it would identify me beyond any shadow of a doubt.  But I will say that it was a reference to a joke that my friends and I had shared in junior high-school.  And that I put it there not only because it was something I still thought of with genuine affection, but because I could think of no better statement to sum up my entire experience of being in high school than to refer to something that had occurred before I began it.

My friend Vetra would have won the grand prize had he gone with his original idea (or had they let him), which was to use the quote from Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Kodachrome”:  “When I think back to all the crap I learned in high school/   it’s a wonder I can think at all.”

Y: Finally, a tangent- I like my high school memories (good and bad) to stay as they are. I have no need for reunions.

Yeah…  the reunion people do keep finding me, because the smarter ones among them inquire at my family’s businesses, whereupon my siblings promptly spew my current contact information at them.  But I’ve never been to any of them, nor had any desire to do so.  I had the humourous experience of looking over the “MIA list” for the tenth reunion, and realizing with a chuckle that I knew precisely where many of the people listed on it were.  I didn’t understand how the graduates organizing it could fail to realize that the people on that list didn’t want to be found.  C’est la vie.

One Response to “Color Commentary”

  1. Yoko Says:

    Thanks for taking the time to comment on my comments. :)

    The thing about videography is that it’s not omnipresent- you’re not getting multiple angles by several camerapeople (unless you have a Hollywood wedding, which most people don’t), so there’s a subjective element to where the videographer chooses to place the camera at a given time and space. But I agree that you can’t have a memory of how you looked to other people.

    I should amplify what I had said about certain yearbook comments mystifying me. The ones I got are comprehensible in the sense that they’re written (mostly) in English, in full words and sentences. But some of the content baffles me. I also can’t divulge in great detail, but in a nutshell, 2 students who were disrespectful of me in person wrote very thoughtful, kind words in my yearbook, and to this day I can’t figure out where the change in heart came from. I do believe it was sincere, too.

    I love that Kodachrome quote.

    “I didn’t understand how the graduates organizing it could fail to realize that the people on that list didn’t want to be found.”

    Yeah, I thought the same exact thing, looking at the MIA list for my undergrad.