Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Tale of Three Cities

I think in Metaphors.
No joke, I once watched my cat attack my dog and wondered to myself if this was much like the attack from Japan on America. Japan was obviously smaller, but it had more intention to attack, it was fierce and quick. This cat perfectly demonstrated a 1940's Japan. As well, my dog portrayed America to the tee. It was much bigger, and stronger. But really didn't care to fight the cat, and just kept sleeping while the cat stalked on. once the cat made a move though, the dog was quick to retaliate. pulling the cat off his back an pinning him to the ground, making him meow in protest. until the dog had had enough and let the cat go and it ran into the other room to lick its wounds.
But I digress. This metaphor post is not about my dog and cat, but rather myself and my Brothers.
I see us as cities. Don't ask me where this sort of thought comes from, it just appears in my head and swirls around in there. Most of the time when I'm trying to complete meaningless tasks at my task site. But anyway, here it is, who are we as cities. And I stuck with west coast, because I know those cities best (not that i know them all that well.), and because I don't think any of us are east coast cities at heart.
Lets start with me just to get it out of the way.

Tyler- Portland, Oregon

I make myself Portland because I see Portland as a city of conflict and eclecticism.  It is a city who's cultures clash in the town square with screaming and hatred, but then the same people that cause for outcry are the same that meet civil in the coffee shops and the meeting rooms. The people want to be weird, left to do what they want with out being told that they must adapt to a paradigm. It is a place of rest and intensity, of revolutionary changes and conservative sanctuary. It has a music culture built around enjoying music, not perfecting it. Searching the old films for classics, not creating new blockbusters. and a fad following group of people that are too cool to be fit into a box like a trend, whether that is the new trend or not.
I am constantly being told that I am a hipster from my Brothers, and the more I deny the idea of it, the more they are convinced of it. I love music and movies and will fight to the death that my point of view of them is correct. that the classics are classics for a reason, and most of the time my views don't line up with others. Possibly on purpose, so as to give me a chance to voice my opinion. I believe out of the three of my siblings I'm the "weirdest." The way I dress, talk and act points to my unique and oddity. I am constantly in conflict with myself, letting my liberality battle with my conservatives, forming a hodgepodge of beliefs and morals. willing to accept pluralism, but wanting to do away with it in every way.  
I am Portland because I am the middle child who wants attention, the starving artist, poor collage student, the business man, the councilor, the rebel and the lawman.  In a word, I'm weird.

Brother One - Seattle, Washington

Now, before I begin, I have to say that most of what I know from Seattle is from magazines, a one time trip up there, and a once pass through to a concert somewhere else, what others have told me, and the TV show Frasier. And while I might not have several years of living in the city experience, I do have an idea, just an idea mind you, of what the city is about. So please bear with me if  make a few mistakes, I'm just making parallels, not travel brochures.
The very first thing that pops into my head about why my older brother is Seattle is that he is from Washington. He grew up there and only moved to Oregon because it was closer to family.  While this origin is not a the complete summation in the decision of what city  he is, it does play a part. He still has quite a bit of Washington pride and will stand for the state he hails from.
To me Seattle is the big brother of Portland, for more than just this metaphor, it has always in my mind been the big brother. While Portland has been in existence longer than Seattle, the reputation that I have seen it at is that Seattle is a little more refined, established.
It is a city of free thinking and art. Of health and economy, its cosmopolitan yet casual ( that last part I took from a travel guide. I'm not original, don't delude yourself.)
A huge supporter of sports and business, this city has just about everything a person would want to live around. Its smart and fun and loud and sophisticated. that why it was name one of the most livable cities in america.
The City has a huge musical culture that differs from Portland in that it wants to actually change the music we listen to.  Both cities have musicians, and do well to put out their style of music, but Seattle seems to have a more established network of publishing. It to me seems like it has the same artist soul, but its more refined, more well mannered, less "weird".
Brother One is my fathers son. He is a guy who loves sports. An MMA fighter who has scared me with how intense he can be. While maintaining a sense of fun and excitement that only he seemed to be able to create. Constantly bring the people around him closer together with fun events, he lives to help people be better versions of themselves. He has amassed such a large collection of music, that not even he can keep track of it.  Often getting into musical "battles" with my younger brother to see who can introduce the coolest newest song.
Seattle is a city with a defined skyline. You can see the silhouette and know exactly what you'r looking at. as long as you know what to look for. For me its the Space Needle, for others its... its... its... ok never mind everyone just looks for the Needle.
My brother is the defined one, the one that every knows him for what he offers. While Portland is well known, it is not defined. Seattle is defined, it is sophisticated, even in its liberal views that Portland has yet to accept, It is exciting and happy, something that inspires all the cities around it to be. Brother One is safe a haven for just about every one, willing to help those in need and be a good guy, but not afraid to stand his ground. He is a role model to myself and Brother Two, when we check ourselves against One, we comeback only better people. Brother One in a word, Charming

Brother Two - Los Angeles

Again I give the same warning as before. This is just quick thoughts on how people relate to cities. Not a travelers guide to a vacation spot. what I know of Seattle, I know even less of LA. Most of what I know come from movies, TV shows, and some light reading. I passed through once on a mission trip, and that was literally it. So most of this will be heresy.
LA is a city that feeds on the attention of others, but still wants to be left alone. It has this sense of superiority that is unmatched by almost any other city, except maybe New York. But when the new world became available to the rest of the world, and america still wanted people to migrate to its borders, New York was the place to go and start a new life. Now its LA. In LA you can find the american dream, stretching from the sands of the warm beaches, to the sands of the hot Fracking desert.
It offers an idea that people latch onto in this culture, that you can be yourself and still get paid a lot of money. Home of the struggling and the famous (and that's not always two different people.) It has a huge complex of personalities. It knows who it wants to be, but is coming to terms with who it is. And while most might think that it is a place of new beginnings, the people who live there are constantly trying to keep new people and tourists away.  It is both Inclusive and exclusive at the same time, it is a paradox of society that stands in the very heart of art.
Now I know that this all might seem a little jaded in words but its really not. I'm just writing one aspect. The other aspect is a city of artists who excel at any medium they choose. Comedians, Painters, Musicians, Actors, Athletes. We have a city that can literally to do anything it wants. It chooses to entertain us. Giving us great things and making us laugh and cry and rise up in a cause. It gives its voice for what it feels and pivots an entire country on its heels. Because of this, it puts itself fully into an art that makes it jaded to the rest of the world. It distances its self from the country and warns them not to come over, because it wants to perfect what it does and then reveal it to us when its ready.
LA is a city of artists, who could be considered weird, but I believe they are just strange to most. They have an odd way of looking at the world, and it can only be expressed through art. and  I believe that is much Like Brother Two.
He is a Musician first and for most. He literally picks up any instrument and figures out how to make sweet music with it. He is so good that it had actually pissed me off in some cases. and he is determined to make it as a musician, which I completely support.
Sometimes he has odd thoughts that make others wonder what could possible be going on in his head, and he is cast out from a lot of social circles because of it. He can bring a smile with his cooky wit, or he can really piss you of.
He has told me before, not in a round about way, but straight up, that he is the final authority on music. Which if you twinged inside at how egotistical that is to say, then I'm right there with you. But a couple things on that. First is, when I graduated film school I though that I was the authority on movies, and argued all the time about what people thought about movies.Even now people think i argue a lot, AND I DON"T!
But he is simply taking pride in what he knows, and likes so i don't that against him all that much. Too, he is very good at finding good music. constantly putting music on in any room, car, or patio that he occupies, he has made an art out of finding the right mood for the setting. so while i hate that he thinks hes above it all, I do appreciate his knowledge and abilities.
While his is a musician and all around fun guy, Brother Two has some introverted tendencies that show their face every once in a while. The idea that he needs to spend time alone to gather his thoughts is one thing. Something that most of us share. But Two tends to spend most of his time by himself, or with the girl he adores. To the point where he is almost starving for connection with the outside world. But he soon finds himself wanting to go back to what it is he likes to do, and not what others do. He wants to jam on his music, and play Fallout 3.
Two and LA connected in their talent, and contradictory personalities. They want people, they want approval, but they don't want to give up themselves to get that. They want to be the top of the list in their field, in what they do, but they are just figuring it out. They are coming to terms with an ever changing world, and a culture that changed them almost everyday. Brother Two in a word, No it takes two words, Talented Ambivalence.

This is just me working through some personal identification and how i see the world around me. It's not a gospel in the way my family, or myself, is. I love my Brothers very much, they mean everything to me, and are my best friends. Which is why I feel safe enough to write about them.  Its just short little snippets of what goes through my head, and a metaphor that i wanted to try and write out. But the question really is, how do you see yourself. what city are you?

T.W. Clawson

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