Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hashtag Deep

Today, a twitter account criticised most of our young-uns’  understanding of deep. We’re talking about deepness in terms of a work of art, whether they be in the form of movies or song lyrics or poetry, not deep as in the physical sense. 

The tweeter said that in order for a piece to be trvly deep, it needs to affect the consumer somehow. Kena bagi kesan kat diri sendiri, bak kata beliau. According to the curator, whether or not a piece of work is deep or not is placed in the hands of the reader or consumer of the piece. The consumer needs to be changed or affected by the composition, then and only then can it be deemed deep. 

I take a differing slant on the matter. A “deep” piece, to me, is a work that has an undercurrent, that says one thing in terms of another thing. The composition often times uses the language of metaphor to deliver its content, and if a piece successfully does that, it can be deemed deep, whether or not the consumer gets what is being delivered or not. In my interpretation of it, deepness is self-sufficient.

The way I see deepness is that I liken it to the deep ocean. On the surface of the ocean you see some things. Waves, dead fish, driftwood, a message in a bottle making its way from one shore to another. But below that surface, you can see a rich environment, totally full of life with choral reefs, schools and schools of fish, whales, and probably a tie-wearing sponge. So what you see on the surface is not necessarily the same as what is going on beneath the surface. And that’s the way I see deepness.

Through my observation, a lot of people seem to mistake deepness with “hitting the nail on the head” kind of things. If one were to say something that is SO TRUE (in the suburban white girl sense), then a lot of people would jump to the word “deep” to describe it. I’m all for variety of language, but when one uses one word that doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to mean, and when a lot of people around the world have a different interpretation towards the word too, then it’s downright confusing. The mistake cripples my ability to navigate through content that is actually deep and things that are not actually deep but are just SO TRUE.

Such a phrase that a lot would say is deep is “the only constant is change”. It’s a very literal phrase, meant to be taken at face value. But when someone ascribes the adjective “deep” to it, I get confused as to what I am actually missing. Is there something else that I should be aware of? Is there something going on under the surface of those words. After mulling it over for several moments, I’d come to the conclusion that says no, there is nothing more to the phrase than exactly what it is saying. Of course it is SO TRUE, but there’s nothing deep about it. And making me look for something that isn’t there is very annoying, and I’d rather not be annoyed, thank you very much.

Now, take this line from Lupe Fiasco’s “Words I Never Said”. He says early on in the first verse “How much money does it take to really make a full clip?” with the word “clip” possibly referring to three things at the same: money clip, bullet clip and/or video clip. Because this song is a politically charged on where Lupe is criticising (among other things) the US government, mass media being used as a tool to keep us ignorant, and the masses for not doing enough to fight their oppressors, you can come up with these interpretations because these ideas are connected, and the words connect them. We come closer to what "deepness" means through looking at this line.

Satire has always been a good example of deepness. One only needs to see how Orwell used Animal Farm (the novel) as a critique on communism to see how one narrative can be a tool to say something else, although not entirely different, but still requires an imaginative mind and eye to see what the author was doing. The reader needs to be aware of the social conditions and prevalent issues of the time in order to fully grasp what had been written.Pieces like these ones are the ones that are closer to being described as “deep”, at least in my understanding of it.

Thus, if we could all agree on what is meant by deep, that’d be great.

No comments: