The week of 11-11-11 has been a particularly difficult one. There were high-profile horrors and scandals too heinous to introduce in our little pop culture corner of the world. There were the twin near-meltdowns of Greece and Italy, one prompted by the weight of Silvio Berlusconi’s ego sitting on the neck of his country until even his closest allies told him get off and get out. The other, from former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, was a prolonged series of wildfires flaring up, dying down, flaring up again until, last week, he pulled an act of political self-immolation.
We had many sad deaths occur, from Joltin’ Joe Frazier to the overweight lover Heavy D. It just seemed like a week of relentless sadness, and then 11-11-11 came.
Bizarrely, it revived in many the sense of hope and for the future that permeated things just before 2008’s economic breakdown, if but for a day. Young couples bolted to Sin City U.S.A., Las Vegas NV, to get quickie marriages for the benefit of being able to say, “We got hitched on 11/11/2011.” Forget that there are states that won’t recognize the union until it is verified or redone in their home states; that’s not really the point is it? Here was a chance to put a poker chip down into this big game called the future, and for once in these past twelve months not feel like this was a life or death gamble.
Pity the poor sap who tries to say he didn’t know when his wedding anniversary was though.
Other things that should fill Americans with delight are, first, the release of the Adam Sandler movie Jack & Jill, where Sandler plays both Jack, and his slovenly, intellectually hopeless twin sister Jill (didn’t see that one coming). I’m not going to see it myself. The reviews for it have been uniformly atrocious, but it is still likely to make a bundle at the box office. In that, and for no good reason, I find comfort. I am a critic quite often, and I pass judgment on music and movies like I know what is good and what is not, and as ever, mine is only an opinion, as ready to be ignored as anyone else’s. Although Jack & Jill is a prolonged excuse to make fart jokes, and although it is probably as bad as the critics say it is, there is virtue in knowing that their opinions are likely to be ignored this weekend.
Occupy Wall Street? How about Occupy Loew’s Multiplex.
Finally, organizations have taken to calling this date Nigel Tufnel Day in honor of the faux-guitarist of Spinal Tap whose amplifier legendarily went to 11; it goes one higher, he said. When asked why it wasn’t just retagged correctly as being ten, he boldly insisted, “But mine goes to eleven.” This then is a holiday (aside from the fact that, you know, it truly is a holiday – Veteran’s Day…Did you forget? No mail?) that we will not see again for a whole century, off in the year 2111, one year before the reanimated corpses of Rush go out for yet one more friggin’ tour and three more friggin’ live albums.
By that time, we hope, our courses have been straightened, our markets righted so that there were no longer bulls and bears, but safe and sane. We hope that adults became true adults, protectors of institutions, youth, innocence and reason. We hope our heroes, now gone, stood the test of time so that generations beyond us thought us strange, but not too strange for liking them. We hope that the brides and grooms of the unions of 11/11/11 had many happy years, many happy kids, and achieved all those dreams they carried with them into the ten-buck chapel o’love today. We hope that, in the final hours of this twenty-four, you made time for odd non sequiturs, living in the moment, enjoying a good fart joke alongside a really bad fart, forgave a critique that displeased you and, in turn accepted in good humor a critique leveled at you, and of course, that you had the chance to turn it up to eleven.
Happy Nigel Tufnel Day, everyone.