Sunday, July 1, 2012

Classic Mistake

This will not be a classic blog post.  At least I don’t think so.  According to my Webster’s,  that would mean this missive would serve as a model of excellence.  Well, frankly, that’s the kind of pressure I don’t need.  History will judge me.  I just wish others were as patient.

I hear about things being described as “classics” every day and it breaks my heart to see a well-meaning word brought to its knees.  “Classic” could further be defined as relating to ancient Greek or Roman literature or art, or more succinctly, of lasting historical or artistic significance or worth.  So you’ll perhaps understand why my stomach roils when I hear someone call “Happy Gilmore” a classic.

Please believe me, I’m no elitist.  I do not line up to see the latest sub-titled French film at the theater; I get it from Netflix, only letting it get to the top of my queue when I’m up to date on the Showtime sex comedies.  But there is a line that is crossed when the word “classic”  is used.  The ‘C’ word leaves big footprints.

It’s movies and music as well, really.  Rap music, more than thirty years after the dawning, has just begun to sort out what was classic and what was the work of opportunistic pretenders.  While the work of the Sugar Hill Gang and N.W.A. will be recognized,  many others will disappear into the vapor, having been no more classic than  the latest hyperbolically named Arby’s sandwich.

Don’t even get me started about anything deemed an instant classic. The second those two words are linked like boxcars, the marketing train is picking up steam.  Becoming classic takes time and consideration.  There is a reason most men will find a pair of wingtips in his closet, or perhaps Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers.  Their design has endured over generations.  If said man should find earth shoes or moon boots beside this pair of classics, he hasn’t cleaned out his closet since 1978.

We’re all guilty of it at one time or another.  We do it to give our lives meaning, to claim what is ours and set aside what previous generations have admired and venerated.  My daughter coined the phrase “prematurely nostalgic” and I think it fits.  We’re rushing to judgment so we can stake out our territory and declare ours better than theirs, today superior to yesterday.  Part of the cause is an ignorance to history.  If you’ve never been exposed to Laurel and Hardy, you might actually believe Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are a classic comedy team. 

Unfortunately, dear reader, believing does not make it so.  This old world is like a roulette wheel, and guessing what will transcend the moment is a giant gamble.  Best to wait until the wheel stops, or at least slows down, before calling something classic.  Otherwise, you may have to explain why you were so positive that Simon was certain to fail without Garfunkel.

Please consider these other items written and/or performed by Marc Holland:
Live performances at:

Three plays co-written with Mike Davis-

Crenshaw Family Reunion 

Beauty and the Deceased

Night of the Livid Dad (one-act)

One play co-written with Kathy Holland-

Warren’s Peace

Are  all available at:

Coming Soon: A new one-act co-written with Kathy Holland-


Will be available at:

Novels under the pen name Quentin Tippler-

Hats Off For Homicide

And Coming Soon:

On the QT: The Collected Short Fiction of Quentin Tippler

Are for sale at:

Novels under the pen name Carl Stafford-

Son of Mann

And Coming in 2014:

Grandsons of Mann

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