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I Hate Faloobetijangle!

by David Dvorkin

You say you hate faloobetijangle. But that's only because you've never experienced real faloobetijangle - faloobetijangle done properly. Try this faloobetijangle. This is faloobetijangle done the way faloobetijangle should be done. This faloobetijangle is different. I guarantee you've never experienced faloobetijangle like this before. You'll love this faloobetijangle.

No, I won't. I'll hate it. Because no matter how it's cooked or performed or prepared or presented or otherwise experienced, it's still faloobetijangle. You may discern differences between different types of faloobetijangle, between inferior faloobetijangle and merely adequate faloobetijangle and utterly superb faloobetijangle, but to me it's all faloobetijangle, and I hate it.

Iced Faloobetijangle

Centuries ago, when I was in high school, I was visiting a friend at his house on a hot summer day. He offered me iced tea. I said I didn't like iced tea. I could have said, truthfully, that I hated iced tea, that I considered it an abomination that should be outlawed, but I was relatively polite in those days, and I naively thought that saying I didn't like it would put an end to the matter.

His eyes grew wide. "You don't like it! Really?"

I assured him that I really didn't like it. He insisted that everyone liked iced tea, especially on a hot, humid Indiana summer day. (I suppose the "hot, humid" part is redundant.)

When I repeated that I didn't like iced tea, he turned into a Faloobetijangle Zombie, a creature that I was to become familiar with in later years but that was then new to me. "You've just never had iced tea made right. The way I make it. Once you've had a glass of my iced tea, you'll realize how good iced tea is. Lemme make you a glass. Huh? Huh? Huh?"

Being relatively polite, I said okay. Grinning, eyes wide with happiness, he zoomed into the kitchen. He rattled around in there for a long time, banging and crashing and stirring and performing, as he imagined, alchemical magic. He returned with a tall glass filled with tea and ice cubes and with a long spoon in it and a lemon slice on the rim - you know, just like in TV commercials. He was still grinning. He shoved the glass at me. "Try this! You're gonna love this iced tea!"

I gulped some down. I wasn't polite enough to be able to hide my reaction. It was horrible. It was vomitous. It was an abomination.

It was iced tea. I hated it.

Operatic Faloobetijangle

In college, I fell in with a crowd of music majors. This was at Indiana University, home of what was then, and may still be, the largest music school in world, or possibly the universe. Also the best, according to some of my new friends. They had the kinds of silly ideas about math and science majors one often encounters among the artsy-fartsy crowd. Thus, they were astonished and delighted when I said that I loved classical music.

"Really? Who's your favorite classical composer?"


Sneers and derisive laughter. "Oh. You don't mean Classical music. You mean Romantic music. Bach is Classical music."

"Bach is boring."

Gasps of horror. Cries of outrage. "Bach is God!"

So I let them drag me to innumerable performances by chamber groups, of which there were vast numbers in that vast, Bach-worshiping music school, and in the end my horizons were broadened and I came to rather like the stuff. Not as much as I liked Tchaikovsky, who, as all real lovers of real classical music know, is God, but well enough.

But here's the point. I had never said that I hated what they insisted on calling Classical music. I had only rarely been exposed to it before and knew little about it. With exposure, I came to appreciate what I had never heard in it before. I could see that, while that kind of music is nowhere near as stupendously wonderful as my music-school friends had been brainwashed into believing, it's quite pleasant in small enough doses. It wasn't something that I had tried a few times and concluded that I hated it and would hate no matter who was playing it or who had composed it. It was not a variety of faloobetijangle.

Encouraged by their success, they sought to widen my horizons further. They knew I liked opera, but they were annoyed that I hated contemporary opera. "Opera died with Puccini," I said. "Contemporary opera isn't music. It's horrible noise that should be outlawed."

They turned into Faloobetijangle Zombies.

"You just haven't heard contemporary opera done the right way," they said. "Our opera school - which, like its parent, the music school, is the largest and best in the world - is putting on a new opera, written by a couple of faculty members. It's going to be great! It's set in Medieval Europe, in a city where everyone's dying of the Black Death. You'll love this contemporary opera!"

The opera was called "The Dead City" or "The Dying City" or possibly "The Incredibly Unmusical City." It went on for hours. Hours of random vocalizing and strange noises from the orchestra. Not a tune to be heard. Even a light-hearted plot wouldn't have helped. It was ghastly. It was endless.

It was contemporary opera. I hated it.

Improvisational Faloobetijangle

A few years later, I was working in Houston and sharing an apartment with a friend from college days. (Not one of the music students, but a fellow math major.)

Somehow, despite having known each other for years, we had never discussed jazz. Jazz is not a subject I normally discuss. What is there to say other than it's not music, it's horrible noise, it's an abomination, and it should be outlawed?

But finally, for whatever reason, we did find ourselves talking about jazz.

"I hate jazz," I said.

"You hate jazz?" he said, suddenly turning into a Faloobetijangle Zombie. "Oh, you just think you hate jazz! You haven't listened to the right kind of jazz, played by the right people. Just sit down in that chair, that's the good one for my speakers, and let me play you my favorite albums. You'll love this jazz!"

I was in my twenties, and I still had some remnants of politeness left. So I sat down and told myself that maybe he was right and my musical horizons were about to expand.

The horrible noise began. It was jazz. I hated it.

Outwardly, I kept smiling glassily. Inwardly, I was writhing in agony and screaming and searching for escape. Escape arrived in the form of another friend, with whom I had arranged to go out to dinner. I leaped up and dashed out the door, into the evening air, filled with the noise of traffic and airplanes and shouting neighbors. Ah, sweet music!

Die, Zombies, Die!

And so it has been, throughout my life, and, I suspect, throughout yours.

Tell someone you hate something - a type of food, a type of music, a type of dance, a type of landscape, just about anything you can imagine that some people love and others hate - and someone who hears you express that opinion will turn into a Faloobetijangle Zombie and say, "Oh, you only think you hate it because you've never experienced it as it should be experienced. Let me feed it to you/play it for you/show it to you the way it should be experienced, the way I love it, and I just know you'll love it too!"

Listen, fella. It's not going to work. I don't just think I hate jazz and iced tea and contemporary opera and olives and rap so-called music and cilantro and Republican politicians, especially ones surnamed Bush. I really do hate them. I know, just as surely as I know that the sun will rise tomorrow, that those are all abominations that should be banned forever.

Don't try to change my mind. It doesn't matter how it's prepared or played or presented. It's still faloobetijangle.

And I still hate it.

And I always will.


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