Beer and Pavement

On Sentimentality

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Life by SM on February 10, 2012

Music and images elicit a certain amount of sentimentality in its audience. In fact, producers of such art depend on that sentimentality to sell their art. It’s not a deceptive practice. Musicians have to sell records to make a living and continue doing what they love.

There’s also a more authentic aspect for manufacturing some sentimentality. Artists want to make a connection through common sentiments. If I reflect on my childhood or my child’s in a song or video and it connects with you, we create a community of sorts through this kinship. Yes, there’s profit to be made, but the human connections solidified are what’s really valuable.

Some roll their eyes at sentimentality, especially when something’s for sale. Take that Deschutes video I shared a while back

Some beer enthusiasts were upset. They felt duped. Someone was accessing their sentimentality to sell some beer. They don’t like that and feel craft beer should be above such nonsense. However, it’s naive to think this way. Man, everything’s for sale, including your sentimentality. If you’re aware of it, who cares? Why not enjoy the moment?

I get a certain bit of sentimentality from beer and music. I’m okay with it being used to sell me more beer and records because I’m aware of what’s going on. I can separate something that makes me feel sentimental from what you’re selling. However, if I too feel sentimental about your product, I’m more than willing to shed reason to satisfy that need for sentiment.

Take the video at the top of this post for example. I have all kinds of feelings for this one piece. First, the song is by Eric Bachman of Archers of Loaf fame and now Crooked Fingers. Archers of Loaf captured the angst and blue-collar anger of my youth, feelings that still resonate with me. Crooked Fingers came around at some interesting transitions in my life. Darker sides of my mindset heard Bachman’s drunken laments and it connected. Ever since, the more mature material Bachman has released speaks to me as I grow older and accumulate adult responsibilities. His last album was completely overlooked by me and possibly should have made my final ten of 2011. For this, I feel a little guilty.

The video and song together really connects to sentimentality of my current state. Watching a young girl grow, discover her family history, and suddenly realize she’s grown really makes me think about my own daughter. Additionally, friends have recently asked me what fatherhood is like. for three years for her life, I’ve almost never had to answer this question. However, it’s come up a lot lately. I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve had to say about it.

This leads to a moment I had today. My mom called me this morning to tell me that my grandfather died earlier in the day, the day between my wife’s birthday (yesterday) and mine (tomorrow). She told me how she was able to see him before he passed. He wanted to talk, but the oxygen mask he was wearing wouldn’t permit his words to heard. She said by the time my aunt arrived later in the evening, he was virtually in a coma.

I thought about that moment, the moment my grandfather’s daughters had to see him in the most vulnerable of states. I thought about the last moments he had to look into his daughter’s eyes. I imagined the moment I will have to do the same.

This caused me to shutter a bit, but it resonated. Yep. I got all of that from one little music video.

I write about my interests because I feel connections to people through these things. I remember sharing a Goose Island Christmas ale with my grandfather the last time we celebrated the holiday together. My sister played some Bettie Serveert on Facebook today to help her cope with the sadness. I’ve listened to nothing but Bettie Serveert all day, remembering the summer I spent in Seattle when I caught them live.

Beer and music are there throughout our lives when the good and bad happen. Sure, there are other things, but these are the things to which I connect. So, I feel as though we should insure that these moments are connected to the best in both. I want the most meaningful music and the highest quality beer to connect to the times I share with loved ones.

Does this make me more susceptible to advertisers playing the sentimentality card? Sure, but why not enjoy feeling that connection now and and again? Honestly, I’d rather play a record for sentimental reasons than because Pitchfork told me to. I’d rather remember the time I had a heart-to-heart with a friend over a good craft beer than fully sober and without a taste in my mouth that will take me back to that one moment in time…

Now ‘m rambling a bit. Appeal to my sentimentality. I’m cool with it. I like feeling and remembering, things humans do.

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5 Responses

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  1. carrie the destroyer said, on February 14, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Sorry to hear about your grandpa, Zac. You’re lucky you got to spend so much of your life with him. But sentimental songs are tailor made for moments like these, and it’s better that you and your sister can share the sadness in song, even if it bums out your birthday (I can sympathize on this note: my grandma–with whom I was incredibly close–passed away a week before I turned 12). I sort of wish I had a more pointed soundtrack for when my grandparents died, but I was 12 and 14 and only beginning to plumb the depths of my sadness. Instead I’m stuck with associating some horrible contemporary christian songs my cousins sang at my grandpa’s funeral (and another painfully bathetic experience of sentimentality/guilt gone awry at church camp the following summer involving the same song; i felt manipulated).

    My dad had a similar experience when my grandpa died from pneumonia (egged on by years of Alzheimers) and he had to leave the room for a moment because my grandpa’s labored breaths were more than he could handle. And that was when he died. Even though we’d been watching him decline over seven years my dad still wasn’t ready to lose his father.
    That winter was when we all started listening to copious amounts of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

    Oddly enough someone pitched the new(ish) Bon Iver album to me as a profoundly sentimental experience for him involving a dead family member. It actually prompted me to listen to the album (which I find kind of boring).

    • Zac said, on February 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks. You’re absolutely right about sentimental songs coming in handy at this time. Probably whatever I listen to on my long drive to Ohio will determine what I connect to this event…possibly Sound of Music or Yo Gabba Gabba since my daughter will be in the car.

      • carrie the destroyer said, on February 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

        You’re gonna cry during “Climb Every Mountain.”

        Soon enough she’ll be old enough for her own iPod.

      • Zac said, on February 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

        She actually has this kid-MP3 player and some headphones. I may have to make sure the batteries are good for the trip.

  2. […] Is it redundant to keep coming back to sentimentality? […]


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