what do contemporary turkish fiction and American country music share in common?

I pose a question: What do writer Orhan Pamuk, and country music band Little Big Town have in common (besides occupying considerable space in the part of my brain designated to processing pieces of cultural production)?


In March, went to Istanbul, where I visited The Museum of Innocence, a museum narrated and curated by Orhan Pamuk, one of my favorite writers (for reasons which I cannot really articulate, other than to say that his words, sentences, and paragraphs made sixteen year-old me SWOON). Fortuitously, PAMUK WAS AT THE MUSEUM GIVING AN INTERVIEW on the afternoon of my visit. I say fortuitously because I actually spent the morning DESPERATELY trying to find the museum and after an hour gave up and decided to try again in the afternoon. As I descended down the stairs, I heard Pamuk discussing the post-Proustian nature of his characters, for whom memories are intentionally created. To the left, you can see Pamuk at the Museum of Innocence, where he is taping an interview behind a wall of 4,213 used cigarettes that he collected and arranged for this museum. IT SERIOUSLY RULED.

I don’t like current trend in clickbait journalism wherein writers pose a question such as “Why I’m Optimistic About Lena Dunham’s Celebrity Newsletter” and proceed to give readers the answers. Rather, I like people to make use of their own analytical and conceptual faculties, so I’ll leave you with the evidence and see what happens:

“‘Even after all these years, I still can’t understand why someone would want to live someone else’s life and not their own.” she continued. “I can’t even explain why it was Ruya life I wanted, rather than someone else’s. All I can say is that for many years I saw it as an illness, an illness I had to hide from the world. I was ashamed of the soul that had contracted this disease, just as I was I was ashamed of the body condemned to carry it/ My life was not real life but an imitation, and like all imitations I thought of myself as a wretched and pitiful creature, doomed to be forgotten. In those days, I thought the only way to escape my despair was to imitate my ‘true self’ more faithfully. At one point, I considered changing schools, moving to a new neighborhood, making new friends, but I knew that putting a distance between us would only mean that I thought about you all the more. On stormy autumn afternoons, I would sit listlessly in my armchair, watching the raindrops on the window, for hour after how; I’d be thinking of you” Ruya and Galip. I’d go over whatever clues I had handy and imagine what Ruya and Galip were doing at the moment; and if, after an hour or two I had managed to convince myself that it was Ruya sitting in that armchair in that dark room, this fearsome thought would bring me exquisite pleasure.” The Black Book, Orhan Pamuk.

Now enter Girl Crush by the country band Little Big Town. This song has been at the top of Billboard’s “Hottest Country Songs” chart for eleven straight weeks. That doesn’t mean anything to me, except that it is approximately the most popular song in country music right now, and also that this breaks some kind of record for the most consecutive weeks a country song has spent at number one. This record was set in 1959 by a band called the Browns, whose song “Three Bells” held the spot for ten consecutive weeks. I would be lying if I haven’t put this on my 2015 Spotify playlist. It’s catchy, I can relate, I get the feels. Cool, okay. You can hear the song here:

Basically, I’m tickled. Tell me what you think (no I’m totally serious, unless you have something totally lame to say like “country music is lame and doesn’t mean anything” I want to hear what your weird brains have to say).


About anarparikh

inconsistent writer, anthropologist-in-training; nacho enthusiast, mostly irreverent 💥
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