The Advanced Genius Theory: Are They Out of Their Minds or Ahead of Their Time?
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Let the debate begin...
The Advanced Genius Theory, hatched by Jason Hartley and Britt Bergman over pizza, began as a means to explain why icons such as Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Sting seem to go from artistic brilliance in their early careers to "losing it" as they grow older. The Theory proposes that they don’t actually lose it, but rather, their work simply advances beyond our comprehension. The ramifications and departures of this argument are limitless, and so are the examples worth considering, such as George Lucas’s Jar Jar Binks, Stanley Kubrick’s fascination with coffee commercials, and the last few decades of Paul McCartney’s career. With equal doses of humor and philosophy, theorist Jason Hartley examines music, literature, sports, politics, and the very meaning of taste, presenting an entirely new way to appreciate the pop culture we love . . . and sometimes think we hate. The Advanced Genius Theory is a manifesto that takes on the least understood work by the most celebrated figures of our time.
minor-league stadiums (stadia, for the Overt and dictionary hunters) and devoting an episode of the satellite radio show to the sport. He teamed up with Twyla Tharp to create a Broadway musical based on his music. And then there was Masked and Anonymous, a Super-Advanced movie that Roger Ebert called “a vanity production beyond all reason.” This is interesting criticism coming from someone who has spent the last forty years telling people what movies they should like. Ebert also cowrote Beyond
comprehension. He could have lapped boring into being interesting. I do find it somewhat compelling that he has gone preppy in the last few years, wearing khakis and short-sleeved cotton shirts onstage instead of the suits he wore there for a while. He’s chosen a look that reminds me of what a retired man who has given up suits would wear to a nice restaurant. It’s strange, yes, but not Advanced. If he shows up in leathers for the next Cream reunion, then I’ll be ready to change my mind.
understand Advancement, much less be Advanced. If there’s a sportscaster out there who would understand Advancement, it’s Bob Costas. But as you’ll see, understanding and being are two different things. I think Costas is one of the greatest broadcasters of our generation, but he’s just a bit too eager to please to be Advanced. He’s the kind of guy who tends to agree with just about anyone he’s talking to, almost to the point of being a sort of less funny Zelig. Whomever he’s talking to, whether
Henderson, Rickey, 215, 219–20 Hendrix, Jimi, 116, 230–31 Henson, Jim, 237, 244 Herzog, Werner, 238, 251 Hickey, David, 193 Hilton, Paris, 37 Hitchcock, Alfred, 27, 36, 171 Hitchens, Christopher, 46, 47 Hoffman, Dustin, 152 Hoffman, Philip Seymour, 236 Holiday, Billie, 172 Holly, Buddy, 58, 134, 135, 231 Holmes, Larry, 223 Hope, Bob, 188 Hopper, Dennis, 105 Houston, Whitney, 40 Hughes, Howard, 156 Hughes, John, 87 Humphrey, Hubert, 99 Huxley, Aldous, 160 Ice Cube, 67, 152
Advanced Genius Theory, it is important to understand the difference between Overt and Advanced Rebellion. The Overt are purely reactionary, rejecting symbols of authority regardless of those symbols’ actual value (whadd’ya got?). The Advanced reject inferior ideas, or, to put it more positively, they put forth only superior ideas. If the H. G. Wells version of Strabler were to Advance, he would still reject the earlier version of himself, not because Future Johnny rebels against everything but