The Smithbots Speak

It's a busy life for most of us, and it is easy to miss out on some of the choicest nuggets that the world serves up as we go about the business of living. For example, as you go about working, folding laundry, and driving the kids to and from normal school, it is easy to one day snap into a waking state and realize that you have no idea what the rich, insulated, self-important and evidently completely unhinged childbots of two closet-Scientologist actors think about certain things. You have your concerns, worries, and responsibilities, yes- but does that mean that you have to miss out on the life-altering perspectives of Jaden and Willow Smith?

I am here for you. I offer to you the best of the Exclusive Jaden and Willow Smith interview. It was their first joint interview, presumably due to the 100% suicide rate of journalists who had conducted a one-on-one. But apparently somebody named Su Wu convinced the New York Times she could tolerate an hour with both kids without crunching her L-pill and saying goodbye cruel world, and so now the world has this. Here we go:

WILLOW SMITH: Quantum Physics. Osho.

JADEN SMITH: Anything that can't be pre-dated.

The question was "What have you been reading?"- not "Will you please spout total nonsense?" But rest assured that, had Ms. Wu opened with that second question, the answer would have been an emphatic "Yes!." Read on:

WILLOW: Caring less what everybody else thinks, but also caring less and less about what your own mind thinks, because what your own mind thinks, sometimes, is the thing that makes you sad.

JADEN: Exactly. Because your mind has a duality to it. When you’re thinking about something happy, you’re thinking about something sad. When you think about an apple, you also think about the opposite of an apple.

Alright, I can get aboard the "caring less about what everybody else thinks" train. And our minds do have a duality to them. Got it. I learned that from Full Metal Jacket, because the guy wore a peace button but his helmet said BORN TO KILL, or something like that, and he said it represented the duality of man. The Jungian thing. The whole happy/sad thing? Maybe that's what we call bittersweet. 

But the opposite of an apple? Does an apple even have an opposite? On one hand, I think a slice of pizza may be the opposite of an apple, because pizza is hot, and it's the main course, and you have to prepare it. Whereas an apple you just grab and eat. Or is it a potato or carrot? Those grow underground, which is the opposite of the sky, which is where apples grow. But the French call potatoes pommes de terre, which means "apples of the earth-" so that can't be it.

Or maybe it doesn't have to be a food at all- maybe it's a brick. Shit, what the fuck is the opposite of an apple? Maybe it's a candy bar, since when you were a kid you'd be all excited to have a Snickers for a snack, and then your mom would be like "just have an apple," and you'd go from ecstatic to crushed. That's it- it's a Snickers bar. You made me think, Jaden. 

JADEN: Honestly, we’re just trying to make music that we think is cool. We don’t think a lot of the music out there is that cool. So we make our own music. We don’t have any song that we like to listen to on the P.C.H. by any other artist, you know?

To all musicians out there: This whole fucking thing is your fault. Any music that seeps into the outside world from the SmithPlanet-X-19 is on you. I'm looking at you, Neil Young and Yelawolf.  Had you been able to keep yourselves from fiddling with your beards and chain-wallets long enough to get some work done produce something- anything- cool enough for Jaden and Willow Smith to bump as they cruise their... I dunno- Hummer? Tesla?... down the PCH, we would have been spared. Don't think you're off the hook, Yo-Yo Ma. Willow would have been a Girl Scout who wants to be a vet, and Jaden would have wanted to be a fireman or football player like a normal (in the good way) kid, had you done your job. But you have failed. What you have produced is so unsatisfactory that Jaden and Willow Smith had to take it upon themselves to make music- just so they could be properly entertained. They didn't want to- you made them. Read that again. You. Made. Them.

WILLOWThat’s what I do with novels. There’re no novels that I like to read so I write my own novels, and then I read them again, and it’s the best thing.

There are no novels that she likes to read. Nice try Fitzgerald, Wallace, Twain, Clancy, King, PatchettTartt, Rowling, Danielewski, Bukowski, Morrison, Blume, Stine, and McCarthy, but your schlock just doesn't cut the mustard with WS. Get off your fucking asses, unless you enjoy forcing this girl to write her own novels. Seriously- "I write my own novels, and then I read them again, and it's the best thing." That quote is the saddest thing, and when I think of that, I am not also thinking of the happiest thing. A fourteen year-old writing and then reading- not proofreading, but reading for entertainment- her own novel? Whatever the opposite of that is is what I want to picture. But I can only picture that sad, sad scene. 

JADEN: Willow’s been writing her own novels since she was 6.

Toss this quote in the yawning, bottomless Where The Fuck Do I Begin With This One? bin along with:

WILLOW: Because living.

WILLOW AGAIN: I mean, time for me, I can make it go slow or fast, however I please, and that’s how I know it doesn’t exist.

JADEN NOW: Right, because you have to live. There’s a theoretical physicist inside all of our minds, and you can talk and talk, but it’s living.

WILLOW, NATCH: I think by the time we’re 30 or 20, we’re going to be climbing as many mountains as we can possibly climb.

WILLOW ENCORE: I went to school for one year. It was the best experience but the worst experience. The best experience because I was, like, “Oh, now I know why kids are so depressed.” But it was the worst experience because I was depressed.

That's too bad. Are all kids depressed? I did not know that. School's a big theme with these guys. I hate to tell you how it ends, but they're against it.

JADEN: Here’s the deal: School is not authentic because it ends. It’s not true, it’s not real. 

JADEN: Kids who go to normal (in the bad way) school are so teenagery, so angsty.

WILLOW: They never want to do anything, they’re so tired.

You hear that? Just ditch school and read quantum physics and cruise the PCH! Do things! There's a lot of "normal school" bashing in this interview, and not a lot of self-awareness along with it. Do I want to know about shortcomings in our education system? Yes. Do I want to hear about them it from some delusional tween who is apparently unaware that not every kid's daddy is the Fresh Prince and not every kid lives in a rolling, secluded Malibu paradise? I do not. Did you note that Jaden threw in a (presumably somber) "here's the deal" to preface his thoughts about school? This lets you know that- all kidding aside- this sixteen year-old is done fucking around, so listen up- your mind is about to be schooled, and possibly detonated.

JADEN: The P.C.H. being one of them; the melancholiness of the ocean; the melancholiness of everything else.

This is Jaden describing some themes that recur in his "work." Talk all the shit you want about "normal" school, Jaden, but lurking somewhere in those oppressive prison-like zombie-mills is someone who might have taught you that melancholy is a noun. 

JADENIf you want society to change, you have to shock them.

That person also may have taught you how to make nouns and pronouns agree. But other than that- yeah, skool is dum and it crushes beautiful flowers like you and Willow, whose name also happens to represent some kind of plant, which probably enhances that metaphor.

These two unique flowers thrive in their environment: the temperate bubble created by cajillionaire parents who can make any showbiz dream a reality. Jaden sings about the PCH, the fabled highway that stretches up the Southern California coast and connects Malibu to the rest of the world.  Drive north for a while and you'll hit Oxnard, where the children of lettuce-pickers are studying to be the first in their family to graduate high school. Or south of Malibu, at Santa Monica High, where the children of baggage handlers and dishwashers bus to school in the coastal fog. There might just be a few unique flowers among those kids, too- but if they want to grow, they've got to grow out of concrete. It's one thing to be in an incubator, but its another to not even know it.

Really, the interview has every bit of head-shaking celebrity tripe that you'd expect, and quite a bit of what you didn't even know existed. The self-congratulation:

WILLOW: I mean, “Whip My Hair” was a great thing. When I look back I think, “Wow, I did so much for young black girls and girls around the world."

The tone-deaf mumbo-jumbo:

JADEN: That’s another thing: What’s your job, what’s your career? Nah, I am. (The italics are mine.)

The bone-chilling threats:

 JADEN: I’m going to imprint myself on everything in this world.

The artistic platitudes:

WILLOW: A canvas. Paint. A microphone. (On things that are worth having.)

The questionable understanding of basic science (again, normal school):

WILLOW: When they’re in the stomach, they’re so aware, putting all their bones together, putting all their ligaments together. (On babies. I can just picture them in those stomachs, tinkering away on their little bones and ligaments. Adorable.)

The harrowing description of a terrible, encroaching, and dystopic future:

JADEN: You know, they become just like us. (On babies, again.)

The inflated sense of talent:

WILLOW: Me and Jaden just figured out that our voices sound like chocolate together. As good as chocolate tastes, it sounds that good.

I mean, chocolate? Those are bold words. Here's my favorite part, back to the school-bashing. See, Jaden and Willow just noticed that kids are depressed and angsty, but they have evidence that school does not work:

JADEN: You never learn anything in school. Think about how many car accidents happen every day. Driver’s ed? What’s up? I still haven’t been to driver’s ed because if everybody I know has been in an accident, I can’t see how driver’s ed is really helping them out.

There it is. Driver's ed is useless and unnecessary, because if it weren't, there would be no car accidents. I happen to believe that medical school is useless, because the doctor who prescribed my cancer treatment went to medical school (Yale, no less!), and the chemotherapy he prescribed left my feet a little tingly*.

JADEN: I want to do like Olympic-level things. I want to be the most durable person on the planet.

I'm not sure what this means. Does it mean he wants to go to the Olympics as a biathlete or curler or something, or just perform non-athletic feats that are worthy of the gods? And the durability thing- does he want to live to be the oldest person on earth, or does he just want to be durable in a Keith Richards kind of way. Or like Reinhold Messner, who popped into my mind when I read "durable person." Of course, there is the very real and very likely possibility that he does not know what durable means.

I will leave you with a quote that boasts the best of the interview- the grandiose claims, the ambitious goals, and the disdain for education- but also offers a glimmer of hope; a sign that, despite the loopy ideas that swirl around the Malibu estate and the heads of these youngsters, one of these kids has a finger in reality, and an eye on the attainable:

JADEN: I have a goal to be just the most craziest person of all time. 

PH

*Also cured disease.

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