Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spoven Weedle Presents... A True Hollyweedle Story

"Wise Up" by Aimee Mann

Spoven Weedle Presents... A name that symbolizes greatness achieved through peaceful chaos. Although the name and the movement itself is world renown, the origins of the phrase are known to only a select few. Here is the story of Spoven Weedle Presents...

SWP was born in the late 20th century. It all started when two freshmen crossed paths on a Friday night on the Storrs campus of the University of Connecticut. They exchanged greetings and one asked where the other...ok wait. I was going for the third person omniscient, but these mysterious pronouns aren't working. It's me and Nick Jake. Our brothers had been roommates at UConn for two years before we got there. My brother graduated, his brother had one more year. Jakiel and I knew of each other, but we had only met once before, randomly, when we both played for a summer league all-star baseball team. Then, on the first weekend of college, we ran into each other, again randomly. I told him I was going to an ice cream social, he laughed at me a little, then told me to come hang out with his brother and friends at their dorm. I hesitated. It was free ice cream after all...

That night Jakiel and I split a bottle of Goldschlager and Blackberry brandy and we been chillin ever since.

Now let's fast forward a couple years before this turns into a bad best man speech. We were living in Apt. E9 in Barbara Manor (later Cedar Ridge) at UConn with two other roommates and many other unofficial roommates. One thing that has always connected me and the majority of my friends is movies; even when we disagree on quality, it's great to argue about movies with friends. During my time at E9 I probably watched more movies than any other time in my life. Certain movies entered the regular rotation, and we would watch these movies an inordinate amount of times.

I like all types of movies, but most of my favorites illustrate the complexities and absurdities of life; one movie from my college days does that better than any other movie I've seen. The movie was so powerful and enjoyable to me that I even bought the soundtrack, which features nothing but songs from a female folk singer, and Supertramp...and I love it. Magnolia uniquely showcases the inter-relatedness of all living beings: it reflects how all individual organisms are part of a greater whole; everything is connected, and oftentimes that connection is manifested in extremely bizarre ways. 

I bought the VHS (that's right) simply off the strength of Tom Cruise's performance. Remember the time when people looked forward to seeing Tom Cruise in a movie? I also wanted to analyze the movie. It was very intriguing, but I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Then I watched it again with Nick Jake, and after the second time I knew: this movie would be with me for the rest of my life. Jakiel loved it as much as I did and it entered the movie rotation. One of my other, much Skinnier roommates refused to watch it out of pure spite; he didn't want to admit we had good taste in movies because he had such objectively horrible taste. When he finally did watch it, he couldn't deny its greatness. Call it irony, karma, full circle, or whatever, but after he had talked so much shit about the movie, the fact that he loved it (and actually admitted that to us) was something right out of the movie itself.

I came to see Magnolia as a representation, a meditation, on life and all its beauty. One scene, and one quote in particular, became a favorite of ours.  Whiz Kid Donny (William H. Macy) is at a dive bar, sitting next to the old man from The Burbs. As Donny rambles on about his miserable existence, the sarcastic-but-wise old man states, "We're all just a spoven weedle." It is almost inaudible and Donny continues talking as if he doesn't hear. He finally stops rambling and asks, "What does that mean, a spoven weedle?" To which the man replies, "Things go round and round, don't they?"

When Nick and I first heard it, we couldn't make out what he was saying. After rewatching it several times, we both agreed that he was saying "spoven weedle." We didn't know if those were actual words, but we figured it was some obscure or foreign phrase. We knew the gist of it; the explanation was clear ("things go round and round," we had enough college philosophy and bad 80s music to understand that concept) so we just accepted the phrase and made it our own.

To us, Spoven Weedle represented synchronicity, the way events will sometimes align in meaningful yet unexplainable ways; it represented the way in which life progresses in a circular motion, so what happened in the past reverberates into the present and the future.

"And the book says, 'We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us.'"

To Jakiel and I, the entire meaning of the movie (and to an extent, life in general) was encapsulated in those two words: Spoven Weedle. It was a beautiful phrase that reflected the deep, complex philosophy behind the movie. 

And it never even existed. The guy was saying "spoke in the wheel," not Spoven Weedle. It must have been the 36th viewing when we both realized that we had based an entire philosophy on a misheard quote. 

Although we felt like idiots, it actually reaffirmed our stance that the quote encapsulated the movie's message, as well as our own view on life. Much like when our other roommate finally succumbed to watching the movie and ended up loving it, we felt like this was something that would only happen with this movie. The entire movie consists of "stories of coincidence and chance, of intersections and strange things told, and which is which and who only knows?" It only made sense that watching the movie would cause some strange, ironic, coincidental occurrences in real life. It also made sense that I shared such an experience with this particular roommate, considering the intersections and strange things that led to us being roommates in the first place. 

We continued to use the phrase to describe our outlook on life, constantly adapting and evolving our philosophy as we experienced more of what life had to offer. The actual phrase "spoke in the wheel", was incorporated into the definition as well: we are all individual spokes in the wheel of humanity, and although we all have our own hopes and aspirations, the inevitable and powerful force of change causes us to follow along with the rest of humanity, continuing the cycle of existence. That's basically what we meant by Spoven Weedle anyway, just a little bit more comprehensible.

The term itself continued to evolve into something bigger, yet the central tenets of "peace" and "chaos" always remained. When trying to come up with a name for our groundbreaking, game-changing, league-energizing beer pong team, we decided on Spoven Weedle Presents... (Shout out to Jeremy for the suggestion! Weedle is always a collaborative effort.) SWP became similar to a production company, with a new, unique team name every week of game play. So we had names like "Lunatic Stare Defense" or "The Electric Weedle Acid Test" on any given week, while maintaining the overall group entity of Spoven Weedle Presents... 

Spoven Weedle Presents... Lunatic Stare Defense

Spoven Weedle Presents... The Electric Weedle Acid Test

Since Spoven Weedle essentially represents change, the revolving team names was the perfect meta-joke (in my humble weedle opinion). It also allowed us the opportunity to make our inside jokes public. We could take our views and philosophy to the next level; little by little, like a virus, we would spread our philosophy throughout society, slowly gaining momentum until it became a commonly accepted, mainstream point of view.


Soon, a loyal mascot/disciple/ambassador was born into the world, like a modern day Pinocchio (who never left Pleasure Island).

And the world was never the same...

T-shirts, hats, stickers, blogsfacebook profiles, origin stories...Stoned Willy Poonhound and Spoven Weedle Presents... were everywhere. 

Spoven Weedle evolved from a misheard quote into a philosophy, and ultimately, a way of life.

An entire universe was created, consisting of real heroes, cartoon icons, mythological beings, and various other characters. This parallel universe exists to reflect the beautiful chaos of our own universe, acting as a mirror to inspire positive change.

SWP represents a movement for positive change; our mission is to exert positive energy, activating constant elevation while acknowledging and increasing the chaotic tendencies of the natural world. Spoven Weedle represents all that is, was, and ever will be, encompassing the eternal essence of existence, transgressing all ideologies.

Spoven Weedle Presents... Get with the movement.

"And we generally say, 'Well, if that was in a movie, I wouldn't believe it.' Someone's so-and-so met someone else's so-and-so and so on. And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that strange things happen all the time. And so it goes, and so it goes." 

I Love You All...Class Dismissed.


J.J. Treat said...

So if I'm reading this correctly: I (and by association Mike) was/were ultimately responsible for forging this historic collaboration that takes its name from a misheard line in a 3rd-rate Tom Cruise movie... correct?

Prof.Thug. said...

Although I respect your ability to insert yourself and exaggerate your importance in every story, you clearly were not reading this correctly:

A)Magnolia is a first-rate ensemble piece, in which Tom Cruise played an amazing role.

B)Nick and I were left to meet each other randomly, because our older brothers (who are supposed to guide their younger brothers through the daunting, confusing maze of college life) didn't even bother to introduce us.

I will give you a pass, however, because your parents have been so supportive of the SWP movement.

Prof.Thug. said...

Oh, and you were right that this is a historic collaboration. Thank you for recognizing that fact.