The “X-E” Effect

Ok, I know I promised Cherry Cola reviews. I suck, I’m sorry. Consider this executive privilege.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about for a couple years: X-Entertainment and the blog, and Matt’s merry little band of followers, of which I am one.

From my observations. Matt posts to XE about all manner of fun childhood memories and…well, it’s hard to describe them, but the little joys of life that are private pleasures – something that each person enjoys to an unreasonable degree – a certain gum, buying hyped up new cola or chip products, or old slasher movies.

To my observation, Matt loves to write about these things, but seems at times painfully shy of publicity. Yet day after day we are allowed into his world in the most intimate way possible, as he shares his thoughts with us on what he enjoys.

What XE is, in my opinion, is like the Anti-High School. It’s a place where, due to its virtual existence and blog, all manner of folks pass through, yet only those who “get the code” stay – no overmuscled jocks to torture anyone, and in a rarity in the blog world, no hovering jerks to call everyone losers. Even those brave few who harangue Matt for more content are shouted down quickly by the loyal band, for they realize what we all do: this is a no pressure area, and it’s meant to be fun. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing. XE is one of the few places that is pure dedicated fun.

The “code” which must be understood in order to gain access to this world is an instinctual understanding of the interior world, the mental scape of joys which are common only to those who are a little more creative, a little differently adjusted. We all share something in common: an enjoyment of things which many would deem stupid, or unworthy of pursuit. To me, the magic is in this: we are all together because we enjoy things to a level unimaginable by the “norms”, and it is the sharing of this interior world that allows us to enjoy it even more. It is the knowledge that, at last, there are more “like us”.

To what end then, this enjoyment of life? I think those of us at XE realize something others miss: when all is said and done, growing up, getting a job and doing all the adult things is, in the final analysis, just getting back to what we were doing at 8 years old with a few more options. Go with me here: you have a house, car, ways to get places, toys and candy you want at the store, etc. It’s in essence the same thing, except now you are in charge of your destiny now. I think XE-ers realize if we’re gonna have to be Mom and Dad, we’re gonna need a few Castle Grayskulls and Kool Aid to get us through also.

C.S. Lewis had a great quote based on a section of scripture in the Bible: 1 Corinthians 13:11

“When I was a child I spoke as a child

I understood as a child I thought as a child;

but when I became a man I put away childish things.

Lewis said in commenting on these verses

Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

XE is full of those who have realized what adulthood is: a full desire to enjoy life on their own terms, and to forever cast away the opinion of those who are working too long, too hard and enjoying too little.

That’s why I’ve visited XE longer than any other site on the net. Because, in the most cliched way possible, “they understand me.”

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21 responses to “The “X-E” Effect

  1. Well put TC,
    I feel exactly the same way, for example, In January I had a set of circumstances that caused me to have to cancel my internet service to save some cash for a few months, It felt like when I was a kid and a good friend would go on vacation and I’m stuck at home wishing I could be there to share in the fun.
    Great post my friend.

  2. Damn it! Josh stole all my compliments!Seriously though, you summed it up perfectly, I look at X-E as a haven, a place to kind of put things on hold for a bit and chill with friends. I consider myself lucky to have gotten the chance to know you and the other “regs” at X-E.

  3. Wow, VERY good post! What really stood out for me is the quote you posted from C.S. Lewis. I love that quote of his, and it sticks with me very much to this day. I find X-E to be a place that I don’t have to feel ashamed to liking stuff from my childhood that I should have grown out of, such as the many cartoons I still watch and enjoy to this day, the old school episodes of Sesame Street that have been coming out on DVD, and even learning the Biography of one great man who had such an important impact on my growing up, the late great Fred Rogers. Oh yeah, and Jim Henson who’s work I grew up with whenever I would watch Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Muppet Babies, and Fraggle Rock. That and all the stuff that interest me today. Where else but X-E can I share all that? Well, here as I just commented on your blog, and probably Mystie’s site but not a whole lot else, and definetly NOT to anyone I know in person! Anyway, don’t want to ramble here like I do to Matt’s site. Once again, GREAT work!

  4. Ummm…What you guys said. Stole the words right outta my keyboards.

  5. Thanks all. We’ll see if I can’t grab the brass ring and get a comment from Matt himself. I figured I’d post this here, since on XE’s blog might get a little long.

  6. awwww, this is so sweet and nice and true.

  7. Very cool, very true. You guys are all terrific. 🙂

    It’s a blessed thing to be surrounded by so many nice, genuine people who come online just to relax and have a little fun without being spiteful or mean-spirited or whatever else. It’s awesome to know that I can have nothing to do on any given night and have a great time with you guys.

    Thanks for this post, and for being a part of it all.

  8. Terror Claws….this is one of the best blog posts I’ve read in a long time and explains my love for XE perfectly. Thanks for sharing your insights….

  9. Very well written. I don’t think anyone can add anything else. Great post!

  10. I agree, TC’s captured what’s so wonderful about our merry band of misfits. Great stuff, Terror Claws!

  11. Wow, a post from Matt! I feel like the XE Pope has blessed me directly. Thanks for confirming what was in my thoughts. XE is a wonderful place…I consider this place to be sort of like XE’s guest room or back porch. Thanks for visiting all. You give a warm tingly feeling to my terrifying claws.

  12. Fantastic post, man.

    I love what CS Lewis had to say, too. People try to take that passage of scripture as a decree from God saying “don’t be young at heart!” Well, those are Paul’s words, not God’s, for one. XD And I don’t think he was talking about being young at heart.

    Anyway, I’m not as close-knit with the X-E crew as I’d like to be, but I still feel at home there, because I can be the biggest nerd in the world and nobody makes fun of me for it. Because we’re all like that. XD I can talk to people about stuff that I can’t talk about with my real-life friends (with the notable exception of my fiance), or even my other online friends.

    Also, everyone’s just so damn nice, which is increasingly rare on the internet. There are no flame wars, no popularity contests, no drama, nothing like that. It’s just people chilling out and having fun, and sometimes that’s just what you need to do.

  13. thanks for writing this and sharing it with us all.. – i’ve been a fan of X-E since the very beginning stages.. – the Internet is such a vast and wonderful thing, but in the end, I always come back to X-E..

    i used to just hop on the blog when i had a comment that tied in directly with the content of matt’s posts.. – however, this past week, i’ve spent a lot more time there.. even taking part in my first ever official SNT.. – in just a few days time, i’ve exchanged messages and shared feelings with several X-E blog regulars, whom i hope i can maintain friendships with for a long time to come.. – so thanks so much terrorclaws, Matt, and everyone else..

  14. earthwormgoddess

    I have been an X-E reader for years, but rarely ever posted until recently. Even though I have been a relatively quiet reader, I’ve always loved the fact that I could just get on the internet anytime and be surrounded by articles and people who share my interests and my love of being able to be myself and enjoy things without worrying about being judged for it. My husband and I are big kids-we collect toys, hang out in comic shops, and prefer to stay at home watching dvd box sets of old cartoons to going bar-hopping. I just love knowing that there is a place on the internet where people can just discuss fun things and everyone is so nice to each other. No one is pretending to be “cool” or putting down anyone else’s ideas. It’s fun for fun’s sake. This is a such a well-written post Terror Claws, and it really seems you said what alot of us have been feeling for a long time. Thanks.

  15. Word, man.
    I always felt like a huge loser for most of my life- I did things that people recognized as being some sort of stunted adolescence, like carrying around action figures in my backpack.

    But now that I’m older, it makes me glad to know that no matter how weird I was (or am!) there are going to be people JUST LIKE ME who watch The Fresh Prince while eating Mountain Dew Chips and thinking about how to get the MacGuyver theme song as their Ringtone.

  16. Yep, you’ve summed up the appeal of X-E perfectly.

    I first got into it in 2001, and read everything Matt posted religiously. I’d stay up drinking Pepsi Max, eating Doritos, and reading the X-E archives til 3 in the morning.

    Then I kind of had patches late in high school where I’d drift in and out of regularly checking it, but it’s definitely been #1 on my net schedule for the last 3 or 4 years now.

    I’ve never really posted on the blog comments section too much, because it always seemed a very tight-knit community that didn’t invite incursion from outsiders. But lately I’ve figured ‘what the hell, I’ve been reading for 7 years, I’m entitled’, lol.

    Anyway, nostalgia ain’t so bad. I met my girlfriend on Retro Junk when she sent me a 1983 Sears Wishbook for free!

  17. dear daniel,

    you (and anyone else who feels/felt like you) are always welcome to comment, even if you’ve never done it before after years and years, even if you think you are an outsider, even if you…i can’t think of anything else right now.

    the whole deal is that we are all outsiders. i think you just have to jump in.

    love,
    Amy, who is MaryJane on x-e but is getting to lazy to type those extra five letters and may just drop them altoghether.

  18. so true!! thanks for putting it into words, and such eloquent words at that.

    i love x-e too! it has helped me pass many an hour, and helped me relive great old times, and inspired great new times.

    A++ to your blog and X-E!

  19. Very well put, man. I think a piece of me would die if X-E was taken away. Seriously, a piece would die and fall off. And not a finger or a toe. It would be an arm or my head.

  20. awwww, tc, do a girl a solid and correct the spelling in my last comment. i cant bear it!

  21. Excellent! I couldn’t have said it better. X-E=AWESOME.

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