Friday, January 10, 2014

A little light culture: "Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth"

That's a line from a Pharrell Williams song that redefines inane. I don't mean to discuss the song here. It's called "Happy" and I'm sure you can find it on YouTube. It has some merits. Williams does a good job of sounding like Marvin Gaye and you can dance to it. (And Williams may be having fun here as the above-cited line could have ironic intent. We can only hope so.)

What fascinated me about the song is that some people I know praised it on FaceBook. They are feminist people and were, just a few months ago, condemning the song "Blurred Lines", which Williams cowrote, produced, sang in and appeared in the video, as promoting date rape.

And all it takes is one empty bit of sentimental tripe for them to forgive and forget!

Unless, of course, they never really believed what they were saying in the first place. Going from "this guy is promoting rape" to "I just love this song" isn't just being a cheap date so much as it is not actually believing anything in the first place.

I'd humbly suggest that is the real problem. The outrage against "Blurred Lines" was tribal. It was a way to declare yourself a part of a tribal group and not a real threat to anyone. That is the way we do politics and public morality these days.

I use the "we" advisedly—we are increasingly tribal in our politics.

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