Monday, July 16, 2007

Lyrical Theory Society

In the basement of an historical hotel in the suburbs of Las Vegas, six brilliant minds meet in a tiny, smoke-filled bar to discuss the problems of the universe. And the lyrics of current hit singles.

Jacques: Where are Wayne and Carl? I want to get this meeting started already.
Jane: They probably had to argue about where to park the car again. Carl always gets upset about parking near anything that cost more than his rent.
Victor: Here they come!
Carl: You can't wear that! You have to return it right now. Destroy their profit margin! Show them that crime doesn't pay!
Wayne: But, the tears of foreign orphans make the fabric so soft...
Ani: Ahem. I now call this meeting of the Lyrical Theory Society to order. Mr. Secretary, would you please take roll?
Victor: I don't see why I have to be the secretary. Jane's far more organized than I am.
Ani: We will not make the only other wombyn here a secretary!
Victor: Okay, okay. Madam President is accounted for. And our vice-president?
Jacques: Present.
Victor: Treasurer?
Carl: Here, and we really need to discuss upping the dues for those who are making more money than the rest of us.
Victor: Jane? Wayne?
Jane: You're looking at me. Do you really need to ask if I'm here?
Victor: It has to go on the official record. Are you feeling hostility towards me, Jane?
Jacques: We're all accounted for! Let's get some beer and get down to business. I want to talk about "Hey There Delilah."
Carl: Victor, you make twice as much as I do. You really should be paying twice the dues. Then we could all have more beer. Wouldn't more beer for everyone be better than just more beer for you?
Ani: Carl! I'll pay for all the beer myself. Let's just start this.
Jane: Well, it isn't a particularly complex song, but it's pretty enough.
Wayne: I think it's very complex. It's obviously written from the perspective of a closeted gay man.
Jane: is?
Ani: No, no, Wayne. That's silly. It's very clearly about a straight white male dominating the wombyn in his life, even from a thousand miles away. "It's what you do to me"? Please. It's a story as old as the Bible. Just another man trying to blame all of his woes on a wombyn. "Oh, wah, she made me eat the apple, God." "I couldn't help myself; look at the way she was dressed." It makes me sick!
Victor: I dunno. I think this repressed sexuality idea has some merit to it. But, I'd say that instead of him longing for another man, he's actually pining after his mother. As he's talking about "paying the bills" with his guitar, he's clearly trying to step into the role of his own father, who failed in his own eyes. Delilah is clearly a stand-in for his own mother.
Carl: All right, I got two pitchers to start us off. And just in time, too! Victor, you're missing the point again. This has nothing to do with sex at all. It's entirely about the economics of the situation. He's lamenting the society which has forced him to be so far from Delilah. He wants to support the two of them and yet can't. It's beautiful, really.
Jacques: You're all making this far too complicated.
Jane: Thank you, Jacques! I agree entirely.
Jacques: You're assuming that it's a love song, when there's nothing to imply that at all.
Jane: ...there isn't?
Jacques: You need to stop and ask yourself, why do you think it's a love song? He only mentions "love" once and it's in reference to her falling in love with him. He may not care for her at all.
Jane: But, I mean, it sounds so sweet. He wants to see her...
Jacques: Does he? Does he really, Jane? Instead of bogging ourselves down with these details, we should step back and look at the big picture. Note the dichotomy he's created between the distance and yet how close he feels to her, but circumstances require them to stay apart for now.
Carl: Due to the pressures of a capitalist society.
Victor: And his mother.
Wayne: Because he's gay!
Ani: He can't commit.
Jacques: Ah, see, it doesn't matter why. Whatever "why" there is will simply be meaning that we've inserted into it. Clearly, our focus should instead be on the contrast. Now, if we changed the song so that it was a young shepherd boy in 1937 Austria singing to an Italian castrato...
Jacques: The contrast would still be there, even if the reasons were different! See? This transcends circumstances. It is, in fact, a metaphor for the futility of life.
Carl: I couldn't disagree more. Do away with the societal pressures of him having to sacrifice his artistic integrity to support her, not to mention her limited options for education...
Wayne: He doesn't even want to really be with her. He's happy about the distance. Does it sound like a sad song? No. Obviously, he's happy about having her a thousand miles away. She makes a good excuse not to date.
Ani: I could almost agree with Jacques on this one, though I'd say it's more about the futility of heterosexual relationships, rather than life.
Victor: I think you're all projecting your own neuroses onto this one.
Jane: I think it's, you know, about a guy whose girlfriend is going to school far away and he misses her, but he's hopeful that everything is going to turn out all right.
Jacques: That is the most pathetic thing I've ever heard.
Victor: Now can we discuss the penis envy present in "Big Girls Don't Cry"?

No comments: