The Thursday Three #35

1. Thomas Sowell, the renowned economist and conservative thinker, has retired from column writing.* He also turned 87 not too long ago, as did Harold Bloom,** who is one of the greatest literary critics of all time. As the years pass, I keep wondering who will replace these brilliant minds.

Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you. —Harold Bloom

Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good. —Thomas Sowell

2. Three songs I’m obsessed with: Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” because I was daydreaming and came up with an awesome idea for a music video for it, Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” because all of a sudden the radio started playing it a lot and I don’t think I had ever heard it before, and Julia Michaels’s “Issues” because it describes a nice mix of dysfunction and commitment.

3. Here’s a picture of a double rainbow (although you can barely see the outer one). Trust me… there were two.

*I highly recommend Sowell’s The Vision of the Anointed (1995).

**I highly recommend Bloom’s How to Read and Why (2000).

The World’s Pain, the Enemy’s Triumph

I’m sure everyone has heard about the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. These attacks no longer surprise me, and I find myself experiencing the same feeling of ennui that I got after hearing about what seemed like the millionth school shooting.

This has, sadly enough, become commonplace. It is and it will continue to be the new state of affairs for as long as our world leaders vacillate and talk and take no action against what is undeniably a threat. I have no words of anti-terrorism wisdom, just sadness because of the fact that nowhere is safe and a hint of disgust at how the enemy managed to win twice.

Ariana Grande is a children’s TV actress turned pop star, much like Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus before her. As such, she fell into the same downward spiral and became an icon of self-centeredness, coquettishly singing about sex and dancing and parties.

I heard that 9- and 10-year-old children were at her concert… children who never should have been there in the first place, because this is what they were listening to:

From the song “Love Me Harder”:

And if in the moment you bite your lip
When I get you moaning you know it’s real
Can you feel the pressure between your hips?
I’ll make it feel like the first time

From the song “Bang Bang”:

Bang bang there goes your heart (I know ya want it)
Back, back seat of my car (I’ll let ya have it)
Wait a minute lemme take you there (ah)
Wait a minute till ya (ah)

From the song “Side to Side”:

I’m talkin’ to ya
See you standing over there with your body
Feeling like I wanna rock with your body
And we don’t gotta think ’bout nothin’ (‘Bout nothin’)

We live in a strange world. It is sad and distressing that the terrorist may have focused on the Ariana Grande concert because perhaps he knew that children, the most innocent ones, would be there. But it is also sad that children’s parents allow them to listen to this kind of music with these lyrics.

I am praying for the victims, for the survivors, and for the world to come to its senses. We can’t let the enemy keep winning.

A Piece of Filth

It’s kind of late in the game to be writing about a song that was released in 2014, but it’s being played on the so-called “family-friendly” station constantly for some reason, and every time I turn on the radio, I bump into it. Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s” is a bit of pseudo-musical grime about a so-called “liberated woman” who is haunted by her past lovers.

The lyrics of the bridge are beautifully arrogant:

One, two, three, they gonna run back to me
‘Cause I’m the best baby that they never gotta keep
One, two, three, they gonna run back to me
They always wanna come, but they never wanna leave

Nice double entendre about coming and leaving, then the assumption that all these guys will want to run straight back to her because she’s apparently “the best” but nobody can keep her because she’s just so hard to get. Too bad she didn’t listen to any other similar-sounding pop stars. Then she’d realize she’s a dime a dozen.

Yes, this isn’t the dirtiest song on the radio, but the fact that it’s dirty and slutty (ooh, I slut-shamed… how dare me?!?) doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that it represents sheer arrogance or that the radio station that plays the song used to play decent music when I first started listening to them, and now they’re playing more and more popular songs and less of the “good stuff” from the 80s and 90s. Children listen to this station all the time, so I guess their parents will just have to convince them that Elle King’s song is about tic-tac-toe. Or if all else fails, they could listen to the Kidz Bop version, which replaces the words “lover” and “baby” with “friend” and “come” with “hang.” (Actually, no. Don’t listen to that.)

Moral of the story: If you have children, don’t turn on mainstream radio unless you happen to have a commercial-free classical music station being broadcast near you.