Don’t Be Rude (and Parodies)

The Song & Videos

I’d never heard of the band Magic! before their song Rude began to dominate the air waves. I must confess that I enjoy the song – even though I feel ambiguous about its lyrics.

The song has an upbeat and happy feel to it, at its best speaks of true love unwilling to allow any obstacle stand in its way, and it reminds me of the song in Disney’s The Little Mermaid “Kiss the Girl.”

You can watch the original music video embedded below:

Then you have to watch the parody by Benji Cowart portraying the dad’s side of the story:

Nicky Costabile’s parody from the perspective of the daughter is also worth viewing:

And if you have time you might check out Alisha Thomas’ parody, also from the daughter’s perspective (and quite different from Costabile’s):

Reflections on Lyrics & Videos

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I feel some ambiguity about the lyrics. Why? Because I can empathize with each of the different perspectives presented…and I think, as in most conflicts, all sides can have legitimate points.

I believe that in most situations if opposing sides can take the time to empathize and understand the mindset of their opponent, common ground and understanding can be found.

[Sidenote: I’m not naive, I’ve been burned multiple times, sometimes quite severely, in attempting to live by this belief…but I try not to allow these painful collisions to dethrone my hope…not b/c in the future I won’t be hurt, but b/c I don’t see a better way…this way, with its potential for suffering, is the best way I know.]

In the music video the boyfriend sees the father as a stereotypical white collar man who is concerned primarily about one’s prestige (based upon employment), possessions (nice car, nice clothes), and appearance (wearing a suit and tie).

The father meanwhile sees the boyfriend as a stereotypical young man who is self-absorbed (spends his time making music instead of getting a real job) and lazy/undisciplined (unwilling to spend the time and effort to dress appropriately).

The boyfriend perceives himself as hard-working but communally focused; concerned with living life well rather than making life stable.

The father perceives himself as hard-working and family oriented; concerned with ensuring life is stable for those he loves rather than experiencing life as it comes.

Here we have a clash of generations and of worldviews…and the opportunity for growth on both parts, or for a retrenchment of current positions.

The young man would do well to learn to be more concerned about the future stability of his family, the father would do well to look beyond appearances to recognize the worth of the individual himself.

The father’s response is provocative – he doesn’t suggest ways in which the young man must change in order to be acceptable but rejects the man’s proposal out of hand.

The young man’s response is similarly provocative – he doesn’t respond by asking what it would take to become acceptable to the father but instead threatens to go around the father.

The way perception affects one’s interpretation of the song is most clearly seen in Nicky Costabile’s parody in which she refuses both the father and the boyfriend’s control insisting that “I’m human too.”

This perspective will seem strange to many fathers who don’t assume they control their daughters – only that they desire to protect their daughters from the evils of this world – and that they have a right not to control whom their daughter marries but to give or withhold their blessing upon the marriage.

And the perspective will seem strange to many young men who would assume that asking for permission to marry someone’s daughter is not asking for control but for blessing and is a cultural sign of respect for the parents and the daughter by willing to engage in tradition in securing the relationship.

Additionally, many (most?) young men would have already talked to their girlfriend about whether she was willing to marry him before he asks permission of the father…and even if he asked permission of the father first, it is almost certain he would then ask rather than demand that the daughter marry him.

Thus, one sees how the song has no implications to most men about male chauvinism but to some women (e.g. Costabile) the actions appear forthrightly chauvinistic.

A Final Observation

I thought it was interesting how the music video begins with the boyfriend and girlfriend in a bedroom together (an intimate location) where he is playing music for her (a non-sexual interaction). This (to me) infers a certain respect for the woman by the man (e.g. he is not taking advantage of her, but is acting in an honorable manner).

At the same time, the video portrays towards the end behavior by the girlfriend influenced by the boyfriend that to the father, in appearance (and perhaps actuality) is indicative of a negative dimension to the man’s influence upon his daughter.

I’m Happy!?! (Music Videos)

A Little Fun…

Today I watched (HT: Mashable) a beautiful, fun video by some of our elder generation performing a rendition of Pharrell Williams’ recently famous song ‘Happy.’ I’ve embedded it below.

After you’ve watched it (or before) check out the original music video, embedded below.

Some More Serious Thoughts

[Feel free to skip this if you just wanted to smile. =)]

This makes me think of three ways of living, ways we are all likely to favor at one juncture or another in our lifetimes:

  • Denial – Things are bad but we are unwilling to admit it.
  • Reality – Things are bad and we are willing to admit it.
  • Choice – Things are bad, we admit it, but we are choosing to experience it differently.

I think this cycle of choices can be seen in individual’s lives as well as in society as a system and over time. It doesn’t matter when one jumps on the merry-go-round, you are still on the merry-go-round and will go past the place you did not start with at some juncture or another.

So, we deny bad things are happening until they become so bad that we can’t bear them any more…then we break and sometimes this break results in a choosing to be real. Being real is highly valued…and I value very highly being real.

That said, depending on our circumstances, real is a place we may remain for a very long time – and over time the expression of real can become pessimism, hopelessness, anger, fear, and so on.

So then we have a third way of living that acknowledges what is real yet  chooses to make the best of a bad situation.

I’ve worked for years with teenagers1It feels awkward saying this, I feel so young and inexperienced…but I’m not. As of the end of August it will be eleven years non-stop. and each generation I have worked with has heard me repeat on more than one occasion that it doesn’t matter what we do as long as we are together and choose to have fun.

What I mean is, it is primarily (I would not say only) our attitude that determines our experience. I can have a great time cleaning – if others enter into the experience with me and we all have a positive, upbeat attitude.

But I don’t think as a society or as individuals we stay there – rather we loop back into denial. Why? Because once we have chosen to be happy we feel that we must be happy and when we aren’t happy we don’t want others to know that we have “failed” at being happy and now are back at the “lowest point of our emotional maturity” – and so we go into denial.

So which is the best phase? I’d say that each phase has its place. Denial is useful in situations of overwhelming suffering and it is oftentimes utilized when we first experience trauma as well as when the trauma is sustained over a long time.

Reality is useful when we are no longer in the overwhelming suffering and need to move out of denial.

Choice is the preferred state of being (that is, we prefer it, I’m not saying it is inherently superior) which allows us to recognize the effects of reality upon us without being broken by reality.