It has apparently been an entire year since I’ve posted anything here. While this post has been sitting in the works the entire time, I for some reason never found the time or effort to finish it off and publish it. I hope to get back to posting more, as writing seems a therapeutic exercise for me and I find I enjoy it more than I probably should. Call me a nerd or something, whatever. So here is the post promised so long ago. Enjoy.
I listen to Pandora ALL the time. I can’t function without music and generally the radio disappoints me. Pandora has a way of introducing me to wonderful new artists I’ve never heard of and fall in love with, and always knows what song to play. Occasionally, Pandora brings me a song that makes me stop and think. I’m just sitting there happily, tapping my feet along and procrastinating because I’m lazy and don’t want to do anything I’m supposed to do when *BAM* a song comes on that makes me stop and ponder things deeply for the next several hours. (I should totally get paid for my thoughts during these times. They’re so profound.)
I have a Macklemore station, because let’s face it, he’s got a knack for churning out some catchy tunes (Shout out to my boy Ryan for introducing me). If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go to youtube and start listening now. If you disagree with me, you’re wrong (because he’s amazing and I have impeccable taste. Obviously.)
I’d listened to his song, “Wings”, before, but the lyrics had never really sunk in. It’s easy to just listen to his songs and not think about them because they’re catchy and always have a great beat, but if you really listen to the lyrics, there’s a lot of stuff there. The songs you hear on the radio are good, because all his stuff is good, but if you listen to some of his other work, you can hear the true artistry. So all you people complaining about how he’s just as superficial artist and his songs are stupid, you know nothing. Listen to his other work before you make up your mind like that.
If you haven’t listened to “Wings”, do that now:
Anyway, I was just sitting there, pinning ALL the things on pinterest (I don’t actually remember what I was doing, but I’m assuming I was pinning because that just takes up so much of my time) when “Wings” came up and my brain started working. So I pulled up a word document and jotted down some of my thoughts, and now I’m here writing this
amazing blog post everyone will love and will go viral blog post that probably no one cares about or will read.
And if you haven’t figured it out from the lyrics, the song is about Consumerism in America. It questions the pressures society has placed on us to conform to a certain image, by buying a certain product, behaving a certain way, or participating in certain activities. In this over-commercialized society, everyday objects become status symbols.
A car isn’t a means of transportation, it’s a reflection of what job you have and where you live. If you for some reason break from this pattern, people are confused. My dad is asked all the time why he drives a minivan if he’s a doctor.( Ignore the 150,000 miles it has and the family that includes two children he carted around in it for years: he shouldn’t be driving that kind of car. And why is he proud enough to put a license plate with his name on it on a MINIVAN?! Oh no! Someone different!)
As I sit and think more of the manner in which advertising and materialism has influenced the way we live, I can only find it somewhat akin to brainwashing. Before you stop reading because you think I’m some crazy radical who wants to go shun society and live off the land on a farm somewhere never to interact with other humans again (no offense to those who lead alternative lives, you do you), take a second and think.
I’m not suggesting we’re robots who do nothing but what giant corporations want us to. I’m suggesting that they are shaping the way we think. Molding our minds to think certain ways: more favorably towards one product, negatively towards another. Without realizing it, we have slowly become conditioned to think a certain way.
If you were to take this a step further, you would wonder what control we do have over our lives and our thoughts. We’d like to think that we are our own people; that the one thing that remains sacred and outside the control of others and circumstances is our thoughts. However, engage in this simple task: don’t think about a giant purple elephant. Not one bit.
Did it work? As hard as you try you have to think about that elephant. Even if it is just to think you can’t think about it. It’s the power of suggestion. (And the basis for the movie Inception, which is a great film by the way.) This calls into question practically everything we take for granted, and raises all the tough questions. Are our beliefs truly our beliefs and our own? Or simply what we’ve fit into our lives. There are many other cultures and circumstances, which had we been placed in, we likely would have wound up drastically differently. It’s nature versus nurture. In the end, what wins?
I won’t even pretend to have the answers to these kinds of questions. These are the things that run through my mind, and the things that keep me up at night when maybe I’ve had a bit too much alone time to sit and ponder everything.
At the end of the day though, “Wings”, is a song of contrast. A reminder to think about the other side of things. Actions have consequences. There is good and there is bad; and it is important to be conscious of how our decisions affect more than just one moment and one life.
“For to light a candle is to cast a shadow” – Ursula K. Le Guin