Monday, February 7, 2011

I Have No Problem with Mr. In-Between, Party Pooper or Not

I don't know what your musical tastes are like. I'm not even quite sure what mine are like, but I've had this song in my head for days now. After a while, I started to battle with it a bit. Here's the best video I could find, and just in case you didn't know who's singing with Bing Crosby, her name just kinda hangs there at the bottom left the whole time...

So... there are a lot of directions in that chorus, and it ends with an imperative statement. Do I actually want to go do what the writer suggests/commands?

"Accentuate the positive." That sounds reasonable, even practical. Good idea. I mean, life generally listens to what you say. If you're negative and critical, you'll be given reasons for being that way. The same works for being positive, so unless you enjoy being unhappy, you'd better be careful with what you put out there. You don't even have to wrap your mind around it, just try it. What works, works.

Hm... "Eliminate the negative?" Here's where I hesitate. I mean, is that possible? "Don't dwell on the negative," yes. "Come to terms with things you can't control, and minimize the damage," a-men! But... it's as bad to believe that you can completely control your circumstances as it is to sit and mope and fail to realize the control you do have.

Have you ever seen the 1960 Disney movie, Pollyanna? The title character plays what she calls The Glad Game; She's always trying to be glad about something, no matter the situation. Here, the fictional little lady explains it herself:

Sounds good, doesn't it? Did you notice, though, that when she's faced with more pessimistic attitudes, she gets angry? Seems a little desperate. Self-centered, low on sympathy.

Later, when she faces a single circumstance with nothing to be glad about, she nearly dies. When confronting the possibility that she'll no longer have the use of her her legs, it's her outlook that's destroys her, not her injury. It seems that the real disability is her pathological need for every event to be happy. Bad things happen. Don't dwell on them, and move on.

And so we'll move on to the next line.

"Latch on to the affirmative." Okay, a reiteration, with slang added to give the song a casual swing, to keep it from sounding preachy. Swing is right, too. "Latch on" seems very much like the 1930s, and I looked it up, this song was written in 1944. Who am I to judge, though? Slang comes and goes. We can't all be stoopid fresh, y'all y'all.

And so we move on.

Now here's where I really have to disagree: "Don't mess with Mr. In-Between." What?! Are you telling me that the subtleties, the compromises of maturity are wrong? Should I cling to the extremes of young adulthood? Am I to stay a child?

I refuse to maintain an immature, black-and-white attitude. Even if it's required for success, or possibly survival, in our post-post-post-post-post-modern society.

This is just another song about how to "make it," isn't it? I mean material success, and specifically how the songwriters attained it. How to stay young and fresh so you don't fall by the wayside. It doesn't matter who you are, it's what you earn.

But... maybe I'll play Pollyanna's Glad Game too.

Okay... I'm glad that the lyrics weren't written by a singer, that they don't reflect a singer's values. It's an old song from a time in which singers and songwriters were two different things.

Tune in to a pop station now, and what are they all saying? "I want to get some of the young teen members of the audience in a dark corner for a while." That's all. I mean it. Stop and listen. Yeah, I know, I don't care for it much myself. At least the writer of my dissected song has stepped back from it all a little.

So maybe there is something to be glad about in this song. I guess it's something pretty negative though. Then again, if it's negative about misconceptions and bad life choices that hold people back, maybe it's positive after all.

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