A cautionary tale.
I’m talking to YOU, Mr. Weiner (among others). (I actually wrote the third verse after the first time Anthony’s wiener got him in trouble.)
Television is subversive. It makes people think. Haha, just kidding. But it did actually make me think, one day back in the Spring of 2012. I was thinking about some titles of recent TV shows, and I realized that you could string them together and make a story. In fact, if you put a little effort into it, you could string them together and come up with a call to action for the American people to get out there and get involved in their country: by voting, or volunteering, or running for office, or whatever. So that’s exactly what I did.
We are suffering from a case of arrested development, “governed” by people who will do anything for money (except the right thing), who will use their leverage and scare tactics to break the bank and strike it rich. From the green acres of the boondocks to the streets of San Francisco, from the young and the restless to the bold and the beautiful, we must clean house – get rid of the silver spoons and restore some law and order in our government. It’s time to stop being the weakest link, time to return to Eden, before we’re all six feet under and pushing up daisies. Life goes on, we’re survivors, we’ll get by, as long as we remember that there is strength in community. And remember, don’t curb your enthusiasm. Good luck, Charlie.
To tell the truth, I could keep going on in this vein, but I think I’ve made my point.
Anyway, this song contains the titles of (at least) 42 TV shows. It is left as an exercise for the alert (or bored) student to discover them all.
NB: “We need some heroes to come out of the blue” is a plea for people to get more involved in their government at the grassroots level. It is NOT a call for armed revolution. I am totally, 100% against the people taking up arms against each other. That would be an admission that we are incapable of solving our problems with reason, humanity, and compassion for all. If we go down that road, well, let’s not go down that road.
This song took several years to write. I wrote the first verse in late 2009, in response to the big bank bailouts. The second verse was inspired by the Citizens United ruling in early 2010, and the third verse didn’t come to me until the Occupy Wall Street movement took off in the Fall of 2011.
Two experiences this past week conspired to inspire me. The first experience occurred on Thursday morning, and if you make it to the end of this article, you will have surmised what happened then. Friday afternoon I spent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is a fine place to while away a hot summer afternoon. The museum is a magnificent edifice, steeped in history, and dripping with art of cultural significance, both historical and modern.
In the four hours at my disposal, I did not make a dent in the available galleries and exhibitions. In those I did visit, most of the art was hanging on the walls. But occasionally, one of these galleries was graced with a free-standing sculpture, usually of a young woman. There was a 14-year-old ballerina, a lost Pleiad, and a once-controversial sculpture of a modest young woman, in evident discomfiture at posing nude for the first time. This last sculpture, combined with my experience of the previous day, got me thinking.
If I were a sculptor, I would make a statue of a woman of indeterminate age. I would use bronze, because I like bronze, and because all serious sculptors must use either bronze or marble. The woman would be dressed in jeans, naked above the waist, save for a ridiculously inadequate thin cloth draped over her right shoulder, barely covering a small portion of her right breast, hanging down in the back. She would be posed thus:
Standing, hips facing forward, both feet on the ground, weight shifted to her left foot, the heel of that foot raised an inch or so off the floor. She would be leaning ever so slightly forward, back arched, chest and belly out. The overall effect would be that if she didn’t have something to brace herself on, she would fall forward.
Her left arm would be stretched out in front of her, from the shoulder, hand at shoulder height, elbow bent and dropped just a little, as if resting uncomfortably on a hard surface. Her left shoulder would be unnaturally elevated, as if something were under her armpit, pushing up; her exposed left breast would be similarly lifted and oddly flattened. She would be holding her right shoulder back, right hand on her right breast, pulling it backward, as if trying to make it disappear from sight. The flimsy useless garment would be trapped between breast and hand.
Her face would be turned to look over her left shoulder, at an awkward angle, dipped down slightly, showing the tendons in her neck in sharp relief. Her face would bear a resigned yet patient look. Her mouth would be held in a small grimace, upper lip lifting in a caricature of a smile, as if to politely acknowledge chirpy banter from an unseen source.
I would call this composition: “Mammogram in progress.”
Gail Hunn ©2013