Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ask BFS

I’ve long harbored a secret desire to be an advice columnist, but I’ve never been one of those people who always know just the right thing to say nor are people particularly inclined to seek my counsel. But as a blogger I have a legitimacy that I lack as a regular guy, because I have a host of commentors who can bolster my shortcomings on any matter. So today brings us the first edition of Ask BFS, in which a real life person seeks our advice and we provide succor by sharing our knowledge and experiences.

(Clarification: the idea here is that you, the commentor, can contribute to the advice giving. So in this first installment, you would help Nancy find a song that tells a story of good triumphing over evil. Unfortunately, the first commentor felt that this would be an appropriate outlet to confess his most Dahmer-like feelings. It is not.)




Hey (BlogFreeSpringfield),

Mitch has an assignment for religion class to find and print the lyrics to a song that tells the "story" of good overcoming evil. Rob and I have thought of a few loose translations (several Beatles songs, "Racist Friend" by TMBG, etc) but I'm wondering if you can think of a more literal example.

I'm a little upset with the teacher in this class, because while I love the idea of incorporating modern music into a religion curriculum, the example that she brought to class was a Rascal Flatts song. I don't pay hard earned money for a Catholic education to have him exposed to that kind of musical blasphemy. That's what public schools are for. I feel a little violated that we weren't given a heads up that that type of music was going to just kind of wantonly be played during school hours.

Normally, Mitch is very open to alternative styles of music, so that's what we're looking for here.

Thanks for any help

nancy



Dear Nancy,

Tell young Mitch to go out to play, we at BFS are happy to do his homework for him.

An obvious example of good over evil set to music is Charlie Daniels’ the Devil Went Down to Georgia, but people don’t appeal to BFS for easy answers. Besides, to our ears, the devil won that contest.

So what other songs can we look to?

If you’re inclined to believe, as we are, that the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald was inherently evil, then the “hurricane West Wind” could certainly represent the wrath of a vengeful god, and so, the crew’s ultimate demise is then the triumph of good. Of course this would make Gordon Lightfoot, who idolizes the fallen men of the Fitzgerald, a apostate, but that was already clear to us after the release of Rainy Day People. I’m sure Lightfoot intended his maritime story to play as a tragedy, but we say they got what was coming to them.

The Pina Colada Song offers a morality tale, of sorts. A man hell-bent on engaging in an adulterous and rain-soaked tryst, one fueled by copious amounts of a rum-based concoction, instead chooses fidelity as the result of an improbable quirk of fate. One is compelled to ask, however, if the two people in the story aren’t somehow defective, cognitive-wise. We find it hard to believe that not once in their relationship, prior to the secret rendezvous/reunion, one of them didn’t order a Pina Colada at TGIFridays, prompting the other to say, “That sounds good. I think I’ll have one too.” So it’s hard to say that this song is about not giving in to temptations of the flesh, so much as it is about two incredibly stupid people who are better off not mating outside of their already corrupted gene pool. That is good.

Depending on your perspective, The Beastie Boys’ Fight for Your Right to Party might fit the bill. Of course that perspective would have to be that cigarettes and porno are symbols of a more ethically principled system of beliefs than are “soda and pie.” That’s a tough case to make in any school, much less a Catholic one.

Then there is the cautionary tale of Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, reported to be the baddest man in the whole d*** town. If your take is that Leroy is a classic bully to be despised - along with being a philanderer, a philistine and a probable felon – then the comeuppance he receives at the hands of a jealous husband is a victory for the virtuous. However, as exalted by Mr. Croce, Leroy comes across as a sort of neighborhood hero, one that we secretly envy even as we cower in his domineering presence and gasp at his hedonist ways. If, in fact, Leroy is the protagonist of the story, then this is a tale of man’s inherent weakness. We think that it is fair to speculate that if Croce had been compelled to add an extra verse to his story, Leroy would have triumphed over his own flawed humanity by pulling out his “32 gun” and sending the dangerously-close-to-being-cuckolded husband to hell.

In Break(a) My Stride, Matthew Wilder seemed to have shaken off the oppressiveness of an unsatisfying relationship with a cold and compulsive she-devil who had figuratively “sailed away to China” for the purpose of getting her “laundry clean.” But what seems like a triumph of self determination (Never let another girl like you drag me under) is actually just Wilder’s way of telling us that he is now gay.

How about Yah Mo B There?

All Our Best,
BFS



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear BFS,

I read advice columns on a regular basis, yet have never felt the need to write one. Until now.

I never thought it would happen to me but......I like strangling small mammals. It is exciting to watch the life leave those little rascals' warm, and cuddly bodies. When the deed is complete I feel an incredible rush overcome my entire being. That must be what it is like to smoke crack.

Is this a problem? I feel that I am completely justified in doing this as long as I don't progress to doing the same thing to hoofed mammals. What do you think? Please help.

Signed,
Perplexed in Springfield

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Dear Perplexed,

There are many fine local blogs out there, far better than this one. You should explain your situation to them. Go to Spfldbloggers.com and pick one at random, it's bound to be more to your liking than BFS. Go now. Please!

Thanks for not commenting anymore,
Dan

nancy said...

Wow, thanks Dan!

Not to put too much pressure on any would-be commenters, but Mitch's assignment is due tomorrow, Friday.

He's feeling a little defeated today after being allowed to stay up late and watch the Cubs lose so I'm not sure he really believes that good overcomes evil anyway, but he appreciates any examples your readers might provide.