Saturday, June 19, 2010

Oh No Man That's Too Easy

For purposes of the present post, if not the larger mood swing from which it springs, cynicism is a refuge of scoundrels. It's too easy, too convenient, too self-serving, too defeatist, and too lazy, as Stereolab's "The Noise of Carpet" expressed through music and lyrics:

I hate to see your broken face
this world would give you anything
as long as you will want to
as long as you will want to
I hate your state of hopelessness
and that vain articulateness
your loser type wreck wanna be
not a pretty sight really
in another world it'd be funny

I hate to see your broken face
a lazy life of fatal waste
of fashionable cynicism
the poison they want you to drink
oh no man that's too easy
oh no man that's too easy
we weren't talking 'bout happiness
apply your leading potential
to be useful to this planet
the world would give you anything
as long as you will want to
as long as you will want to

This is not just a rebuke of the ethos of world-weariness that so permeates present-day culture that it sometimes requires effort to recall that other ways to represent the world have been tried, but it aims even at the tenets of Jesus: it starts with the image of a broken face but pointedly rejects turning the other cheek, then suggests the world's gifts will go not to the poor, meek, and beaten, but to those who rally, question, and struggle.

"In another world it'd be funny" to declare a pox on all houses and sit on the couch, and under another paradigm, timid resignation gains a better afterlife, but in this world, cynicism is not funny nor a path to justice.

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