12 February 2010

Taking "My Way" Too Seriously

According to a story in The New York Times on Thursday, people get killed over Sinatra in the Philippines. Over karaoke renditions of "My Way" in particular.

Why is it "My Way" that sparks fights, and sometimes deaths? The simple explanation is just that it is a song that everybody knows well enough to have an opinion, so it is more likely than many other songs to be the spark to a fight.

But there are lots of other very-well-known songs. So, as you'll see if you read deeply into the story, there's also an "existential" interpretation of these events. Maybe it's just a song associated with losers, and when a loser sings about himself, he is likely to tick off the other losers.

Consider: the lyrics of "My Way" are obviously designed to appeal to someone who wants to think of himself as the center of the world, but who hasn't done anything notably special. So he frames his center-of-the-world self-image in terms that are both vague and defiant. "I DARE you to call me out on my loserhood."

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.