Anne Hathaway recently did a stripper inspired dance on LL Cool J???s lip-syncing show, (gyrating to Miley Cyrus??? Wrecking Ball).
Social media at work.
You or I would never watch Spike TV, which broadcast???s Mr. J???s show, but you read Human Events, while I have a friend in Dubai who ???liked??? Miss Hathaway???s dance on Facebook, thus it ended up on my newsfeed, thus I saw it on my iPhone when I couldn???t sleep. This led to a Google search for ???Anne Hathaway Wrecking Ball???, which led to an article in People Magazine, from which I learned Miss Hathaway???s motivation was to promote her one woman Broadway show.
Now you know about Miss Hathaway???s show.
Success for them. But what about us?
Anne Hathaway???s dance was a tour de force in something-or-other, so kudos and respect and all that to her. But I???m here to throw cold, uptight, Puritanical water on it. Because I like to spoil parties, and stop everyone from having fun.
When I saw Anne Hathaway licking her phallic sledgehammer and ???giving the finger??? to her rival in the lip-syncing contest, at a vaguely unconscious level I believed I was watching something sexy. (Society made me do it!)
But it really wasn???t sexy, I realised, after day-dreaming about running into Anne Hathaway on the streets of New York and somehow ???befriending??? her. (I mean, let???s be honest, it wasn’t an instantaneous realisation.)
My girlfriend once did a dance like that in her dorm room for me, after we got back from a Scottish dance (whiskey drinking: compulsory.) She is an extraordinarily beautiful girl, but it actually made me sad, although I never really thought about why ???til just now.
Society is not on a continuum towards more enlightened times, as the Orwellian term ???Progressivism??? implies. In some things, at least, it???s on a see-saw. In some epochs, what we, in our times, can???t help but term prudishness is at the forefront. During those times, Miss Hathaway???s dance would be seen as prurient and vulgar. Of course, in our times, Miss Hathaway???s dance is seen as cool, and any objection to it is seen as uptight.
Perhaps somewhere in the middle is a golden mean.
But golden means make extremely boring reading, so forget that. Miss Hathaway should burn in hellfire for all eternity for her abomination. Okay, I got that off my chest (it wasn???t really on my chest, to be honest. It was the caffeine. Gotta cut down.)
No, but seriously:
There is another way of looking at these shifts in what is ???cool??? and what is not. It???s this:
Rather than ???society??? shifting as a whole (didn???t Margaret Thatcher once say there is no such thing as ???society????), it is probably more accurate to say that certain segments of society rise in prominence, while others fall, but all remain present. I recall some Roman or other lamenting the Roman Empire???s fall into depravity, at the precise moment Rome was falling into depravity. So there was at least a vocal minority during Rome???s fall, (consisting of, at least, one person,) who wasn???t depraved. (Of course, the idea that Rome fell into depravity is now being challenged, as our ???progressive??? times currently see that particular era of Rome as progressive, or at least depraved, despite that fact that it led to the Dark Ages. Which are, inevitably, no longer referred to as the Dark Ages, is it might hurt their feelings. And the wheel turns.)
Which is all by way of saying that there beats, in the heart of man, something high, noble, and sublime, even while there beats, on the dancefloors, a hypnotic and unchanging, machine-made, four kicks per measure noise (and all that represents).
A noise which can easily drown out that more sublime thing which I???m raving on about.
I actually ended up breaking up with that girlfriend, as one tends to do with first loves, but at the time none of our friends could quite believe how in love we seemed, and, in fact, were. Most of them, during their free time, were getting drunk and doing things drunk people do with other drunk people, people they wouldn???t even converse with when sober, later regretting it, and generally being miserable. I suppose this is typical of what people in depraved times do, the sorts of times that also produce Anne Hathaway???s dance, as opposed to, say, those that produced Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing cheek to cheek.
Does anyone say to himself, ???Heaven, I???m in heaven?????? while watching Miss Hathaway?
If I really analyse it, then, what made Anne Hathaway???s dance unappetizing to me is she is portraying the sort of person I used to see looking miserable the next day, with cold sores, bloodshot eyes, and ennui, on the same days I woke up feeling I was in…dare I say it?…that place Fred Astaire sang about. People were not shy to say they were envious, so it???s not just my own perspective.
So, just because society, the media, or most people say something is right, doesn???t mean it is. Most people are miserable, after all. Just look around you. Do you want to be one of them? Or do you want to ???find the happiness??? you seek??????even if it is vastly too uncool to literally do it ???dancing cheek to cheek????
Our times scream ???nerd??? at everything I just said. Other times would have screamed ???hero???, ???gentleman???, or words to that effect, at those same thoughts. Even as the wheel keeps turning, some will continue, at least in their minds, to attend a more genteel ball than the Wrecking Ball.
Austin Washington wrote The Education of George Washington, which has nothing whatsoever to do with George Washington???s education, except in the most tangential and etymologically accurate way.