A Piece of Filth

It’s kind of late in the game to be writing about a song that was released in 2014, but it’s being played on the so-called “family-friendly” station constantly for some reason, and every time I turn on the radio, I bump into it. Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s” is a bit of pseudo-musical grime about a so-called “liberated woman” who is haunted by her past lovers.

The lyrics of the bridge are beautifully arrogant:

One, two, three, they gonna run back to me
‘Cause I’m the best baby that they never gotta keep
One, two, three, they gonna run back to me
They always wanna come, but they never wanna leave

Nice double entendre about coming and leaving, then the assumption that all these guys will want to run straight back to her because she’s apparently “the best” but nobody can keep her because she’s just so hard to get. Too bad she didn’t listen to any other similar-sounding pop stars. Then she’d realize she’s a dime a dozen.

Yes, this isn’t the dirtiest song on the radio, but the fact that it’s dirty and slutty (ooh, I slut-shamed… how dare me?!?) doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that it represents sheer arrogance or that the radio station that plays the song used to play decent music when I first started listening to them, and now they’re playing more and more popular songs and less of the “good stuff” from the 80s and 90s. Children listen to this station all the time, so I guess their parents will just have to convince them that Elle King’s song is about tic-tac-toe. Or if all else fails, they could listen to the Kidz Bop version, which replaces the words “lover” and “baby” with “friend” and “come” with “hang.” (Actually, no. Don’t listen to that.)

Moral of the story: If you have children, don’t turn on mainstream radio unless you happen to have a commercial-free classical music station being broadcast near you.

Beware the Ads on Tumblr

Tumblr has been one of my favorite social media sites (well, practically the only one I’m on) since its inception, although lately I’ve been tempted to kick it to the curb because 90% of its content is beginning to be offensive to me and because you can’t do an innocent image search without running into very risqué stuff. Since Tumblr was bought by Yahoo! a few years back, it’s only gotten worse, and so have the ads. Like this one:*

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At first, I thought the object in the little speech-bubble heart was a wedding band, but then I lowered my mind to the gutter, looked more closely, actually read the text of the ad, and realized that the object is in fact a condom. I began to get angry, but I realized I was on Tumblr and this ad is probably the least of all the things on there I could get angry about.

The picture says, to put it simply, If you love me, use a condom or I will prove my love for you by using a condom. I could imagine how using a condom could be seen as a caring gesture because you’re looking out for a lover’s well-being, but it is upsetting that it has to be that way,** that the types of things condoms guard against are so prevalent, and that a condom is not 100% effective in doing its job.

To answer the question in the ad, yes, sex is risky. A condom can guard a certain part of one’s body and may even provide temporary peace of mind, but it cannot guard one’s heart. I know that a discussion about protecting emotions is not what the ad intends to start, but the heart above the two guys’ heads reminds the person viewing the ad that heavy emotions are involved. What I’m getting at is that the heart should be removed from the ad. Perhaps the two guys should each be holding onto the condom instead of each others’ hands, and maybe the speech bubble should be shaped normally, with actual words (that don’t pertain to love) inside it. To me, putting a condom inside of a heart is putting a Band-Aid over a stab wound.

*Yes, I realize that I’m perpetuating the ad by posting it here, but who the heck reads this stuff anyway? 🙂

**Well, it certainly doesn’t have to be that way, but that’s the subject of many other posts and PSAs that mostly end up preaching to the choir.

More Playtime?

Usually my commute is so deathly boring that I have to entertain myself in some way, usually by thinking of story ideas or other mental amusements, praying, or trying to talk myself through a plan for the day. But every now and then something on the road grabs my attention.

The attention-getting thing happened to be a billboard advertising a vasectomy* clinic. The billboard’s tagline was something like “More playtime. Less time in the penalty box.”

Usually I’m pretty “live and let live” about most things, but this time I was legitimately offended. We have managed to separate sex from procreation, and children are often seen as inconveniences to be avoided at all costs, because to be responsible for a child would be to end one’s “playtime.” I pondered that for a moment, then went on my (not so merry anymore) way.

The billboard was taken down a couple weeks after I first saw it, but recently I was on my way back from work, and I saw the same billboard again, but on the other side of the highway this time.

I got possibly even more offended than I had been the first time I saw the billboard. The modern age is the lap of luxury and convenience, and because we are so used to being pampered, we forget that life is supposed to be a struggle. Sometimes we do have to sit in the “penalty box,” and no amount of modern-day conveniences can remove that reality. We will be so unused to any kind of inconvenience that when the time for real struggle and real suffering comes, we will have no idea how to handle it.

So in response to the billboard, I would say something that most of America (the world? sane people?) would perceive as horribly offensive, or at least along the lines of get your opinions out of my genital area: “Don’t want kids? Then don’t have sex.” We have broadened our options for as much playtime and as little responsibility as possible, and this will likely come back to bite us. To live in a hedonistic society is to upset the natural balance of life for the sake of convenience and to forget what we lose for the sake of avoiding any kind of pain. To live an actual life is to understand how the sacrifice of pleasure can result in much greater, more true, and less fleeting happiness.

*I understand that there are other reasons for getting a vasectomy besides contraception. This post is about contraception.