We Love the Things That Hate Us

Atmosphere recently released a completely free album called Strictly Leakage. Nerdifer sent me the track she liked, a song called “The Things That Hate Us.” She got it off this hip-hop blog Inverse. It’s an indictment of the proclivity of Americans to engage in modern self-destructive behavior. Self-destructive eating, boozing, smoking, TV watching, medicating… here’s a snippet:

Overfill, overkill, tryin’ to deal
Call the toll free and order me some diet pills.
Got me looking at the sugar in the Kool-Aid that you made
You need to chase it down with some toothpaste
Still stuck to the simple things yep the struggle in between a couple of krispy kremes
I have to ask if you could pass that half and half to get my coffee back on track
Big ups to all the carbonated hiccups the energy drinks and the suicide big gulps.
Gonna find happiness in the fast food
Supersize the triple bypass heart attack too
Distract you with these colorful tattoos to cover up the fact that we feel like bad news

[Chorus:]
We love the things that hate us
Push snooze again girl I don’t want to wake up

The thing that just tickles me is how amazing the title lyric is. It could have just as  easily been entitled “we love the things that hurt us”. Instead, the lyric imbues these things with intention, and thus actual malice.

The overly sugary food you eat? It hates you. It wants you to get diabetes. The unprotected sex you’re having hates you, and if it’s in a good mood, the worst it wishes on you is a case of the clap. And that needle that you’re sharing with someone. It has nothing but hatred for you… cynical, vicious hatred. It wishes you ill.

It’s a positively genius turn of phrase.

Expelled

I don’t have a lot to say about Expelled at this time, other than that it’ll be out soon, and it horrifies me. I fret about it. Mostly I worry that among the counter-arguments, denouncements, debunkings and assorted aghast spluttering from the community of the informed, some of it will be shrill, scoffing, or otherwise obnoxious. That’s the point, of course, to cast those people as intolerant, to bring out the worst in them.

The good news is that so far I’ve been completely unable to turn up a positive review of it, except on the Discovery Institute site.

Die already, creationism!

Gentlemen’s Cabaret

When did this use of the term “gentleman” appear? Why did that term, rather than any other, come to be the accepted euphemism? Was “men’s” already taken? That’s what popped into my head when I saw this awning.

That and: is it really possible to walk into a strip joint and think, as you pass under the “gentleman’s cabaret” sign, “Yes. Yes, I am a gentleman, and that, more than anything else, is what defines me in this place. That is the quality that is common to all the men present — we are gentlemen, one and all.”

And yet I don’t detect any trace of sarcasm, or even irony, in this usage.

Further reflection clarified things for me, though. It’s relatively recent that gentlemen are thought of as “well-mannered” men. The original meaning was “high-born”, or ’’well-born” or “noble”, and yeah, we’re talking about men with power, not graces. Although obviously the two certainly go together since social graces are codes for recognizing people of sufficient station to mingle with you.

Now that we don’t put nearly as much stock in older notions of born and bred nobility, one can “act like a gentlemen” and we understand that to mean that one is conducting one’s self in a respectable manner. I think I’ll have to save for another discussion how a similar thing has gone on with the term “noble”.

In any case, it’s clear that “gentleman’s club” originated because men with power like to be attended to by scads of hotties.

Which leaves me giggling about the contrast between the modern sense of the term and what behavior I expect out of the crowd inside the club. I don’t think they’re wearing top hats, for one thing. Those things get knocked off when a stripper knocks about your face with her shaking breasts.