One of the things I don’t really do is pop culture.
Sometimes, it feels like the world moves too fast — there’s some new It thing every five minutes, and I just cannot keep up. Even when I was a kid, I was still stuck on the Last Cool Thing, while everybody had moved on to what was in… and, honestly? I never reconciled my nerdishness. I felt like a fool, every single time. I didn’t know who Mel Gibson was when I saw him, in person, on the street, in high school. D’oh!
I gave up. After college, I listened to less and less new music, kept up with fewer and fewer shows, watched fewer and fewer movies. I even made it a point of pride. I don’t have a TV. I don’t listen to Top 40 pop music. The last movie I saw was The Frog Princess. I read – because that’s as much as I can keep track of… at least I know all the new books. Mostly. It’s what I tell myself.
It took me awhile to figure out that I was still getting my pop culture news… north-by-northwest. It’s there. It ekes in. I saw that stupid tongue thing Miley Cyrus did (didn’t everyone?), I knew who Macklemore was because he made a thrifting cool. But, it breaks my heart that I missed Pharell Williams until six twentysomthings in Iran were arrested… for dancing to a song innocuously titled “Happy.”
You don’t need to understand the words to feel their defeat. Their backs to the camera, their bodies curved in on themselves, like the contrite on the mourner’s bench, as they’re forced to “confess.” They have shamed their nation, by producing a “vulgar” clip which offends…chastity. An “obscene video clip that offended the public morals and was released in cyberspace,” is the actual charge. Shame. Their bodies are shouting “shame.”
* * *
I watched the video, in which the girls wore wigs to cover their hair, in accordance with their cultural and religious mores, and then I looked up the original song. And then, I cried a bit. The Iranian twentysomethings showed some of scenes of them making their video, at the end, and the hysterical laughter was so… normal.. they laugh like goofy dorks in their country, just like I laugh like a goofy dork in mine. And, I’ve missed this — social phenomenon, of people around the world showing examples of their “happy,” and how it meshes with mine. I’ve missed an awfully perky, fun, infectious and upbeat song for far too long, and how dare I not dance, this very minute, this very day, this very LIFE — because I can???
What a shame, that I’ve been sitting… What a shame to choose to hyperfocus on whatever Issues, and not embrace gladness, at least some of the time.
CNN reports that a few hours ago, the dancers were released – not the director of the video, but sympathy is with those in front of the camera.
(And the one behind? Who can say? I hope he or she is okay…)
As I’ve listened to the song, over and over and over again (oh, yes, I am one of THOSE PEOPLE; poor Tech Boy was SICK of “That’s Alright” from the Laura Uvula CD Jules sent me) it’s like it’s taking over my pulse. Be happy, be happy, be happy. Life is ephemeral, hard things are coming; if you can dance NOW, dance.
I sold a book the other day. I’m happy. I’m getting to where I can run uninterrupted bursts of time on my elliptical machine. I’m darned happy. Tech Boy is funny and sweet and kind. My rent is cheap. I’m paying my bills. I’m honestly …okay.
… I’m happy. This is my new theme song.
And hey! I’m actually in time to be hip with a pop culture movement for once. Whad’dya know. ☺
Let nothing bring you down, my hearts. ♥