Bruce Springsteen claimed he “learned more from a three-minute record than we ever learned in school,” which doesn’t say much for The Boss. It may be bad news for me, too, because much of what I say is based on song lyrics and lines from movies. Hmmmmm….
I overheard one of our young teenagers quote a song, and it got me to thinking. The girls recently persuaded me to have the radio on in the car. Kelly and I never listen to the radio while driving. We would rather use that time to actually converse, especially with the girls, but I figure having the radio on is better than having them in the back seat with buds plugged into their ears.
The song quoted is Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You), by someone named Kelly Clarkson, who likely stole the idea from Friedrich Nietzsche. You remember Nietzsche, the German philosopher, poet, cultural critic and classical philologist. I suspect that’s where most modern singers turn when looking for inspiration, classical philologists.
The hook line is the claim that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” but in addition to wondering what effect that has on the girls’ thinking, I wonder whether that’s true. Let’s consider….
- Watching reality TV won’t kill you, but it won’t make you stronger.
- Eating a chocolate bar a day rather than an apple won’t kill you, but it won’t make you stronger.
- Tattoos hurt but won’t kill you and don’t make you stronger, just more ridiculous.
- Spam won’t kill you, at least not quickly, but it doesn’t make you stronger.
- Driving 60 in a school zone propably won’t kill you, but it won’t make you stronger.
- CNN won’t kill you, but it won’t make you stronger, unless you call being misinformed stronger.
- Aspertame won’t kill you, but – oh wait, the jury is still out on that one.
- Procrastination won’t kill you, but it doesn’t make you stronger.
- Cheating at school or cutting corners at work won’t kill you, but they don’t make you stronger.
- Cheating on your spouse, breaking promises to your children, neglecting family obligations, those won’t kill you, but none of them makes you stronger.
What can you add to the list?
Personally, like so many songs, I think it is nonsense, but now another generation of listeners has the notion in their heads. Kind of like an earlier generation that grew up thinking “I hope I die before I get old.”
I wonder what they have to say about it now?