Favorite Perennial Internet Arguments: #1 of 1.
On whether children should be encouraged to believe in the Santa Claus fable of generosity and wonder vs. whether children should not be lied to.
Bonus points if the loudest voices on either side of the argument are childless.
There’s not a single song of 17 on Alanis Morissette’s second album that doesn’t include the word “I.
Ryan Dombal’s (excellent) p4k review of the new Drake LP this morning reminded me of this opening sentence of a review I remember reading in 1998. That’s pretty much all the two reviews have in common, though.
This is maybe the dumbest metric for judging the self-absorption of a lyric sheet possible. Try shufflling your iPod until you hit a song that doesn’t include the word “I” and you’ll be hitting Next an awful lot. There’s plenty of them, sure, but they’re dwarfed by the amount of songs in the first person. This doesn’t mean songwriters are more self-absorbed than the general run of humanity, of course; it means that what the vast majority of what people find interesting to sing and listen to is songs about immediately personal emotions and relationships.
“I” is one of the most common words in the English language, behind particles like “the,” “a,” and “and” which our grammar makes structurally necessary. Its usage or frequency tells us nothing about any given speech act that couldn’t be inferred from the meaning of the words.