Thursday, January 11, 2018

Seal

Musician Seal trashed Oprah Winfrey on Instagram by posting these photos with text. He wrote: "serially assaulting young stary-eyed actresses who in turn had no idea what they were getting into. My bad. #SanctimoniousHollywood"


Say, isn't he British? Wouldn't that make what goes on in Hollywood, and American politics, oh, how to put this, none of his Goddamn business? 

I get it. America is everybody's business. Because reasons. 

I take a provincial attitude, World Citizen. You're not American so just shut up. 

Actually, I don't really care about this. It's irrelevant.

It was noticed this morning and it's just an excuse to talk about something more interesting to me about Seal. 

I wanted to see how the kids interpreted his song. But that was after wanting to see how the kids interpreted La Vie en Rose. I was curious how they'd manage the French. Would they interpret it twice, from French into American sign? Earlier I said that I never saw anyone show an air guitar, and the very first video is a chubby girl showing an air-ukuleli. And she's good! Check it out. Notice the first stanza ends with "vie en rose" but she's finishes it with "love." The sound quality of the recording is very poor. And for "rose" she signs the flower rose, and not "pink" as it should be. Listening more closely I hear she is using a different version of lyrics, one that really does mean the flower rose and not French for pink. I watched a half dozen videos, and they don't get any better. 

I had been practicing with Seal's Kiss From a Rose but it hadn't occurred to me to see how others approached it.

The song is clearly about drugs. The poem is explicit. The visual imagery is not even symbolic, it's direct. Yet people who love this song cannot permit themselves to accept that. Even knowing the singer's background and his struggle with drugs. It's very clear; the singer was dealing with depression and a person kept entering and lifting him. He's not comparing love to an addiction, he's describing the addiction. He's describing depression and being lifted. By drugs. Possibly being lifted out of that syndrome by love for a person.

I concluded in my interpretation not to show that. Rather, to stick with the poetry and leave all that unresolved. To avoid over-interpretation and not explain the poem. Just leave it as poem and stick with the visual imagery. Even though they don't make sense. Again, the rose is the flower, and not the color. While now there is gray, and gray is an emotion not a color. 

None of the interpretations show text-book gray. And none show a grayish gloom, or depression. They all do a kind of double-handed clawing down, something I've not seen, as if they all learned from each other. The word is "gray" and the meaning is "depressed emotional state." Stick with gray. The color. Or the emotion.

"Love remained a drug that's the high and not the pill." 

They all show "drug," a needle stabbed into the inside elbow, but none show popping a pill into the mouth with the head jerking back receiving the pill, an exceedingly graphic sign that's somewhat amusing.  They opt for the far less graphic surreptitious placing a pill in the mouth. Disappointing. 

"Did you know that when it snows my eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen?"

Did you know when I blow coke my eyes dilate and this situation of you popping in with your deliveries and me temporarily lifted from depression is made clear? 

"Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray."

Your deliveries are how I self-medicate my depression. 

Come on. That it sounds so much like a love song is pure gravy. That it's couched in poetry is why the song is an international hit. Denying the song is about drugs is the same thing as denying the YMCA song that children love so much because they can act it out is about gay sex. All these little kids singing and enthusiastically acting out an alphabet song about gay sex. How precious! And now all these lovely people singing a love song about a woman lifting a man from isolation and depression is actually about working one's way through addiction is so oddly charmingly beautiful. 

How do you show a rose kissing the color gray?

How do you show a rose in bloom the light hits the gloom on the gray? 

At that point it's a pile of words. Its a poem. The signals are: rose blooms shinning light depression gray. 

I watched a dozen versions of this song in ASL until I got tired of seeing and hearing it. But not until seeing this contest. 

It's a black church group competing against a white high school choir. There is a stark racial divide thing going on here. The black church singers have soul and the white kids do not. The song requires soul. In the first few bars of the first two singers you know instantly which choir wins. The contest ends soon as it starts. There is no point in going further except to enjoy the winners and drag out the agony of the outclassed choir. 

Once a long time ago my choir teacher in Junior High School, a place called Green Acres in Shreveport Louisiana, lovely little school actually, completely segregated at the time, said to us all arrayed on stands, "One of you sounds waxy." 

We're all, "What?"

"One of you has a voice that sounds waxy." 

We hadn't a clue what she was talking about, much less how to fix it. It was the most confounding moment of that whole school session. We didn't know which one of us was the guilty party, if we should expel them when we find them, or train them to not be waxy, or what. We were all thinking, is it me? 

The first white girl who sings sounds like she folded wax paper over a hair comb and hummed it like a harmonica to produce a sound like a kazoo but less amusing and more irritating to the ears. That kind of singing voice is the worst. And she has it. It took a long time but I finally heard what that Green Acres choir teacher meant. You lose! Get out of the choir. Out. Out. Out. 

She needs to be barked out of the choir. 

The one saving grace for the white choir is the dude of indeterminate racial composition. He has soul. The only one over there who does. He gets the song. The other white kids do not. They treat the song as another object song to sing technically, while the black choir feels it all the way though. There is no real competition. 


12 comments:

Darcy said...

Chip, I have always loved the way your quirky brain works! This makes sense and it never dawned on me that the song was about drugs. I'm a silly romantic.

Btw, I don't know where you are in CO, but I'm in Littleton. We (you, me and my new and interesting husband) should have coffee sometime.

Sixty Grit said...

DARCY!!!

edutcher said...

Darce, Kiss From a Rose is from Batman Forever, and I never got the vibe it's drug-oriented.

PS New husbands are always interesting. Find him as interesting 5 years from now when his cracker crumbs are in the bed.

Sixty Grit said...

I got a couple of minutes into the video but the singers squat when they sing. That is not a good look.

Chip Ahoy said...

Too bad. You missed the part where Seal joins them for the finish. It's touching.

Think how this was set up. The white group is all in pastel wholesomeness and the black group is all blue/gray lightless depression. One group is cast as sunlight and beach-freshness while the other is cast as depression and gloom. And the song is about light on the gloom. No fairzees. And segregationist as all hell.

The female judge pretends an agonized judging, "I don't k-n-no-o-o-w!" Where the decision is clear the moment they open their mouths. Easter egg basket VS a table of soul food. Soul wins. In the first seconds.

chickelit said...

Darcy, were you really shadow banned from Twitter?

Also, Dickin'Bimbos is in CO, I believe. There is a strange number of people here with CO connections.

Chip Ahoy said...

Darcy, please contact boureATcomcastDOTnet <--- that right there is a top secret code on the highest order of national intelligence. I feel fairly certain you can crack it by your superior code-cracking skills. When you do, then I will know, and I can set up something with you and your new and interesting Honey Cakes.

chickelit said...

Seal may not be American, but all the kids he sired with his sadistic wife, Heidi Klum, are American. Ergo, interest in US politics.

Darcy said...

Lol Chip! Thanks! I will contact you.

I wasn't shadow banned from Twitter. At least I don't think I was. But twice in a row when I tried to post, a message from Twitter said something like "Your account has been suspended. For information on why your account may have been suspended, please see Twitter rules or (something about my timeline here). Then I would be able to get to my timeline but not post. I wish I had taken a screenshot. I have no idea why I would get this message. It doesn't seem like this would happen randomly? But nothing like that since.

Also: hi all! I don't visit a lot anymore but I always enjoy this place!

And lol, Sixty. You are correct. I doubt I would find crackers in my bed interesting. Ever. :)


deborah said...

The ukelele strummer...very hula and adorable. Is there poetry that originates in sign language?

Darce :)

Chip Ahoy said...

Yes, Deb. There are stories that originate in ASL. But no poetry that I know of. They're popular on YouTube. But honestly, I don't think they're interesting. Somehow they're clever in that language but not clever interpreted into English. They reminded me of Jeff thinking the cartoon Nancy is the funniest of all the newspaper cartoons. Nancy cracked him up.

deborah said...

"Somehow they're clever in that language but not clever interpreted into English."

Too cool, like there's a mindset/reality we can't access.