Non-sequitur: With all my talk about the music from Brokeback Mountain I decided to go and look up the tabs to the theme song. It’s called “Wings” and I noticed (as did my cousin’s musical ear) that the first three chords are the same as The Beatles‘ “Blackbird.” McCartney plays those three chords in a unique way, and the Brokeback version only adds one bass note. It’s funny how one song is so melancholy and the other so uplifting all based on some very minor variation of chords.
Another song which “borrows” from an earlier work is Weezer‘s “My name is Jonas.” The opening acoustic guitar picking is identical to Fleetwood Mac‘s “Landslide” except for the addition of one treble note. Now, certain guitar chords and keys are common throughout popular music. Both Radiohead‘s “The Bends” and The Who‘s “Tommy” are almost entirely written using the same three chords (primarily G,C,D, with a few A minors and E minors thrown in for good fun.) But it’s their arrangement and subtle harmonies plucked throughout that make them unique. I guess it’s like DNA; there are only four simple base pairs, (named much like music: G,A,T,C) yet these four are able to make all life on the planet. Life is a kind of symphony.
Another non-sequitur: I’m reading Shelby Steele’s The Content of our Character. Steele takes a hard look at the black community and suggests that blacks “look beyond their victimization and rely on their efforts to gain access to the American mainstream.” I’m enjoying the book on many levels. In some ways, I’ve been reading it as a metaphor for my own life. It’s easier to play the victim and thus become “innocent” instead of taking responsibility for your own actions.
Partially non-sequitur: Anyway, consider this sentence he wrote: “We need deracinated social policies that attack poverty rather than black poverty and that instill those values that make for self-reliance.” Notice his usage of the word “deracinated.” The word means to literally “uproot” or to displace from one’s native environment, i.e. he’s saying that social policies need to be uprooted. But in this context, the context of race, the word might also be intended to mean “de-raced,” i.e. social policies that are blind to race. In other words, both meanings of the word, both in the racial context and in the standard dictionary context, make perfect sense, and together they combine to form a stronger word. I’m not sure if Steele intended this double-entendre, but if he did, I think this wordplay is worthy of Shakespeare.