Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beyoncé, Don't Believe It!

Don't you love it when a catchy tune gets stuck in your head for the entire day and you CANNOT seem to shake it? Maybe it's the theme from the Andy Griffith Show, or Beverly Hills Cop, or that Empire Carpet commercial? And then you feel compelled to tell a friend and BAM! you've gone and spread the maddening melody and the beat goes on... Enter Beyoncé and her song Irreplaceable. It's a catchy tune, granted. But it's got issues. Let's lend an ear to the lyrics:

"You must not know about me, You must not know about me I could have another you in a minute, matter fact he'll be here in a minute... "

Ouch. As William Congreve once said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!" (I thought it was Shakespeare too, but it actually comes from a play called the "The Mourning Bride" (1697). Thanks Mr. Google!)

"I can have another you by tomorrow, So don't you ever for a second get to thinking you're irreplaceable."

Beyoncé's song was all over the airwaves a year ago (It was #1 on iTunes for weeks). And the lyrics of this song have an angst that we can all recognize in our culture; it points to the ongoing war between men and women, the battle between love and lust, the dichotomy of seeing others as a gift or choosing rather to grasp at them as if they were objects just meant to sate our own selfish desires. Now in light of these battle scars, I would affirm Beyoncé's reaction in the song. If the woman has been abused or objectified in the relationship, she should jump ship and get out of the situation. The problem is, she jumped right past the lifeboat that carries us into the sea of seeing people as persons, and she turns around and treats men as objects herself!

"I won't lose a wink of sleep 'cause the truth of the matter is replacing you is so easy..."

What are we, vacuum cleaners? Washing machines? The truth is, we are not replaceable. We are not pleasure machines that can be exchanged when the pleasure dries up. The truth is, we are like snowflakes. Each of us is unrepeatable. Every one of us is, in fact, irreplaceable. And yes, even when we fall for the lies of our culture, becoming just a face in a crowd, selling out our virtue for the quick and easy, becoming a number instead of a New Creation, we are still, deep in our being, utterly and inviolably unique and irreplaceable. There will never be another you. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his inaugural homily "We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary." And Pope John Paul II sang this truth as well when he wrote "The human person is a unique composite - a unity of spirit and matter, soul and body, fashioned in the image of God and destined to live forever. Every human life is sacred, because every human person is sacred." So don't you ever for a second get to thinkin' you're __replaceable.

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