Saturday, January 28, 2006

Philosophical question of the day: Does James Brown shake my thing?

Short answer: No. James Brown does not shake my thing. I shake my thing.

James Brown is an ebullient performer of song and dance who has created incredible music. Indeed, while short of stature and weird of hair, Mr. Brown may be the funkiest person ever to have walked the Earth. But the crucial point metaphysically is that when I shake my thing, it is I who shakes it, not Mr. Brown.

I had this epiphany (like so many I've related here before) in the shower. This one came after being briefly "possessed" by Brown's "I Got the Feeling [Baby, Baby, I Got the Feeling, Baby]," during which episode I shook my thing vigorously, and afterwards for a moment stood in awe of Mr. Brown; i.e. slick hair, sequined matador jacket, flawed driving record and alleged drug problems notwithstanding. But then I realized that Mr. Brown was far away, and that he and his band hadn't created or even ever performed that music with me in mind. In an important and overlooked sense, I alone was shaking my thing.

The point might be expressed: Cogito, ergo shake my thing myself.

Indeed, in a word that echoes a popular metaphor, it might be said I own "I Got the Feeling [Baby, Baby, I Got the Feeling, Baby]."

Yet it is in Mr. Brown of whom the world stands in awe, not me.

I do not wish to say the man is any less deserving, or that he was worked any less hard in show business, than any of the other creators whose work influences us and to whom society confers prestige. But I do continue to wonder about this funky thing we call prestige.


Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

Indeed, while short of stature and weird of hair,

He he

helmut said...

But he made you shake your thing in the shower while only thinking of him. That is indeed quintessentially funky.

Will said...

I am puzzled about whether it was me or Eddie Murphy who made me shout "Step Back! Touch myself! Feel Good! Too hot in the hottub!" upon reading this post.

Murky Thoughts said...

Note rob has taken the trouble to articulate his own approach to the question. While ultimately misconstruing the core metaphysics, nevertheless his approach, I would argue, deserves a read. At the very least it illustrates the philosophical perils surrounding the problem.