Shortly after receiving my first ever opinion article this week, I talked to our editor-in-chief to narrow my focus and to figure out which of my many opinions should take precedence above the rest and be circulated in op-ed form to the Vanguard’s readership.
To Toni’s credit, she did offer me advice for which I’m grateful, but how beneficial it has been to my choice of topic is certainly up for debate. She said to me, “Just write about whatever you want.”
That wasn’t the only thing she said. There was something about how awesome funk music is and how terrible disco music is in comparison. In retrospect, this may have been her subtly, or unwittingly, slipping me a potential opinion for me to expound upon. Or, it may have been fate in one of its rare, compassionate moods giving a desperate staff writer strapped for ideas something solid.
But really, who wants to read an article explaining the differences between the musical genres of disco and funk while simultaneously making the argument that disco sucks (clearly it’s “dead” for a reason) and explaining why KC and the Sunshine Band, a group that had its heyday in the ‘70s delivering a signature blend of funk and disco in hits such as “That’s the Way (I Like It),” “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,” “I’m Your Boogie Man,”and “Get Down Tonight,” in fact, does not suck? Although, “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” is pretty obnoxious.
Maybe it’s because “shake” is one of those words with so many possible meanings in various contexts (i.e. milkshakes, handshakes, shaking a can of spray paint, to shake a leg, etc.) when it’s repeated over and over, “Shake, shake, shake . . . Shake, shake, shake,” comes to mean nothing, a pointless syllable of human speech, much sooner than other words might.
Or maybe it’s because the song uses the word “shake” something like 86 times. Although, I’m sure it sounded awesome to the coked-out frequenters of Studio 54 in their highly flammable polyester leisure suits, doing the Hustle.
What I was getting at before that digression is how that in her advice to “write about whatever [I] want,” Toni opened a floodgate of possibilities that overwhelmed me and made it quite difficult for me to articulate any particular opinion. Instead of standing in the middle of a stream teaming with migrating salmon on their way to reproduce and waiting patiently for one of them to jump into my grizzly bear mouth, I stand upright on my hind legs, contemplating the ideas running past me and wondering why my opinion of how these fish taste deserves to be validated, massproduced and circulated in a weekly Alaskan newsletter anymore than how the same fish taste to another grizzly bear. Why am I, this grizzly, sitting at a desk in front of a cobwebbed typewriter, clawing away, able to place my opinion so easily into print form and be paid to do so?
Why do I deserve this opportunity more than anyone else? What gives me the right?
You want my opinion? I’m out of words.