Here is yet another iteration of a “re-run” post from a different venue several years ago, engendered this time by scanning old iPod tracks on the ever-more-repetitious journey down I-65 from Chicago to Indianapolis. It is likely just babel/babble to anyone but me. FWIW.
Mumford and Sons – Babel – ROCKS!
But it also engenders reservations, similar to their first album, about which I posted the following on 21 January 2011.
In an earlier post I mentioned listening to the musical group, Mumford & Sons while driving near the end of long trip. Due to some questions, I took it down, lest anyone think I condone the use of profanity on that CD (Sigh No More). I do not. Here’s a response of sorts to some of the questions:
Presumably most people understand that mentioning a group, person, or work of art does not imply endorsement of everything in, on, or about it. The track Timshel, referencing Genesis 4 and resonating Steinbeck’s East of Eden, does not imply endorsement of Steinbeck or all that is in the book. Quoting a commentary on Genesis 4 does not mean accepting or recommending everything in it. This is, one hopes, elementary for anyone willing to think about it.
I’m a sucker for clever lyrics, especially those with religious implications – even cryptic ones (especially when married to great harmonious melodies). Who could not like the opening lines of the first track: “Serve God, love me, and mend – this is not the end…Sigh no more, no more. One foot in sea and one on shore. My heart was never pure – You know me.” Or, “If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won” (from “I Gave You All”).
Or this: “You told me that I would find a hole Within the fragile substance of my soul, And I have filled this void with things unreal And all the while my character it steals” — followed by, “It seems all my bridges have been burned, But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works – It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart, But the welcome I receive with the restart” (Roll Away Your Stone).
However, admixed with admirable thoughts expressed with dexterity are others of a baser sort…of infidelity and betrayal, doubt and denial. Of course, many people, even those of strong faith, have experienced such thoughts and possibly even behaviors, as we succumb to various temptations to one degree or another.
Most vexing and disturbing is the gratuitous use (in Little Lion Man, CD track 7) of a common vulgarism meant to describe one of the most divinely pleasurable of human experiences – made into a cheap swear-word. That is, of course the nature of profanity – taking something which is a should be special or limited to particular circumstances and profaning it by making it common or ordinary. As several before me have noticed, if one wished to express extreme displeasure, one could at least use something REALLY unpleasant, like “Audit you, buddy!”
I realize one can hear such vulgarities at the mall or at a high school sporting event (to say nothing or college or pro games). But it pains me to spend money to download or rip such junk. One man’s opinion.
Other issues raised by such questions include how those who find such things objectionable should react. Bury head in sand and ignore? Boycott? Draw up the bridge and retreat behind the moat? Or recognize and engage when possible? Do we read only that which has no objectionable material? Hard to come by. Can we be “fans” only of athletes, teams, or artists without flaw? Good luck.
Late night thoughts from a fried brain at the end of a long day. Anybody want to sound off on this? No obligation.
(A closing thought: It is sobering, when contemplating passing an 18-wheeler in snow, to hear lyrics like, “In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die…for you were made to meet your maker.” Hmmmmm)