About songs, time and trees: Labeling and weakness

Choke me in the shallow waters
Before I get too deep
What I am is what I am
You’re what you are or what?
What I am is what I am
You’re what you are, or?
What I am, Edie Brickell and New Bohemians

I am resplendent in divergence
I am resplendent in divergence
I am resplendent in divergence
Under Heavy Manners, Robert Fripp

The violence and stupidity in which today’s society is immersed, among other things, is reflected in the fact that everyone is required to take a stand on everything and thus drive them into the barn and belong to the group. This strangles a person and prevents him from being critical and with a cool head processes the impressions that are thrown at him. Krleža said “it’s warm in the crowd, but it stinks”. The authors of rock songs feel it first. Their duty is to be in the windstorm and through the songs bring the existing order into question. Edie Brickell is in the song “What I am“She testified – she strangled me in the shallows until I went deep enough. Roberta Frippa, an extremely witty guitar hero of the group King Crimson, the theme was so bitter that he stepped out of instrumental music and wrote a song with words. He expressed his attitude towards labeling in the song “Under Heavy Manners“In which he enumerated various social theories and teachings, to finally conclude how brilliant he is in his contradictions.

Labeling is used as a weapon. When corrupt politicians talk about their opponents, they give them negative epithets, to the extent that they go beyond the limits of dialogue. They call them thieves, fascists, foreign mercenaries and the like. On social networks, a similar thing happens among the citizens when there is a lively exchange of opinions and quarrels. Since social networks are a place where language develops and evolves, and interlocutors can hide behind pseudonyms, more creative labels are being devised that are attached to dissidents. I have seen people call themselves liberal-fascists, other-Serbian communists or Nazi-gays, no matter what those coins would mean. If we understand culture as a field of struggle, as something dynamic, then labeling is also part of that process. From strong insults, simplifications, from outbursts of resentment, bitterness or superiority, the opinion still shifts. Paradoxically, it is undoubtedly better than rooting and withering. Conflict through the exchange of opinions is not necessarily a bad thing. However, labeling usually ends discussions. Etiquette is the end of failed communication.

Why do we stick a label on an unknown person with whom we usually disagree? On social media, the label has the power of swearing. Instead of cursing, you will call it someone, for you and your like-minded people (or camp), a derogatory name. Behind the labeling are either weakness or inexperience. In addition to these two reasons, the third and worst is the conscious attempt to publicly humiliate dissidents.

The label is attached (or fired at the interlocutor) when discussing a topic. As long as the discussion is kept “low”, so a specific event, problem or phenomenon is considered, a conversation takes place. The moment someone is overcome by arguments or cannot find a valid counter-argument, he pulls the label out of weakness as an ultimate weapon. Thus, the labeller has the impression that he “won”, although he did not say anything new about the topic itself, but just moved away from it. After that, further conversation becomes impossible.

Another reason for this phenomenon is lack of experience. Labels are final descriptions, banally simplified, that we stick for some people. In youth or if we have not gained the necessary experience, it is easier to see the world in that way, it is simply clearer, more organized, more understandable. We are good, they are bad. After gaining life experience, we realize and begin to appreciate all the nuances and complexity of the situations in which we take part. The more we know, the less we will be willing to cut. We will check all the facts several times, we will embrace contradictions like Mr. Fripp. He who does that, he is conscientious, he will not simplify, there is hope for him. Humans are too complex creatures to be put in any drawer.

When you notice someone lightly sharing labels, be careful. He either did not thoroughly study the topic being talked about or he did not experience much in life, and if he is not malicious, he is most likely just hurt. Of course, even in such situations, don’t get upset, but think about what life circumstances have led that person to reach for the label at all, so make sure that doesn’t happen to you either.

Edie Brickell wrote a sharp song about first-person labeling, as someone who experienced being tagged.

If you already can’t refrain from labeling, don’t be lazy, it’s better to expand your knowledge about what kind of labels you can stick. In the song Under Heavy Manners (through the voice of David Byrne from Talking Heads!), Robert Fripp gave a solid base of learning, movements and ideologies that you can use. Of course, the author is at the same time very ironic about this phenomenon.

Source: Balkanrock.com by balkanrock.com.

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