Dancing our blues away makes as much sense as any projected political policies we’ve seen. Can’t hurt to try.
There is an automatic irony to me writing this article. I don’t dance. Not really. I can do the office chair boogie. I can do the dad shuffle. I can do the stand-and-sway if the music is slow. But actually dance? Nah, not going to happen. I don’t even bother watching Dancing With The Stars because it just makes me sad. I was raised Southern Baptist. We weren’t even allowed to watch American Bandstand because it was “a bad influence.” So, without those early dance skills being properly developed, any chance I ever had of being able to dance slipped right out under the front door into the Kansas wind.
I like dancing, though. I think it is artistic and beautiful and does wonderful things for people. I am especially taken by large groups of people dancing. Whether it’s choreographed steps that everyone knows, or a flash mob that’s been rehearsed, there’s something about a large group of people moving together at the same time to the same music that gives me hope.
Stop and think about it. Music provides a central ideal, something around which everyone can agree. Then, there’s cooperation. Some lead, some follow, but everyone’s working together for the greater good. There’s a plan, a choreography laid out in advance that everyone follows. Finally, when the time comes, everyone does their part in the performance and the result is something beautiful.
Now, if we can do that with music, and do it over and over and over again, why can’t we do that with other things such as politics? Same rules and methods apply. We just have to agree on the music.
Movies do a great job of illustrating my point. Dancing solves all the world’s problems. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Shake A Tail Feather
From the original Blues Brothers in 1980, this particular scene proves that a blind man with the right song can bring together an entire community. If you can watch this and not feel better by the end, there’s just something wrong with your soul. Even the little kids get in on the act. If a blind man can generate this kind of cooperation, then maybe there’s hope for Congress. Maybe. If they were all blind.
You Make My Dreams
Okay, so there may not be a for-real flash mob dancing with you as you walk home, but there’s little question that we all feel more like dancing when we’re getting laid, which is exactly what happens in the 2009 movie Days of Summer. The problem is, that whole idea that dancing leads to sex is preposterous. Sex leads to dancing. Happiness leads to dancing. Maybe if we backed off the issues around who is having sex with whom or who is getting married to whom then maybe we’d all be a lot more happy and there’s be animated little birds flying around everywhere.
The 2011 remake of Footloose bears very little resemblance to the original with Kevin Bacon, but one of the things it gives us is an incredibly wonderful line dancing scene. I’ve never actually tried line dancing. I’m always the one taking pictures of everyone else giving it a whirl. If I could dance, though, it would probably be with something like this. Line dancing is exactly how society should be: everyone on the same page, doing their own thing while working together with everyone else. And it’s fun. We need life to be fun.
Twist And Shout
I look at Ferris Bueller’s Day Off now and the first thing that comes to mind is how young everyone was back then. We all were young, once. That doesn’t mean we’ve lost the ability to Twist and Shout, though. We might even sway through a chorus of Danke Schoen. What this portion of the movie tells us, though, is that a) it’s easy to convince the people of Chicago to dance in the middle of the street, and b) dancing is a good distraction when you’re on the verge of really blowing it in life. Dancing puts all the problems on the shelf for a minute, gives us a chance to re-examine things before we proceed. The dancing is critical to the outcome of the movie. Perhaps it’s just as critical to the outcome of life.
This scene from Friends With Benefits shows the power of love as expressed through a flash mob. Stop and think a moment about all the trouble, planning, and coordination that Justin Timberlake’s character had to go through to make a flash mob like this happen in Grand Central Station. If we put that same level of effort into our government, our politics, our social lives, and especially our relationships, then perhaps we’d end up with everyone being best friends. Maybe. I can’t make any promises, but what we’ve been doing the past 50 years certainly hasn’t worked, has it? I’m willing to try something new and a dancing flash mob seems like the perfect way to go.
Now, if you’re still reading this far down the page, thank you. With the non-stop political coverage we’ve had the past several months and the bleakness I’m seeing for the future, it seems to me we need to take an extremely different tact in how we approach things. Am I in denial? Yes, most certainly. Denial is safe for the moment. Denial helps ignore the fact that there’s not a damn thing I can do to stop the impending catastrophe coming on January 20. So, let’s all get together and dance. I think we’ll feel better, even if we’re all in denial.