Thursday, August 20, 2015

Music Video Interpretation: Be Your Everything - Boys Like Girls

Towards the beginning of my blog’s history, I began to offer interpretations to music videos. I completed two: “Blurred Lines” and “Clarity”. My goal has been to do this third installment, but it has been continuously sidetracked – until now, that is.
Boys Like Girls has been a rising band, and there is probably not a better song of theirs than “Be Your Everything”. (Here is a lyric video link: the song isn’t hard to understand though.) The song is good in and of itself, but the music video really puts a unique spin on it. (And the music video:
Let’s set the stage. You have to pay attention to the background settings to realize exactly what is going on. It took me a few times, but the song is so much richer with it. The couple, the only two people in the video besides the other members of Boys Like Girls, are separated in a post-apocalyptic area. It looks like a nuclear warhead has been detonated, or some other war has decimated their unknown location. We see a ravaged ghost town and its outskirts with destroyed automobiles. Everything is grayscale, dusty, and hazy.
The song starts within ten seconds. First seen is Martin Johnson, the lead vocalist of BLG. He, in tattered, dirty clothes, walks through the smoky wilderness outside the town. Low plant growth (the first vegetation to grow after an environmental disaster) and dust cover the ground.
“Four letter word, but I don’t have the guts to say it.” An assumed reference to love. “Smile ‘til it hurts, but let’s not make it complicated.” So often there are subtle hints dropped instead of legitimate feelings shared. This leads to overanalyzing situations when it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Now the female side of this friendship comes briefly into view. Actress Allie Gonino plays this role. (For a former Disney actress she is quite attractive, but that is beside the point.) She too wears a rag-tag outfit, as well as a head covering.
“We’ve got a story, but I’m about to change the ending. You’re perfect for me, and more than just a friend so we can just stop pretending now, I gotta let you know somehow.” It is soon clear that these two are well-acquainted with each other. But Johnson’s character wants to make an alteration to the friendship; that is, more than friends. Both are traveling, but it is unclear how much distance separates them, until they both go past the same cross not too far apart in time. We also don’t know what else separates them. Notice Johnson looking at pictures, doubtless of the two of them (and they’re Polaroid). He then puts them in his vest. He just has to let her know how he feels, somehow.
The band is seen in contrasting color. The chorus comes and offers contrasting views that speak for themselves, and to the name of the song: “I’ll be your shelter; I’ll be your storm. I’ll make you shiver; I’ll keep you warm. Whatever weather, baby I’m yours. Be your forever, be your fling, baby I will be your everything.” And then to the “baby I wi-ill, baby I will, baby I wi-ill be your everything.”
During the first chorus, Gonino walks a lonely path while Johnson rides a motorcycle. The motorcycle is the one working vehicle of transportation, as the two pass ruined cars, busses, and even a helicopter. Eventually Johnson gets off the motorcycle and kneels down. Again he is seen looking at the photos.
It gets better. “We used to say that we would always stick together.” Again, a reference to a long friendship. During this line, Gonino walks into an old dusty school bus and runs her hands across the seats as if she is reminiscing. The symbolism to their school days is obvious and beautiful. “But who’s to say that we could never last forever.” While Johnson gets back on the motorcycle, Ganino places her head on a seat of the bus and has a distant look. “Girl, got a question, ‘Could you see yourself with somebody else?’” They are close friends, who else could she see herself with besides him? (That, and there is less to choose from after whatever disaster has happened – but let’s not ruin the romance.) He arrives into the desolate town while she continues to reminisce in the bus. She is warming up to the idea of them being together. “’Cause I’m on a mission…” As he continues to walk through the town, she too arrives there. “…And I don’t wanna share, I want you all to myself right now. I just wanna scream it out!”
As the chorus comes back in, the coloration is becoming a bit lighter. Johnson continues to walk through the town while Gonino stands against a building, still deep in thought. He seems quite upbeat as he strolls along, even pulling at things, while she seems quite reflective.
Then the bridge. “No matter what you do, yeah…” Johnson grows in energy, pacing around and pulling at things more fiercely. Gonino, for lack of a better term, finds herself in front of a heap of trash. “…Girl I’ll be there for you!” Johnson and lead guitarist/backup vocalist Paul DiGiovanni share a moment at the microphone apart from the story line. Gonino bends down next to the trash pile. Johnson again looks at the Polaroid pictures. “And every time you close your eyes…” The action continues to accelerate. Gonino hastily digs through the pile of trash. Johnson walks up to a shrine-esque display he has set up, complete with candles and cloth. “…I will be by your side!” Gonino digs through the pile even quicker. Johnson picks up a picture of Gonino that is the centerpiece of his 'shrine'. “’Cause every time you make me sing, ‘Baby I wi-ill be your everything.” Other than a brief shot of Johnson looking up from the photo, the focus is on Gonino for these lines. She continues to dig until she is down to a few plastic bottles. She finds something as the song transitions into the final chorus, quieter with less instrumentals. Gonino places her hand over her heart out of shock as memories flood back.
Johnson walks through the town reminiscing. It is now apparent what Gonino has found. It is a flower, seemingly insignificant but of great symbolism. It brings color to a fairly dull background. It shows that something could bloom in this environment. And just as a flower bloomed in this decimated world, so too can their love. She gathers it into an old glass jar.
The second half of the chorus picks back up from the contrasting lull in the song with an awesome quick turn-around by Johnson (apart from the story line). This focuses a lot on the band itself. But by the beginning of “baby I wi-ill…”, both sides of this soon-to-be-more-than-friendship are seen. They make eye contact, with serene, unsurprised faces. Johnson seems eager while Gonino is more solemn. They both knew it was coming, and it is right.
“Baby I, baby I will – I’ll be your storm! Baby I will, yeah!” The song wraps up as the two meet. Behind them, trash rains down, the new confetti in this world. Things begin to get lighter as Gonino takes off her head covering. The two just look at each other, Gonino with an understanding half-smile. (He’s out of the friend zone!) They realize they both share feelings for each other, and are ready to take their friendship further.
“Baby I will be your everything.”

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Completely Secular Argument Against Gay Marriage

There is a sad excuse of an argument almost unanimously used by gay marriage advocates. “You’re trying to force your religion on me! What about the separation of church and state?!”

This immediately is guilty of the genetic fallacy. Simply because an argument comes from a religious person does not inherently mean that the argument is religious, nor that it is wrong. Homosexual marriage proponents attempt to avoid actually discussing the issue. Ad hominem is the way to go.

Another issue is the idea of separation of church and state. Without going into too much detail, separation of church and state does not require an individual to check their beliefs at the door. Contrary to popular liberal belief, it is not even in the Constitution. Rather, Thomas Jefferson mentioned the “wall of separation” in his letter to the Danbury Baptists. It was simply a reassurance that government would not overstep its bounds in establishing a state religion. Never did he mention that they are to neglect their convictions in politics.

This raises another point. Opposing gay marriage on grounds of religion does not violate the establishment clause of the first amendment of the Constitution. The establishment clause was put in place to prevent a single sect (from their prior experience under the Church of England) from being forced on others by government. The entirety of Christian churches – Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox – oppose gay marriage, except, of course, the new liberal movements to hijack biblical truth. Judaism and Islam are also against redefining marriage. So limiting marriage to monogamous, heterosexual relationships is hardly the establishment of a religion. Rather, it reflects a number of religions.

Furthermore, the very argument against a metaphysical code of morals defining marriage is hypocritical. Why do homosexual marriage proponents believe that gays should marry? It is in line with their own morals, however twisted they are. The attempt to avoid a religious view by claiming that God should have no say is itself a religious claim, for the morals that tell them gay marriage is acceptable are based off of a metaphysical belief. To avoid any use of immaterial constraint is to ignore morality entirely, in which case there is no right to tell me I am wrong, since one’s morals are no better than another’s. Herein lies the problem with the claim of the goodness of sodomite marriage.

That being said, many Christians have chosen to go the route of religious argument. The Bible says so is a good enough argument for me, but it is not for many. Nor is it reason enough to prevent something like gay marriage from being allowed. I will grant that our law should have better reason than a solely religious restriction on marriage.

So, even with the deep flaws apparent in the argument for gay marriage and against religious principles, I am still able to present a completely secular view on why homosexual marriage is negative for our society.

There is a reason as to why marriage has generally been limited to a man and a woman. Pause: red flags are already going up among gay marriage proponents. “Men married more than one woman in the Bible.” Let us briefly follow the scent of the red herring. It is certainly true that men married more than one woman in the Bible. But nowhere do we find it condoned. In fact, it always bred problems. Abraham took his wife’s handmaid to wife, and through it was born the still-hot relationship between the Jews and Arabs. Jacob’s wives were jealous of each other, and his children quarreled consistently, ultimately selling one brother as a slave because of their jealousy over Jacob playing favorites. David’s family fell apart and warred against each other. Solomon never got God’s full blessing. The reason that homosexuality was dealt with more severely is that is strikes at the very image of God by making sex into something totally different than what God intended it to be, and that it skews the image we see between Christ and His bride by making God’s design of marriage something to be mocked.

Marriage is traditionally monogamous and heterosexual, I believe, for two reasons. The first pertains to where it leads, the second to its importance in society.

I must be careful to avoid the slippery slope fallacy. I do not claim that worse things WILL happen, but that I believe it is the logical conclusion of sodomite marriage. If we are to erode the definition of marriage that has been with us, literally, since the beginning of time, why should we only slightly alter it? Why not throw the door wide open? Why discriminate against those that want to marry something different? If marriage can be changed from its root definition, there should not be a ban on other marriages. Why can’t marriage be, as a friend would say, “between a man, two chickens, and a bathtub?” Take the “mecaphile” that is marrying a Volkswagon Beetle. Or the countless cases of people marrying dogs. And goats. And there is the woman the married a warehouse. And a man who married a tree. There are plenty more examples.

These are bizarre examples, but there are worse possibilities. There are parents who want to marry their children, along with other incestuous relationships. Polygamous marriages have been banned in every state, but why should polygamists be excluded from marriage and homosexuals included? Then there is the movement for pedophiliac rights. Their claim is that pedophilia is simply a sexual orientation, just as the LGBT movement claims theirs are.

Are we willing to be consistent with our views? If it is true that an individual should marry whomever he loves and we are to be tolerant of that, it is hypocritical to say that two men can marry but a man and two women cannot. Or a woman and a dog, a man and a tree, a woman and a warehouse. Or a father and his daughter. Or a man and a child. It is practicing elitism to elevate gay relationships to the status of marriage yet hang all sorts of other marriages out to dry. Be consistent in your demands. Changing the blueprint for marriage ruins the definition and makes anything a possibility.

Then there is the lack of sustainability of such a practice as sodomite marriages. I dislike Vladimir Putin as much as the next guy, but his law relating to homosexuals got a bad rap. Russia is in a bad situation created by Communism. The killings of millions over the years along with unimaginable casualties in World War II left them hurting in population. Then add the despair of living in a brutal totalitarian state that drove women to the norm of multiple abortions. The nation is hurting in regard to population. Hence, Putin has heavily regulated abortion almost to the point of full criminalization. They need strong families that, frankly, can reproduce and grow Russia’s population. This is also why Putin signed the law to ban homosexuals from advertising and openly advocating their lifestyle. It did not criminalize homosexuality, as the American media led people to believe.

This springboards to the sustainability problem with homosexual unions. Sodomy does not produce children. Unless there is a heterosexual relationship that takes place outside of the homosexual union, no children will be produced.

However, society has a vested interest in the traditional family. The natural result of heterosexual marriage is the rearing up of children. While individuals should not be forced to be essential factories producing children, any strong nation has marriages that produce offspring. Much of the health and future of a nation can be viewed through population pyramids. If the most populous age ranges are younger, there is a good future. If the bulk of the population is concentrated in age ranges closer to natural death, there is something wrong. The free allowance and acceptance of gay marriage would have a detrimental effect on the population by virtue of its impossibility to produce children. Without being too crass, there is a reason for the design of men and women; there is a puzzle that fits together, and only through natural sex comes the possibility of having children. Even in vitro fertilization utilizes the same process. Put simply, homosexual relations will not further the healthy future of a society. Only heterosexual marriage can properly accomplish that.

The inconsistencies in the movement to legalize gay marriage are telling. The lack of regard for bringing children into the world is concerning. For completely nonreligious reasons, it is vital to maintain the age-old definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

That being said, a religious argument is not an evil thing. In order to truly examine the inherent rightness or wrongness of gay marriage, one must do so through some metaphysical morality. Attempts to reason away the validity of biblical truth will fail; it has stood over time and it promises to until the end. Gay marriage is imprudent through secular reasoning. It is sinful through the law of God.