Friday, June 08, 2007

Clearly nothing

Image: blackgraphite

Run - Artisan

About a year ago, a coworker busted me for my
(apparently) frequent and unwarranted use of the word "clearly." I guess I often said stuff like, "Clearly, he's not gonna meet his deadline" (followed by an elegant chain of expletives), "Clearly, she thinks that the rest of us are morons" (also trailed by bad words). After getting called out, I became so self-conscious about using that word -- clearly -- that I pretty much stopped using it altogether. (Another coworker forwarded me an article about how distressingly common workplace profanity had become. It was pointed. I haven't stopped swearing like a longshoreman.) But it was probably a good thing, this extraction of clearly from my vocab. At best, the word's a lazy placeholder, a more emphatic, authoritative I think; at worst a flat untruth. Some things are reasonably plain (it is Friday morning, I am wearing a light blue shirt). But in this muddled and unpredictable life where even many of our own intentions are foggy and moves inexplicable, the thoughts and potential actions of other people are almost never transparent. And if "Run," indirectly says anything it's, well, possibly that.

A chunk of the song's lyrical content consists of this one assertion: Clearly you'll run from me. And it cites precedent (it's tradition) and implies just cause (Give me the inch/I'll take a mile), so it seems not-wrong to predict that, yes, she'll run. And yet this sweet
sparkling palindromic stop-start waltz is anything but running-sounding. Its fluttery guitars and ambling upright bass, its indolent oohs, intimate a flirtatious dance, willing-captive feet hemmed by a large round rug, window blinds slatting early evening summer sun on the wall, an almost-empty bottle of wine resting wet on a table. It's generous and open-ended and more about possibility than finality. The music says that something so sure like clearly is meant to be answered less sure, with a glance at the window, fingertips lightly, intentionally brushing an arm, a gentle curl of lips: We'll see, we'll see.

Artisan's Myspace
The London band has an EP called
I Hold My Breath (artist direct).


Blogger jon manyjars said...

My five year old has a habit of prefacing every statement with either "Actually" or "Oh, by the way". It can be endearing or annoying.

Your post today also reminded me of the classic Kids in the Hall skit about the guy whose boss takes him to task for saying "I ascertain" all the time. "They're just jealous of my ascertaination!"

9:58 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Little kids pick up those kinds of phrases from the adults around them, Jon! So I'm guessing that you too say "actually" and "oh, by the way" a lot and may not even realize it ;)

1:48 PM  
Blogger jonderneathica said...

I know you're right, but I prefer to blame my five year old's teacher.

9:26 PM  

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