I loved this song from the moment I heard it. I think each line is hugely important in it’s own right (full lyrics listed at the end)…but as I considered the topic of thinking critically, I connected one line in particular to some thoughts I was having and thought it worth adding this song to the post: “Take not what they feed…their poison is sweet.“
First, I think it’s important to note that the intention behind this website (or any observations I may make) was never to try to make everyone agree with me. I would only hope that my observations may inspire you to question the surface level and dig deeper on your journey.
While no one can really say what is truly right or wrong, I can say on a personal note that I deeply question all forms of media (more than ever!) and what is being portrayed. Here are a few moments with the media I had just today while traveling, and some of my associated thoughts:
- I turned on the radio (something I typically don’t do) in my rental car and in the span of only ten minutes, I flipped through stations (pop, hip-hop, r&b) that had me absolutely convinced that the goal of mainstream music is to program girls to be strippers. And train boys to be abusers who objectify women. Drugs, violence, and materialism are prevalent themes. Pornography has been glorified, and perhaps accepted as commonplace. All of this with no regard to our children who unknowingly consume this filth. And recite lyrics and copy without truly understanding the programming that’s taking place. What is going on?!
- I purchased the Times magazine special edition featuring Nelson Mandela, as I was happy to support such an edition. While it was not meant to be a comprehensive history, the more I read, the more I felt that critical points were missing. It was a reminder to me that history is always written in a certain way on purpose. Certain elements are downplayed or highlighted to achieve something in particular (though we don’t always know what that is). It all depends on the point of view of the person writing the history.
- And finally, while I was in the hotel gym, I saw an extended news discussion on the television featuring a young African-American child. I had a bad feeling the news was not positive and decided to keep my headphones on and ignore. However, on my way out of the gym, I removed my headphones to thank the service professional restocking the towels and heard the story of how this child stole her mother’s car and got into a serious accident. I was disappointed to have been correct. In fact, I tend to avoid the news because I find it tends to reinforce so many negative stereotypes…especially from a racial perspective, which I deplore. The news can easily have you believe that 95% of the crime is committed by 10% of the population. Unfortunately, this so easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and certain racial groups become categorized, and members of that group are assumed guilty…and end up occupying a disproportionate majority of jail cells.
These are only three examples in one day. On the surface, something may just be a song or an article or a news story; but beneath each is a mechanism for programming…for teaching…for providing sweet poison…that eventually leads to our undoing if we buy into it.
“Teach you fear/so you forget yourself/They want you stupid/so you obey”
It is SO important to dig deeper. To question magazine ads that make you fearful that you don’t fit in…so that you don’t love yourself…so that you buy whatever they are selling to make you feel better about yourself…even though contentment can only come from within.
Or to recognize that the songs on the radio and shows on the television aren’t encouraging you to educate yourself or think outside of the box. Media glorifies the uneducated…and reinforces obedience. Revolutionary thinking is not generally encouraged in any of these media outlets. Or if it’s discussed, the very steep price is highlighted (e.g. Mandela’s 27 years in prison). Therefore, acts of courage feel like they are only possible for a chosen few (who would really want to spend so much time in prison, and what are the odds that the story would end the same?) when this level of courage lives within us all.
Positivity is not promoted in the media…and often it is silenced or overshadowed by the negative. In my own small way, I hope to help provide some balance. I hope to help us wake up from this sleep…to help us move past some of the nightmarish transformations of our society. To help us get back to love.
Lyrics: Danger by Amel Larrieux
They don’t want you
To know or to hear
Keep you silent
So you disappear
Teach you fear
So you forget yourself
Watch what you say
Don’t look at them
In the wrong way
They want you stupid
So you obey
Teach you hate
So you forget yourself
Never forget yourself
Close your eyes and
You will really see
All that you are handed
Comes from a thief
Take not what they feed
Their poison is sweet