"Before you can search for truth, you must be interested in finding it." -Miroslav Volf

Friday, October 28, 2011

Leave These Poor Sick Monkeys Alone

“Is good news bad news?” My English students recently debated this question, some arguing that the only interesting (and lucrative) news was that which tended toward the tragic and shocking, with others making a case for the value of more positive, uplifting, hopeful news.

But it sure does seem like there’s an overwhelming amount of bad news, doesn’t it? From the bullying of gay teens, to corruption and scandal, to oppressive regimes and violent death, to job loss, the bad news just keeps coming.

And, sometimes I don’t want to be hopeful, optimistic, or eager to emphasize what beautiful, creative, good, compassionate things are being done by people and communities everywhere. Sometimes, I just want to lament. Sometimes I need to lament. The Psalms of the Old Testament contain much celebration but also many cries of mourning, angst, and confusion.

When I want to mourn the the seemingly sorrowful state of the world, I often turn to one of my favorite modern day songs of lament. Here’s a link to the video: "Think About it"; I encourage all to watch. The lyrics are below. Come and mourn with me awhile.


There's children on the streets using guns and knives
They're taking drugs and each other's lives
Killing each other with knives and forks
And calling each other names like dork

There's people on the street
Getting diseases from monkeys
Yeah that's what I said
They're getting diseases from monkeys

Now there's junkies with monkey disease
Who's touching these monkeys?
Please leave these poor sick monkeys alone
They've got problems enough as it is

A man is lying on the street
Some punk's chopped off his head
I'm the only one who stops to see if he's dead…
…Turns out he's dead

And that's why I'm singing
What, what is wrong with the world today?
What's wrong with the world today?
What, what is wrong with the world today?
You gotta think about it…think think about it

Good cops been framed and put into a can
All the money that we're making
It's going to the man

What man? Which man? Who’s the man?
When's a man a man? What makes a man a man?
Am I a man? Yes, technically I am

They're turning kids into slaves
Just to make cheaper sneakers
But what's the real cost?
'cause the sneakers don't seem that much cheaper

Why are we still paying so much for sneakers
When you got them made by little slaves kids?
What are your overheads?

At the end of your life you're lucky if you die
Sometimes I wonder why we would even try
I saw a man lying on the street half dead
With knives and forks sticking out of his leg

And he said "can somebody
Get the knife and fork out of my leg please?"
"Can somebody please remove
These cutleries from my knees?"

And then we break it down…

(Words and Music by Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement.)

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