Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Meaning of LMFAO

Everything deserves to be thought about seriously, especially clowns. On Friday night I went with a friend of mine to see clowns: he had two free tickets to the LMFAO concert at Oracle Arena.

We arrived exactly when the show began, which gave us an hour and a half to buy a beer, find our seats, and look at each other with bemusement. But after the concert's first ten songs, which were remarkable only for the magnitude of their mediocrity, the band gave us "Party Rock Anthem." And we shuffled—by which I mean we attempted the song's famous zombie dance—and confetti fell and we laughed with other shufflers around us, and when the song ended we declared the night a success and left. Five minutes of heartfelt, unmitigated, shufflin' joy. How often do you get to experience that?

Clowns like LMFAO get the big bucks—and over 446,000,000 hits on YouTube, at last count—by reminding us that a clown's life is more than an imaginative possibility. Beckett actually tells us the same thing, more enduringly, more grimly: the clown is a legitimate answer, a common answer, to life's deepest problems.

The famous refrain from "Party Rock Anthem" says "Everyday, I'm shufflin'." Until Friday night, I had heard the line as: "Everyday, I'm sufferin'." Walking through the Oracle's doors into the night air I realized with a smile that at some level those are two ways of saying the same thing.

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