Sunday, February 7, 2010

The "My Way" Killings

So I just read in the NYTimes that singing "My Way" can get you killed in the Philippines. Eat your heart out Sara Vowell*:

"The killings have produced urban legends about the song and left Filipinos groping for answers. Are the killings the natural byproduct of the country’s culture of violence, drinking and machismo? Or is there something inherently sinister in the song?"

Well I have my theory...but go read the article for some theories about why this song in particular evokes so much violence.

"Karaoke-related killings are not limited to the Philippines. In the past two years alone, a Malaysian man was fatally stabbed for hogging the microphone at a bar and a Thai man killed eight of his neighbors in a rage after they sang John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”"

Now this I can understand. "My Way" is one thing, but eight of your neighbors insisting on singing John Denver? Who amongst us wouldn't feel the urge to kill?

The article gets even weirder when sexual politics enters the mix:

"A subset of karaoke bars with G.R.O.’s — short for guest relations officers, a euphemism for female prostitutes — often employ gay men, who are seen as neutral, to defuse the undercurrent of tension among the male patrons. Since the gay men are not considered rivals for the women’s attention — or rivals in singing, which karaoke machines score and rank — they can use humor to forestall macho face-offs among the patrons."

So the gay men are neutral? Or they're exempt from the machismo pressure to be an asshole?

*If you don't get this reference you should listen to "This American Life" on public radio more often. Before Sinatra's death Sara Vowell begged media figures everywhere not to play "My Way" when the old guy finally went to that nightclub in the sky.

1 comment:

Little Earl said...

“ ‘I did it my way’ — it’s so arrogant,” Mr. Albarracin said. “The lyrics evoke feelings of pride and arrogance in the singer, as if you’re somebody when you’re really nobody."

And that's why if you sing it poorly you must DIE! And don't you dare be caught "hogging the microphone, laughing at someone’s singing or choosing a song that has already been sung," or I'll pump you full of lead you worthless bastard!

“The Philippines is a very violent society." Yeah no kidding.