Monday, November 28, 2022

Being Silly in a Serious World

I woke up this morning thinking about the song "Stewball" by Lonnie Donegan.

"Stewball" is a very old song. In most versions, the song is about a guy who's thinking about a really nice horse and wishing he'd bet on it. However, the Donegan version I've linked above is instead about a guy who's telling you about an iron grey mare named Stewball who blew in from a storm. The race hasn't happened yet, and the chorus is him telling you to "Bet on Stewball, and you might win."

However, I started wondering, why is this singer so insistent on making you bet on Stewball?  He's not quoting any great statistics about Stewball or citing any great races he's participated in. Instead, Donnegan saying that this horse is SO COOL and not like an ordinary horse, so you should totally put all your money on her and you MIGHT win.

Yet, if Stewball was such an amazing horse, you wouldn't need convincing. It would be self-evident. Besides, if it was such a lock, the odds would be low enough that putting your money on the horse wouldn't win you much, if anything. So what's the singer of "Stewball" really up to?

It's an incredibly stupid and esoteric thought, yet it makes me laugh. Here's this two-bit hustler who's clearly got some skin in the game singing the praises of Stewball to a catchy beat, and when you listen to the song, you totally fall for it like a sucker! Damn you, Donegan!

Maybe you've seen this site before. It's more likely that you haven't. I used to fill this site with stupid thoughts like this regularly, and in recent years, I just sort of... stopped.

It's not that I don't have stupid thoughts. As you can see, my thoughts remain deeply stupid. I still play video games and watch movies and sports and have opinions about all of them. And yet, I can't get these opinions and thoughts from brain to paper.

Something else changed in the last few years: I started taking the world seriously, and for good reason. This world is, to put it mildly, fucked.

Fascism is rising everywhere, if not risen. The world is warming. The social order is being torn to shreds. Marginalized groups and being targeted and harrassed. Everywhere you look, there's a new fresh horror being unleashed.

When faced with the dread that comes with a decaying world, who cares about the whether or not the singer of "Stewball" is on the up-and-up? Who cares about what's the worst NES game (Action 52) or whether or not Spider-Man 3 is any good (it isn't)? What does any of it matter?

It almost feels like if I write something it has to be Important. It has to Illuminate the Psyche and make the world a better place.  But does it? Why can't we be silly?

If the world is collapsing, if the end is really nigh, then why not hold hands and laugh at stupid shit while it burns? And if the world isn't collapsing, why am I wasting time pretending that it is? Why can't I just enjoy things that are silly sometimes?

Writing has been therapeutic for me for a lot of reasons, but sometimes we get caught up in wringing out our hearts through the pen and bleeding onto the paper that we forget that what we write can just be fun. Fun is good! Fun is nice! There's nothing wrong with fun! There's nothing wrong with thinking about an old Lonnie Donegan song and questioning whether ol' Lonnie had ulterior motives.

Not everything has to be serious or important. Sometimes it can be silly. I'm going to give it a shot. Wish me luck.

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