I’ve long ranted against advertising’s influence on society. In fact, one of my favorite sections in a Mass Media class I taught in high school many years ago was a section on advertising that was inspired by Neil Postman’s The Art of Crap Detection as advocated in his book Teaching as a Subversive Activity. We took commercials and looked at them critically, and once you did so their fallacy immediately became obvious, even to students who had absolutely no interest in being inspired by literature.
Though advertising is relatively easy to see through, I suspect that forms of media that reinforce societal stereotypes are harder to see through. As part of my nostalgia kick inspired by my 50 year high school reunion I bought some of my favorite songs from that era.
Dion was a favorite, particularly,
perhaps because it was my senior year in high school and I was in the process of breaking up with my girlfriend, though not because she was running around with someone else, as far as I knew, at least. The widespread use of this theme in the Blues and Country Western Music suggests that broken hearts are not that uncommon among menfolk. And obviously women must be to blame for that.
Strangely, though, I also bought Dion’s followup hit:
and it wasn’t until recently that I realized the irony in that. Strange that someone who’s so upset with a girl who “runs around with other guys” should take such pride in being the “wanderer.” Not sure how the Wanderer who spouts, “I kiss’em and I love’em ’cause to me they’re all the same” is any different than Runaround Sue.
Even less sure of why I didn’t see this in 1961.