For their second major assignment, students wrote a critique in which they compared two popular culture items that were either pro-single or singlist, or they could contrast one pro-single and one singlist item.
We spent the March 11 class session discussing movies and TV shows, but I was impressed at the number of students who chose songs as examples, many of which I’ve never heard of and may just have to add to my playlist.
It’s safe to say that the musical tastes of my students don’t match my own, but I’m open-minded. Beyonce came up quite frequently in my students’ essays. Her fear of singlehood comes up in songs like “Scared of Lonely” and “Dangerously in Love,” while a pro-single message emerges in “Me, Myself, and I.” I didn’t know much about Beyonce, so I did research, and from reading between the lines, I concluded the marriage between her and rapper Jay-Z (“I got 99 problems but a b**ch ain’t one) could probably best be described as tumultuous what with Jay-Z’s affairs (I wonder if the Rona might be their catalyst to divorce). I’m guessing she wrote “Me, Myself, and I” while she was pissed at Jay-Z for something or other.
Other songs that came up (and are on my upcoming playlist) include:
“New Apartment” – Ari Lennox (Pro-single)
“Soulmate” – Lizzo (Pro-Single)
“Scared to be Lonely” – Martin Garrix and Lipa (Singlist)
“Single Again” – Big Sean (Pro-Single)
“Make it Last Forever” – Keith Sweat (Singlist, and this one gets special mention for being a 1980s artifact, the era of cheesy pro-romance popular culture items)
“My Girl” – The Temptations (Singlist, and we go back further to 1965, just as pro-romance)
A few people discussed movies. One student, Sandy, t brought up Legally Blonde, because after being dumped by her fiancé’, Elle finds a measure of self-worth in pursuing her J.D. at Harvard. I didn’t totally agree with that example, mostly due to the romantic subplot involving Luke Wilson, but I dug Sandy’s extraction of the self-worth message. I may have to check out her other example, Nappily Ever After.
My favorite example came from Michael, citing the Batman and James Bond franchise. While superheroes like Spiderman and Superman have significant others (Mary Jane and Lois Lane, respectively), Batman’s focus is on fighting crime. James Bond is with a different woman in each of his films; some might describe his portrayal as chauvinistic, but I say, as long as he’s honest in his intentions and his partners agree, have at it!
This is a teacher cliché, for sure, but it applies here: I learn as much from my students as they do from me, if not more.
My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.