Sunday, February 08, 2015

Weekend Diversion: Sam Smith (again)

It’s been a very busy week for work, so much so that I had to work over the holiday weekend to get everything done. That didn't really leave time for blogging—or much else, to be honest. But I did have a chance to see the video above on the day it was released, and I wanted to share it here.

The video is for Sam Smith’s latest single, “Lay Me Down”, from his multi-platinum debut album, In The Lonely Hour. The song is one of my favourites on the album, and I like this video just as much. I think it’s very well done, telling a story that fits the song.

The video was filmed inside an Anglican Church, and the wedding sequence makes it controversial since same-gender couples can’t currently marry in Anglican Churches.

Smith wrote on his Facebook page:
This song holds a very dear place in my heart. With this video myself and Ryan Hope the director have decided to make a statement and showcase something we passionately believe in. This video shows my dreams that one day gay men and women and transgendered men and women all over the world, like all our straight families and friends, will be able to get married under any roof, in any city, in any town, in any village, in any country.
I like that sentiment. But, I don’t know why, because I know better—I really, really DO know better—I read the YouTube comments on this video. The cruelty of the world temporarily broke the spell of the song and video. Most of the comments were positive, but many of those positive comments were in response to homophobic (sometimes viciously so) comments from others.

One religious person took it upon him/herself to trot out an implied “I’m not anti-gay, but…” when s/he suggested that gay people should be "allowed to love each other" (aw, gee, thanks!), but we shouldn’t be allowed to call our legal union marriage because that’s “sacred” and only for heterosexual couples. Yeah, right, whatever. S/he had no logical reason for that, apart from “it’s always been that way” (no, it hasn’t, actually…), and gays are stupid for disagreeing with him/her.

The vile commenters I can dismiss—most of them are probably just trolls getting their jollies from causing a reaction. But the people who say bigoted things and apparently sincerely believe they’re not bigoted just because they think LGBT people should “allowed” to love each other make me really sad. I feel sorry for them, blind to their own ignorance, prejudice and privilege/entitlement, but it makes me sad because it reminds me how very much work remains to be done. Coincidentally, Frank Bruni just wrote about that in the New York Times.

Pop music, I think, can help us transcend the ugliness in the world, and it can help us to see a world that might be some day, just as this song and video do. But the current world too often insists on forcing its ugliness upon us, intruding into our temporary aesthetic vacation. When the world tries to insist on being ugly, I just turn the volume up a bit.


rogerogreen said...

As we both know, when they start the response, "I'm not racist/homophobic/etc, BUT..." they almost always are going to prove otherwise.

Sis said...

Wow!! What a voice to deliver a beautiful message. He just won 4 Grammys!! Bravo!!

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Absolutely! Although, in this case, I thought that starting out with a mildly pro-gay stance in order to try and establish s/he wasn't anti-gay was a bit novel. It seems that s/he was not just aware of, but also uncomfortable about, the implicit bigotry in his/her anti-gay position (especially because it had absolutely no logical or rational basis—and no religious argument was offered, either). Much as at made me frown, it was also probably the first time I've seen something like that.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Yes, and I loved his comment when he won his fourth Grammy: "I just want to thank the man that inspired me to write this record. You broke my heart and now I’ve got four Grammys."