Every action creates unforseen events. This is the ‘law of unintended consequences’, and I see it often in education, especially the most educated. Since 80% of my immediate family are English majors we have all followed the slippery slope from modernism, to post-modernism, to post-post modernism or whatever we are in at the current time. I say ‘all’ but I exempt my wife because teaching junior high is more about ‘survivalism’ than any sort of literary or cultural theory.
Sometimes I think an ‘unintended consequence’ of studying modern literature, including film, is a sense of pseudo-sophistication that dimisses anything that is simply ‘fun’. Unless it is self-absorbed, nihilistic and full of despair it is somehow not ‘modern’ or ‘serious’.
All of the preceding is to defend the fact that I watched Mamma Mia last Saturday night. Not only did I watch it, I enjoyed it. Granted, Pierce Brosnan is no Pavarotti when it comes to vocals, but still I enjoyed it. The storyline, and usually musical theater in general, is usually about fun, even if the issues are sometimes serious; and what’s wrong with that I ask?
To date myself, disco was BIG when I was in college and, disrespect it all you want, it was FUN. The world is made up of two sorts of people. The ones who see the world as mostly bad and hence, meaningless. The other type, my type, acknowledges the world has all sorts of problems and shortcomings, but it also is full of good people and there is joy and meaning to be found if one only takes time to look. Perhaps it is true that reality is what you perceive it to be.
I love life, I think the world is essentially good except where we mess it up by bad choices, and I believe that not only is disco (and other ‘fun’ things)not dead, it isn’t even sick!