Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A Dearth of Imagination

Some years ago, the folk-singing trio Peter, Paul, and Mary recorded a parody called "I Like Rock and Roll Music." (Much of it was a friendly parody of the four-part-harmony rock-singing group The Mamas and The Papas.) Here's a quote from that song:

"But if they really say it,
the radio won't play it,
so they have to lay it
between the lines."

At the time, I found those lyrics quite amusing. Now, I'm not so sure.

One of my favorite Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance performances is "Never Gonna Dance." (I believe that performance is from the film "Swing Time.") Not only was that piece beautifully choreographed, danced, staged, and filmed, but even its title is memorable. "Never Gonna Dance" is surely one of the most touching and poignant euphemisms I've ever heard.

Far be it from me to wish to return to the days of censorship. There's certainly a place for frankness concerning "adult" material in the media. But must everything be laid out—and I do mean "laid"—in front of our eyes all the time? Are we losing the ability, or the desire, to use our imaginations? Is there no place left in literature, creative art, and/or performing art for "reading between the lines," and for the beauty that can sometimes be a direct result of the fact that the artist can't say or do everything, or prefers not to? There are times when I truly miss the traditional ending to a romantic scene, the good old-fashioned "fade-to-black."


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