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Unconventional Wisdom

September 9, 2010

It’s been a while since anyone but Weird Al Yankovic put out a song that was actually as much satire as it was parody.  But these college kids have embodied in song a poignant parallel between Karl Marx and bicuriosity as well as the delicate give-and-take between stigmata and counter-cultural hipness.

I read some Marx and I liked it

A friend of the proletariat

I read some Marx just to try it

I hope Adam Smith don’t mind it.

The part of the song that rang truest to me (ironically, perhaps because I just read Anthem) is the rejection of the collectives’ attitudes and assumptions about ideas.  Even in a democracy, the tyranny of the majority trains and heels the crowd to fall in line with a collectively approved set of ideas that are inherently and necessarily non-revolutionary.  The establishment seeks to remain established, and the conventional wisdom considers itself (and little else) wise.

Attitudes of fixed conclusions towards contentions and important ideas with paradigm-shifting potential lead to a short-circuiting of logical rigor and second-guessing on multiple levels.  As this other parody-satire puts it,

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