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Number One Hit By Migos Recalls Other Songs Mentioning Popular Brands

Friday, September 8th, 2017

It was just as I had suspected. When I saw the title of the song in the number one position on the charts, “Bad and Boujee” by Migos, I ventured a stab as to the meaning of the latter word. A quick Internet check informed me that, indeed, it was a shortened form of bourgeoisie.

Aside from the neat word in its title, “Bad and Bourjee” also stands out because of the numerous references to brand names. An article on a program from National Public Radio actually examined that very topic, when reporter Kat Lansdorf appeared on the August 22, 2016 edition of All Things Considered.

Lansdorf concluded that the number one hit by Migos and Lil Uzi Vert mentions 19 brands in all,including Subway and Segway. She then discussed how that fact inspired journalists Kim Bashin and Lance Lambert to examine other chart toppers from the last three years to see how many of them contained brand names, and they uncovered no fewer than 212 references.

While their study centered exclusively on number one songs, here are ten other hits containing an allusion to a brand. These tunes did not reach the top spot, but they are in many cases even more well-known than the number one singles from the list of Lambert and Bashin.

America by Simon and Garfunkel

This highlight from the duo’s Bookends album refers to Mrs. Wagner Pies, which the couple eat while on the bus counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Ballad of Alferd Packer by Phil Ochs

The title character served as a mountain guide who, after getting trapped in a snow storm, resorted to cannibalism to survive. Ochs imagines that the guy spends much of his eighteen year sentence dreaming of Duncan Hines.

I Shall Be Free by Bob Dylan

Before the onset of his rock career, Dylan recorded several folk songs in the talking blues style of his idol Woody Guthrie. This one from the Freewheelin’ record jokes that the singer knew the great granddaughter of Mr. Clean.

Now I’m a Farmer by the Who

Pete Townshend satirizes the government interference in the farm industry on this track from Odds and Sods, wondering if with incentives someone would grow a large enough crop to make enough corn flakes to last New York until 1993 (or twenty years from the date of the song).

Rapper’s Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang

The first rap song to gain airplay on mainstream radio stations, this catchy tune features verses by Wonder Mike, Hank and Master Gee. Mike is the one who seeks relief from Kaopectate after a miserable meal at a friend’s house.

Therapy by Loudon Wainwright

This title track has the folk singer parodying the benefits of counseling sessions, offering a big box of Kleenex for the one hour appointment.

Planet of Weeds by Fountain of Wayne

Chris Collingwood dreams of a far away place where everyone lies around in peace, watching movies and munching on Doritos.

Big Shot by Billy Joel

The Piano Man drills a materialistic ex in this hit from 52nd Street, sarcastically admitting that “They were all impressed with your Halston Dress.”

Driver Education by Indigo Girls

This delicious track from Poseidon and the Bitter Bug mentions a delicious product as well, the classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Freeze Frame by Godley and Crème

This duo started out with 10cc before breaking through on their own with the smash video for “Cry,” and later this title track that uses Thermos as a metaphor for love.

A Radical Love, A Path of Light

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Joe Mannath sdb, A Radical Love, A Path of Light: The Beauty and Burden of Religious Life, New Delhi: CRI house, 2013, ISBN not mentioned, Rs. 180, $ 15, pp. 224

Joe Mannath is a widely acclaimed author. His previous books have been very well received and he is acknowledged as a good public speaker, writer, educator and animator besides being a formator of religious and priests. He is a Salesian of Don Bosco and has served for many years on the staff of various formation houses and seminaries. Currently he is the National Secretary of the Conference of Religious India (CRI).

The inside of the front and the back covers give us ideas of his previous books and the praise they received. Also a brief life note is printed for the reader’s knowledge. I have met him in person and wasn’t quite taken up with the speech he delivered to us while on a visit to our seminary. I have glanced through some of his previous works and all I wish to say is that his style doesn’t appeal to me in the least. He has a very creative way of putting things across but somehow I don’t find his writings as touching as most people do or at least claim to do.

The book under review however, is a very simple and exceptionally well-written book. It is basically a collection of reflections on religious life. It is divided into three parts. The first part is entitled “The Path” and has 20 chapters. Each of these explore a facet of religious life. The chapters are written in the writers’ typical style of writing articles. There is the matter followed by a few personal questions. These help reflect on the matter and examine oneself vis-à-vis the author’s insights. The reflections are based on life experiences and therefore are relatable as well as thought provoking.

The second part deals with the challenges of religious life under the heading “Roadblocks”. These 10 reflections are sharp and right on target. Questions for reflection do not follow each reflection but the substance of each chapter holds enough material for one to reflect on and self-examine. The third part highlights some of the “Helps” that are available to aid a happy and faithful living of religious life. This section is similar to the previous in as much as it doesn’t have questions to reflect on. The insights put forth by the author in these two sections are excellent. There is no beating around the bush. Facts are presented openly with apt examples to back them up. The author ought to be commended for this wonderful book on religious life and for his honest reflections. One can notice his passion and love for the religious vocation and the desire to purify the concept and practice of religious life. His reflections are grounded in day-to-day realities and aren’t simply idealistic utterances.

I sincerely hope that every religious pick up this book and read it for her/his own benefit. A critical and reflective reading will yield the best results. In seminaries and houses of formation, the staff and students would stand to benefit if they read and discussed the various issues with regard to religious life. The author is critical of the present and optimistic about the future and that, in my opinion is a healthy approach. The religious of tomorrow need to be better equipped to face the challenges that will come their way and such preparation is difficult to undertake if one is going to shelter oneself from the real world and its problems. As I mentioned earlier, the book is a collection of the authors reflections and so there is an occasional over-lapping of ideas. Some ideas are repeated in different chapters although the same words are used and this gives away the idea that the chapters are basically articles that the author may have written at different times or for different purposes. The layout of the book is simple and attractive. The author has provided a feedback form at the end of the book to foster a kind dialogue between him and his readers. I highly recommend this book to all those living the religious life and those looking to be a part of this great adventure of following Jesus Christ in a radical manner.