Friday, February 8, 2013

Is There a Word for That?

One Day More is a stirring song from Les Miserables. The student revolutionaries of the Friends of the ABC are looking forward to their uprising the next day, confident that the oppressed people of Paris will rise and fight with them. 

At the barricades of Freedom! 
When our ranks begin to form, 
Will you take your place with me? 

You can understand why people are inclined to sing, hum or whistle parts of this song when inspired. 

Yet when one more day dawns, the people of Paris do not rise up, the revolution is quelled, Gavroche is dead, Jean Valjean is barely able to save Marius, and a chain of events is set in motion that leads to the suicide of Javert.

So as a harbinger of  a triumphant outcome, this song fails. Like The Skye Boat Song  and The Bonnie Blue Flag it represents good music paired with disappointing outcomes.

Which means you might not want to sing, hum or whistle any of them to indicate you expect a big win.  

So what does this have to do with the title of the post, you are no doubt wondering? Well, last week I posted about a commenter misusing a reference to Cassandra to indicate he thought some election predictions were wrong, only it turned out in the long run, the predictions were right, just as Cassandra always was. 

And on the same blog, different (pre-election) thread, several posters made reference to the song One Day More in predicting a Romney victory. Like the friends of the ABC, they found their confidence was a bit misplaced. At least nobody died (some political careers, maybe), but the song reference, like the Cassandra reference, turned out to be eerily prescient. 

If I had done something like that, I would assume it was my unconscious trying to get my attention. I have occasionally found my unconscious trying to send me a message in the form of a trivial comment I made about a minor situation having a larger application to a big problem. For instance, when my son was younger and I was trying to decide what to do about my increasingly more abusive first husband, we had a video game called Ladybug. There were some spots in Ladybug’s maze that were less accessible to predators than others. My son needed me to do something for him one day as I was playing, and asked me “Can you put the ladybug in a safe spot and come help me?” I went to help him, but pointed out as I did so, “There really is no safe spot.”

Then I listened to what I had just said and realized as hard as it was, I had to get out of my marriage.

So I suppose it was possible that the writers of the posts I am referring to had little voices in their own minds saying, “You know it’s really not going to turn out the way you want, don’t you”, but without knowing them I can’t say so for sure. I think it’s more likely that they just weren’t thinking about Cassandra or the song in their respective original contexts.

So is there a word for that?

No comments:

Post a Comment