C.S. Lewis & Ariana Grande disagree

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I’m having a hard time getting 7 Rings out of my head.

It is such consumerist, materialistic drivel, an anthem to the worst aspect of America – greed. Which, according to TK, none of us think we struggle with:

But the song is catchy.

And if you’re reading this in the year 5020, studying, like my generation studied Shakespeare, the words of old – a few explainers.

Ariana Grande was engaged to Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson. The pair got matching tattoos and then abruptly broke off their engagement, sending Ariana and 6 close friends to Tiffany’s to return her ginormous diamond ring.  

At Tiffany’s, Ariana, worth $50 million,  subsequently purchased 6 matching engagement rings for her friends. And her mom. And her grandma.

Yeah, that happened IRL. So these lyrics are shockingly autobiographical.

Class of 5020 note: Ariana’s lyric “Happiness is the same price as red bottoms” is a reference to Christian Louboutin shoes. These designer heels have a distinctive red under sole and retail for roughly the cost of a year at Harvard Business School.

A Scottish Parliamentarian once said that if you want to know a culture don’t look at its laws. Looks at its songs. So what does this song say about America?

Yeah, breakfast at Tiffany’s and bottles of bubbles
Girls with tattoos who like getting in trouble
Lashes and diamonds, ATM machines
Buy myself all of my favorite things (Yeah)…
My wrist, stop watchin’, my neck is flossin’
Make big deposits, my gloss is poppin’
You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it
I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it (Yeah)
I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it
I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it
You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it
I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it (Yeah)
Wearing a ring, but ain’t gon’ be no “Mrs.”
Bought matching diamonds for six of my b—-
I’d rather spoil all my friends with my riches
Think retail therapy my new addiction
Whoever said money can’t solve your problems
Must not have had enough money to solve ’em
They say, “Which one?” I say, “Nah, I want all of ’em”
Happiness is the same price as red-bottoms”

 

C.S. Lewis and Ariana Grande are, not surprisingly, coming from different points of view on the issue of limits.

If retail therapy is Grande’s new addiction, Lewis talks temperance – aka “knowing when to stop”. And by “temperance” we’re not talking about the one you’re thinking of.

Lewis believes teetotaling is a uniquely “Muslim” idea, instead, he’s looking holistically at the topic:

“Temperance referred not especially to drink, but to all pleasures, and it meant not abstaining, but going the right length and no farther. ….one of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up. That is not the Christian way…”

C.S. Lewis even ties this idea of excess and obsession to good things like health. “Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imaging there is something wrong with you.”

So true.

Other developments chez Eric Peiffer Industries?

MJ loves dancing to this scene from “Sing”

Chloe’s giving tennis lessons to her 2 year old cousin and is off to speech and debate camp at Princeton in a few weeks. Phoebe’s gotten into rock climbing and takes MJ to the car wash – Miss MJ’s version of Disneyland.

My version of Disneyland? Following Bachelorette tweets:

Seb enjoyed horseback riding camp for all of 5 minutes until discovering he was the only boy. I told him “it’s The Bachelor for nine year olds!” but he still wasn’t interested.

Give it 2 years.

Oh, and I turned 40.

To celebrate, Eric took me for two of my favorite things: a movie and a burger. Chagrin Cinema is now less of a dump, replete with La-z boy seats. Speaking of La-z boys:

As part of my birthday week celebration I even replaced my old burnt oven mitt and took the kids to the zoo.

That sounds a lot less exciting than it was. Trust me.

MJ got to feed lettuce to a giraffe and Seb got in a heated argument with his friend. While half singing “Old Town Road” they were also half arguing about Alexander Hamilton’s hair. “You wouldn’t even have that $10 bill if it weren’t for Alexander Hamilton!” Seb yelled – shutting down the conversation for real.

People ask me “do you feel 40 now?” and the answer is yes and no.

Like the late David Carr of The New York Times, before God “I often feel like a fraud”. Which makes me love His grace all the more.

The last 40 years has also shown shown me that disappointments are His appointments. And witnessing heartache and pain all around me, especially in my neighborhood this past month, I’ve become ever more aware of how truly helpless I am.

“You must do this. I can’t” – C.S. Lewis once wrote. I believe that. And fully endorse C.S. Lewis’ take on what matters:

“The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.”

Better to be neither. That’s good.

Lastly, I’ve learned that you will never truly know yourself until you wrestle with the question of who made you. And why.

Happy summer!

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