I am pleased to post a blog I wrote for Philadelphia Business Journal on the dangers of turning serious issues into parodies: http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/morning_roundup/2016/02/adele-25-hello-encourages-stalking-duane-morris.html
I love the Adele song Hello. I have listened to it over and over and over again. I was disappointed not to hear her sing it last night at the Grammy awards.
But now I am relieved since I know the painful truth. Adele is “normalizing stalking.”
At least that’s what a group of students have claimed at the University of Oklahoma with support from at least one spokesperson from the University. How can this be?
In retrospect, it should have been obvious to me. The song includes the phrase: “I must have called a thousand times.”
Put aside the fact that Adele makes clear the person was never home. And, she never suggests that she even left a message. Sometimes facts get in the way when you look to make an issue when there is none.
But Adele is not alone. In Olivia Newton-John’s I Honestly Love You, she plaintively sings: “Maybe I hang around here a little more than I should.” Clearly, she, too, is normalizing stalking.
Stalking is an incredibly serious issue. It inflicts physical, emotional and financial harm.
Stalking is also often accompanied by verbal and physical harassment. It is hideous.
When we focus on Hello, we turn a deadly serious topic into what sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit. By going to the extreme, we turn tragedy into parody.
Sadly, this phenomenon is not limited to Hello. There are more than a few examples of groups on college and university campuses morphing sensitivity into satire.
We need to take serious issues seriously. And, that means speaking out against those who make a mockery of them.