Every year some song gets popular and no one has any idea why.
The Ketchup Song.
Any song by Nickleback.
Yeah, I know, I just dumped on Nickleback. It’s a very in thing to do.
About a year ago, everybody was into that song by the group L.M.F.A.O.
“I’m Sexy and I Know It”.
Not me, I mean, that’s the name of the song. It’s called “I’m Sexy and I Know It”.
There was no escaping that song. There wasn’t anywhere I could go without hearing that song. Now I know what being stalked feels like.
If “I’m Sexy and I Know It” looked like a person, it would look like this:
I hate that freaking song.
You know, there’s something that happens when you’re harassed by a song you hate. It’s kind of like what happens when you find out you’re going to die. That Elizabeth Kubler-Ross – On Death and Dying, stages of grief stuff. First you’re annoyed by the song. Then you hate it. Then you hate the people who made the song. Then you hate every radio station and DJ who plays the song. Then you realize there’s no escaping the song. Then you stop changing the channel when the song comes on.
Then you start to listen.
And then, you start to like it.
That’s what the experts call acceptance.
That’s the final stage.
A funny thing: When you like a song you tend to listen to the lyrics.
If you’re a philosopher this could be especially troubling.
You see, philosophers have a weird habit of analyzing things – over analyzing things.
When you’re a philosopher, you can’t just sit and listen to a song, read a book, or watch a movie or TV show. You have to start thinking about what it all means; to see if what you’re reading, watching, or listening to has a hidden philosophical meaning. And if you’re at all philosophically inclined, even if you don’t see it right away, you’ll find a meaning.
Let me show you how it’s done:
First, ask yourself what’s the name of what you’re going to overthink about? This is important. A title might not seem like a big deal to most folks, but for the philosophically-inclined, sometimes a title gives us a big philosophical clue. In this case, the title gives us exactly how to think about the song: I’m sexy and I know it.
I italicized “and I Know it” for a reason.
To say that one is sexy and you know it, you’re saying that you know something. That is, you’re making a claim that you possess some kind of knowledge, which is in this case; you know that you’re sexy.
When you know (or say you know) something, philosophers say that you’re making an epistemic claim.
The branch of philosophy that deals with all sorts of epistemic claims is called EPISTEMOLOGY.
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one’s own mind?
Ok, nevermind all that philosophical stuff about justification and justified true beliefs (and let’s not dwell on the necessary and sufficient conditions for being sexy and knowing it – as I believe that the following conditions are both necessary and sufficient).
So, how might someone initially formulate the idea that they know that they’re sexy?
Well, from the lyrics we can easily see that being sexy has something to do with working out.
So how else does one guesstimate that one is sexy?
- rolls with animal print pants “out of control”
- wears a “big ass ‘fro”
- looks like Bruce Lee whilst “rocking the club”
- has tan cheeks
- causes girls to look at one’s body
- has passion in one’s pants and is not afraid to show it
- wears no shoes and no shirt but still gets served
- works out
And, of course, one wiggles.
So, if one rolls with animal print pants that are out of control, wears a big ass ‘fro, looks like Bruce Lee while rocking the club, has tan cheeks, causes girls to look at your body, has passion in your pants and is not afraid to show it, wears no shirt and no shoes but you still get service, works out, and wiggles, one has met the necessary conditions (what is required to be sexy) and sufficient conditions (what is enough to be sexy), then not only is one sexy, but you know it.
That’s pretty much how you do epistemology. Congratulations. You’re an epistemologist.
You’ve just participated in your first over-analysis of a popular song!
Do you feel like a philosopher?
So now that you know what it takes to be sexy and know it, are you sexy?
I already know my answer.
And if you’re a philosopher with a blog I’m pretty sure you know your answer, too.
If you’re not familiar with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief check them out here:
2) “I’m Sexy and I Know It”. lyrics by Kenneth Oliver, George Matthew Robertson, Stefan Gordy, David Jamahl Listenbee, and Erin Beck. Copyright. 2011. Kobalt Publishing Ltd.