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Pop Culture, Scourge of the Onelies: Desperado March 30, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Heteronormativity, Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys.
Tags: , , , , , ,


“Desperado” has a pretty, rolling tune. It’s been sung by Johnny Cash and by Antonio Banderas (in Spanish) since it was originally produced (per Wikipedia) by the Eagles in 1973.  I like the song–or I did, until I finally listened to the actual lyrics the other day (what can I say, I’ve been distracted by other things for 34 years):

You better let somebody love you,
You better let somebody love you,
You better let somebody love you,
Before it’s too late.

Gulp. Does anyone else feel just a teensy tone of intimidation here? As if you’d been strongarmed into a dark alley by the heteronormafia? (“Hey, listen, I’m just saying you’d better get with a committed romantic significant other, and soon. Hate to see you go swim with the single fishes, but that’s the game, capice? Nothing personal, just business, eh.”)

Or is it just me being strung out on dark chocolate?



1. Monique - March 30, 2009

Yup, I know. The same message over and over…. find someone. It doesn’t matter if that person makes you miserable, just find him/her. And before it’s too late for what? If we don’t get a partner soon, will sudden death hit us? lol

2. Singlutionary - March 30, 2009

I love this song too much to hate it now. So I am going to work up some mighty fine defenses for it:

Although it would be easy to see this song from a heternormative perspective (did I use that word right?), it could just as easily be seen as a song about community and friendship. There is this guy, the desperado, and he is getting old and he won’t/can’t stay anywhere long enough to let anyone in. He lives this extremely solitary life with no roots or friends or sense of community. He is rejecting friendship/community in order to seek freedom but as he ages the sense of freedom fades and his lack of community/connection becomes a prison.

I believe strongly in community and friendship (which is why I write) I also believe in solitude (so that I can write). For me, this is a song about a person who is pretty tough and fearless. He doesn’t need anything from anyone to survive. But, on the other hand, he is incapable of connecting with another human and for him, that is the new adventure!

Even if you don’t buy my argument, we can all be glad that at least the song’s advice is directed towards a man and not the typical spinsty female.

onely - April 1, 2009

Ah, excellent points as usual, Singlutionary! (And great usage of the term “heteronormative,” btw.) I’d like to think that we Onelers are like Desperado in the sense that we are “tough and fearless” but that we have also mastered the art of “connecting with another human” — or at least we appreciate/enjoy it and don’t think of letting someone love us as always, inevitably romantic in the heteronormative sense.

— L

3. autonomous - March 30, 2009

I think it’s just about a true lonesome cowboy, out all alone on the range. His “fences” are the barriers he puts up against any sort of risky involvement with another human being, like many people who prefer their dogs or horses to humans. And maybe “before it’s too late” could be interpreted as, “before you’re dead” or “so set in your ways that you will be impossible to get along with,” romantic or otherwise….He’s getting a warning that he may miss out on what we all want mostly- to connect, to love and be loved, agape rather than eros.

This song resonates with me because I was told something similar when I was 22, because sometimes it is too late once you’ve pushed everyone away again and again, because there is solitude and then there’s an abyss of loneliness that’s hard to crawl out of, because I wonder if I’m “too tough” to be around and maybe that’s what scares men, friends, family members off. Therapy anyone? haha

4. bobby - March 31, 2009

Not just that song, but a zillion others also. Almost every song is about break-ups,make-ups, broken hearts and finding the right one (or loosing the right one).

I guess it makes sense though, I mean, who would get into hearing songs about how happy one is being single? Well, maybe every once in a while a “Don’t worry, be single” happy song could hit the charts..just once in a while, eh? 🙂

onely - April 1, 2009

I hope you’ll write it 🙂


5. Special K - March 31, 2009

Last night on House, the last words are “you are going to end up alone.” That is the worse failure of being human…ending up alone. But the line is very far from the truth being alone is not about being lonely. Being lonely is a fleeting feeling of not being known, of not belonging…

which can obviously happen in relationships!

onely - April 1, 2009

Yes — your last point is so very true, K!

— L

6. Rachel’s Musings » Singlism Promoted in Pop Culture - April 2, 2009

[…] it’s time to take note of these, though. Onley has been posting critiques of pop culture here and here, for example. These are examples from songs and commercials. Let me add one from a […]

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