Thursday, December 18, 2008

why does some music make you want to shake your butt?

I have never felt this impulse or wanted to ask this question, but apparently it's been asked of The Explainer at Slate, and you can vote on whether you want it answered, or you can ask whether:

Is it just me, or do all national anthems the world over, no matter how rich and exotic the culture, seem to sound like European marching-band music? Wouldn't one expect China's national anthem be more "plinky"? Shouldn't Iraq's national anthem sound a little more "Arab-y"?

or this non-question:

If one gets a personal e-mail from a very famous or important person, such as the president, or the queen of England, or the Pope, or Paul McCartney, can that e-mail have monetary value? I guess not. It's just an electronic transmission on a screen. There's no original. There's no way to buy or sell it. Seems a shame tho.

and I used to think undergraduates asked the worst questions, until I started tutoring my high-school age nephew, but this takes the cake:

I wonder what's going on with Obama's eyes. When he made his keynote address to the Democratic Convention in 2004, I noticed his eyes had a bit of a pretty eyes makeup look. I concluded that it was just the makeup they put on him for the TV cameras. But then yesterday on TV I saw some older footage of Obama and again his eyes had that same pretty look. This was before he was nationally known. I looked carefully and I think that look comes from having long eyelashes. I mentioned this to some other people and they noticed it too. But so then where did those long eyelashes go? Maybe eyelashes get shorter with age. Do they? BUT also I'm wondering if Obama has had his eyelashes shortened. If he has had them shortened, I think that's an excellent idea. Because that long lashes pretty eyes look actually doesn't look so good on a man. At least not if he's running for president.

This might be my favorite:

Burma's dictator has a chestful of bullshit medals. What's up with that, Explainer?

Though I suspect Karl submitted this question:

I live in Chicago, where taxi drivers are constantly talking on their phones. To whom are they talking?

Doesn't this sound like a law school fact pattern?

I have been accused of assault in Ohio. The woman fell over a box in the hall backward, and my brother opened the door, saw her lying there, and started hitting me. I got him down and held him down. It was all over a fight concerning my niece. What do you think will happen?

And for free, I'll answer this question:

Why do women like soup? Is it for perceived health benefits? Is it because it's a quasi-comfort food?

I dunno. It tastes good. I can eat a couple of bowls of it and feel full and yet not too-full in that painful I-wish-I-hadn't-worn-jeans way. As a woman who shops at stores that insist on making things with waistbands, I am grateful for this. It's warm. I like to use my deep French cereal bowls and if I'm making it, it has all of my favorite things like meat and potatoes and hot broth.

Anyway, back to the question in the blog post title: why does some music make you want to shake your booty? As Gradmommy notes, Asian people dance like white people, who don't really know how to dance and just move around a lot, especially their hands and feet and they don't match each other, much less the movements of their butts. This astute sociological observation, while suffering from a small-N, is spot-on. Come on, admit it.

I don't really dance at all. I kind of nod my head to the beat and sway a little, but I don't dance. My butt definitely doesn't want to move if the rest of me is generally unwilling to move, and I don't know how to move it without looking like I've got a kink in my hip. This is why I take ballroom dancing classes, people. Salsa was too hard for me, because I had no idea which butt muscles to flex and in which ways, nor how to twitch them into certain directions. The waltz! It is all about the gliding movements of the feet and a high, arched back. I mean, if I do say so myself, I have quite the fine ass, but it doesn't work right, at least in response to music. In fact, I think the enchanting swaying of my rear when I walk is due to my surgically-corrected arches that make me slightly overpronate. It's not because I have rhythm in my gear, alas.

So, in the comments, nominate some butt-shaking songs that I might like and I will play them and see if my booty responds.