Monday, January 16, 2012

Gordon Lightfoot "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald"

If I say the word "Crook," who's image flashes to your mind?

You would be like a lot of folks, if you answered "Richard Nixon."

But the question is Why? Why do you associate the word "Crook" with "Nixon"?

Because, the quote he is famous for is "I am not a crook."

So, in theory, when thinking about the word "crook," Richard Nixon should be furthest from your mind, since he is likely the only person you've ever known who specifically denied being a "crook." And yet you associate the word, with the man.

Researchers think that the brain filters out the negative word in statements.

"I am not a crook" becomes "I am a crook" in your mind.

So in this case, regardless of what he was intending to say, the lingering idea that people got, was that Richard Nixon was a crook. Tying together "Crook" and Nixon in the same statement, forever bound the two.

Good to know, if you ever need to deny a wrong-doing. Avoid "I am not guilty." Go with "I am innocent."

I learned this the hard way, myself, a few years back in a pub.

Not the guilty part. I wasn't guilty of anything. Just that the brain can filter out the Not.

The whole Finn clan was in a pub, drinking a few pints, and listening to a local entertainer bang away on an acoustic guitar. He was encouraging requests, and even had booklets of songs that he knew floating around the tables.

Someone at my table was reading song titles, when they came to "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald."

"Ooh, I do not like that song," I shuddered.

I went on to say that as a child, that song scared the shit out of me. As a young kid who (thankfully) did not have much of a conception of death or the cruelty of the universe, the idea that these sailors disappeared without a trace was more terrifying as anything that walked around slowly in a hockey mask. Even into my adult life, I was as afraid of listening to Gordon Lightfoot, as some kids my age were of swimming in the ocean for fear of great whites.

About 10 minutes later, the troubadour on stage starts singing "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald."

Now I was really freaked the fuck out. I was just talking about that tune. And of the dozens upon dozens of songs in the songbook, he picked that one to play? How did he know?

"How did he know what?" my Mom asked.

"That I was just talking about that song?"

"Oh, I requested it for you!" she said, sweetly.

"Gahhh! I hate this song!"

"I thought I heard you say you liked it?"

"I said I didn't like it!"

"Oh . . . sorry."

Yeah, when you're only half listening, your brain can get tied up in Nots.

And for the record, Mom does think Nixon is a crook.

Hear the song on Youtube.

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