Friday, May 8, 2015

Depeche Mode – "Enjoy the Silence" (1990)

Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

I travel to San Diego on business every spring.  When I'm there, I walk every morning on the Embarcadero, a paved path along San Diego Bay.  

The Embarcadero's many attractions include the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier that was built in 1945 and decommissioned in 1991.  The Midway is now a popular museum with 29 fighters, bombers, helicopters, and other aircraft on display on its flight deck.

The USS Midway (CV-41)
Near the Midway is the 25-foot-tall Unconditional Surrender sculpture:

That sculpture was inspired by the famous photograph of an American sailor spontaneously kissing a woman in Times Square on August 14, 1945, the date when Japan surrendered to Allied forces ("V-J Day"):

Other Unconditional Surrender statues have been erected in Sarasota, Florida; Hamilton, New Jersey; Pearl Harbor; and Caen, France.  Shortly after the French sculpture was installed, a French feminist group petitioned to have it taken down because "it immortalizes a sexual assault."

The group noted in its petition that the photographer said that the sailor in his photo was kissing any woman who came near to him, regardless of how old or attractive they were.

"The sailor could have laughed with these women, embraced them, asked if he could kiss them with joy," said the feminists' petition. "No, he chose to grab them, with clenched fists, to kiss them.  It was an assault."

This year, I saw a new work of public art while walking along the Embarcadero.  "Nuestros Silencios," or "Our Silences," is comprised of ten giant bronze busts, each with a metal plate covering its mouth: 

[Note to all you self-proclaimed grammar experts who are apoplectic that I just said "is comprised of" instead of "comprises."  Get over yourself – you're wrong, and I'm right!]

Rivelino, the Mexican artist who created "Our Silences," hopes the work will prompt reflection about self-censorship.  "What’s important is that people can reflect about what happens when an individual decides not to say how he feels, because he can be ridiculed, or attacked, or he can be excluded," Rivelino told the San Diego Union-Tribune.  "This is an important topic of discussion for a public place."

But self-censorship isn't always a bad thing.  A wise man once said, "Speak only if it improves upon the silence."  He was right – silence can truly be golden.

Silence has other advantages.  According to Proverbs 17:28, "Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."    

Will Rogers offered this piece of very good advice: "Never miss a good chance to shut up."  After all, if a fish just kept its mouth closed, it would never get caught.

Here's Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence":

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

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