Tuesday, February 19, 2008

She Works Hard for Equality

Donna Summer's "She Works Hard For The Money" isn't actually about working hard for the money as it is a social commentary on the state of race relations in the United States of America. Or so that's what I thought while bowling on Sunday. And yes, I was drinking.

Upon re-watching the video this morning I realized I had to tweak my initial assessment. But I didn't want to change my opening statement because it's probably the most intelligent sounding thing I've ever written. Let's discuss.

First the video:

Now the breakdown:

-Fade in to an hazy image of a woman dancing
-Cut to alarm clock and our protagonist waking up

Racism Meter: low

Chorus 1
-Various scenes of protagonist heading to work interacting with white people
-Cuts of Donna Summer singing chorus
-Protagonist starts scrubbing floor in a hallway

Racism Meter: a little racist

Verse 1
-Protagonist opens diner for business
-Donna Summer sings some more at the diner, no wait staff to be found
-Protagonist walks by counter only to have white man strike her buttocks, she gives a half-hearted smile

Racism Meter: a little more racist

Chorus 2
-Protagonist shown sewing at what can only be described as a Nike factory
-Donna Summer shown singing by punch clock, protagonist can't bear to look at her
-Protagonist shown walking home with groceries inter-cut with shots of Donna Summer
-Children are shown playing catch on front lawn

Racism Meter: still racist

Verse 2
-Protagonist watches Donna Summer sing through barred windows quite racistly
-Protagonist makes dinner for rotten kids who are fighting at the dinner table
-Protagonist goes into bedroom, feels up picture of a dancer (possible lesbian tendencies?)
-Rotten kids still fighting

Racism Meter: pretty racist, and somewhat negligent

Chorus 3
-Montage of protagonists likely typical day, pretty terrible

Racism Meter: not much racism here

Verse 3
-Protagonist falls to ground, Donna Summer assists protagonist to feet
-Protagonist gets into the back-off stance and backs away
-Some sort of choreographed sewing is going on
-Protagonist returns to home that has been robbed, drops her shit, assumingly loses mind
-Donna Summer tries to forcibly enter house?

Racism Meter: very racist

Guitar Solo
-Dream sequence where protagonist is dancing in street with a multicultural ensemble
-There may or may not have been some jazz hands involved

Racism Meter: far less racist

Chorus 4
-Donna Summer singing on balcony above the dance production that's taking place in the street below
-Protagonist walks away clearly disgusted after realizing that "urbanites" have joined in her good times

Racism Meter: confirmed racist

And the conclusion:

I guess my initial assessment was pretty astute, even after enjoying a few adult beverages. I hope this makes you think a little bit today. And I know I learned a lesson. What the lesson is, I'm not exactly sure. But I think it involves not being a racist.

1 comment:

Tequila Mockingbird said...

nice. i love the great, deep philosophies that come to us while drinking. drink/pontificate away!