Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fish Heads, for fun and mental profit

I know that there are philosophical songs and then there are philosophical songs, but around here few pieces of music have occasioned as much discussion as Fish Heads, by Barnes and Barnes.

The list of conditions for what is or is not a fish head have led to great speculation as to which of our acquaintance may actually be a fish head in disguise.

For example, here are some of the conditions of fish headery:
a) they don't wear sweaters;
b) they don't play baseball;
c) they're not good dancers;
d) they don't play drums.

Some of the youngsters were a bit worried that Daddy might be a fish head, then, until it was pointed out that he does, occasionally, wear sweaters. In fact, most of us make the non-fish head category by virtue of our positive association with sweaters, although Julia is a good dancer, Jack has played the drums, and I have played baseball. Any one of these is sufficient to establish non-fish head status, but we like to be doubly protected.

What are the positive conditions of being a fish head?
a) roly-poly;
b) in the morning, happy and laughing;
c) in the evening, floating in the stew;
d) get into movies free;
e) can't talk.

Fortunately, c) bars Baby from being a fish head, although her dinnertime habits make one question.

But now, examine this statement: "Roly-poly fish heads are never seen drinking cappuccino in Italian restaurants with Oriental women (yeah)." There's a lot to unpack here. Do fish heads never drink cappuccino, or is the cappuccino ban only in effect when they are at Italian restaurants? What if they're at an Italian restaurant with Polish women? Or Oriental men? We're not given enough information to make broader statements, but with the help of Graph Jam, we put the statement into the form of a Venn diagram.

Let me anticipate correction by pointing out for myself that yes, I misspelled "cappuccino".
So we can say with certainty that if one meets all three of these conditions, one is definitely not a fish head. But wait! What happens if one meets all these conditions invisibly? After all, non-fish headery is contingent on being seen doing all these things.

Obviously, there are layers of richness here that we have yet to unpack.


mandamum said...

Yay! We ended one year's One Act Performance with everyone sticking his head out from under the curtain in a neat row and singing/dancing to this song (Because while fish heads don't dance, student heads can dance to the song).

And I love your Venn diagram - these things can be complicated.

Brandon said...

Very logical!

Jenny said...

I can support that I am not a fish head.

1) I do wear sweaters.
2) I have played the drums. I even took a drum class.
3) I am not roly-poly.
4) Happy and laughing in the morning? Ha!
5) I have been seen drinking cappuccino in an Italian restaurant with an Oriental woman, perhaps. It depends on what defines Oriental. My SIL is of South East Asia origin. Is that Oriental enough?

I am pleased to say that I have strong non-fish headery credentials.