Here is to hoping it stops snowing where James Lileks is, and he gets some fresh air and exercise. I think he is slipping into a Shining-like “Here’s Johnnnny” mode:
I’m surely not the first to note this, and doubtless not the last, but I am haunted by the possibility that the hokey-pokey is, indeed, what it’s all about. We’ve been doing the hokey-pokey today, and every time I sing the revelation that this dance is the summation of human wants and desires, I get a little queasy. That’s one hell of a message to teach your child. But what of love, good works, adding to the accumulated ingenuity of mankind, al dente pasta with fresh tomato sauce, fast cars with manual transmissions, flowers in the spring, newly-mown grass in the summer and the bittersweet beauty of the fall, to say nothing of the peaceful unanimity of a snow-covered world? Nope. Hokey-pokey. That’s it.
What’s more, the hokey-pokey itself is not defined. Think of it: you put you foot in. You put your foot out. You put your foot in, and you shake it all around. You do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around; that’s what it’s all about. I defy anyone to find the actual hokey-pokey in that sequence. It’s not the foot-putting; it’s not the turning yourself around. Perhaps it’s the circular wagging motion of one’s index fingers, which makes the lesson even more depressing: it’s the gesture we used in high school to indicate ironic enthusiasm. The hokey-pokey means no more than “big whoop.”
A deeply cynical man wrote this song; a deeply cynical man.
Then he mentions Stephen King in the next paragraph.