It was entirely by coincidence that I began reading this book the same week I decided to tune-in to one of our syndicated pop-music radio stations here in Raleigh NC. No, I don’t like pop-music. No, I didn’t expect to here anything particularly good. No, I’m not so old as to tune-in simply to find out what horrible music those “young folk” are listening to these days. I was simply interested in finding out what music was particularly “popular” at the start of this fine year.
I came across Selena Gomez’ song Love you Like a Love Song. You can watch the music video below.
I found some parallels with the lyrics of this song and the introduction of Chesteron’s book, wherein he provides his readers with an anecdote about his book’s potential lack of novelty. Allow me to share:
I have often had a fancy for writing a romance about an English yachtsman who slightly miscalculated his course and discovered England under the impression that it was a new island in the South Seas. I always find, however, that I am either too busy or too lazy to write this fine work, so I may as well give it away for the purposes of philosophical illustration. There will probably be a general impression that the man who landed (armed to the teeth and talking by signs) to plant the British flag on that barbaric temple which turned out to be the Pavilion at Brighton, felt rather a fool. I am not here concerned to deny that he looked a fool. But if you imagine that he felt a fool, or at any rate that the sense of folly was his sole or his dominant emotion, then you have not studied with sufficient delicacy the rich romantic nature of the hero of this tale. His mistake was really a most enviable mistake; and he knew it, if he was the man I take him for. What could be more delightful than to have in the same few minutes all the fascinating terrors of going abroad combined with all the humane security of coming home again? What could be better than to have all the fun of discovering South Africa without the disgusting necessity of landing there? What could be more glorious than to brace one’s self up to discover New South Wales and then realize, with a gush of happy tears, that it was really old South Wales…
Chesterton goes on the relate this story to his own work:
For if this book is a joke it is a joke against me. I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before. If there is an element of farce in what follows, the farce is at my own expense; for this book explains how I fancied I was the first to set foot in Brighton and then found I was the last.
Gomez’ realization that “every beautiful thought has already been sung” resounds with Chesterton’s fear that he will be the last to set foot in Brighton. Yet the two diverge as Chesterton sets sail while Gomez keeps her ship docked at bay. This wouldn’t be so bad if Gomez sat on her little yacht sipping margaritas (virgin of course), and drank in the noon-day sun. Yet, even though she has never left the shore, her song proclaims that she in fact found New Whales: “It’s been said and done, Every beautiful thought’s been already sung, And I guess right now here’s another one, So your melody will play on and on, with the best of ’em.”
I feel like an adolescent with a thesaurus is describing what it felt like when she discovered her first crush. Next on her list, simile. I know that you’re only 19…but still…you’re “supposedly” an artist…be creative…or something.