Thursday, December 08, 2011

Austin H. Gilkeson interprets Lionel Richie’s "Dancing on the Ceiling".
Oh, what a feeling / When we’re dancing on the ceiling,” Richie sings, as he defies gravity itself and climbs onto the ceiling to dance. The confusion, the need for authority, be it The Man or the physical structure of the Universe, is gone. All that remains is an indescribable release and ecstasy (“oh, what a feeling,” he sings, and couches this feeling in what can only be described as the Lacanian Real, in the “what” that cannot be named).

Like a Bodhisattva, Richie appeals to the rest of us, those still shackled to authority and petty notions of physics. “So come on!” he shouts, “Let’s get loose / Don’t hold back / ‘Cause ain’t no use!” The last line can be read as nothing less than a complete refutation of Heidegger’s Being and Time and its notion of Dasein. Richie proudly proclaims that there is no use. No use in not being loose. No use in staying tethered to the floor, to old notions of propriety and obedience to authority, be it cultural or physical.

The song ends with a seemingly infinite recitation of the chorus, “Oh, what a feeling / When we’re dancing on the ceiling,” as if to signal Richie’s transcendence. Richie has solved Nietzche’s dilemma, has found a way to re-produce the Dionysiac ecstasy infinitely, by transgressing not just man’s limitations, but the Universe’s.
Please use extreme caution when defying gravity and the other petty notions of physics.
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