Pop music. We enjoy it. We dance to it. It infects our brains as earworms. But how seriously do we take it? Do we engage with the serious questions it throws up?
Yes, some songs that raise serious questions in their titles and these are answered as a matter of course, e.g;
Travis – Q: “Why does it always rain on me?” A:”because you lack an umbrella”.
Bob Dylan – Q: “How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?” A: 42 (as any fan of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy knows)
The Smiths – Q: How Soon is Now? A: Now.
The KLF – Q: What Time is Love? A: 12.23am
Rod Stewart – Q: Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? A: For a period in the 70’s, sadly, yes.
and so and so forth.
But what about the questions implicit in songs? These are the one’s that go unanswered. For example the Hollies sang, “He aint heavy, he’s my brother.” Yet we still do not know how heavy (or light) the brother in question was.
What does Lady Gaga’s poker face look like?
Who shot the Deputy?
Which leads me to The Lonely Island’s pop opus “Motherlover”.
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We know the boys are going to sleep with each others mothers. In fact they further this with the aim of impregnating each other’s respective mothers. All well and good. But the implicit question remains: What will the genealogical connection of these theoretical children be?
Let’s find out.
Firstly, we should set out the relationship between Andy Samberg, Justin Timberlake and their respective mothers.
We can clearly see that Mother Samberg and Mother Timberlake are Andy and Justin’s mothers, respectively.
Now if Andy and Justin were to mate with each other’s mothers and produce offspring our diagram would look a little like this.
Here it might be useful to define to our symbols: A downward arrow denotes parentage. A horizontal line with a heart denotes a sexual relationship that produced offspring.
Now, whilst technically accurate, Fig 2. does not really help us determine relationship. We must therefore, look at the cases of Baby Samberg and Baby Timberlake separately.
From Fig 3. and Fig 4. we can see the following
i) Andy and Baby Timberlake would be half siblings; Justin and Baby Samberg would be half siblings.
Assuming marriage between a) Mother Samberg and Justin and b) Mother Timberlake and Andy we would have:
ii) Justin and Andy would be each other’s respective Father in Laws.
iii) Mother Samberg and Mother Timberlake would be each other’s Mother in Law and Daughter in Law.
But what about Baby Timberlake and Baby Samberg. Combing Fig 4. and Fig 5., with Baby Timberlake as the end product and avoiding any unnecessary repetition of participants, we have the following:
and if we take Baby Samberg as the end product we have:
From Fig 5. and Fig 6. we see that Baby Samberg and Baby Timberlake are each others half-uncles and half-nephews; One’s mother being the other’s grandmother and vice-versa.
We can extend this further by considering both Mother Samberg and Mother Timberlake’s parentage and comparing these directly for both Baby Samberg and Baby Timberlake:
Finally, we may ask ourselves, what is the genetic relationship between Baby Samberg and Baby Timberlake. Assuming we share 50% unique DNA with our full siblings (receiving 50% of our father’s DNA and 50% of our mother’s with the DNA given being normally distributed), then a child will share 25% of the DNA of one of it’s parents.
Andy Samberg has 50% of Mother Samberg’s DNA; Baby Samberg has 50% of this DNA; Therefore Baby Samberg has 25% of Mother Samberg’s DNA. Baby Timberlake has 50% of Mother Samberg’s DNA of which half can be expected to be the same as that received by Andy Samberg. Therefore Baby Timberlake and Baby Samberg share 12.5% through Mother Samberg.
Justin Timberlake has 50% of Mother Timberlake’s DNA; Baby Timberlake has 50% of this DNA; Therefore Baby Timberlake has 25% of Mother Timberlake’s DNA. Baby samberg has 50% of Mother Timberlake’s DNA of which half can be expected to be the same as that received by Justin Timberlake. Therefore Baby Timberlake and Baby Samberg share 12.5% through Mother Timberlake.
According to some anthropologists, it is our ability to group things that makes us human. We can differentiate and distinguish things not only by a single feature (“a cat”, say) but by many. We can even group disparate things. Both a bear and a chocolate bar are brown; a steak and a chocolate bar are both foods. Apparently this gives us a massive evolutionary advantage over the other animals, the poor saps, as we can then use this information to make well informed decisions.
With this in mind I am exercising my humanity by pointlessly cataloguing bands I like! Woo!
I’ve made a “Music Mountain” (patent pending).. – where I’ve put my favourite band who’ve made one album* on the top, favourite band who made 2 albums second and so on.
I did nine bands originally and then I thought, “that’s not enough, there’s barely even insane.” So I upped it to 17. And yes there are some shitty albums in there. Out of the 153 albums….
*by album I mean studio or all live album with previously unrecorded music on it.
The bands in order are:
1 album – Young Marble Giants
2 albums – Neutral Milk Hotel
3 albums – Boards Of Canada
4 albums – The Smiths
5 albums – Pavement
6 albums – Red House Painters
7 albums – Husker Du
8 albums – Radiohead
9 albums – Dinosaur Jr.
10 albums – The Magnetic Fields
11 albums – The Beatles
12 albums – Captain Beefheart
13 albums – The Flaming Lips
14 albums – The Mountain Goats
15 albums – R.E.M.
16 albums – Sonic Youth
17 albums – Guided By Voices
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