Popular Music as a Nauseating, No Good, Very Bad Attempt at Propping Up a False Sense of Eternity (With Goats)

I’m in the habit of taking popular music at its word. That is, I take the thumping stuff as a general indicator of what our culture enjoys hearing, and as a direct result of this habit, I’m awash in an atlantic depression, considering moving off the grid to make moonshine in the company of two goats (as an isolated goat gets lonely and begins to yell for companionship).

There is a trend in the basic pop lyric which, if actualized into daily life, will have us all enthusiastically trying to enjoy the iciest bowels of Hell. It is the death of Eternity.

Now the word Eternity freaks us out because God freaks us out — and this is right and just, because both are terrifying — but it was not always the case that a denial of God’s existence necessitated a denial of Eternity. Frederich Nietzsche, for instance, had no problem furiously denying the existence of the Almighty while simultaneously reveling in glimpses and swoons of Eternity.

This is because an experience of Eternity is an experience of the inexhaustible. This is not a definition, but a metaphor. (I don’t dare nail down the ineffable Evermore with an all-defining, prosaic thump. I can only point out Eternity as I point out a star, holding a finger out to something I am absolutely sure of, hoping that by grace your eye will understand and follow the precise angle of my stretching finger 20 light-years into space.)

So yes, Eternity is the inexhaustible, the evermore, the cup that runneth over, the paradoxical experience of perfectly-never-enough, of Beauty — which we can never conceive too much of — of goodness and of truth. Considered as such, Eternity is not religious. Consider, for instance, the lovers.

Regardless of a belief in a Creator, lovers speak of “being together forever,” not as a sweet, whimsical nothing, but as rock-solid understanding of the fact that their love has bound them. This “forever” is an eternal word. Love will not “die” with the death of one of the lovers. Love exists beyond the material presence of its object. In fact, I would argue that forever-love is experienced as always having existed as a potentiality within the lover. If a man “falls in love at first sight,” it is only because love was already sprung like a tiger trap for him to fall in. “I loved you before I met you,” say the lovers, “I was waiting for you,” and “it was you I loved all along.” The two did not “make love” (in the non-biblical sense) upon meeting each other. Each call forth love from the other. But what can be called forth that isn’t already in existence? In basic human experience (I assume we still have it) love forever is, forever was and forever will be. It is not bound by space, time or reason. We can love a time we never knew, a place we’ve never been, a character — like Frodo Baggins — who has no real existence, an animal — like a goat — who doesn’t share our species, an enemy who is categorically unloved, and the child we have not yet born. Les Miserables had spoke a truth deeper than we give it credit for: To love another person is to see the face of God, for through eternity we meet Eternity.

Now I said Eternity was not religious, but all religion is a dealing with Eternity. This is phrased in a hundred different ways, my least favorite being — and this usually comes from the sensitive, religious depths of The Huffington Post — that religion has value because it makes you “part of something bigger than yourself.” This is a degradation of the fact — that religion is sinking your teeth into Eternity — that works to make it sound like the joy of religion is essentially the joy of joining a club. (Actually, other people has always seemed to me to be the worst, most difficult, most exhausting part of religion.)

No, the joy of religion is its confrontation with the inexhaustible. The religious claim is fundamentally this, that our glimpses of Eternity — in love, beauty, truth, sublimity, sorrow, and all the rest — have their source in one deep, deep Eternity, and that man was meant for these depths, not the shallows. (And because I know this to be true, I can say with confidence that Frederich Nietzsche was a profoundly religious man. (And because he’s dead, he can hardly rebuke me for it. (But if he is in Heaven, which I strongly suspect, he might just reward me for it by his intercession. (But if it’s Heaven, he already has. (Eternity, you know.)))))

Now if you were wondering what any of this has to do with popular music, I’ll be honest, I got excited about Eternity and forgot what I was writing about. To the point.

In a world in which science has dethroned philosophy as the primary — if not the only — method of attaining truth, the concept of Eternity is absurd. Science only deals with the physical universe, the material Cosmos which, in the wonderful words of Carl Sagan, ”is all that is or ever was or ever will be,” and the primary fact of the material Cosmos is its crumbling. Science deals with a realm in which nothing remains, in which entropy is law and all things are move from order to disorder — from something to nothing. All things are exhaustible. If science is the only way truth can be known, Eternity is an illusion. That love — a chemical in the brain — could be a reality that transcends space, time and its object is an idiot’s idea. Science smiles obligingly on lovers who whisper “forever,” but she knows the truth: The lovers are lying.

This, I would argue, is one of the fundamental roots of our popular culture: a religious faith in science and technology as gods who can explain and fix everything. This faith is called scientism. It does not imply that people understand and use science well, just that they believe in it over everything else, and deny, or more typically don’t know, that it is rooted in philosophical and faith-based assumptions about the universe.

So what’s to be done in the face a universe emptied of Eternity? Suicide is a highly reasonable response. If nothing lasts, what’s the point of prolonging our inevitable dissolution, our ordained crumbling in a crumbling world? The world is essentially a difficult, suffering-filled trek in which everyone is executed at the end, and its hardly a shocking change of plans if we should take the Sunset Limited.

Nonsense, says the world, life is to be enjoyed, and the death of Eternity allows us to enjoy it for what it is. Look at us! We dip our toes in a cornucopia of goods and pleasures and there is no Judgment after death, no everlasting reality to face for doing what we want with them, as long as we’re not hurting others. The point of life is to be happy, so go, be happy, and yolo!

In the absence of Eternity, all we can do is attempt to imitate the Evermore by indefinitely repeating a finite good until we have a stroke and die. Joy shifts from finding inexhaustible depth in one thing to the heroic attempt to daily repeat a multitude of exhaustible pleasures and distractions and thus create an illusion of eternal life. This is where popular music makes an entrance.

Katy Perry needs to do Last Friday Night “all again,” Britney Spears tries to convince us she can “dance until the world ends” and Ke$ha reminds us that despite the “TiK ToK, on the clock,”  ”the party don’t stop no,” not because that’s in any way true, but because it needs to be true. So certain are the Black Eyed Peas of the necessity for indefinitely repeating their finite party that they actually resort to just straight auto-tuning the days of the week: ”Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday / Friday, Saturday, Saturday to Sunday / Get get get get get with us / You know what we say / Party every day / Pa pa pa Party every day.” This song — “I Gotta Feeling” — might make the song “Party All The Time” – on the same album — seem unnecessary, but when your goal is to avoid despair by endlessly repeating an ever-ending thing, there’s really no limit to how often you can say it. The most repeated line in pop music is a bad attempt at Eternity: “All night long.” Pitbull takes it home, and God bless him for it. His mind-numbing repetition of ”the party ain’t over, the party ain’t over / The party ain’t over” is to be expected, but the desperate necessity for a false sense of eternity truly blossoms in his album-topping “Don’t Stop The Party” in which we find out that ”They can’t, they won’t, they never will stop the party/ They can’t, they won’t, they never will stop the party.”

And it’s this “they can’t stop the party” that I appreciate, not for its depth, but for its honesty. Truly, they can’t, for to stop the party — that conglomerate of finite pleasure — would be to face a world in which everyone, drunk or sober, having been laid or not, is about to die, with utterly no choice in the matter. The repletion of the finite as an illusion of Eternity is — of course — not limited to partying. It lives in the cult of youth which must by surgery and with-it-ness stay forever young, consistently and without reprieve propping up the pretense that the finite good of youth can be indefinitely repeated, which is, of course, another trope of popular music. It lives in the cult of wealth, which sees the continued and indefinite repetition of wealth-acquirement as an adequate replacement for finding the singular pearl of great price, that is, Eternity, and this is, again, a favorite topic of popular hip-hop. But why try and convince you of this when parody has already hit the nail on the head?

YouTube Preview Image

  • AJ

    Woah… quintuple parentheses!? Well done sir, well done!

    • JoeCool1138
    • Mike

      Four parens in a row? Talking about eternity? Marc is a pretty good apologist, but I think his true calling might be programming Lisp. ;)

  • Niemand

    Reading this post gives me the oddest urge to get off your lawn.

  • Jack Picknell

    ‘Twern’t always so…
    http://youtu.be/F6TFW1F6oY0
    and, believe it or not, this was a rock album cover. Note the lack of blashphemy.

    • Sam

      Just alright? In the words of Stephen Colbert “time to drop the reefer boys and pick up a bible!”

  • Rebecca Duncan

    Avril Lavigne agrees:

    “Here’s To Never Growing Up”

    Singing Radiohead at the top of our lungs
    With the boom box blaring as we’re falling in love
    I got a bottle of whatever, but it’s getting us drunk
    Singing here’s to never growing up
    Call up all our friends, go hard this weekend
    For no damn reason, I don’t think we’ll ever change
    Meet you at the spot, half past ten o’clock
    We don’t ever stop, and we’re never gonna change
    Say, won’t you say forever stay
    If you stay forever hey
    We can stay forever young

  • bill

    what leads you to strongly suspect nietzsche is in heaven?

    • tedseeber

      I’d like to know that too. Out of all the 19th century philosophers, Nietzsche is the one who I’d vote most likely to take one look at heaven and say “too many believers, too much God, send me to that other place”

      • Quid

        Nietzsche is, perhaps, the most honest philosopher I’ve ever read. He ends up rejecting God in response to a world that has stopped caring about the eternal (that’s what his “God is dead” speech is about). He saw Christianity as too insincere to be true, but he also demonstrated extreme empathy for humanity which eventually lead to the loss of his sanity towards the end of his life. Nietzsche was wrong, but his approach to religion and philosophy is extremely honest. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in heaven.

        • tedseeber

          I’ll agree that he is honest.

          But it is that very honesty that led him to reject Christianity, and would lead him to reject God in the next life.

          I don’t see the extreme empathy in his writings, but that is perhaps because I reject the entire philosophy of “that man is suffering, we should kill him to put him out of our misery”

  • Yvain

    In a world in which science has dethroned philosophy as the primary — if not the only — method of attaining truth, the concept of Eternity is absurd. Science only deals with the physical universe, the material Cosmos which, in the wonderful words of Carl Sagan, ”is all that is or ever was or ever will be,” and the primary fact of the material Cosmos is its crumbling.

    This isn’t just wrong, it’s diametrically wrong. I think you’re thinking with cached thoughts where Science has to be this extremely boring thing naturally opposed to religion and anything beautiful.

    But many of the best scientists I’ve seen are obsessed with eternity. The laws of physics are, as far as anyone can tell, eternal, or produced by more fundamental things that are. Something as seemingly mundane as how quickly rats multiply to take over a new environment turns out to be bound by more fundamental general principles. Einstein described physics an attempt to figure out whether God had a choice when He created the world – to figure out the immutable principles behind and prior to everything that exists. Even in my own field, psychiatry, I think I would still be interested in how human intelligence works and where our emotions come from even if there were no such thing as humans, because I would be engaging with this Platonic concept of intelligence which is endlessly fascinating and totally prior to anything that actually exists in the physical world.

    To say that science is “about” being non-eternal just because it sometimes engages with contingent things like rats and galaxies is like saying that religion is “about” being non-eternal just because it sometimes engages with contingent things like St. Peter’s Basilica and King David. Sure, you can be boring and concentrate only on those things, and a bunch of scientists (and religious people!) do, but the really interesting work is to use them to get to the ineffable stuff behind them.

    On the subject of repeating something over and over again because you don’t have eternity – eternity isn’t about “a very long time, longer than you can imagine”, it’s about something outside of time and not comprehensible in terms of temporal categories. Partying all night long has no relationship to eternity; an especially long party is no closer to eternity than an especially short party, and even if it were possible to party literally forever without dying, like in the Celtic fairy stories, this would not be even an approximation to Heaven.

    I think a more parsimonious explanation for pop music is that if people like partying a little, they will naturally like partying a lot even more, and this will be what they sing about. A more parsimonious explanation for “the cult of youth” is that younger people are more attractive. A more parsimonious explanation for why people seek lots of money is that you can buy nice things with it. You really really don’t need to bring in this theory of eternity to explain any of this.

    In fact, we find the same behavior in entities with no plausible connection to eternity at all. Rats, given the opportunity to directly stimulate the pleasure center of their brains, will keep doing it until they die of exhaustion or starvation. The fact that people *like having fun* isn’t some weird atheistic cultural imposition, it’s a natural part of the way brains are wired. Attempts to design computer programs that learn through reinforcement suffer the same problem – I remember a story of one AI project that was supposed to design some kind of circuit, but instead found a way to hack its reward variable and increase it to the highest number it was capable of representing. We don’t need to bring in a secret frustrated longing for eternity to explain why rats or computers will keep doing the things that reinforce them. Why posit it here?

    • badcatholic

      I don’t think science is boring, I think scientism is boring. My complaint is not with science but with a world in which science has dethroned philosophy as the primary method of knowing truth. You’re right that many scientists are obsessed with eternity, but it does not follow that empirical science adequately deals with eternity. To the extent that the empirical scientist is describing eternity, he is a philosopher. Insofar as he is practicing empirical science, he is limited to that which is verifiable or provable by means of observation and experimentation.

      You’re absolutely right to say eternity is not just something we can repeat, but rather its “something outside of time and not comprehensible in terms of temporal categories.” (I think you mistake my complaint with Pop here — my issue is that repetition is a false semblance of eternity precisely BECAUSE it does not have the transcendent quality you just mentioned.)

      But surely if a thing is outside of temporal categories it is unavailable to empirical science, for empirical science operates, observes, experiments and investigates within space and time. This is not to say eternity is outside of HUMAN investigation, just as God’s freedom was not outside of Einstein’s investigation, and just as fundamental intellectual principles that have no proof (such as a thing cannot be and not be at the same time) are not outside of our investigation. This is simply to say we need to admit that empirical science is a limited form of investigation, and we need to allow back into popular culture the concept that there are other methods of coming to truth: Metaphysics, phenomenology, art, poetry, and faith, to name a few, especially considering we already do leave empirical science ALL the time in the fields of physics, psychology and a few others we nevertheless insist on seeing as empirical.

      “Partying all night long has no relationship to eternity; an especially long party is no closer to eternity than an especially short party, and even if it were possible to party literally forever without dying, like in the Celtic fairy stories, this would not be even an approximation to Heaven.”

      I agree. Hence my issue.

      “I think a more parsimonious explanation for pop music is that if people like partying a little, they will naturally like partying a lot even more, and this will be what they sing about. A more parsimonious explanation for “the cult of youth” is that younger people are more attractive. A more parsimonious explanation for why people seek lots of money is that you can buy nice things with it. You really really don’t need to bring in this theory of eternity to explain any of this.”

      Maybe, but consider the words of Nietzsche, who says that “all joy wants eternity — Deep, deep eternity.” There is a connection between a found joy and eternity, and that is this: It is in the very nature of joy that we desire it to last forever. Think on the converse. Who among us, experiencing real happiness, could conceive of wishing for that happiness to end?

      But it’s even more than that, for I agree, merely prolonged happiness, even if prolonged to infinity, is not Heaven. Who among us does not understand happiness, which we naturally desire to be endless, to simultaneously be the fulfillment of our person, that is, being precisely the self that we are? So in joy we experience a something in which we are where we should be, as we should be, and we naturally desire this to last forever.

      So while you’re right, that “if people like partying a little, they will naturally like partying a lot even more,” but this does not rule out the possibility that the reason we try to extend the things we like even more is primarily because the happiness we find in them has us gasping for eternity, because all joy wants eternity. My issue is simply that we mistake the eternal quality of the party — the joy — for the temporal — the fact of partying — and demand an extension of the temporal in order to recover or retain an experience of the eternal, when we should see the party as indicating a joy beyond the party.

      • Yvain

        Re: science. I guess we should agree on what we’re taking science to mean here. If you just mean “looking at the world with microscopes and telescopes and stuff”, then yes, science can’t tell us anything transcendent beyond worldly things. But if that were true, science would have nothing to say about, for example, the theory of gravity, which is an eternal mathematical equation. So in order to preserve the normal meaning of science where it incldues the equation for gravity and stuff like that, we need to broaden our definition.

        I haven’t thought about this much, so it may be really wrong but I think I would define science as the forms of reasoning we have learned in the process of investigating natural phenomenon. So for example, statistics like t-tests and p-values don’t really have anything to do with natural phenomena, but in the process of investigating medications or whatever we realized we needed to think more precisely than we usually do and developed some t-tests as a tool for precise thinking.

        Scientists have become really good at developing tools for precise thinking because they have feedback – if they’re wrong, their inventions don’t work or their predictions about the world don’t come true. Other groups haven’t had this kind of feedback and so their thinking is extremely variable from just-as-good-as-scientists’ to total-crap.

        Microscopes have nothing to say about ethics, but when you take the forms of precise reasoning scientists have developed and apply them to philosophy, I think they *do* have something to say about ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, et cetera. Certainly we notice that a disproportionate number of good natural scientists end out sharing certain philosophical beliefs that are then usually called “more scientific”, and I don’t think this is a coincidence.

        So if we use “science” to include “science-inspired philosophy”, then this is probably the meat of my objection to your claim that “My complaint is not with science but with a world in which science has dethroned philosophy as the primary method of knowing truth”. As you correctly point out a few sentences later, insofar as we’re trying to find the truth about transcendent subjects at all, we’re doing philosophy. We can either do philosophy using a collection of precise thinking tools gleaned from science, or we can do it using some other set of thinking tools which in my opinion don’t work as well. Either way we’re doing “philosophy”. And as I pointed out, I don’t think the less scientific forms of philosophy have any monopoly on the eternal.

        Re: eternity. I’m glad you agree that eternity isn’t just “a very long time”, but your argument seems to be assuming it is. It’s claiming that since I want some happiness (let’s say partying) now, and I get upset when it ends and want it to last forever, I must desire eternity. That argument doesn’t work unless eternity is a natural extension of “happening for a long time”, which we both agree it isn’t.

        “My issue is simply that we mistake the eternal quality of the party — the joy — for the temporal — the fact of partying — and demand an extension of the temporal in order to recover or retain an experience of the eternal, when we should see the party as indicating a joy beyond the party.”

        If you’re not misinterpreting eternity as “getting to drag out your joy forever”, I don’t think this argument makes sense. Suppose I claimed that what everyone really wants is a pet rhinoceros, and that is what all of our happiness is pointing to. Then I could say that we want to keep partying a lot, because our joy at the party reminds us of the true object of our joy – a pet rhinoceros. But this is kind of circular – it doesn’t support that the true object of our joy is a pet rhinoceros at all, unless we already know that.

        • Zai

          I just want to reiterate that Marc is against scientism, not science. Science provides an excellent structure for establishing matters of fact in the natural world. It is also good at coming up with theories that can well explain how something occurs (gravity, for example). We cannot touch gravity, but we can figure it out through both mathematics AND observation. That physical observation, or experimentation, part is how science tests its theories, which usually reach beyond the math portion. You have to have both in the use of most science and scientism is an attitude that misuses the actual purpose of science. Neuroscience can come up with a theory for why someone is depressed (i.e. they are not getting the proper level of a certain chemical etc) but cannot adequately go much further than that. They have to examine the patients and see if there is truly a pattern etc. All this examination is physical. All that is physical is subject to entropy. It’ll fall apart. Everything dies, even gravity and the like will one day fail (though there is argument on how this happens…(contraction or big freeze)).

          That is the realm natural science lives in and the realm it is best suited to answer. It cannot answer eternity. We can understand something through mathematics, but that is not the same thing as the thing, if that makes sense. We can show how energy is neither created nor destroyed through mathematics and whatnot, but that is still not the energy itself. I have a distinct feeling that the study of the joy of a Christian saint would be baffling in the scientism point of view.

          Lastly, I think that those reasons that you posted above about people just “liking” to do certain things misses the mark because people are complicated. In your field you surely see this. People can behave in a number of ways and the reasons are nearly always legion. Liking something is the simple answer, but WHY like that something? Particularly when it does nothing good for you physically (such as sadomasochism). We Catholics believe that the soul is completely intertwined with the body (thus, death is unnatural because it separates us from our bodies (or so I think)), so we can make sense of the glitchy wiring by pointing to the person’s soul. That person perhaps did not always associate pain with pleasure, but experiences lead to that change in brain chemistry etc.
          I hope that makes some sense as I am incredibly sleepy. おやすみなさい!

        • tedseeber

          The problem with that is science as philosophy, I’m finding out, leads only to theism.

      • tedseeber

        I think we need a wider definition of the word “empirical”

  • tedseeber

    My favorite new Pop Group is Autotune the Clergy. They take insipid Pop Music, and set the words of Catholic Clergy to them. I have high hopes for future tracks, but even the first two are, if you’ll excuse the pun, Dynamite:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoS0eKC-XoQ – Pope John Paul II “Perhaps I Love You More”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyuTqtr4r08 – The Election of Pope Francis staring the Rap Stylings of Cardinal Dolan

  • MikeRizik

    Perhaps the best blog entry I’ve ever read. Simple premise: without eternity one has to repeat madly the same finite pleasures. One has no choice.

  • Pete the Greek

    You really need to stop listening to pop music, even if it is just to help write an article. Much like reading the dreaded Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, it will drive you mad.

  • AMoniqueOcampo

    Reason #574 why current pop music sucks so much. Listen to some classic rock or country or indie or ANYTHING else.

  • David

    Brilliant depiction of hell by Key & Peele!

    • Jakeithus

      There’s a ton of truth to this statement. Thinking of doing anything for eternity will certainly lead to a state that can only be described as hell. I believe it’s an act of faith to trust God that an eternity spent in his presence won’t result in the same situation.

  • Collin Sceski

    Marc, brilliant article as always! I’ve got a shameless plug here: months ago i started a writing a blog post about this same topic, please give it a read, it looks at the issue in a slightly different light.

    “A desire for something more, something that the riches of pop-stars can’t even attain, is suddenly audible. We hear the artists sing about an eternal rave, endless and consequence free, but deep down we know that it is only a fantasy. __As we know from good literature; fantasy is a great tool for teaching truth. The earthly desires of pop-stars will fade, of this we can be assured, but their desire for something eternal will last forever.”

    http://catholicpulp.blogspot.com/2013/06/theology-lessons-from-pop-culture.html

  • Tony

    Hey Marc, great article!
    Food for thought… this article has two sides, one where you trail off and get serious about eternity, the other a witty, humerous, backhander of common sense to modern music and it’s artificial eternity. I strongly believe the latter is better, more crowd-pulling, but above all, more ‘needed’. The more intellectual stuff has resulted in two people I know to stop reading because it’s over their head and don’t have the time to get serious.
    I’ll keep reading regardless, but as I said, food for thought.

  • simuove

    So, this is excellent, and had me waving my hands in the air yelling, “the bad infinite! The good infinite!” Well done sir.

    I do want to push you on a specific point, although I expect I can guess at your answer. Many might argue that the experience of love is the wrong kind of looking at Eternity. To expand: Kierkegaard, in one way or another, talks about two different ways of viewing Eternity. One is of Eternity as a thing which subsumes us, causes us to act irresponsibly, and the other is of Eternity as a thing which radically individuates us, and calls us to absolute responsibility. (This is actually Derrida’s reading, but I promise I’m only name dropping so I won’t feel like I’m stealing other people’s ideas!) The concretizing example is the first kind of Eternity as orgiastic, as in the Dionysian Mysteries, and the second kind of Eternity as individuating as in, ya know, God looking upon Abraham.

    So, all that said: it seems to me that love is, in many ways, of the first kind (i.e. the orgiastic). That is to say, love is an Eternity which subsumes the lovers, which lets them lose their individuality (as one flesh, perchance?). On the other hand, the Eternity with which religion is most regularly concerned seems to be the Eternity of responsibility — the thing which, far from bringing up the animalistic or orgiastic in us, holds us (by love, in many cases) in responsibility to it and it’s standard.

    It seems like, above, you’re conflating the two forms of Eternity. Do you think about it differently? Is the distinction invalid? I’m interested in your thoughts.

  • Charles

    This takes the alternative view:

    http://youtu.be/9SHfyxs2SPI

  • M

    “In the absence of Eternity, all we can do is attempt to imitate the Evermore by indefinitely repeating a finite good until we have a stroke and die” So hysterically brillant :)

  • Woody Nicholson

    excellent…I did write lyrics to a song once that go, “Long before I met You, I knew we would meet again…” referring to encountering Christ

  • msmischief

    Faces along the bar
    Cling to their average day:
    The lights must never go out,
    The music must always play,
    All the conventions conspire
    To make this fort assume
    The furniture of home;
    Lest we should see where we are,
    Lost in a haunted wood,
    Children afraid of the night
    Who have never been happy or good.

  • antisinecurist

    I really dig the article, and agree with a lot of what you’ve said here and otherwhere.

    Though, I must ask: this “…as an isolated goat gets lonely…” is a joke, right? :)

    - Alex