Dirty Laundry


Don Henley - "Dirty Laundry"
Don Henley – “Dirty Laundry”
The press reporters - the paparazzi.
The press reporters – the paparazzi.
Gossip-mongering people.
Gossip-mongering people.
Jennifer Aniston in, "Rumor Has It."
Jennifer Aniston in, “Rumor Has It.”
Corporate Espionage by Ira Winkler.
Corporate Espionage by Ira Winkler.
The boss and his spy.
The boss and his spy.

Intrigue in the Corporate World“Dirty Laundry” – Don Henley

I make my living off the evening news
Just give me something
Something I can use
People love it when you lose
They love dirty laundry
Well, I coulda been an actor
But I wound up here
I just have to look good
I don’t have to be clear
Come and whisper in my ear
Give us dirty laundry
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em all around
We got the bubble headed
Bleached blonde
Comes on at five
She can tell you ’bout the plane crash
With a gleam in her eye
It’s interesting when people die
Give us dirty laundry
Can we film the operation
Is the head dead yet
You know the boys in the newsroom
Got a running bet
Get the widow on the set
We need dirty laundry
[Instrumental Interlude]
You don’t really need to find out
What’s going on
You don’t really want to know
Just how far it’s gone
Just leave well enough alone
Eat your dirty laundry
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up
Kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re stiff
Kick ’em all around
(Kick ’em when they’re up)
(Kick ’em when they’re down)
(Kick ’em when they’re up)
(Kick ’em when they’re down)
(Kick ’em when they’re up)
(Kick ’em when they’re down)
(Kick ’em when they’re stiff)
(Kick ’em all around) 

 

Dirty little secrets
Dirty little lies
We got our dirty little fingers
In everybody’s pie
We love to cut you down to size
We love dirty laundry

 

We can do the Innuendo
We can dance and sing
When it’s said and done
We haven’t told you a thing
We all know that Crap is King
Give us dirty laundry.

 

Dirty Laundry” is a famous song by Don Henley from his debut solo album I Can’t Stand Still, released in 1982. The song became a phenomenal success all over the globe in the 1980s – one million records of it were shipped worldwide. It still remains, to this day, a well-loved song among all those who remain big ‘fans’ of the beautiful and memorable, bygone musical era of the Eighties.

This song is a reflection on the popular idiom, ” (Don’t) wash/air dirty linen in public.” This  proverb refers to the wisdom of not airing to the world certain embarrassing and scandalous matters that ought to be best kept private and confidential. It concerns the lengths to which people can and will stoop to ‘promote themselves’ and elevate their own status by ‘putting others down’ and by ‘trampling  on  other people’s feet’ to reach the top of the Ladder of Success and Fame.
Let us take a moment to study the  lyrics of this track to understand and appreciate its truth better – it concerns the job of all journalists, media personnel and the ‘paparazzi’ in general. The protagonist of this song  works as a television anchorman for the Evening News. He states that, “Well, I coulda been an actor; But I wound up here. I just have to look good;I don’t have to be clear. Come and whisper in my ear; Give us dirty laundry.” Even though he feels that he has the propensity of becoming an actor, he does not do so. He knows that the life of an actor is a hard slog and that fame and fortune are certainly not promised along the way to stardom. In fact, the likelihood of a ‘flop’ film is more than a little likely, in realistic terms. He feels that as a television anchor he only needs to ‘look good’ and that it will not really matter how inarticulate he tends to be (“I don’t have to be clear”) in his delivery of the news to his audience. In this sense, it is made widely obvious that he is not a real journalist, in the strictest sense of the term. What he really means about being inarticulate here is not with reference to an incomprehensible, garbled and blabbering speech delivered at high-speed – it refers more to the fact that the public, in general, doesn’t really care to know the facts and reality of the matter at hand; they just love to have their senses titillated by scandalous and sensational news; the public tends to be akin to “preying vultures” who enjoy feeding themselves greedily on other people’s failures, faults, mistakes, pain, humiliation, grief and sorrows.
The lyrics, “Kick ’em when then they’re up; kick ’em when they’re down; kick ’em all around” make reference to the fact that most journalists are capable of (and will purposefully look for) ‘skeletons in the closet’ of persons who are ‘high-flying’ successful people’ in enviable positions of power, fame and fortune – whether they be politicians, actors or any other celebrity – so that they can succeed in publicly humiliating, degrading and deriding them in every possible way. You must have heard of the popular expression – “Don’t kick a dog when he is down.”  In literal language, it implies not being cowardly and sadistic enough to prey upon and attack a helpless and injured animal – one who is incapable (or has been rendered incapable) of defending itself from indiscriminate, external attacks from human beings. If you care to read in between the lines of this expression, it implies simply that one ought not to take sadistic pleasure by “pouring salt on other people’s open and bleeding wounds,” especially when they are incapable of defending themselves their current, compromised position. Rather than adopting a sympathetic ear and an empathetic attitude to the situation at hand, people tend to derive unhealthy pleasure; a sense of inappropriate glee and undue satisfaction from it instead. This is more often the case than not. We all know it.
The undeniable fact and sad truth of the matter is that the public and news barons, at large, have become more and more callous, shallow, fickle, indifferent and callow in their approach and reaction to TV news reporting as well as the tabloidization of all news – whether it is broadcasted to the world via the television, internet, newspapers and magazines. Most people enjoy hearing and reading about the grisly details of horrific crimes against humanity – in particular, detailed reports of rape and murder; deaths – accidental or not;, disasters (natural or contrived) and scandals of various types. The journalists and media portray these events with little regard to the consequences of their actions or for what tends to be really important (“We all know that crap is king.”) The song’s theme is that TV news coverage focuses too much on negative and sensationalist news – that it tends to be much too intrusive and quite often tends to be erroneously reported too. We know that the ‘paparazzi’ is also notorious for obtaining their information through various devious, unprofessional, dishonest and dishonorable means. Lines in the second verse, “Is the head dead yet?”, were likely inspired by the shooting of President Ronald Reagan in 1981, and specifically, the erroneous reports by all major news outlets that James Brady, Reagan’s Press Secretary, had died from his gunshot wound to the head. The unquestioned and sad reality is that the world tends to love “dirty laundry” – it gives the public a sense of secret power over other people who believed themselves to be in an untouchable position of authority and power but are found to be sadly lacking in the same. The public doesn’t care, one way or the other if it is the untarnished truth of the matter, or not. They thrive on ‘juicy gossip’  and worsen the situation further by relentlessly furthering the, “grape-vine” and the, “rumour-mill.”
Gossip refers to idle prattle, chitchat, malicious talk, chatter and slanderous conversation that is used to specifically defame and deride others. In that sense, it is as dangerous and poisonous as the fact of spreading false rumours about other people. The Rumour-Mill tends to be perpetuated by gossip-mongers and idle-minded, malicious people who take sadistic delight in spreading calumny about their enemies – it is called as being a rumour because the information passed along in wide-spread, concentric circles of a whispering campaign has no grounds of truth in it at all. Rumours and Gossip tend to be as venomous as an ugly serpent that hides in the grass  – a serpent that lies in wait before it attacks its prey when it is at its weakest and at it most vulnerable. Don’t ever fool yourself into believing otherwise – rumours and ‘brainwashing’ are more poisonous than cyanide and arsenic put together – they have all the propensity of spreading great harm, ill-feeling, misunderstandings, disgust, contempt, hatred and have been known to cause many an irreparable rift in a close relationship. Rumours are the works of Unprecedented Evil  that come from the Devil’s Workshop itself. They are so powerful, vicious and vile that they are unlikely to die anywhere in the near future. Not unless the world makes a huge, concerted effort to emerge from its lethargy and apathy and avidly fight against and destroy this evil serpent, once and for all, like a raging and injured bull, charging forward – intent on killing its tormentors.
The sad reality is that, “washing other people’s dirty linen in public” is rampant in the corporate world too and has become the norm in offices all over the globe. We are all well aware of the fact that every office tends to have at one, “spy” if not more than one  – “spies” that tend to be useful to those in high, managerial positions to get “inside” information on their staff and subordinates. These traitorous ‘spies’ are ruthless and unscrupulous in their methods of deriding and humiliating their colleagues. They have no qualms or scruples in “poisoning the ears” of their superiors with details that are more false than they are ever true; with information that is so damaging towards one’s own colleagues that it tends to unfortunately put the’ “spy” in a brighter and better light in the eyes of their bosses, managers and heads of mission. Perhaps, the people in such managerial positions of power and authority ought to realize that if a person can and will be a ‘spy’ at all, he/she can never be trusted in the first place.
I feel truly sorry when I state this fact – it would be noteworthy indeed if our superiors were to take the time out to realize that such dishonest people willfully opt for such a dishonorable position so that they may gain ‘favors’ from their superiors and bosses. It is undeniable that people who ‘poison the ears’ of others invariably have a hidden agenda and ulterior motives – that of wreaking trouble, mischief and undue havoc which is to their ultimate advantage. It is an effective policy of  “divide and rule” – it is due to the fact that unity of other colleagues against the spy/spies can and will spell their downfall. It is also a very effective method of diverting attention away from one’s own faults and mistakes onto those of others. Individuals who hold the virtues of honesty, honor and integrity in high stead can never and never will be a ‘spy’ for their superiors – it goes against their very nature of being trustworthy, responsible and sincere towards their own fellow-beings.
Whoever enters the corporate world should honestly forget that they may find true and sincere friends in their working environment – if you do happen to do so, it is rare indeed – treasure such a true friend. Most of the people who we associate with daily, in our work places, tend to be nothing more than colleagues or mere acquaintances – people who we are forced to work with, on a day-to-day basis, year in and year out, for earning our ‘daily bread’ and means of  livelihood against an alarming and ever-increasing rate of inflation and as a means of keeping our minds fruitfully occupied with gainful work. There is a certain sense of pride and independence that comes from being able to earn one’s own keep – why are others then so intent on spoiling that feeling of euphoria for us? You’ve read the answer already – you know the components that lead to such callous behaviour. I really don’t need to tell you anything more, do I?
It is widely true that the world thrives on sensationalist and scandalous news; the public tends to enjoy reading about grievous crimes committed against their own fellow-citizens. It is an unparalleled fact that we are living through the Dark Ages and that there is so much evil in the world today that it is nothing less than terrifying. It is certain that the press and media are supposed to report any events that qualify as World News – in fact, it is their sworn duty to do so.  However, in doing so, the sensationalism and incorrect reporting can be easily avoided and people’s privacy ought to be respected.
How does it help you to know about the promiscuity and extra-marital affairs of politicians, celebrities or actors? Are you going to present them with a gift-wrapped box of condoms with a kind note requesting them to take heed of the dangers of a population explosion?  We are not judging the ethics of such behaviour – after all, who are we to judge other people at all? People who indulge in nefarious and criminal activities are normally adults – they ought to know better than to impinge selfishly on the lives and safety of  others; they ought to be more responsible people themselves. Of course, such persons are far from responsible human beings – it is for this express purpose that each village, town, city, metropolis and megalopolis, anywhere in the world, has an efficient and functioning police force and a judicial system for the same – these forces are designated to legally dispense with justice in the way that they think best. Whether they really do so legally and correctly, in these matters, is not in question here. Each and every one of us is far from being, “God’s Gift to Mankind” – after all, we were born as fallible mortals and we will inevitably die as such – ashes to ashes; dust to dust. So whether it be the press, media, ‘paparazzi’ or the world at large, who are we to claim that we are better than others? Who are we to judge others when we are so full of mistakes and faults ourselves?
If you MUST judge others, the very least you can do is to be DECENT by getting all your FACTS right and in order. Don’t make the mistake of condemning other people without CONCRETE PROOF  – when your criticism is based only on hearsay – it’s WRONG and you know so too. You wouldn’t appreciate it yourself if someone were to do the same thing to you.
What journalists, press reporters and the media CAN do is to take the time to report on other interesting and note-worthy matters – areas worthy of interest and knowledge like new scientific advances and new inventions; cultural pursuits that have remained undiscovered till date; factors that affect sociological and economic life in the contemporary world; the entertainment industry (without “coloring” the facts); matters of health and hygiene; reports on monuments worth a visit and a note on their upkeep;  innumerable places of touristic value;  new hobbies and interests that people can inculcate and pursue fruitfully, etc.
PEOPLE TEND TO BE INTELLIGENT, ON THE WHOLE – BUT SOMEWHERE DOWN THE LINE THEY HAVE SADLY FORGOTTEN THAT THEY CAN BE INTELLECTUAL TOO.
PEOPLE HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT THEY CAN USE THEIR INTELLIGENCE FRUITFULLY TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES FURTHER BECAUSE WE NEVER EVER STOP LEARNING TILL THE DAY THAT WE DIE. THEY CAN USE THEIR INTELLIGENCE TO ENLIGHTEN THE WORLD AT LARGE AND THEY CAN HELP OTHERS TO THINK DIFFERENTLY AND CORRECTLY IN VARIOUS MATTERS. THE FACT IS THAT PEOPLE DO NEED SOMEONE TO CHANNEL THEIR THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIOUR IN THE RIGHT WAY – THEY DO NEED SOMEONE TO GIVE THEM WHAT OUGHT TO BE THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE AND ITS EVENTS. PEOPLE OUGHT TO UNITE IN HELPING AND AIDING EACH OTHER. WHETHER THEY WILL DO SO OR NOT, WILL, TO A VERY LARGE EXTENT, REFLECT ON THE FUTURE THAT LIES AHEAD OF US.
DESTINY has determined all the details concerning our birth, marriage (with or without progeny) and death. All other details about our lives lie solely in our own hands – WE are the MASTERPIECES OF OUR OWN FATE AND ACTIONS. It lies in our own hands whether we can make the world into one that is ruled by unity, peace, love and harmony or we can choose to break it – all due to our own selfish and callous ways. 
All I can truly advice you is – LEARN TO LOOK BEYOND THE END OF YOUR NOSE. EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU AND WHAT YOU WANT – OTHER PEOPLE ALSO MATTER.
I sincerely hope that the world will have the courage, integrity, honor and decency to do the RIGHT THING, not only for themselves but for their fellow-citizens, at large, too. I am only a teacher and a guide here  – I can only push you to so so much – the rest depends on YOU. As the sayings go – “the ball is now in your court;” it’s now your “baby” – so, for crying out loud, please do the HONEST THING, that’s all I can truly say!
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