Wednesday, 31 March 2010



Only An Expert


Now only an expert can deal with the problem
Because half the problem is seeing the problem
And only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem

So if there’s no expert dealing with the problem
It’s really actually twice the problem
Cause only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem

Now in America we like solutions
We like solutions to problems
And there’s so many companies that offer solutions
Companies with names like Pet Solution
The Hair Solution. The Debt Solution. The World Solution. The Sushi Solution.
Companies with experts ready to solve the problems.
Cause only an expert can see there’s a problem
And only an expert can deal with the problem
Only and expert can deal with the problem

Now let’s say you’re invited to be on Oprah
And you don’t have a problem
But you want to go on the show, so you need a problem
So you invent a problem
But if you’re not an expert in problems
You’re probably not going to invent a very plausible problem
And so you’re probably going to get nailed
You’re going to get exposed
You’re going to have to bow down and apologize
And beg for the public’s forgiveness.
Cause only an expert can see there’s a problem
And only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem

Now on these shows, the shows that try to solve your problems
The big question is always “How can I get control?
How can I take control?”
But don’t forget this is a question for the regular viewer
The person who’s barely getting by.
The person who’s watching shows about people with problems
The person who’s part of the 60% of the U.S. population
1.3 weeks away, 1.3 pay checks away from homelessness.
In other words, a person with problems.
So when experts say, “Let’s get to the root of the problem
Let’s take control of the problem
So if you take control of the problem you can solve the problem.”
Now often this doesn’t work at all because the situation is completely out of control.
Cause only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem

So who are these experts?
Experts are usually self-appointed people or elected officials
Or people skilled in sales techniques, trained or self-taught
To focus on things that might be identified as problems.
Now sometimes these things are not actually problems.
But the expert is someone who studies the problem
And tries to solve the problem.
The expert is someone who carries malpractice insurance.
Because often the solution becomes the problem.
Cause only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem

Now sometimes experts look for weapons.
And sometimes they look everywhere for weapons.
And sometimes when they don’t find any weapons
Sometimes other experts say, “If you haven’t found any weapons
It doesn’t mean there are no weapons.”
And other experts looking for weapons find things like cleaning fluids.
And refrigerator rods. And small magnets. And they say,
“These things may look like common objects to you
But in our opinion, they could be weapons.
Or they could be used to make weapons.
Or they could be used to ship weapons.
Or to store weapons.”
Cause only an expert can see they might be weapons
And only an expert can see they might be problems.
Cause only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem

And sometimes, if it’s really really really hot.
And it’s July in January.
And there’s no more snow and huge waves are wiping out cities.
And hurricanes are everywhere.
And everyone knows it’s a problem.
But if some of the experts say it’s no problem
And other experts claim it’s no problem
Or explain why it’s no problem
Then it’s simply not a problem.
But when an expert says it’s a problem
And makes a movie and wins an Oscar about the problem
Then all the other experts have to agree that it is most likely a problem.
Cause only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem

And even though a country can invade another country.
And flatten it. And ruin it. And create havoc and civil war in that other country
If the experts say that it’s not a problem
And everyone agrees that they’re experts good at seeing problems
Then invading that country is simply not a problem.
And if a country tortures people
And holds citizens without cause or trial and sets up military tribunals
This is also not a problem.
Unless there’s an expert who says it’s the beginning of a problem.
Cause only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem

Only an expert can see there’s a problem
And see the problem is half the problem
And only an expert can deal with the problem
Only an expert can deal with the problem.


© Laurie Anderson. "Only An Expert" is on Homeland (Nonesuch CD, June 2010)

1 comment:

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