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“My Way” – An ode to self-satisfaction

by sanmigueltimes
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I don’t hate a song as much as “My Way.” It is an ode to self-satisfaction that deserves the scorn of its detractors, including Frank Sinatra who hated the song.

It’s ironic that ‘My Way ‘, a song originally about a marriage in failure and oblivion, has been adopted by those who boast of an exceptional life. These individuals, often with inflated egos, have turned the song into a celebration of their self-perceived superiority. The melody, originally a French song was adapted into English by Paul Anka for Sinatra. This adaptation, which oscillates between monotony and grandiosity, has been misinterpreted as a celebration of individuality, when in fact it’s a tale of toxic masculinity and unsolicited explanations.

The song pays homage to a philosophy that is, at least in my opinion, deeply detestable: the notion of having lived a life in which one rides roughshod over others, doing as he pleases without concern for the consequences or the opinions of those around him. In short, it is egocentrism taken to an extreme. The noblest way to live life does not involve generating negative or unpleasant feelings in others. Being self-destructive or controlling is not living “your way.”

“My Way” is a terrible portrayal of the typical narcissistic man. It shows us someone with an air of unwarranted superiority, needing excessive admiration from others, believing he deserves privileges and special treatment. He expects those who listen to him to recognize that supposed superiority, making his achievements and talents seem more important than they are.

The song is wrapped in a false profundity that arrogantly celebrates individuality. Those who adopt it as their personal anthem basically shout, “Look at me; I am or was better than you.” It is a song designed to appeal to egomaniacs, those who are full of themselves. Simply put, it’s an ode to being a jerk.

Last year, I was at a friend’s gathering, and the Spotify list fell on the song. I voiced precisely what I had narrated here. Immediately, I was interrupted by a complaint from a friend of mine. “My Way” was her father’s song. Out of prudence, I kept quiet, but I clearly remembered how, when I was young, I would visit her and her brothers, good friends of mine, and their father, already drunk, would sing at the top of his lungs the Spanish version called “A mi manera,” performed by José José, and Vicente Fernández, among others, and would fervently state, “This is my song.” After the man’s death, many things came out, and most turned out to be harmful to his family, leaving misery and pain more than anything else. That’s not living “your way”… That’s being a complete idiot with no qualms about the harm you may cause to those who loved you.

“My Way” became popular because egomaniacs identified with it and endured because those egomaniacs and new ones continued to identify with it. This paradoxical popularity raises questions about the values we uphold and the messages we celebrate. I am sure that, in Mexico, all the political, union, and business leaders who are pompous jerks consider it their personal anthem. I have no proof, but I have no doubts about it either. This contradiction in the song’s popularity challenges the audience to reconsider its appeal and the values it represents.

Perhaps few of them know that Frank Sinatra himself detested that song. Forced to perform it night after night for nearly a decade of touring, he became so fed up that he began openly mocking it just before he sang it. “And now comes the torturous moment, not for you, but for me. I hate this song. I HATE THIS SONG!” he told his audience in 1979. Sinatra’s disdain for the song adds credibility to my critique, reinforcing the negative aspects of it. 

Ultimately, we may only partially disassociate ourselves from this song, which, from a personal perspective, is nothing but a parody. A fallacy rooted in a grandiloquent tune that points to the arrogant and unfounded illusion that a man can conclude his life believing he has done it all by himself.

For Times Media Mexico / San Miguel Times

José E. Urioste

Mérida Yucatán, México

May 16, 2024

José E. Urioste, a highly accomplished Yucatecan businessman, has established himself as a seasoned professional in Business Intelligence, amassing over 25 years of experience. His expertise is recognized and sought after by numerous organizations, leading him to serve on several boards of directors. In addition to his business acumen, Mr. Urioste has made significant contributions to the media landscape, sharing his insights through articles on business-related topics and hosting radio shows that provide in-depth political analysis. His influence extends beyond the media, as he is also a published author with three books. 

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