iOS app Android app

Will Newman

Entries by Will Newman

Upworthy Takes Ideas I Believe in, and Then Dumbs Them Down

(1) Comments | Posted July 25, 2013 | 6:45 PM

When I was a kid, I watched a show called America's Funniest Home Videos. It was like YouTube but for the VHS generation. On every episode, Bob Saget would show video clips sent in from families across the country in which something amusing would happen, like someone falling...

Read Post

Poor People Don't Have Feelings

(2) Comments | Posted March 4, 2013 | 3:09 PM

Have you ever been in love? Then you know that sometimes love doesn't work out. There are times when the person you love is either too far away, or with someone else, or far too poor to be associated with. And that's what this song is kind of about.

I know what you're thinking. Something like "This is even worse than Seth MacFarlane's boobs song" or "This song literally dehumanizes the poor by turning them into kittens, fondled for the amusement of juvenile musicians" or "Watching a grown man eat cat food while drool hangs from his mouth is an insult to decency and a waste of cat food." And you're right.

But this song, like all art, comes from a real place: at some point in my life, I wanted to make out with someone who didn't want to make out with me. I am stunned that something like that still happens in the 21st Century. In America! I thought we were over this, but the truth is that we are not. And if there's any silver lining to my struggle, it's that it inspired me to make art to capture the agony of deprivation, the injustice of the world and the dignity that I maintained despite the whole wretched affair.

Speaking of dignity, that is real cat food that the band eats during the video. People ask us, "Why didn't you just put tuna or something in the cat food can and eat that instead?" And the answer is simple, "We didn't think of that at the time."

I can't stress enough how devastating it is for someone not to want to kiss you. I understand that our society routinely diminishes people based on the color of their skin, treats millions of people as monsters because of how they choose to worship, denies basic equality to millions based on their sexual orientation, and cancels the best television shows before they have a chance to reach a wider audience. I'm not saying that I'm the only victim in society. But I am saying that if I find someone attractive, they should want to kiss me back. Especially if they're poor, because then they should be attracted to someone who is less poor. That's just math.

I'd share the story behind the song, but the truth is that I don't want to take away from the song itself. The beauty of music is that a song can mean different things to different people. There is no "correct" interpretation of the song. For one person, it can represent the fire you feel in your heart when you're in love. For another, it can remind them of the carefree joy of youth. And for another, it can re-affirm their knowledge that human beings are just a sum of their economic spending power and net worth to society, on balance, in dollars. Any of those, but mostly the third, are equally valid, except the third, which is the most valid.

In conclusion, this song is about the human experience. I hope you take from it the fact that no man is an island. The only thing that makes existence tolerable is the knowledge that we have one another to talk with, to serve, to share our feelings with, and to love. Unless the person you love has less money than you and, inexplicably, does not want to make out. Then all we have left are adorable, adorable...

Read Post

Just Because You Are Physically Incapable of Doing Your Job Doesn't Mean You Should Quit Being Pope

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2013 | 5:01 PM

Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation this week because he claimed, due to his advanced age, that he could no longer adequately perform the duties required of him. But what the Pope doesn't understand is that just because you're unable to do a good job doesn't mean you should quit....

Read Post

Is America Ready for a President Who Has Never Been Drunk?

(21) Comments | Posted October 3, 2012 | 12:46 PM

Mitt Romney is a devout Mormon who does not drink. Despite a beer he tried as a "wayward youth," he has never even had alcohol and yet he believes he can lead this nation. This is like someone who has never prayed believing he can be pope. It's just not...

Read Post

I Will Be Your Common Enemy

(1) Comments | Posted August 31, 2012 | 5:24 PM

I know a lot of people who hate President Obama. By the sound of their Facebook statuses, you would think that the president murdered their cats or had sex with their girlfriends. The mention of his name evokes a level of rage not even used for terrorists. That can't be...

Read Post