I Will Not Stand for Paul Simon’s Flagrant False Advertising and Neither Should You
Paul Simon is a 12-time Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter. He is a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – once for his legendary tandem act with Art Garfunkel, and once for his solo career. Furthermore, he is a big old lying liar who lies, and I resent him for it.
“50 Days to Leave Your Lover” is the second single off Paul’s fourth solo album, Still Crazy After All These Years. It documents, as one might expect, a number of different ways to leave your lover. But when I first listened to this tune, I was stunned: Paul doesn’t mention 50 ways at all. He doesn’t even mention 10 ways, in fact. I’m sure this revelation is shocking to you as well. If you need a moment before proceeding, I understand. Pour yourself a cup of tea and fan yourself with any fabric that is convenient. When you’re ready, you may continue reading.
Better? Good. Here is the chorus of the track, which is the only part of the song that mentions any ways to leave your lover, much less 50.
I count four ways. Four. (1) slipping out the back, Jack; (2) hopping on the bus, Gus; (3) dropping off the key, Lee; and I’ll begrudgingly include (4) making a new plan, Stan, although that one is hardly specific. What is your new plan, Stan? I would like to know, please. I do not currently have a lover I am in need of leaving, but if I did, I would certainly like a more concrete idea of how to do so.
Note: being coy (or not) is not a way to leave your lover, it is a mood. It may be useful advice, but it is not a method. Don’t think you can sneak that past me, Paul.
According to Cornell Law School’s website, to qualify as false advertising, the plaintiff must prove:
- That the defendant made false or misleading statements about their own products.
Paul has clearly promised one thing, and delivered another. He has lured us in with an offer of 50 ways, and has given us only four. Open and shut.
- Actual deception, or at least a tendency to deceive a substantial portion of the intended audience.
I’m willing to bet that just about all of you, prior to reading this article, were expecting a full 50 ways to leave your lover from Mr. Simon. Maybe the more skeptical among you did not, but the point stands that the majority of readers were probably deceived by Paul’s actions.
- That the deception is likely to influence purchasing decisions.
I can’t speak for the rest of y’all, but I am much more likely to buy something if there is a whole lot of it for cheap. 50 ways to leave your lover? In just one song? I’m in. Four ways? Not so much.
- That the advertised goods travel in interstate commerce.
I live in Colorado, and Paul recorded Still Crazy After All These Years in New York City. I don’t suppose you think that song just magically made the cross-country trek by itself, do you?
- A likelihood of injury to the plaintiff.
To listen to Paul’s song, you will need to purchase it on CD or vinyl record (if you’re that sort of hipster.) The former will run you $6.65 with Amazon Prime, the latter $18.84 through Tower Records. A preferable option for many would be to stream the track – both Spotify Premium and Apple Music charge $9.99 per month for their services. Any way you choose to listen, Paul’s duplicity has left you with a dent in your wallet.
In other words:
I think this is pretty
damning darning (sorry, trying not to swear.) There is significant evidence that Paul is guilty of false advertising. If he is convicted, he may be fined up to $5,000, or given jail time of up to six months, or both. This is a serious matter, and I believe Paul should not get away with a simple slap on the wrist. We must hold even the most esteemed members of our society to the same standard as the plebeians. Else, how can we claim that we have acted justly?
Just how bad of a deception is this, really? Paul promises 50 ways to leave your lover, but provides only 4. Let’s break out the Paul Simon Calculator:
Only eight percent!!!!!?!! That’s a huge difference! Paul, did you really think we wouldn’t notice if you omitted 92 percent of the ways to leave your lover?
Now, I understand that not all of you may be as passionate about this as I am. But if you are having a hard time getting your heart rate up over this, or don’t think it’s an issue at all, I have a few questions for you: do you think we would have gotten to the moon with 8% of a spaceship? I don’t think so. Would Meade have defeated Lee at Gettysburg with only 8% of the Army of the Potomac? No, not at all. If Gettysburg fell, the South would have won, and the black population would have remained enslaved. That’s awful. If you think that 92% of ways to leave your lover don’t matter, then you probably think that freeing the slaves didn’t matter, and I suggest you contemplate that for a moment.
You may be thinking, “Will, chill out. It’s just artistic license.” Frankly, I have had it up to here with artistic license. I think musical artists should prioritize being informative and factual above all pretenses of entertainment. Huh! Next you’ll be telling me that Bob Dylan’s name isn’t even-
Trust no one.
If you would like to listen to Paul’s stupid lying song, click here. If you would like to read more works by Will Klumpenhower (@wklumpenhower), shoot him a text (standard messaging rates apply) and he will send you more articles. His number is 9-1-1.