Theory & Essay

link of the week: “who’s gonna save my soul?”

it’s not you, it’s me

the perfunctory “nice” way to break up with someone, these five words have become the king of all relationship euphemisms, a quick and easy way of masking anything from “i tried, i really, really did, but i just couldn’t get past that bite-sized pretzel stick you’re packing down there” to “i’ve seen your family pictures, and theres no way in hell i’m gonna potentially mix my sperm with your wretched gene pool“.

yes, i’m aware that there are times that “its not you, its me” really means exactly what it says. shit, i’ve actually said that to someone, and i actually was telling the truth, lol. regardless of the reasoning behind it, though, the person who’s being broken up with usually feels as if it is them, and nothing thats said or done can convince them otherwise.

thing is, although we claim to despise this cliche, are we really ready for the alternative? are we really prepared to hear the truth, or would you rather assume what that “truth” might be? would you really rather hear “i never really was attracted to you, but i started dating you because i thought your brother would be a good reference for me to use on my grad school application. now that i’m in school, i really dont need you around anymore. plus, your brother is way hotter” instead of “i need to figure some things out“? hmmm.

these are just a few of the many questions behind the break-up dynamic, a phenomenon addressed by gnarls barkley in their video for “who’s gonna save my soul”

quite possibly the best song of 2008, gnarls barkley examines the break-up act in their usual unusual gnarls barkley fashion, its premise a darkly humorous look at what sometimes happens to the break-upee.

watch.

discuss.

—the champ

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't.

  • Kitsune

    That was deep!

    “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”

    Guilty as charged…

  • Kitsune

    That was deep!

    “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”

    Guilty as charged…

  • http://www.sheliagoss.com/blog Shelia

    It may seem safer to skim the surface when giving a person the reason why you’re breaking up with them. Tell me the truth–more than likely I knew it was coming to an end before you ended it. Don’t give me no cliche.

    Now some folks can’t handle the truth. When I’ve ended it, I’ve come out and said why. I do recall a time where I did use the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and that’s only because he was a really nice guy and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings too much. He made a better friend than my man.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “I do recall a time where I did use the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and that’s only because he was a really nice guy and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings too much. He made a better friend than my man.”

      what were your reasons?

      • http://www.sheliagoss.com/blog Shelia

        The Champ there was no romance. I guess I needed a little spice. He didn’t make decisions. Grant it, I do like to have my way, but I also like for the man to take initiative. I don’t like “yes” men. I like a man with a backbone and he didn’t have one.

      • http://www.sheliagoss.com/blog Shelia

        The Champ there was no romance. I guess I needed a little spice. He didn’t make decisions. Grant it, I do like to have my way, but I also like for the man to take initiative. I don’t like “yes” men. I like a man with a backbone and he didn’t have one.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “I do recall a time where I did use the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and that’s only because he was a really nice guy and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings too much. He made a better friend than my man.”

      what were your reasons?

  • http://www.sheliagoss.com/blog Shelia

    It may seem safer to skim the surface when giving a person the reason why you’re breaking up with them. Tell me the truth–more than likely I knew it was coming to an end before you ended it. Don’t give me no cliche.

    Now some folks can’t handle the truth. When I’ve ended it, I’ve come out and said why. I do recall a time where I did use the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and that’s only because he was a really nice guy and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings too much. He made a better friend than my man.

  • ForReal

    Wow Champ. I’m with Kitsune on that line “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”
    Isn’t that what we all mourn after a relationship…the potential. But it’s crazy cause if it could’ve been great, if it was supposed to be great, then it would’ve been. Period.
    Read a quote once, don’t know who said it, but it roughly went ‘if it was meant to be nothing you could do could mess it up. And if it wasn’t nothing you could do could fix it.’

    • As Is

      “Read a quote once, don’t know who said it, but it roughly went ‘if it was meant to be nothing you could do could mess it up. And if it wasn’t nothing you could do could fix it.’ ”

      I’m feeling that quote! Most def!

      • http://www.blackfemmefatale.wordpress.com Jolie Fatale

        Love the quote… gunna use that one .

        I definitely find myself looking back like woulda shoulda coulda… but i might as well move on!

        we all try to make things look better than it is .. like turning shit into sugar… shaitwill never be SUGAR … but SUGAR can go to SHit

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          “we all try to make things look better than it is .. like turning shit into sugar… shaitwill never be SUGAR … but SUGAR can go to SHit”

          this made me chuckle for some reason

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          “we all try to make things look better than it is .. like turning shit into sugar… shaitwill never be SUGAR … but SUGAR can go to SHit”

          this made me chuckle for some reason

      • http://www.blackfemmefatale.wordpress.com Jolie Fatale

        Love the quote… gunna use that one .

        I definitely find myself looking back like woulda shoulda coulda… but i might as well move on!

        we all try to make things look better than it is .. like turning shit into sugar… shaitwill never be SUGAR … but SUGAR can go to SHit

    • As Is

      “Read a quote once, don’t know who said it, but it roughly went ‘if it was meant to be nothing you could do could mess it up. And if it wasn’t nothing you could do could fix it.’ ”

      I’m feeling that quote! Most def!

    • Kitsune

      “Wow Champ. I’m with Kitsune on that line “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”

      ForReal…it’s kinda like…when you break up with someone and you remember all the good times you had. You create this false memory…and then if you hook back up it doesn’t take long before you say “oh yeah…THAT’S why I broke up with his/her ass!” LOL! Chalk it up to selective memory, I ‘spose…

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “Chalk it up to selective memory, I ’spose…”

        or good pu**y

        • Kitsune

          “or good pu**y”

          Mmmhmmm…that too. :)

        • Kitsune

          “or good pu**y”

          Mmmhmmm…that too. :)

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “Chalk it up to selective memory, I ’spose…”

        or good pu**y

    • Kitsune

      “Wow Champ. I’m with Kitsune on that line “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”

      ForReal…it’s kinda like…when you break up with someone and you remember all the good times you had. You create this false memory…and then if you hook back up it doesn’t take long before you say “oh yeah…THAT’S why I broke up with his/her ass!” LOL! Chalk it up to selective memory, I ‘spose…

  • ForReal

    Wow Champ. I’m with Kitsune on that line “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”
    Isn’t that what we all mourn after a relationship…the potential. But it’s crazy cause if it could’ve been great, if it was supposed to be great, then it would’ve been. Period.
    Read a quote once, don’t know who said it, but it roughly went ‘if it was meant to be nothing you could do could mess it up. And if it wasn’t nothing you could do could fix it.’

  • Wise Diva

    amazing how we can romanticize the hell out of a jacked up relationship isn’t it!?

    ok and the video ummm, it’s like Quentin Terrintino got kicked to the curb and made the storyboard for this song. I shall never look at broccoli again in the same away *oy*

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “amazing how we can romanticize the hell out of a jacked up relationship isn’t it!?”

      or, the flip side, look negatively at a good relationship just because it ended badly

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “amazing how we can romanticize the hell out of a jacked up relationship isn’t it!?”

      or, the flip side, look negatively at a good relationship just because it ended badly

  • Wise Diva

    amazing how we can romanticize the hell out of a jacked up relationship isn’t it!?

    ok and the video ummm, it’s like Quentin Terrintino got kicked to the curb and made the storyboard for this song. I shall never look at broccoli again in the same away *oy*

  • http://www.myspace.com/womannaofgod utc115

    wow. that was…………………………….

    “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”

    I have not had the ITS ME AND NOT YOU line used on me or neither have I used it on anybody. Its been all truth over here. But truth is the best answer. So we can get to the meat of the problem and maybe it can help them in the next relationship. You never know.

    But what really got me is that she said she was going to take his heart and use it WHEN NEEDED then give it back. WOW. and women do we do this? men do you do this? I hear a AMEN in the corner

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “But what really got me is that she said she was going to take his heart and use it WHEN NEEDED then give it back. WOW. and women do we do this? men do you do this?”

      ……….

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “But what really got me is that she said she was going to take his heart and use it WHEN NEEDED then give it back. WOW. and women do we do this? men do you do this?”

      ……….

  • http://www.myspace.com/womannaofgod utc115

    wow. that was…………………………….

    “…holding on to the false memory of what you & I once had…”

    I have not had the ITS ME AND NOT YOU line used on me or neither have I used it on anybody. Its been all truth over here. But truth is the best answer. So we can get to the meat of the problem and maybe it can help them in the next relationship. You never know.

    But what really got me is that she said she was going to take his heart and use it WHEN NEEDED then give it back. WOW. and women do we do this? men do you do this? I hear a AMEN in the corner

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