ONE DIRECTION, “YOU & I” – BEN WINSTON. Let’s consider the disturbing ontological implications of One Direction’s latest video:
1. NON-AUTONOMY AND PLURALISTIC IDENTITY – What does everyone in One Direction do? Why are there five of them? Does each member have a distinct personality and fulfill a specific role in the group as a whole? I’m pretty sure the only person in this band is Harry Styles and that the other guys just lip synch to his voice and maybe sometimes harmonize. It would seem that Harry is indeed the only real Direction – the others serve only as vessels for his transcendent identity, giving their bodies over to his heartthrob-y will. There are many faces to Harry Styles, but behind each of them is the same voice – one voice, one soul, One Direction.
2. ONE DIRECTION, ONE DESTINATION – Despite their Anglican/Hibernian roots, “You & I” reflects One Direction’s latent Calvinism in its explicit depiction of predestination. When freed from their absolute submission to the Cult of Harry Styles (or, rather, when the Cult of Harry Styles has become so ingrained that it’s inherent existence gives the false appearance of independence), each Direction moves in its own, predetermined direction – that is, forward. Despite their playful attitude, each Direction knows exactly where he is headed. He cannot escape his destiny; he conforms to it with rigid acceptance (note the forced barrel roll that Bearded Direction completes just moments before discovering his future self splayed across the boardwalk).
3. FORWARD CONTRAS NATURE – Walking into the wind is a cheap metaphor that makes everyone’s hair look super dreamy, but note the determination toward predestination in defiance of nature (the will of Styles contra the cheap will of the air balloon). Our will (our destiny) against the blast of time, driven forward by our own (Harry’s own) self-giving imperative.
4. THE IMMUTABLE WILL OF HARRY STYLES – Despite his fellow Direction’s submissive acceptance of fate, Harry Styles moves forward at his own fiery imperative. Nothing – no man, no will, no projected self – stands in his way. He alone moves forward without fear of the past or submission to the future. It would almost appear that the predetermined endpoints of the other Directions are his momentary whims. Because, as we already know, Harry Styles is the One Direction – all other Directions are tributaries to his will. Because, in the Fascist State, the Führer is the Will, and all other operations are mere functions of his One, united destiny. Because the One Direction is Providence, and Harry Styles is God.
Please consider these things before letting your son or daughter join the One Direction fan club.
*****YOU AND I / NOT EVEN THE GODS ABOVE / COULD SEPARATE THE TWO OF US*****