A Total Eclipse of Common Sense

by Beth Weber

Monday’s eclipse was a big deal. Huge, even. Like most big events, it generated much information. When the helpful topics like safety precautions and best locations had been covered to death, the media was forced to focus on less helpful subjects, such as the soundtrack for the eclipse.

As I sat at my computer, I listened to CNN obsess over Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” She performed it live during the eclipse while on a cruise ship, and reporters could not swoon enough over the idea, asking important questions like, “How does a total eclipse of the sun compare to a total eclipse of the heart?” I felt my breakfast churn when I heard that one. The answer, of course, is it doesn’t compare at all.

According to Bonnie’s lyrics:
Once upon a time there was light in my life

But now there’s only love in the dark

Nothing I can say

A total eclipse of the heart

Since the actual total eclipse lasted only last a few minutes in selected areas, the analogy doesn’t work. If Bonnie had just worn special love goggles for a few minutes, her relationship might have been saved. As anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows, major events will rock your love connection. At times, it’s best not to directly stare at your relationship lest you burn a hole right through it. Evidently, Bonnie was too impatient to wait for the darkness to pass. Still, some people thought this 1980s’ song perfect as the background to the historic eclipse.
I personally would have preferred Carly Simon’s “You're So Vain.”
Well I hear you went to Saratoga

And your horse, naturally, won

Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia

To see the total eclipse of the sun

Rumor has it that Carly was dissing Warren Beatty, who once dumped her, in this song. Since I’m a cynic, these lyrics suit me better. Even wearing some scientifically approved relationship goggles wouldn’t have protected Carly from Warren back in his wild days.

Extraordinary events like the solar eclipse don’t need cheesy pop songs to make them seem more important. An appreciative silence, during the eclipse and other special moments, is the best strategy.