Fortune had a piece by Drew M. Dalton in which he wrote that "as a young fan in the 1980s and 1990s, I marveled at the power of Buffett’s music to carry his audience to this fantastic utopia, seeing in it nothing more than a bit of harmless fun.
"But as I matured and eventually became a professor of philosophy, I came to see Buffett’s music as less an expression of optimistic pleasure-seeking and more a reflection of a profoundly pessimistic assessment of the trials and tribulations of life. Now his work strikes me as a closer companion to the pessimistic conclusions of the 19th-century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer than to the hedonism of leisure culture.
"I see this hidden pessimism – which underlies most of Buffett’s music – as the key to its enduring power and allure."
He goes on:
"To love the music of Jimmy Buffett, in other words, is not to love life. It is to
pessimistically admit that life is difficult and that it needs to be escaped every once in a while just to be endured.
"In Buffett’s music one catches a glimpse, however fleeting and even false, of the possibility that somewhere out there, somewhere beyond the persistent struggles and our fears and anxieties might be wiped away and we can heal from whatever grieves us." He refers to much of Buffett's music as "comedic melancholia," and that it is the "pessimistic subtext to Buffett’s escapism that made it so excruciatingly painful and is often too much to bear, but that one must nevertheless find achingly irresistible."
- KC's View:
Didn't see that one coming - Jimmy Buffett and Arthur Schopenhauer mentioned as soul brothers.
But if Catholics can argue about Buffett's relevance, I guess philosophy professors are entitled to their take on his music. I just think that it comes down to this - if we didn't laugh, we'd all go insane.