The Bare Minimum

Inspired by: Prison Food” (2005) from the Ben Folds’ album Songs for Silverman

This is one of the songs that was on the list of songs that I didn’t really care to write about. I’m not a huge fan of the song, and the title or lyrics don’t immediately trigger something like a lot of the other songs. The song itself appears to be about the end of one of Folds’ many marriages and the isolation felt when something like that happens. Of being alone again.

I’ve written enough about that for now, so let’s focus on the abstract metaphor of the title. “Prison Food” is not about the food itself, but instead about something that is required to be provided but not required to be great. We lock folks up in prison and give them the bare minimum needed to survive, at least when it comes to food.

There’s a lot of parallels to this even beyond prison. A lot of our “politics” can be described the same way: we pay taxes for lots of things, but then the powers that be decide what is “enough” for us to receive in return. Whether it’s school funding, healthcare, Congressional lines… the list is endless. And we are told from a young age that if we don’t like something, we just need to vote.

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