Michael Jackson ♪ Beat It

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

The power struggle, among low class male human animals.

Beat It (1982), by Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson - Beat It Michael Jackson

The music video directed Bob Giraldi. (born 1939)

They told him don't you ever come around here
Don't wanna see your face, you better disappear
The fire's in their eyes and their words are really clear
So beat it, just beat it

You better run, you better do what you can
Don't wanna see no blood, don't be a macho man
You wanna be tough, better do what you can
So beat it, but you wanna be bad

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it

They're out to get you, better leave while you can
Don't wanna be a boy, you wanna be a man
You wanna stay alive, better do what you can
So beat it, just beat it
truth or dare a party game.
You have to show them that you're really not scared
You're playin' with your life, this ain't no truth or dare
They'll kick you, then they beat you,
Then they'll tell you it's fair
So beat it, but you wanna be bad
Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right

This is a great song. The lyrics sung the eternal struggle among males. In a superficial level, it applies to highschool boys, gangsters. But deeply, it is the same situation in corporate ladder climb, politics, and power struggle in general.

As George Bush said, “bring it on!”.

See also: Palpatine: The Portrait of a Perfect Sociopath and Master Politician.

Teresa Deng Sings Beat It!

It's funny that the Asian pop queen Teresa Deng, known for her beautiful voice and gentle, serene, yearning, songs, also have covered this song, on stage.

“Beat it” sung by Teresa Deng. Taipei Concert in 1984.

[see 鄧麗君 Teresa Deng Songs]

A Linguistic Dig: What's the Meaning of “Beat It”?

Asides from the ethology aspect of this song, of interest to alt.usage.english readers, is whether the phrase “beat it” is proper.

What alternative, more correct, phrase would be?

“Get out of here” does not fully cover it. Because it's not about telling someone to leave.

“quit it” isn't right neither. Because it's not about quitting something. “quit it” lacks the context as conveyed by the word “beat” -- to hit, batter, as in, be done with it.

Of course, we should remember that there is a literal interpretation of “beat it”, i.e. hit it, as a collision carried out by a baton intended to inflict injury, which, would be a foolish interpretation.

“leave it”, again lacks something to be desired. It lacks the meanness.

Ok, then what does “beat it” really mean? How can it be rephrased so that the result can be interpreted literally while still covers its meaning? I suppose it would be something like “stop getting involved”. Of course, such a plain phrase wouldn't fly. It lacks the colors, the ambiguousness, the sizzle.

Ok, stop getting involved, seems to be the meaning. Now, back to the ethology aspect. If it is simple matter of will and decision, then why do brawls and aggression between men, happen throughout human history?

When you look at two dogs fighting for a bitch for mate, can you tell the dogs to simply not get involved? When they do pissing fights, can you tell them that territory isn't that important? With territories, associated with is the quality and quantity of food. With mating, associated is procreation and offspring. Sure, you can stop doing power struggle all together, but your risk is survival and extinction. That, is the bottom of things.

Michael Jackson