The song Hotel California by The Eagles seemed almost overplayed, back in the day, on Houston’s 101 KLOL. Its solemn verses streamed gently in the airwaves above our city—verses dressed in a mood of summer’s end—verses telling the story of the fate of a man traveling on a dark desert highway. How seamlessly the opening verses captured an image of idealized Western freedom: a man riding alone on a highway, seemingly unbound by destination, led by an inner compass, perhaps, calibrated in tune with the cool wind.
April 28, 2010
But the mood of the song quickly shifts. There is already the hint of disturbance in the opening verses—the rising scent of colitas—Eucalyptus—a tree that doesn’t grow naturally in the desert. The highway rider grows weary, drawn to the shimmering lights of a hotel, where he stops for the night. Seen symbolically, a weary man and shimmering lights, suggests either “illusion” or “disillusion”—perhaps both.
“This could be heaven or this could be hell,” the man speculates approaching the entrance. Of course, if one should ever contemplate such a thought, determining heaven from hell, they should feel safe to assume the answer is the latter—which is what Hotel California ultimately represents, but here, the resort clothed “hell” may appear different from the more traditional models of Inferno. Here, the great chamber of torment is a place where one sees what has become of idealized Western freedom: a slavish attachment to luxury, nostalgia, hedonism—which is essentially what the highway rider finds in various stages while led through the hotel. Here, hell is a place where one sees through the curtain of the American dream—its limited menu of options.
“In the master’s chamber we gather for the feast. Stab it with our steely knives but we just can’t kill the beast,”—within ourselves.
However, still we tend to assume we have 'set reservations' for paradise--as we tend to assume we are “entitled"--the song seems to imply, for it is only the highway rider who finally attempts to escape this forlorn resort, "running for the door, to the place of before,"--only he seems to realize the day of judgment has long since dawned. Not only for himself.
And so the song ends. Three paragraphs without mention of Facebook.
‘How does this song relate to Facebook? What about Facebook? I want my Facebook!'
The line above, scooped together in such fashion, might draw to mind the image of a child crying, begging his parents for forbidden ice-cream. Nonetheless, the question concerning the validity of the comparison between the website and the song shall not be ignored, even if the beastly Examiner posting this article is, ‘running for the door’, perhaps, to avoid answering. Or, on the other hand, maybe there was a plan after all, not for the sake of mankind, to be sure, but at least for the sake of a providing a valid thesis. Moreover, in the following articles Facebook shall take center stage without the aid of metaphor--provide a more direct look through the curtain, so to speak.
As for the answer regarding the comparison between Hotel California and Facebook—though there may be many comparisons—let’s begin with just one.
“You can checkout anytime you like but you can never leave.”