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Throwback to These Pop Music Fallacies

One of the things you’ve probably noticed about studying for the LSAT is that it changes the way you think – for instance, you suddenly start seeing logical fallacies everywhere. When I was studying for the LSAT, one of the most annoying side effects was that whenever I heard a conditional statement, I would reflexively diagram it and take the contrapositive in my mind. (Hey, that’s a conditional statement too!) So in honor of the impossibility of avoiding conditional logic, here are three songs you’ll never be able to think about the same way again:

      1. Spice Girls – Wannabe

A past student (hi, if you’re reading this, Meaghen!) came into my LSAT class one day and told me that she was listening to “Wannabe” and suddenly noticed the Spice Girls’ secret plot to educate their listeners about conditional logic. After all, they keep saying, “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.” That also means that if you don’t get with Sporty Spice’s friends, you won’t get to be her lover.

But if you’re about to go chase down the Spice Girls’ groupies, keep in mind that you could get with Sporty Spice’s friends and still not get to be her lover. You must befriend her friends, but she might still not wanna be your lover. Don’t feel too down, though; it’s totally her loss.

      2. Sugar Ray – When It’s Over

Sugar Ray are best known for their contribution to the late ‘90s music scene. However, you may not know that they are also philosophers. See, for instance, this incredibly catchy line: “When it’s over, that’s the time I’ll fall in love again.” We know that this sentence means that “it” being over guarantees that Sugar Ray will fall in love again. What is “it”? A past relationship? A recent heat wave? An oppressive sense of the futility of human existence? Who knows, man. Deep.

      3. Eminem – Without Me

I’ve got to include my fellow Michigander, Mr. Marshall Mathers, on this list. Quoth Em, “It feels so empty without me.”

“Without” is one of the Fantastic Four Phrases (yes, I just made that name up), so we rephrase it as “if not.” Thus we can conclude that if we don’t have Eminem, it feels so empty. And if you do not feel empty, that must mean that Eminem is involved in the moment in some way!

However, be careful – this doesn’t mean that if you just throw on “Lose Yourself,” you will suddenly feel less empty. You must be playing Eminem in order to not feel empty, but playing Eminem alone does not guarantee not feeling empty. That’s because it’s the necessary condition, not a sufficient condition.

Who says the LSAT doesn’t test practical skills? Conditional logic is amazingly applicable to real life and, as we’ve just learned, to pop music. So go forth and diagram, young grasshoppers.