On Honesty
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On Honesty

Her receipts be lookin' like deceit!

On Honesty

Generic Voice-Over: Hello gentle listeners, you're watching "Music in the Making," with your host, Lydia Bailey! [Catchy theme music plays. A dated graphic shoots on screen then ripples into the scene to reveal me, seated in a tall 60 minute style chair. By my side is Ariana Grande, perched precariously in her seat, staving off vertigo from the great height of the bar stool.]

Me: Greetings, one and all! Welcome back to "Music in the Making!" Today's theme is "Money Matters," and here in the studio with me is Ariana Grand! Welcome Ariana.

Ariana Grande: Um, it's actually "Grande," not "Grand." You know, like Starbucks. Grande.

Me: What's Starbucks?

Ariana Grande: Heh heh, [looks around nervously, mouths to camerawoman] Is she joking?

Camerawoman: [shaking head, whispers] Just keep going.

Me: Anyway, today we are here with Ariana Grande, and we're going to talk about a topic we all can relate to: money. Now tell me, Ariana, on the topic of money, I'm curious about your song "7 Rings."

Ariana Grande: Sure! So I wrote that song because at the time I had gotten a lot of press about my personal life, my relationships, you know. The media is especially critical of girls and young women, so I wrote this song to celebrate my financial independence and my female friends. While ostensibly the song is about lavish spending and treating myself, to me, this is really a song about empowerment and the importance of women supporting wom--

Me: Yeah, that's not what I was going to ask at all.

Ariana Grande: Um, oh?

Me: I'm specifically curious about your lyric [clears throat] "Yeah, my receipts be lookin' like phone numbers."

Ariana Grande: [pause] What about it?

Me: So the subtext here is that you're spending so much money that the charges have a lot of digits.

Ariana Grande: ...You catch on fast.

Me: Now, here in America phone numbers have ten digits.

Ariana Grande: I'm sorry, but did you say "here in America"? I'm from Florida.

Me: Really? Huh, for some reason I thought you were British. That's beside the point, though! The point is that phone numbers here are ten digits long. Now, I know what you're thinking--

Ariana Grande: --I doubt it.

Me: You're thinking, "Lydia, I'm talking about the phone number-- not the area code. I'm referring to seven digits!" But I'll have you know, the grand majority of providers phased out the option to call within your area code without including the three-digit area code in the early aughts. And this is especially true since the advent of cell phones. So ten digits it is!

Ariana Grande: I think you lost me somewhere along the way there.

Me: My point is that if your receipts truly be looking like phone numbers, that means you regularly spend ten figures at a time. Are you honestly saying that you are in the habit of spending more than one billion dollars? On a single receipt?

Ariana Grande: Huh?

Me: I really shouldn't have to spell this out for you. Your lyric uses the habitual "be," which means that your receipts regularly look like phone numbers. Phone numbers are ten digits. For this statement to be true, this means you frequently spend billions of dollars per transaction!

Ariana Grande: Um… [nervously trying to make contact with a member of the tech crew]

Me: Let's disregard whether you even have that much money, which I highly doubt. But seriously, where are you making ten-digit purchases? No single item in the world goes for that much! Let's face it-- your phone number-receipt claim simply can't be the case. Unless, of course, you recently bought an aircraft carrier or the entire Hardee's franchise without my knowing.

Ariana Grande: Why would I want Hardee's? Or an aircraft carrier?

Me: Now, in this same song you also say you're buying seven rings for six of your, pardon my french, "bitches." So it's possible you're buying seven items, each of equal price, in a single transaction. Spending a little over twelve million dollars at once is certainly much more reasonable. But that takes real estate out of the picture-- because that would have to be seven different transactions-- meaning seven different receipts, meaning that you couldn't get up to the ten digits you claim!

Ariana Grande: I'm sorry, do you have a question?

[A crew member in khakis and a black turtleneck runs on stage with a piece of scrap paper. He whispers something in my ear, then scampers away.]

Me: [blushing] Er, um, I have been alerted to an, uh, error in my calculations. Heh heh, it appears that I forgot about cents.

Ariana Grande: [gesturing at boom mic operator] Is she okay? Can I please go now?

Me: Ariana, I am so sorry, but I retract my statement about you spending one billion dollars. I forgot about the two digits to the right of the decimal points. The inclusion of cents means that your receipts probably max out at eight digits, in the category of tens of millions. This lends much more credence to your claim, especially if you consider your six bitches.

Ariana Grande: Huh? My what?

Me: I'm still referring to your song lyrics, sis. But yeah, you could totally spend ten million dollars at once. Probably not at Louboutin, as implied by your "red-bottoms" lyric, but definitely at a luxury car dealership. I'm so sorry I ever doubted you.

Ariana Grande: What is going on here?

Me: Now, to get back on track, a quick Google search estimates your net worth at around fifty million dollars. A fair amount of that figure is probably not liquid, but rather tied up in record contracts, stocks, branding, etc. As such, spending ten million dollars at a time is inadvisable at best, foolhardy at worst. Do you find that empowering, Ariana? Of course you're not the only artist to add fuel to the fire of consumerism. But do you really want to brag about burning through all your assets in some pseudo-feminist shopping spree that lands you with a bunch of luxury items that are passe after two seasons?

Ariana Grande: …

Me: …

Ariana Grande: Yes.

Me: …

Ariana Grande: …

Me: Well, there you have it folks! Thank you for tuning into this "Money Matters" edition of "Music in the Making." Join us next time as I ask the Arctic Monkeys hard-hitting questions about primatology.

[The camera zooms on my smiling face as the closing theme music plays. Ariana Grande's chair falls over with a clatter as she leaps off and sprints out of the studio.]

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