One of the most memorable and useful justifications I learned in Latin class was “It fit the meter.” You see — the Latin language poetry I translated in high school followed a rigorous form of syllabification and rhythm known as meter.
When we were working on lines, our teacher regularly pointed out poetic devices and asked us why we thought Virgil [because we were doing the Aeneid] — used certain words. Without fail, one kid always responded, “It fit the meter!”
This explanation, while technically true, always entertained me. It completely dismissed all sort of sophisticated rhetorical effects and instead focused on wedging language into the appropriate amount of syllables and lines.
That being said, I find myself seeing all flourishes that “fit the meter” in a variety of media. When someone is repeating “Yeah yeah yeah” or “Oh oh oh” in a song, those words exist to fit the meter. Rococo architecture is full of curlicues and flourishes that fit the meter. When my digital sets look boring and empty, I may add people and decor to fit the meter. In other words, fitting the meter means filling available space in an appropriate way.
Back to the title of this entry… After watching Michael Jackson’s Bad and Smooth Criminal, I think that a certain number of his crotch grabs and hat tilts occur because they fit the meter — i.e., they fill time and look cool.