Shakira the shimmy-shaking scholar


For the most part, the things I enjoy about Shakira are decidedly non-cerebral. Certainly, this does not discredit or downplay the many philanthropic endeavors by the Colombian superstar. But to be honest, whenever I see her perform, my higher brain functions shut off as I stare mouth agape and grunt out a monosyllabic “Hips. Hips go fast. How hips do?”

Still, it’s nice to know that even while she is turning my brain into a primordial puddle, the woman herself is expanding her horizons. People en espanol reports that the singer has been studying the History of Western Civilization all summer at the University of California, Los Angeles. Man, Shakira’s “What I did over my summer vacation” essay is totally going to put Paris’ to shame. Of course, anything not written in in crayon would probably do that already.

Actually, this news reminds me why I’m drawn more to some artists than others. Despite her (and her hips’) hypnotic effects on my ability to form complete sentences, I enjoy Shakira because she seems like a genuinely interesting and interested person. She has a curiosity about the world and other cultures that you don’t see every day in your average pop singer. I mean, not too many celebrities like to discuss Carl Jung during interviews or can claim a Nobel Prize winner like Colombian Gabriel Garcia Marquez as a close friend.

I also like that Shakira doesn’t just rely on her seemingly supernatural dancing abilities. She sings, she dances and she plays guitar. OK, fine: Eric Clapton she is not. But at a time when it’s hard enough to find a pop performer who actually sings on stage, an artist who straps one on, well, that deserves a standing ovation. Or perhaps, given her recently scholarly pursuits, an apple.

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