You remember them from school.
Those special “kids” who knew all the surface meanings of all the popular songs (and those inner meanings only available to those with the majik decoder rings).
They knew all the background info on the artists, all the songs, all the background imagery and heavily veiled references to drug culture, suicide and devil worship.
They were usually pretty good about telling you what an author really “meant” in his works.
I still get creeped out thinking about those kids, and how they ruin good songs, and good literature with all that “deep, dark” secret crap.
You know, about how Twain had homo overtones in Huck Finn between Huck and Jim (I read that when I was a kid, and I still maintain, just like then, that Huck and Jim where simply similar pawns caught up in life, and thrust into a situation where they had a mutually beneficial situation, AND they were friends).
I just read a characterization of the novel, and in it the website details how there is great debate over whether it was an indictment on slavery, or simply “racist” (God know that I, as a Republican, definitely know how THAT would make Twain feel).
You know, the bottom line is, I’ve heard my party called racists and Nazis so much, that I’m starting to feel comfortable with it (and that should be extremely disturbing to me, and on one level it still is, but on that other, I’m getting accustomed to it…you know “if you can’t beat them…).
Well, anyhow, that aside, I’m not really here to try and defend Twain (he was, allegedly, a family member, and I’m not really much on neoptism, any more so than hearing my Uncle called a “queer” or myself and my fellow party members called racist or Nazis).
They always say (whoever “they” are) to “consider the source” in such situations, and I am.
It is those blasted kids, now all grown up, who know what all the music and novels “really” mean (as well as what we Republicans really stand for).
I just heard a talk show host the other day defending songs such as Clapton’s “Cocaine” and something by Ozzy (never listened to him much) which were both supposedly indictments of drugs and alcoholism respectively (although neither “overt” indictments, unlike “Mama Told Me Not to Come” by Three Dog Night, which is fairly obvious, or “Okie from Muskogee” by Merle Haggard, which doesn’t get much more literal).
So, here’s the real question: Why are we so enamored with all this bolderdash that is veiled more obvious interpretation (that is, if one first operates under the assumption that all that is seen, heard, experience through any input by human cognition must first, somehow be “interpreted” by the brain, similar to the idea that the color red is only perceived as red by “typical” (not color-blind) human eyes and brain stems, but may in fact look green or orange to a dog some other varmit).
Too bad everything can’t be more literal.
For example, when I say “I’m a Republican, and I stand for things that I view as moral”, to be more literal than that (but I argue that this is a simple, declarative statement that should be obvious to all save for those bone-headed drug addicts from school who could Shakespeare and describe it like it was written by Black Sabbath), but to be more clear would lead, inevitably, to a string of examples to illustrate the concept to the poor, bone-headed idiots trained on drugs and public education — which, by the way and for the sake of my spin on symbolic interpretation, I “define” (public education) as a drug — but to those poor dunder-heads, you would have to go into infinite detail to be certain there is NO ambiguity in the statement.
For example, to avoid all the out of control spinning (thank you Bill O’Reilly) they would put on that simple, declarative statement, one would have to detail what it means, and in literal and absolute terms.
For example, one would have to say things like “for example, I don’t believe in strangling kittens, which is one data point defining my morals”, or “I don’t believe in crucifying the devil” for another (although, I would like to be there to see what the line “better that he were never born” REALLY means (however, I hope that if I am lucky enough to be accepted in God’s blessed heaven, that I really have no idea about the whole matter – a part of me believes “how could it be heaven otherwise” while another part of me believes that a select few will “know it all” (the “pure of heart”, maybe, for example).
Or, one might say “I tried to avoid all sins, and those people who would lead me into it”; or, “I avoid situations that will cause me to sin, like drugs and laciviousness”.
But you know what…I’m much happier with the idea that I live in my own, happy, little world where what I say is exactly what I mean.
I do not share the morals of the left.
I do not share the morals or mores of those who are “into” symbolic interpretation.
I am slowly, but surely, getting to a point where I can enjoy a good read without all that stuff I learned in literature class getting in the way of a good story (and getting to an even better point where I “slip past” or ignore “obvious” veiled references.
But I’m not really happy with it.
The thing is, once I get comfortable with that, I might actually begin to enjoy listening to Barbara Streisand again (like I did when I was a kid before I understood her politics, or the kinds of madness she stands for, and better what she rails against), or the movies of Robert Redford, or other liberal, red-commie musicians or hollywood actors or other whacked-up “artists”.
I don’t really want to do that either.
What I really want to do is to be able to listen to a song and have it evoke the same feelings I get when I hear the wind whistle up on a mountain top, or look at a painting and have it evoke the same feelings as when I look at a cardinal, or a blue jay, or an autumn day.
I want to be able to see, and hear and read things that make me feel the way I feel when I look at photos of deep space taken from Hubble, or of a lush paradise in Tahiti or Milford Sound, or Hawaii.
I want to see art and fiction that designed for that purpose – to emulate the real Master above who could design things that are beautiful, through-and-through and designed (I believe) to make you utterly fall in love with His creation (and not for the reason of beating you over the head with some set of phony mores or morals designed by scatter-brains who see evil in everything and themselves as perpetual guardians and saviors standing between you and doom).
Not art for art’s sake, but good writing and imagery and song that makes you appreciate not only the artist, but the creation which in my “trickle-down” concept of morality, truly emanates from the Supreme creator.
It is good, and you know it is good, and you need absolutely no decoder ring to make “get it” – it is as plain as the nose on your face.
I hope a new, enlightened period dawns very soon in which everything that is written or heard is really worth listening to, reading, and better, etching into your heart.