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Old 12-27-2005, 11:14 PM
shant shant is offline
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Default Re: Radiohead lyric debate: Idioteque

"Here I'm an ALF"

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Old 12-27-2005, 11:17 PM
Jack of Arcades Jack of Arcades is offline
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Default Re: Radiohead lyric debate: Idioteque

I probably suck at Radiohead, but this is my favorite song. I'm listening to it now for the first time in a while, so thanks.

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Its their best song, but I thought that went without saying [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

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Old 12-27-2005, 11:35 PM
CallMeIshmael CallMeIshmael is offline
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Default Re: Radiohead lyric debate: Idioteque

What is your interpretation of the lyrics and how does your reading of the line as "Here, I'm Alive..." fit in with that interpretation?

I have always interpreted the song as being about an impending disaster, likely a war, possibly a nuclear one.

Let's figure out what the verse in questions means in the context of our interpretations and perhaps we can figure out whether or not it's "alive" or "allowed."

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OK, Im posting this without the permission of my man jgorham, but I dont think he'd mind. He sent this to me recently, the parts in red are his writings, while the parts in black are taken from a literary magazine.

NOTE: This is long winded and will be seen as hogwash/pretentious/literary masturbation to a very large % of the population, so, I'd recomment most stop here.

<font color="red">So this is an excerpt. And a bit long winded at that (but then, how else could it be in a literary magazine). And I feel like it does a pretty good job of capturing half of what Idioteque is about. But to me, Idioteque isn’t really about the feelings so much as the battle between the feelings and the desire to not have any feelings at all, really. The conflict that everybody fights but no one really talks about, and instead just keeps on pretending everything we see (and strive to be) is true for everyone. And therefore valuable. </font>

A description of the condition of the late 1990s could go like this: At the turn of the millennium, each individual sat at a meeting point of shouted orders and appeals, the TV, the radio, the phone and cell, the billboard, the airport screen, the inbox, the paper junk mail. Each person discovered that he lived at one knot of a network, existing without his consent, which connected him to any number of recorded voices, written messages, means of broadcast, channels of entertainment, and avenues of choice. It was a culture of broadcast: an indiscriminate seeding, which needed to reach only a very few, covering vast tracts of our consciousness. To make a profit, only one message in ten thousand needed to take root, therefore messages were strewn everywhere. To live in this network felt like something, but surprisingly little in the culture of broadcast itself tried to capture what it felt like. Instead, it kept bringing pictures of an unencumbered luxurious life, songs of ease and freedom, and technological marvels, which did not feel like the life we lived.
And if you noticed you were not represented? It felt as if one of the few unanimous aspects of this culture was that it forbade you to complain, since if you complained, you were a trivial human, a small person, who misunderstood the generosity and benignity of the message system. It existed to help you. Now if you accepted the constant promiscuous broadcasts as normalcy, there were messages in them to inflate and pet and flatter you. If you simply said this chatter was altering your life, killing your privacy or ending the ability to think in silence, there were alternative messages that whispered of humiliation, craziness, vanishing. What sort of crank needs silence? What could be more harmless than a few words of advice? The messages did not come from somewhere; they were not central, organized, intelligent, intentional. It was up to you to change the channel, not answer the phone, stop your ears, shut your eyes, dig a hole for yourself and get in it. Really, it was your responsibility. The metaphors in which people tried to complain about these developments, by ordinary law and custom, were pollution (as in “noise pollution”) and theft (as in “stealing our time”). But we all knew the intrusions felt like violence. Physical violence, with no way to strike back.
And if this feeling of violent intrusion persisted? Then it added a new dimension of constant, nervous triviality to our lives. It linked, irrationally, in our moods and secret thoughts, these tiny private annoyances to the constant televised violence we saw. Those who objected embarrassed themselves, because they likened the nuisances to tragedies – and yet we felt the likeness, though it became unsayable. Perhaps this was because our nerves have a limited palette for painting dread. Or because the network fulfilled its debt of civic responsibility by bringing us twenty-four-hour news of flaming airplanes and twisted cars and blood soaked screaming casualties, globally acquired, which it was supposedly our civic duty to watch – and, adding commercials, put this mixture of messaged and horrors up on screens wherever a TV could only be introduce on grounds of “responsibility to know,” in the airport, the doctor’s office, the subway, and any waiting room. But to object was demeaning – who, really, meant us any harm? And didn’t we truly have a responsibility to know?
Thus the large mass of people huddled in the path of every broadcast, who really did not speak but were spoken for, who received and couldn’t send, were made responsible for the new Babel. Most of us who lived in this culture were primarily sufferers or patients of it and not, as the word had it, “consumers.” Yet we had no other words besides “consumption” or “consumerism” to condemn a world of violent intrusions of insubstantial messages, no new way at least to name this culture or describe the feeling of being inside it.
So a certain kind of pop music could offer a representative vision of this world while still being one of its omnipresent products. A certain kind of musician might reflect this new world’s vague smiling threat of hostile action, its latent violence done by no one in particular; a certain kind of musician, angry and critical rather than complacent and blithe, might depict the intrusive experience, though the music would be painfully intrusive itself, and it would be brought to us by and share the same avenues of mass-intrusion that broadcast everything else. Pop music had the good fortune of being both a singularly unembarrassed art and a relatively low-capital medium in its creation – made by just a composer or writer or two or four or six members of a band, with little outside intrusion, until money was poured into the recording and distribution and advertising of it. So, compromised as it was, music could still become a form of unembarrassed and otherwise inarticulable complaint, capturing what one could not say in reasonable debate, and coming from far enough inside the broadcast culture that it could depict it with its own tools.

<font color="red"> So anyway (jimmy again) I think that is a pretty good set up of the feel of Kid A in general. And Idioteque, to me, is just an accelerated battle between those feelings and our own humanity, which we try to suppress, in a way. Like, when I really get into it, I think the song is almost about madness – two opposites that are forced to exist together, yet obviously can’t both exist at once. I think Thom in general has a great sadness for humanity, as a result of people hurting themselves without really realizing it, and in a way, somehow enjoying their own dehumanization. And that is clearer on other tracks, like living in a glass house, or how to disappear completely, or everything in its right place. But Idioteque is about forcing yourself to go insane because you want to be. </font>
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Old 12-28-2005, 06:52 AM
jgorham jgorham is offline
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Default Re: Radiohead lyric debate: Idioteque

The interpretation of impending nuclear war is by no means without merit, I just think the song is deeper than that. More about how most people either can't or are unwilling to rationally analyze their value structure, which can lead to a global tragedy such as nuclear explosions. But beyond that single example it is also about personal tragedy where, even though a person really wants to do the right thing, because they don't understand what is right or even how to determine what is right they harm themselves and their community.

In any case, this interpretation makes "allowed" more likely, in my opinion.
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