by carl wilson

Marginalia: And the Award Goes to ...

Okay, I have to break my embargo on public Heretic Pride discussion (see last post) to mention this lyric from my second-favourite song on the album, "Autoclave," with which I am now officially obsessed, having completed a week of fixation on my first-favorite, "San Bernardino." Besides its nice bouncy music and possibly-literally-lethal chorus ("I am this great, unstable mass of blood and foam/ And no emotion that's worth having could call my heart its home/ My heart's an autoclave"), it has to be given a special citation for Greatest Ever Appropriation of a Line from a TV Show Theme Song. This is a song that begins with the words, "Hand me your hand, let me look in your eyes/ As my last chance to feel human begins to vaporize," and by the third verse it gets here:

I dreamt that I was perched atop a throne of human skulls
On a cliff above the ocean, howling wind and shrieking seagulls.
And the dream went on forever, one single static frame ...
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

I always felt that having to spend every day at that bar in Cheers would be sort of a living Hades. Yes, Shelley Long would be there, but she'd just want to be friends. And everyone else in the room would be eternally intolerable, especially good ol' normative Norm - no one you can call "good old x" can really be good. Satan himself is "Good old Nick," no? (Not to be confused with his also-red-clad, anagrammatic xmassin' cousin Nicholas.)

The question is whether anyone is truly as toxic as the character in this song portrays himself - it seems like we all know people whose hearts seem built with the pressure and heat to destroy all viable life, but the first-person point-of-view here supports my suspicion that very often it's due to a reverse paranoia: It's their own suspicion and fear that they are irredeemably corrupt that makes them so poisonous. This song is sung by someone at a crossroads, wavering between fighting that feeling and giving in and embracing a nihilistic identity - letting himself become a regular on the barstools of the damned.

General | Posted by zoilus on Friday, February 01 at 4:16 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)



scary great song. and I've always thought that self-hatred was/is the most pointed kind.

Posted by scott on February 2, 2008 3:01 PM



Interesting.. Darnielle-fave Barbara Morgenstern incorporates subliminal bits of tv themes into some of her songs too.

Posted by Jordan on February 2, 2008 11:37 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson