05 June, 2007

Believing is the New Baby Killing

I was asked to listen to song 1 and song 5 of the new John Mayer CD. I guess the first song won a grammy, and the fifth is about life's deeper hopes. I found the third song to be the most arresting, though.

My comments in > red.

Is there anyone who
Ever remembers changing their mind from
The paint on a sign?

> Great point!
Is there anyone who really recalls
Ever breaking rank at all

> Wow. I wish I'd said this. It is spot-on
For something someone yelled real loud one time

Everyone believes
In how they think it ought to be
Everyone believes
And they're not going easily

> I cannot think of anything more frustrating.
> He's right. Nobody moves easily from their position, no matter how little thought has gone into it.

Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword
Like punching under water
You never can hit who you're trying for

> Odd thought. I cannot picture belief as a sword at all, and just barely as armor.
> Now, if I picture belief in a false philosophy, I could see the armor thing. You're protecting yourself against some other thought. But belief in a thing that is real is not an armor. It's just a correct understanding of the laws that govern the universe.

Some need the exhibition
And some have to know they tried

> Sounds like every evangelistic evangelical I've ever known. Ouch.
It's the chemical weapon
For the war that's raging on inside

> Whoops. First serious miss.
> There's a war raging inside us all, he says, and belief unjustly ends the struggle. By belief we kill the opposition illegally, and very thoroughly.
> Now, I can limit his lyrics to talking about toxic belief, but he does not.

Everyone believes
From emptiness to everything
Everyone believes
And no ones going quietly

We're never gonna win the world
We're never gonna stop the war
We're never gonna beat this
If belief is what we're fighting for

> That's a mighty big "if" there at the end of that powerful statement.
> I thought we were fighting for oil, and for imperialist expansion. Nobody, but nobody, but nobody that I know thinks that America is fighting for beliefs. Could he be assaulting a belief in democracy? Nah. That doesn't make a lick of sense.

What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand
Belief can
Belief can
What puts the folded flag inside his mother's hand
Belief can
Belief can

> Just brutal.

Mr. Mayer mourns both the deaths of civilians and soldiers. The symbolism of the soldier story is that of an American funeral, so he's definitely talking about the Iraqi war amongst maybe a number of things. And he talks about "we" all through the song, so he's not talking exclusively about the Islamicists who teach their own babies to suicide for Allah.

John Mayer really believes that the deaths in Iraq are about American beliefs? Christian beliefs? I will concede that the song is too vague to be hold him to anything I'm saying about it, but the symbolism sure seems spot-on clear. Mr. Mayer aligns Christians with baby killers.

I love expressive songs, and passionate ones, but I cannot swallow this one.

Maybe I'm guilty of believing too much to listen.


Andreia said...

Hey I like the new color! It is nice.

I with you on this song. Let's put it into persective though...he is "dating" Jessica Simpson, isn't he?

Missy said...

It seems to me that He's not saying faith (Christian or other) is the problem, but rather forcing others to believe as we do and using belief to strike others down.

I assumed that the premise was more a criticism for the arrogance of Americans and Muslims who believe that the way we live is the right way and instead of simply defending that, we now seem to feel the necessity to force our way of life upon others.

While I respect this thought, I also find it rather ironic. Celebrity marketing has been far more effective in this than politicians or terrorists.

In a March 2007 interview, he says, "Look, demanding somebody do anything in this day and age is not going to fly... Kids don't even like being talked to like kids anymore, you know. 'Just give me the option and I'll think about it.'" This is kind of a theme with him.

My final impression was not that he was primarily thinking about the Iraqi war either, I thought the hundred thousand children in the sand represented the genocide that too frequently occurs in human history, specifically in the Darfur crisis.

Anyway - my 2 cents. I don't always wax congenial!

(BTW, I found an awesome live version of this with a liquid groove intro I'm posting over at my place.)