To: Someone else
Subject: Re: dunno (Thoughts and movements in reverse flow time-space)
The winamp pseudo-random oracle sent me the following musical mystery message when I began to read your email: The first track of weezer's album Pinkerton began to play. Pinkerton just happens to be my favourite Weezer album. Listening to the album with daydream imagescapes from your distant adventures floating in my head I came to see Pinkterton in a new light.
Pinkerton is a story about dealing with love, lust, companionship and understanding. The album name is a reference to Captain Pinkerton from Madame Butterfly, which also happens to be a story about love, lust, companionship and understanding. The lyrics also make reference to Cho-Cho-San (a.k.a Madam Butterfly). I've decided to include my new found Pinkerton insight in this email rather than answer you directly.
Why not I guess. Exploring Pinkerton yesterday helped me sort out some of my thoughts. They say misery likes company... Maybe the story of Pinkerton will help you deal with your own story. Maybe not.
Track One - Tired of Sex
"I'm tired, so tired
I'm tired of having sex
I'm spread so thin
I don't know who I am"
Our story begins with the protagonist realizing that he's been locked into a pattern of meaningless sexual relationships while he really wants to find love. His nightly sexual escapades leave him feeling hollow and he thinks that finding true love will help him deal with a life that he has trouble understanding.
Track Two - Getchoo
"This is beginning to hurt
This is beginning to be serious
It used to be a game
Now it's a cryin' shame
'Cuz you don't wanna play around no more"
Our protagonist makes his first real attempt at a "real" relationship, only to discover that as things get serious he opens himself up to the possibility of getting hurt. This in turn makes him look back on the hurt that he has likely inflicted on others in past relationships.
Track Three - No Other One
"My girl's a liar
But I'll stand beside her
She's all I've got
And I don't wanna be alone
My girl don't see me
when she's with my friends
She's all I've got
And I don't want to be alone"
The search continues as our Protag imagines he has found true love. There's quite a bit that scares him about his lover. He doesn't really understand her, and yet he forces himself to stay with her for fear of being alone.
Track Four - Why Bother
"I know I should get next to you
you got a look that makes me think you're cool
But it's just sexual attraction
Not somethin' real so I'd rather keep wackin'"
Still with his "true love", Protag begins to wonder if their relationship is based on sexual attraction and nothing more. As fears of losing her grow in his pessimistic daydreams (day-mares maybe?), he considers beating her to the punch and leaving her for another girl he has his eye on.
Track Five - Across The Sea
"Why are you so far away from me?
I need help and you're way across the sea
I could never touch you - I think it would be wrong
But I've got your letter and you've got my song"
Protag becomes somewhat obsessed with a girl he cannot have: She's 18 years old and lives in Japan. He pours his heart out to her via long-distance letters because she is a safe target and they cannot hurt each other emotionally. He sees her as his saviour and yet is conscience that the whole thing is but a one sided fantasy (or is he?)
Track Six - The Good Life
"I don't wanna be a old man anymore
It's been a year or two since I was out on the floor
Shakin' booty, makin' sweet love all the night
It's time I got back to the Good Life
It's time I got back, it's time I got back
'n I don't even know how I got off the track"
Protag decides it time to return to the "good life" he used to have before he became obsessed with finding true love. He wants to party and hook up with girls. Was he putting too much pressure on himself in tracks 2 through 5? Can he admit to himself that all he really wants right now is some "sugar in his tea"?
Track Seven - El Scorcho
"For all I know you want me too and maybe you just don't know what to do or maybe you're scared to say: "I'm falling for you"
I wish I could get my head out of the sand 'cuz I think we'd make a good team
and you would keep my fingernails clean
but that's just a stupid dream that I won't realize
'cuz I can't even look in your eyes without shakin', and I ain't fakin'"
Protag's return to the woman and party lifestyle is filling him with guilt and emptiness. He begins to fixate on a new girl who he again sees as a saving grace. He projects his emotions on her and assumes his feelings of obsession and attachment are mutual. Is he too scared to tell her how he feels or is this his way of keeping the fantasy alive?
Track Eight - Pink Triangle
"When I'm stable long enough
I start to look around for love
See a sweet in floral print
my mind begins the arrangements
but When I start to feel that pull
turns out I just pulled myself
she would never go with me
were I the last girl on earth"
Our hero has found the perfect "safe obsession", a lesbian. They're as good as married in his mind and because a relationship is impossible the fantasy can last forever.
Track Nine - Falling for You
"I can't believe how bad I suck, it's true
What could you possibly see in little ol' 3-chord me?
But it's true - you like me, I like you too
I'm ready, let's do it baby"
Protag takes another look at his love from tracks 3 and 4. Maybe she really is the one for him? Once again however, he looks at the relationship from a one-sided point of view. He assumes that just because he's re-discovered his love for her, that she will jump back on board. It also looks like he has yet to figure out that the ladies aren't impressed by self-deprecation. She sees past his faults however and opens up her heart to allow him in.
Track 10 - Butterfly
"Yesterday I went outside
With my momma's mason jar
Caught a lovely Butterfly
When I woke up today
And looked in on my fairy pet
She had withered all away
No more sighing in her breast
I'm sorry for what I did
I did what my body told me to
I didn't mean to do you harm
But everytime I pin down what I think I want
it slips away - the ghost slips away"
Just when everything is looking good for Protag he flips the script on us. He had placed so much importance on finding love, accomplishing his goal now feels like a let down. He worries that he has destroyed his Butterfly by taking possession of her love. Much like Captain Pinkerton, Protag decides to leave his fragile Butterfly behind and never return. One can only hope that he realizes the pain he is going to inflict on her. Does he not remember that Cho-Cho-San attempted suicide once she realized that her Captain Pinkerton had left her?
In the end we find Protag a little older and maybe a little wiser. He's well aware that he's been fixating on goals he believes will fulfill him, only to find that once he pins them down his interest diminishes.
Is love nothing more than a game of search and conquest?
Is he destine to live a life of fantasy; a life of chasing butterfly?
The album doesn't present us with the answers to these questions. The fate of Protag is left up to the listener who has "become" Protag over the course of the disc. We the listener, much like Protag, have grown up in a world where we are groomed from young to become grooms. Western society seems to present us with two main goals that we are suppose to work towards to find 'the good life": Make money and find a soul mate.
Growing up, I placed so much pressure on myself when it came to girls. I needed a girlfriend to "fix myself". I was incomplete without one. All my problems would go away once I found my better half: the yin to my yang. Her love would allow me to love myself. This pressure made things overly convoluted. I didn't see anything from the female perspective. I expected nothing less than perfection in my future mate because that's what I was told was waiting for me. A Soul Mate: Perfection in the form of a sexy girl. Things got a lot easier when I started to see girls as fellow human beings. They are going through all the same things the boys are, with their own sets of society-imposed pressures. The first time I stopped to analyse my requirements for a perfect girl I realized how bizarre it would be growing up as a girl having these requirement imposed on them via pop culture. Boys are raised to want a lover, a goddess, a mother, a whore, a friend, a teacher, an existential companion all rolled in one.
I'm not sure if this email was much help to you. Did any of my ramblings apply to your personal situation? For me, it was great. I haven't thought about a lot of this stuff in a while and it's always a good thing to investigate the things that drive us in life. Don't get me wrong on the whole soul mate thing. I'm not saying that great relationships aren't possible. In fact I'm saying just the opposite. It's all about perspective and experience. It took me a long time to figure out that a relationship could be an amazing part of my life without it being my entire reality. Love isn't the end goal, but it sure can make the path easier to walk down. Just don't try to drag someone else down your path with the hopes that they will be your guide.
Hand in hand. Side by side. Charting new territory together. That's the bomb.
Oh... and by the way... drugs and new relationships do not mix. I thought I made this clear in the past ;)
Sometime after that was written, I came across an eerily similar anaylse on Everything2. Thus began my investigation of a global consciousness. I wish I could post a link, but Everything2 is down while they move servers. Fodder for a future post.