Monday, June 2, 2008

Finding Humor in is Like, So Yesterday

A better way to amuse oneself, if one doesn’t have guilt ignoring one’s family for a few hours, is This interactive site allows idiots people to write their interpretations of songs and basically quibble with other mind readers over how whacked some of these interpretations are.

To conclude Wilco Week, I’m posting the lyrics to Theologians followed by snippets of meaning from those with more time, more youth, more insight, and possibly more drugs than most of us.

My Teen would argue that is more interesting, but I’m personally fascinated by the discussion of whether the song is religious in the sense of Jesus, or anti-religious in the vein of Nietzche, or philosophical in the vein of Henry Miller. Or, if the song is really a metaphor for the critics and the music industry.

Not to mention the dispute over what ‘inlitterati lumen fidei’ or ‘cherry ghost’ actually mean.

Here are two versions. The first is a Wilco live version. The second is a Jeff Tweedy solo.

Watch this one and you will understand why both guys and gals love this man.


They don't know nothing
About my soul
About my soul

I'm an ocean
An abyss in motion
Slow motion
Slow motion

Inlitterati lumen fidei
God is with us everyday
That illiterate light
Is with us every night

That don't know nothing
About my soul
Oh they don't know

They thin my heart with little things
And my life with change
Oh in so many ways
I find more missing every day


I'm going away
Where you will look for me
Where I'm going you cannot come

No one's ever gonna take my life from me
I lay it down
A ghost is born
A ghost is born
A ghost is born

I'm an ocean
I'm all emotion
I'm a cherry ghost
Cherry ghost

Hey I'm a cherry ghost
A cherry ghost


-I believe the "where I'm going you cannot come" is similar to something Jesus said, so if you follow it logically, Jesus "lays down his life" and "a ghost is born".

-However, if Jeff is remaining "himself" and not talking from the perspective of Jesus, it's his (literal or figurative) death, and an otherworldly new "life" that follows.

-I just looked at the lyric sheet in the CD and it actually says "I'm a notion, I'm all emotion" for the last few lines. I guess the idea of being a notion is just more transcendentalism or escapism.

-"Cherry ghost" I figured to mean the blood of Christ.

-What he's trying to say; no matter how brilliant someone is, they won't ever know all that you have inside of you - it's unique only to you, especially if you want to mask it. Jeff has an obsession with being true to his soul

-inlitterati lumen fidei means like false light or something,

-I'm pretty sure it means "illiterate, faithful light" –

-I also wonder about the color symbolism between the songs. If uncaring cities are chrome and the devil is also chrome and not red, then the red color is NOT the color of the devil, so when he becomes "a cherry [red] ghost" in "Theologians", he is not evil, amoral, or unfeeling, he is something else. figuratively like it, so that's why he's a "cherry ghost" instead of a red ghost--the color symbols would get mixed up.

-Basically the red color symbolism enhances the transcendentalism of "Theologians" and the innocence of "Hell is Chrome".

-He is shedding his old self, the drugs and alcohol, and now is born new. Now, he is a cherry (happy....that may be a stretch) ghost.

-My take on "cherry ghost" is cherry as in happy - cherry as in new, unblemished. Like a new car is cherry, or a virgin loses his/her cherry.

-Jeff has said that 'cherry ghost' was a metaphor for leaving a sweet memory.

-Inlitterati lumen fidei means Faith illuminates the illiterate.
I love the song. Jeff Tweedy is a theologian.

-I'm pretty sure the phrase 'illiterati lumen fidei' means 'the light of uneducated faith.'

-As an atheist, I view this song a little differently. I see it as someone having religion forced upon them against their will and rather than lose their identity and life, they "lay it down."

-I think all the religious connotations in this song make that explanation a bit TOO obvious.

-The theologians in this case could very well be music critics, self-appointed fan experts,...anyone who pass judgement on what's "good" and "bad" music,

-Maybe this is just me being ignorant, but is it a theologians job to know about each individual's soul and their relationship with god?

-"Inlitteratum lumen fidei" means "the illiterate (or generally ignorant) light of faith".

-Oh, I think that this is not a religious song at all. No, it's just the opposite. It's the anti-religion song, in the way of Nietzche's ideas.

-This song, I believe, follows in the vein of Henry Miller's philosophies on theology and those who think they know everything about spirituality and God and souls. The cherry ghost thing is the indicator that he's joking about his messianic allegory.

-"Inlitterati lumen fidei" is incorrect Latin...

For more Music Monday, visit Soccer Mom in Denial. For more incorrect Latin, visit Humor-Blogs. For more Wilco, scroll down.


Audubon Ron said...

Whoa, you climbed every mountain and swum every ocean on that one. I'm exhausted, I need cold brew.

Alice said...

It's noon and I just finished a beer and I wasn't so much following the lyrics deeper meaning because I'm just non-thinky like that with words, but I'm giving you the secret noodle-y handshake of the FSM sistah.

May you be touched by his noodle-y appendage,


CableGirl said...

oh, awesome. I can't wait to check this one out. lol

Bee said...

That voice is unbelievable! Thanks for that! I think I might turn into a fan! ;o)

what's a donzer said...

I listen to "She's a Jar" four times every night before I fall asleep. It's like a security blanket.

The English teacher inside me is proud of your analysis. I smell a successful dissertation...!

Ms Picket To You said...

it's only rock and roll, but we like it.

yes we do.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I can see the definite time wasting attraction of that site! GREAT Music Monday post - sorry I'm getting here a bit late!

Momo Fali said...

Goodness! I could spend some serious time on that site! I better not go. My husband already refers to my laptop as my mistress.

April said...

OMG, that is hysterical. I'll have to go there while blog hoppin' sometime!