Saturday, October 18, 2008

are we Dancer?, the Killers, Hunter S. Thompson, & Ziggy

Every generation or so is challenged by a question, a question that is rhetorical in nature but still we struggle to answer.

What exactly were Americans supposed to do differently in their lives when FDR said the only thing to fear is fear itself?

What about Rodney King's simple pleading of "Can't we all just get along?"

Well our generation finally has a calling. Our generation finally has a question that I must answer to. And that question comes, like all good questions do, from...uhh....Las Vegas.

The question in question?.... Are we human or are we dancer? The Killers new song "Human" which sounds like it's straight out of the '80s - the good parts - has a main chorus that crescendos with Brandon Flowers asking "Are we human or are we dancer?"

Haven't we all asked ourselves that question at some point in our lives? But I digress, the real question is what the hell is he talking about?
Close your eyes, clear your heart
Cut the cord
Are we human are we dancer?
My sign is vital, my hands are cold and I'm on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human or are we dancer?
Last time I checked in the Ven diagrams of life, being a dancer and a human were not mutually exclusive events. .



Now through a little bit of research I can ascertain that the line itself is a reference to quote from Hunter S. Thompson who said that America was raising a generation of dancers. Thompson, who died in 2005, was a writer who amongst other things was known for promoting the use of tripped out drugs. Hence it should be no surprise that he wrote "Fear and Loating in Las Vegas"which later became a film.

Thompson's other famed quote was s "Objective journalism is one of the main reasons that American politics has been allowed to be corrupt for so long." It sounds odd but think about it for a second.

Ok...wait...now another second... Anyone who's followed the election this year can appreciate this. Objectivity implies that both sides of a debate require equal time. The problem with this is that it doesn't enable anyone to filter out the crap. In other words, at some point it's okay to say that a claim that a Political Party is making is wrong. For example every discussion on global warming doesn't need to include some random scientist who it even exists in order for the report to be "objective"....

Just because someone has a different view doesn't mean they're right.
Anyone who has parents knows this.

But back to the LSD fiend Hunter, I'm sure the next obvious question is "what exactly is so disparaging about saying America was raising a generation of dancers?"

Well I mean that's just obvious, no? I mean really. It would just be insulting if I had to even explain that. Sorta like reading Ziggy.

I have no idea what any Ziggy cartoon strip means, but that's not really the point is it? It looks cute, and that's what counts.

28 comments:

ZenDenizen said...

I like how you wove in a lot of angles here but I don't care for the new Killers tune. What a shame since Mr. Brightside is one of my all time favorites.

Anonymous said...

I'm very excited for the new album and I'm so glad your blog nodded to "Human"! The Killers were fantastic on SNL a few weeks ago :)

Shakes said...

oh my, how can you say that Zen...the song is sooo badass! and he's wearing a falcon coat in the video. i mean helloooo. Brandon Flowers. Falcons. what more do you want?

Anonymous said...

the song is awesome, poetic, and the dancer thing - did thompson imply a generaton of people who do what they're told to please others?

Anonymous said...

Thats great-now i finally know what the real lyrics are but what did Thompson mean by "Generation of dancers"? Did he mean we are all floaters-doing one thing or another? Going from thing to thing? Or that we do what others tell us or convince us to?

JEDIJAC said...

I'm loving the new song from The Killers and hope the radio doesn't get a hold of it and play the living crap out of it!! The words are interesting which gave me an urge to find out their orginality. Great post!

Shakes said...

thanks! I've gotta say that it's bizarro but in the last two days alone, this post has gotten more than 500+ hits. i made it, i really made it.

atomfox said...

Firstly, I think with the song being so 'lyric heavy' it's important to understand them and not just enjoy the song like you suggest. I think people need to think about them and come up with their own useful interpretations rather than ask other people who don't know either. Personally, at the moment, I think it's asking, do we make descisions through genuine understanding and thought, or are we like dancers, just doing things for enjoyment; out of 'tradition' and 'emotion'?

river said...

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081116191803AAcL2QR

Hunter S. Thompson meant that the US was making people afraid of stepping out of place and following their own beat. He was saying that people were only following the steps they were taught, and were also taught not to change them. In the song "Human" one of the lines is "Some times I get nervous when I see an open door". By this he meant that he is afraid to take different opportunities when they are presented to him, because living in the US has made us all afraid to go against what we've thought for all our lives. That is what Thompson.

Anonymous said...

It's LSD baby, not LCD. That's a Sony screen that you stare at for hours. Not a life-changing experience. I'm a random commenter. Thank you all, and enjoy the new Killers tune!

_Are you Denser?

Shakes said...

ah! righto. LCD would not be fiendworthy...

ZenDenizen said...

OK I saw The Killers on the SNL repeat and I have to say the song has grown on me.

Pat Martin said...

Jeesh! As a dancer, I think you're all missing the point. A dancer isn't under someone else's control...a dancer is transcendence personified. It is not just about doing the steps in time with the music...it's about feeling the music and using your body and spirit to convey the feeling you get from the music.
Sure, some dancing is more choreographed than others, but the height of the art is when the body knows the steps so well, that the dancer is fully into experiencing the music and the joy of moving.
And, yeah, we should be nervous when we see an open door...not paralyzed...just nervous, expectant, and hopeful...like a first kiss.
I love that song and the lyrics, but it obviously means something entirely different to a dancer.

Anonymous said...

Jeesh! Pat Martin - you've missed the point - dancer - puppet on a string - no brain ..... obviously does mean something entirely different to a dancer.

Johnson Steves said...

Pat Martin- just because you are a dancer does not mean you can translate the statement like that; you have no authority to do so. Like Anonymous said, dancer's are puppets on strings- brainless.

Anonymous said...

I think "dancers" also means we are a nation enveloped in pointless and over-indulgent partying. Which to Hunter Thompson, might not be bad. I myself feel sorry for people who don't explore all humans can be (open doors) and don't have the courage to grow up (cut the *ubilical* cord) and are stuck looking for the next opportunity to get drunk or stoned or go clubbing or whatever . . . They are missing a huge chunk of life.

Anonymous said...

Discussion of the lyrics of a song is important. No one reads poetry anymore, so lyric music is like the poetry of this century. What is our poetry saying?
Pat Martin, as much as I agree with your description, "dancing" in this instance is not the involved art that you're talking about. It is the mindless revelry of our times, that the only thing worth pursuing is that "hot-blooded" feeling you get when you dance at a club. That this is somehow the only thing we should enjoy and value. It isn't about being somehow trapped by the music while you dance. It's about being trapped by your own corrosive culture.

JIM said...

Back in the 70's and 80's there was a riff between rockers and disco dancers. Rockers were not ones to dance to rock n' roll. They got stoned and took there satisfaction from the difficultly of the lead guitar. Dancer's were a bit more of a Saturday nite live perception. A little on the slick and pretentious side. A battle raged between the two. Like the dancing was the main separation point. But over the years those lines have been blurred, because dancing is awesome.

Anonymous said...

november the third 2004,
george w. bush gets a second term in office.
february the 20'th 2005, hunter s. thompson blows his head off with a shotgun.

just a random observation.

Anonymous said...

Well done to Brandan Flowers for missing the point and coming up with another set of obtuse lyrics for Human. Spaceman - a fantasy tale about being abducted - was a much better song.

Anonymous said...

Pat Martin your ingorance is present and let me tell you it is quite powerful. In the song the term "dancer" is a methaphor, just like Hunter S. Thompsons quote. Everyone else seems to catch on and they don't try to be concieted about it. You being a dancer is in no way related to the song. It isn't about you or any other dancer it's about humanity and the way society expects you to live according to their expectations and being "dancer" is taking your own path.

Anonymous said...

Fuck you Pat martin

reyt said...

There were three guys, wow gold a Torontonian, 2moons power leveling an American world of warcraft power leveling and a Newfoundlander.archlord power leveling They were all going to be executed.wotlk gold The executioner Warhammer Power Leveling said that since all three flyff power leveling were to be executed that night, world of warcraft power leveling that they would each get to choose the flyff money method 2moons power leveling by which they would dieAtlantica power leveling Their choices were: world of warcraft power leveling lethal injection, electric chair Knight Gold or by hanging. 2moon dilThe American was afraid of Aion Power Leveling needles and did'nt power leveling want to be hanged.buy archlord gold The American 2moons dil chose the electric chair. He sat in the chair archlord power leveling and they pulled the flyff gold switch and nothing happened.

Anonymous said...

Very cool post, found it while looking into the H.S. Thompson reference to the song. I saw the Killers live in Montréal a few nights ago, while I was somewhat of a skeptic of their work, I have to say that their live show was impressive, I can't remember the last time I witnessed and experienced so much ecstatic pleasure around me, and I've seen quite the eclectic range of performances in my time! Reminding me once again, there are No absolutes, all things being relative and context-dependent, The Killers are are very interesting band, almost an anomoly of sorts While they have mass appeal and gained strong commercial currency, the diverse and eclectic range of their work cannot be denied. Most everyone(whether we acknowledge it or not)consume our arts(music included)with various prejudices, superficially I would have not delved further into the Killer but as it were I did, and found a fascinating and VERY enjoyable body of work to enjoy I also have to add that amazingly although they have acheived such success, they remain humble and authentic artists in their creative journey. I am a genuine convert, but then in the grand scheme of things I've always gravitated towards disparate elements...I don't think I'll manage to convince those around me who think this is commercial fodder, as their judgement is clouded with prejudice-and pre-conceived notions of what is credible.I really like the diverse range of influences in their work...and succes should never dampen the integrity of creative expression,corporate industry b.s. aside, of course!

Christine

Anonymous said...

Tripped onto your blog, best writing I've read in 47 years. Who are you and what are you doing here?

Joseph said...

I too am a dancer and I agree with the other guys comments. Dancers are not puppets on strings, if anything it's the opposite. Humans are trained to be puppets and dancers whether under the influence or not feel music created by another and create their own dance moves.

Anonymous said...

Consider for a moment that the song is attempting to summarize Hunter Thompson's final thoughts before he committed suicide (he shot himself in the head). In the lyrics he is saying goodbye to the world in a very complete way. His suicide note (which you can google) is one from a very depressed man who has just had enough of life on this earth. "My signs are vital. My hands are cold" are indications of someone who is under physical trauma (shot) and going into shock. "on my knees looking for the answer" he is about to die and still looking for a piece of a puzzle that is "one of the things" that is haunting his life on earth. Hunter Thompson was in many ways a brilliant man...one of the byproducts of his brilliance was a touch of insanity...or was he more sane than many of us?

Company Logo Design said...

Nice informative post ,Thanks for taking time to share this creative post here with us good job keep it up.