Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Pure Comedy

In case you missed it, here's Father John Misty's powerful and important new song, Pure Comedy, from his forthcoming album of the same name.  According to Tillman, 
Pure Comedy is the story of a species born with a half-formed brain. The species’ only hope for survival, finding itself on a cruel, unpredictable rock surrounded by other species who seem far more adept at this whole thing (and to whom they are delicious), is the reliance on other, slightly older, half-formed brains. This reliance takes on a few different names as their story unfolds, like “love,” “culture,” “family,” etc. Over time, and as their brains prove to be remarkably good at inventing meaning where there is none, the species becomes the purveyor of increasingly bizarre and sophisticated ironies. These ironies are designed to help cope with the species’ loathsome vulnerability and to try and reconcile how disproportionate their imagination is to the monotony of their existence. . . What I recommend is this: we return to the Vedic cycle and submit ourselves to the likelihood that many of us will end up getting eaten by bears. It’s only natural. What if instead of imbuing our expectations for the quality of our lives to include perpetual happiness, dream fulfillment, excessive painlessness, existential certitude, material wealth, and all variety of romantic stimulation, we were just grateful for every day that didn’t involve getting eaten by a bear? What if progress only meant literally progressing from one day to the next without getting violently dismembered by a 9-foot tall, 500-pound grizzly?
Indeed, the title track starts with the lines,
The comedy of man starts like this:
Our brains are way too big for our mothers' hips
And so nature, she divines this alternative -
We emerged half-formed and hope that whoever greets us on the other end
Is kind enough to fill us in, and
Babies, that's pretty much how it's been ever since.
Now the miracle of birth leaves a few issues to address,
Like, say, that half of us are periodically iron deficient
So somebody's got to go kill something while I look after the kids
I'd do it myself, but what, are you going to get this thing its milk?
In a strange way, the song makes sense of billionaire philanthropist and Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos' statement that schoolteachers should be armed in case of an attack by grizzly bears.

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