Monday, June 17, 2024

Up against the wall

This post is going to be all over the map. What can I say, sync is inherently nonlinear.

Yesterday I was in the mood for a harder sound after a few days of listening to Emily Linge and Simon & Garfunkel, so I listened to Kill_mR_DJ's mashup of "Head Like a Hole" by Nine Inch Nails, "My Blood" by Twenty One Pilots, and instrumentals from an electronic group called 3OH!3. People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like:

"Head Like a Hole" made me think of William Wright's February 20 post "There's a hole in my bucket-face! AND Harry Marsh and the Sorcerer's Stone," which includes this doodle:

Nine Inch Nails, commonly abbreviated NIN, made me think of NINbad the Nailer, whose career is summarized as follows in "With":

Ninbad the Nailer -- there he stood
And did the only thing he could.

This is of course an allusion to Martin Luther, famous for nailing his 95 Theses to the church door and for saying "Here I stand; I can do no other" -- preferring to risk being burned as a heretic rather than recant. Say what you will about his theology, Luther was a badass, and I respect him. A lot of the "Head Like a Hole" lyrics actually fit him: Luther basically said to Pope Leo X, "I'd rather die than give you control," and the inveighing against "God Money" (not included in the mashup but prominent in the original) fits right in with the content of the 95 Theses against a church that was selling forgiveness in exchange for cold, hard cash. "God Money," together with the refrain "Bow down before the one you serve / You're going to get what you deserve," evokes the Sermon on the Mount: "No man can serve two masters . . . You cannot serve God and mammon," mammon being money.

And, what do you know, it turns out that NIN frontman Trent Reznor was raised Lutheran. You can't escape your roots.

I wasn't familiar with the Twenty One Pilots song, but looking up the lyrics, I see that they have certain Lutheran resonances as well:

Surrounded and
Up against a wall
I'll shred them all
And go with you
When choices end
You must defend
I'll grab my bat
And go with you

"When choices end / You must defend" -- "Here I stand; I can do no other." The line "Up against a wall" is something the two songs have in common:

God money, I'll do anything for you
God money, just tell me what you want me to
God money, nail me up against the wall
God money don't want everything, he wants it all

"Up against the wall" has an additional meaning in the synchronistic context of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (see "Glimmerings, and disappearing stars, at the window"). When dry leaves are blown against a wall, they go up:

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

"Humpty Dumpty revisited" associates Humpty's "great fall" with falling autumn leaves. "To the top of the wall" suggests putting Humpty in his place again, and dry leaves that "mount to the sky" seem to be reversing the fall. This imagery made me think of the Moody Blues line "Like the rain rising from the sea." I'd forgotten that the song it's from also includes the repeated line "I've reached the top of my wall."

Since we've already brought so many of my childhood writings into this, why not throw in another. This was a "spellcheck poem," created by typing song lyrics into a word processor backwards, running spellcheck, and then adjusting the resulting word salad a bit to make it grammatical:

You shall forever think
yet thought's era of rhetoric is dead.
The nets of reason, the webs of speech are many,
and yet we think beyond the choking net.
Are we wise?
A falling leaf, a dying man:
Both sink against the wind, I say.

The idea of a falling leaf sinking "against the wind" ties right in with the St. Nicholas poem, where the wind blows the fallen leaves up into the sky.

Speaking of the St. Nicholas poem, it says of St. Nick that "his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot" and "the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath." Yet "His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! . . . a right jolly old elf." And of course, he goes up and down chimneys.

When I was writing "I, jowly Chim-Chim, ate an Elvis," I ran a web search for chim chim. Most of the hits were not for the Speed Racer character but for "Chim Chim Cher-ee," the song sung by the chimney sweep (Dick Van Dyke) in Mary Poppins. The sweep sings:

Though I spends me time in the ashes and smoke
In this 'ole wide world there's no 'appier bloke

Coming back to falling leaves for a moment, the Chim-Chim post quoted one of my brother's stories with an "intermission." Looking through my copies of old stories, I found only one other with such an intermission. Here it is:

"Well, the sheath was named after the sword."

"And the sword?" asked Pron.

"The sword was named after the

INTERMISSION: The Autumn Leaf

With it's Red and golden fire
Comes the leaf swirling swooping on the breeze
Down in between the barren trees
With a dive all glory flies
And the leaf lays crumpled on the ground.

END OF INTERMISSION

sheath."

"That's sort of weird," said Pron.

William Wright recently posted "Bigfoot: Seek and it shall find you," the title coming from a T-shirt he got for Father's Day. I commented "Fact check: true" and liked to my post "Bigfoot? Bigfoot." That post begins with a reference to an older post, "Ask for a mini T. rex, and ye shall receive a mini T. rex" and goes on to describe a similar experience, only with Bigfoot rather than a mini T. rex.

I've been reading through the Book of Mormon a few chapters a day. Today I just happened to read 3 Nephi 10-14. Included there is basically the entire Sermon on the Mount, nearly word for word, including this bit:

No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon (3 Ne. 13:24).

God? Money? Bow down before the one you serve. Then, in the next chapter:

Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened (3 Ne. 14:7-8).

No conditions are attached to this promise. He doesn't say, "Unless you ask for something stupid, like Bigfoot or a mini T. rex."

2 comments:

William Wright (WW) said...

I also found the Mary Poppins "Chim Chim Cher-ee" in doing a search after reading your post, and thought through some similar implications with chimneys and Santa.

The Sweep's name is Bert. Egg-bert is the play-name I have associated with Pharazon-Humpty, but I remembered that I have also written about another 'Bert' a few years ago who was also associated with a wall.

The Mary Poppins character's full name is Herbert. Actually, Herbert Alfred in the book apparently (on Sundays only). Alfred means "Elf Counsel" or "Wise Elf". That name put together would be something like "The Shining Wise Elf Warrior".

Herbie would be a nickname, and in realizing this I remembered the short story I wrote back in 2021 about a Hamster named Herbie. The entire story involves finding a way to have Herbie reach the top of a wall in order to leave his "cage". Not sure why I hadn't remembered this earlier with all of the Humpty connections, walls, etc., but I finally did this morning. Here is a link to the post from last fall where I included it:

https://coatofskins.blogspot.com/2023/08/herbie-hamster-short-story.html

Also, the mention of Red and Gold in the autumn leaf of your brother's story had me look at the picture of my son's Flying Elvis again. Elvis' outfit is Red and Gold, with his cape strikingly so, just like the color of an autumn leaf now flying to the sky.

WanderingGondola said...

I might've mentioned before that chim always brings me back to the Elder Scrolls; in its deeper lore, CHIM is an ancient word usually translated as "royalty" (also "starlight" and "high splendour"). The word is primarily used to name one of six paths to divinity -- but since red and gold has come up, I'll also note the relevance of the Amulet of Kings, for its red gem (set in gold) is sometimes called the Chim-el Adabal.

As for walls, I've slowly been rereading "Doug"'s Words of the Faithful in full (instead of Ctrl-F-ing for specific sections, as done for a fair while), hoping to make better sense of difficult passages, and maybe some part of WW's writings by extension. Earlier tonight I came upon this long paragraph, the final part of a prophetic dream given to Zhera'/Jared, whom WW claims would later reincarnate as Faramir.

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