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ESTABLISHMENT CULTURE AND THE ARTS OF CONTROL

March 23, 2013

SWEET JANE AS A MASK THAT PROTECTS YOU FROM WHAT?

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CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE SONG SWEET JANE (1970; THE VELVET UNDERGROUND) IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION: WHY WAS THIS SONG NEVER PLAYED ON COMMERCIAL RADIO STATIONS?

The opening image-and this is poetry, so it’s all about the power of images-is a man (probably a young Lou Reed and his shades) standing on the corner with a suitcase in his hand-and the image clearly says, “Fuck this!”.

And the song-or text-itself is the reason why artistic-and even personal-dignity requires that on an abstract level and has a personal vital attitude, you “get the fuck out!”.

And the problem is not only consumer society-although it is most certainly there, in your face-but rather anthropological culture itself as the post-agricultural mechanism of individual subjugation so that we may all live together and not at one another’s throats-or up one another’s asses!

Anthropological culture because this is the problem agricultural brings to the fore of the human condition: human psychology, because of the final configuration of human DNA through natural selection prior to agriculture itself, needs to be curtailed and contained in the individual, ‘cause carnal access can be begot through violence from any other weaker individual you come across-be it a woman man or youth-or even a child.

All human bodies have at least two orifices.

And this is of course –and quite obviously-mostly a man’s issue because of  the physical superiority of males, although women are not entirely extent because self-imposition -even sexually – over others has never been and is not -especially today-necessarily physical.

And we hear in the text of the song that Jack is in his corset and Jane is wearing a vest; that there is a reversal of roles between a man and woman; that there is “Me” (probably Lou Reed), and that there is Jim.

And Jim (there are interesting historical cultural examples of the use of this first name) has to be made to understand the narrator’s message-which is the writer’s-which is probably Lou Reed’s and which is certainly mine: that aesthetics and its informal regulation by society in regards to form is so important because it is a direct transmission belt to the individual’s psyche-which is what cultural most primarily controls in order to guarantee collective stability itself.

But you have got to have art-or some form of it-for life in the iron grip of anthropological culture would be impossible without it for the individual-that’s how brutal the mechanism of anthropological culture is.

And this brings us, in the text, to Lou Reed’s 1950’s American childhood and to the issue of individual, vital freedom, and especially to the sexual vitality of individuals, which is, people, the heart of your own psyche and what anthropological culture must-necessarily-subjugate.

And Jane as really an ethereal, female visage, becomes the top point of a triangle that is a basic way of understanding how cultural has dealt with the primary nature of individuals according to their hormonal configuration-and according to their genitalia:

……………………………………………….……..JANE

.

………………………………JACK                                                         JIM

But over the centuries and with the clear direction technology has taken societies towards a certain obviation of the need for physical strength as a form of power-even socially and not just politically-men have been thrown into a “Unabomber” situation of a kind of biological, dramatic irony in regards to their primary nature as mammals; and what has been recognized by society-much to the spite of certain feminist voices-as a “male bonding problem” is because of this incompatibility of the biology (and hence the original, primary psychology) of  men with the evolution of society and newly evolved social structure.

But this is not a problem in other societies to the degree it is and has been in American society; and even in certain non WASP population groups within in the US it is not even so much of a problem; but social structure as de facto social control and power is-because of its historical evolution-most fiercely WASP, still to this day-and you can’t escape from that if you live here.

And the problem-for women, too-is how men relate to other men.

And it is a central problem with regards to anthropological culture itself.

And it is core to my basic argument that anthropological culture itself must be, finally, left behind.

When men live in circumstances where physical force is not so easily forgotten-in prison, in the army, in less technically advanced social contexts or outside of civilization itself-relating to women (when contact is possible) is not socially mediated and it is defined much more clearly by biological factors (which are psychological, too); but because of this clarity in these circumstances, between men and women, the relationship between men is also clear: they are, as a man, your rivals to fight with or to respect-but it is with them that you “grind your wheat” for they are the reality your DNA was ultimately configured to psychologically deal with.

And men can even sexually desire other men, although basic logic tells you that there most be a genetically determined drive towards women, also.

None of this would makes sense if there weren’t!

But what is clear in this hypothetical context that I am using, is that men are much more at ease with each other because the role of women with regards to men is clear in its de facto biological establishment as social function.

Men may fight with other men over women-and they do!-but they don’t live under a cultural magic spell of idolatry to “Sweet Jane” on her fair pedestal as a hyped cult to the “fairer sex”; because-as you can perhaps ascertain from the triangle-it is the most “Sweet Jane” that serves you as a form of protection from Jack!

And in the technically advanced societies after the Industrial Revolutions, and the gradual obviation of physical strength as prowess-except as spectacle-it is your fear of sexually desiring Jack that actually keeps you so tied to the sweet, motherly warmth of Jane-not really as a person but as a mask and source of refuge.

That’s how you use Jane.

And its your fear of Jack that leads you to hate him, at times, so much.

Because you don’t relate to him-and to your own father-the way the historical configuration of human DNA determines that you should.

And it’s the same reason you also, at times, despise Jane, too.

And in your prostration and weakness towards both sides of the triangle-in your fear of Jack and in your need for Jane as refuge-it is your often realized core sense of petheticness (sic) that drives you to occasional feelings of hatred and destruction with regards to both.

And killing, socially, becomes a human need itself-if the right circumstances are present and if one seldom gets above primary human cognizance.

The first stanza-or paragraph-in Lou Reed’s text is a contemplation, much in the way I am doing, of the cultural configuration of individuals in technologically advanced societies, although the writer is referring specifically to aesthetics and establishes references to a particularly American historical context

But I say aesthetics takes you much deeper to the soul of a person and to the society that person is defined by.

And the line, “Those ladies-they wrote their eyes” is a reference to what I refer to as this cultural “cult” to the “fair sex”, that of course, existed long before the Industrial Revolution in the form of Courtisane literature; but that was when it made more sense because of the violent nature of life.

 

And today it lives on-not in a literary form but as tendency inherent in societies as they become progressively more established-which consumer society naturally relies on, also.

 

And the tendency is naturally to give more social dignity to women, which they clearly don’t have from our understanding and vision today with regards to pre technological societies.

 

Because women serve, above all and in anthropological sense, to essentially allow men to live together in collective groups.

And the song, too, is pointing to just this: that contemporary human society, even in its state of the art, Iphone for dogs life of technological consumption, has hardly changed-and has not –in 1970 or even today-even recognized this!

Yes; there is the figure of the matriarch in many cultures; and in Hebrew texts there are, occasionally, dynamic female figures of authority, as “judges” and prophets.

But there exists also-in all the cultures I have looked into to in one degree or another-a cultural tendency to somewhat artificially compensate female figures for this basic, utilitarian function culture puts them to by exaggerating-hyping-some form of social esteem or mythology of importance.

 

And when I see people coming to me with that, being the aficionado psychologist that I am, I know they are hiding something through compensation-that there is more to it than meets the eye.

 

But the real problem for contemporary human societies is just where the song Sweet Jane ultimately takes you-and it is the reason, finally, for a vital-personal ideology of total rejection at the beginning of the song.

And the superficiality-the frivolousness-that makes Jane as visage so powerful and important to a man is determined by the core emptiness of individuals under the boot of the dictates of anthropological culture.

That people, because they are not in touch with their own primary nature-because society and a particular culture may not stand for it-they end up living in a latent psychological state of underlying hatred and, ultimately, listlessness-ennui-with regards to life itself.

All the more reason to frivolously hype up your Disney world of personal emotion!

And guess how consumer society sees that:

As just another business opportunity based on the exploitation of just another human need!

To be fully-plainly-alive and vital as person you must live, in a certain sense, beyond culture itself.

And you must live, to a great degree, against it-all people of serious thought have felt this, at one time or another.

And I want a human culture beyond human, anthropological culture.

And on this one, I will get what I want!

Harbor no doubts about that.

_______________________

But please see Lou Reed’s treatment, back then, of consumer society in its particular American configuration, in the mid part of the text.

And feel, in the interjections he makes while performing it-in its phonetics and in his sarcasm-the vital hostility one should truly feel with regards to social and culture structure as a form of oppression.

It’s a good example in which anybody can see how Caliban really sucks!

And that is the answer to the question at the head of this post, the reason why the song was never played on US radio-or why I never heard it in the late 70s or early 80s.

I had to go to Spain-particularly to Germany-to understand the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed.

“Reed” as in something you put in your mouth and can breathe through-as in air.

You know exactly what I am saying!

__

SWEET JANE LYRICS

Standing on the corner,

Suitcase in my hand.

Jack is in his corset, and Jane is in her vest,

and, me

I’m in a rock’n’roll band.

Huh!

.

Ridin’ in a Stutz-Bearcat, Jim

Y’know,

Those were different times:

All- all the poets, they studied rules of verse

And those ladies,

They wrote their eyes!

.

Sweet Jane!

.

I’ll tell you something:

Jack, he is a banker

And Jane

She is a clerk

And both of them save their

monies,

Ha!

And when-when they come home from work

Ooooh!

Sittin’ down by the fire, oh

The radio does play

The classical music there, Jim

“The March of the Wooden Soldiers”

(All you protest kids!)

You can hear Jack say,

Get ready, ah:

.

Sweet Jane!

Come on baby!

Sweet Jane!

.

Some people, they like to go out dancing

And other peoples-they have to work.

(Just watch me now!)

And there’s even some evil mothers

Well, they’re gonna tell you that everything

Is just dirt:

Y’know that, women, never really faint

And that villains always blink their eyes,

Whoooo!

And that,-y’know-children are the only ones who blush

And that

life is

just to die.

But, anyone who ever had a heart,

Oh!

That wouldn’t turn around and break it,

And anyone who’s ever played a part, whoa

They wouldn’t turn around and hate.

.

Sweet Jane!

Sweet Jane!

Awhoo!

.

(Heavenly wine and roses seem to whisper to her when he (?) smile

Heavenly wine and roses seem to whisper to her when –hey-she smile(?))

.

Sweet Jane!

Sweet jane!

.

STUDIO VERSION OF THE SONG (That is actually live, I think)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgUs7yWnDJ8

 

 

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