PDA

View Full Version : virginal, angelic, and vulnerable


doug galecawitz
05-23-2003, 01:42 PM
I always offer a bit of a disclaimer before my song interpretations, so here it is. WARNING: I do not actually believe in any specified meaning of any TOOL songs. I believe the songs are purposely left ambiguous so as to appeal to the most people and therefore garner the most money. If there is any specific meaning to it all it can lie only in the mind of the creator of the song. I am merely trying to bring to light certin thoughts or themes I've thus far noted in the songs. Furthermore "objective opinion" is an oxymoron.

Taken literally the song seems to be about a female with whom the singer has had acquaintances with. The female is presented as somewhat insecure about herself. The song furhters into this basic premise with the lines "I am scared like you" This line seems to me to be what the song is hingeing around and that is empathy. The themes of insecurity and empathy I'll come back to later.

One of the possible song meanings could be the loss of virginty or even loss of innocence. Most people would tell you that their first sexual encounter was awkward. It would be quite a jarring experience and would make sense with the line "trembling at the thought of feeling" The question here comes into play as to what Maynard defines as feeling. Is it the physical sense of touch? The emotive feeling? Or possibly the point at which they meet, that being sex. The word penetrate has an intristic male connotation to it and would not take a logical leap to infer that that that penetration could be quite literal. Likewise her does not necessarily have to mean female and would further warrant lines like "she's scared as hell"

Next there's the idea about skin and jewelry, push aside these literal meanings and replace them with personality and tastes and opinions and a hidden (but not so subtle) interpretation comes to light. Personality is something that is apart of us as what people see when they first meet us and tastes and opinions (represented by jewelry) are the ornamantations that we decorate ourselves with. Underneath it all there is something human about us. Strip away the layers of pretension and you find that all humans are alike.
Underneath skin and jewelry you cannot tell one human from the next. We all are physically and chemically the same. We all have basic needs and wants. After that everything else is only skin deep (pun intended). Again this is where the empathy comes in.

So what are personality and tastes and opinions? Basically they serve as social masks with which we wear to mask the uniformity of us all. It's tough to feel like a unique individual without any definable diffrences. Whether the song here is pleading with the person to strip away those thing that make them feel diffrent is somewhat unclear. What the song refers to as ugly could quite possibly be beauty of uniqueness. After all beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Lets say for amoment that the song is in favor of stripping away the layers of social masking, does that mean it decries the shallow and subtle diffrences between humans? Well, only if you maintain that jewelry still represents what I previously had assigned it to be symbolic of. If instead skin and jewelry is used to represent pretense and self importance than the song might not be so negative. Pretense a big factor in crippling communication between human beings. It comes in forms such as sarcasm, cynicism, self importance, ego, superego, lying, selfishness. Strip away those and society might look alot nicer.........possibly

This brings me back to insecurity. Whether the song is reflective of the singers own insecurity or the subject, or possibly both of their insecurites is unclear. Here I find that the song could either be about being insecure and that is the causal reason why folks put up social masks or possible that social masks are one reason why people remain insecure. The song could be urging her to tear away the social mask that he might also. Or vice versa. Then again Maynard also could be communicating with his feminine side. The fear of letting out the feminine or emotive side and allowing balance between that and the male side.

Alter egos aside, the song most closely feels like a universal call for more empathy and understanding between human beings. I know you are scared that people will find out how shallow and superficial you are, and that your intelligence at best hovers just a hairline over mediocre and that's why you overuse large words to give the impression of being actually smart...................whoops.

We all feel vulnerable when someone has stripped away the facade and exposed us for who and what we truly are.

See I'm scared just like you.

VULVA

ParanoidMartyr
05-25-2003, 12:38 AM
Originally posted by doug galecawitz

Strip away the layers of pretension and you find that all humans are alike.
Underneath skin and jewelry you cannot tell one human from the next. We all are physically and chemically the same.


Lets say for amoment that the song is in favor of stripping away the layers of social masking, does that mean it decries the shallow and subtle differences between humans?

The song could be urging her to tear away the social mask that he might also. Or vice versa. Then again Maynard also could be communicating with his feminine side. The fear of letting out the feminine or emotive side and allowing balance between that and the male side.

We all feel vulnerable when someone has stripped away the facade and exposed us for who and what we truly are.

See I'm scared just like you.



good one.

something that i think might be important to emphasize -acoording to what you've said- is the line of "wide awake and keeping distance from your soul". notice that it marks a grade of consciousness that may be the total opposite of the mask you were arguing for.
it's most likely for a person that is constantly wearing a social mask (of skin and jewelry or whatever) to be impossible to recognize the cold+ugly interior that he/she's hiding anyway. like an auto-denial of the essence. you need to be "wide awake" to see this and of course, to have a bit of autocriticism and maturity to face it. then the awareness might be the reason why maynard (or the narrator) is scared as shit: because he can see the cold+ugly mask, the disgusting interior that she hides, and understand why she does so, thus he keeps "distance from your[her?] soul". the person vs. the society round one.

now, about "decrying the shallow and subtle differences between humans", you got a point there. it certainly criticizes how people is defined by these cold (because of the arbitrary construction) and ugly (because of the fakeness) masks. not necessarily the differences that establish between a human and another, but the gap between the fašade and the real being.

at last but not least, i'll loooove to make a literary recommendation since you've touched the theme of sex, feminity and masculinity. let it be a cultural and national reference: there's this awesome compilation of essays about the mexican society. it's called "Laberinto de la Soledad" (trans: labyrinth of loneliness) of Octavio Paz, 1990 Literature Nobel Prize winner. there's this particular essay called "Mascaras Mexicanas" (Mexican Masks) about how what you've said 'bout hiding and constructing this wall (PF!) between one human and another (or human and himself) that alienates from the world to seek protection.
the rest of the essays are awesome too; take the time to read 'em 'cuz there are some interesting points that reach universal empathy. i know it might not be applied to this particular Tool case, but if you're interested in the theme, it might help in the meantime.

cheers.

[and yes, i'm scared also of what a person is capable of, including the destruction of his own self to fit a society no longer reachable or enjoyable when you're dead in the inside]

AllforUnity
10-10-2003, 12:01 PM
Doug...once again...lt's great how you detail, and look into things from different points of view. l see this as the same. l see this song referring to society itself...it's like society is afraid of everything, though we're all scared to admit it. We put this facade over us and hide in our euphoric sense of mind, when we're really are afraid on the inside. We are all afraid too...we're afraid of exploiting our true self to the world. l love this song...they played it first song at the concert last year, it was wonderful. :)