"I think 21st Century Digital Boy is about a teenager who has a shit home life (he says 'my daddy's a lazy middle class intellectual, my mommy's on valium.') He sits with his computer all day, learning everything he knows from it. Then I think the song goes on (angrily, might I add) to give a glimpse of how the writer feels about what he was writing (innocence raped with napalm fire.) Also, maybe the song is about him arguing with his parents, and just being angry at the world in general."
"I think that this song is about having kinda shitty life at home, but also how like the future is going to hell with all this technology, 'Don't know how to read, but I gotta lot of toys' talks about how he sees the world going to hell but he doesn't want it and also shows how parents aren't parents at all and expect technology and material things to raise their kids."
"I read an interpretation on this. I think its wrong. This song is obviously Brett's idea on the growing teens/pre teens of America who stay in their rooms, Going out and education is not important and the only important thing is technology. 'Innocence raped with napalm fire' I think is basically a statement just on how the kid is a greedy selfish jerk."
"I think this song is an example of what the average, suburban, middle class, white teen is today. They have so much, take so much for granted, and still want more more more. 'I don't know how to read but I've got a lot of toys,' shows how little learning means to them, and how little they care about anything but themselves. 'And then you told me how bad you had to suffer, is that really all you have to offer?' really portrays the attitude of the 21st Century Digital Boy. He hears about the suffering, starvation, murder, poverty, and war that is all around him, and his response? 'Is that really all you have to offer?' It is like he is appalled that someone would bother him with all this 'useless' information, when he doesn't get anything out of it! Anyways, just my opinion, let me know if you agree or not It is a wicked song any way you put it."
"This song is about how parents are always working and have their own lives. They decide to have children but they have other people raise them. They take their kids to a day care and the kids get put in front of the TV all day. Then when the parents feel guilty for leaving they buy their kids everything they could possibly want."
"Basically I agree with the above posters except for a couple of lines. 'Tried to tell you about no control, but now i really don't know. And then you told me how bad you had to suffer, is this really all you have to offer?' I believe this is a two part line written from both the kids perspective and from the author (Greg). Greg is saying that he tried to tell people about having no control (think of the song :P) and of things similar to this and he isn't sure if it has helped. The next line I believe is from the kid's perspective, 'and then you told me how bad you had to suffer, is this really all you have to offer?', its referring to the album suffer, and how he doesn't feel a need for the things being said through the bands music. This is just my rough interpretation."
"The lyrics were written by Mr Brett"
"Just so you guys know, the outro lyrics, 'Cat's foot ... napalm fire,' were NOT written by Mr. Brett. They were stolen from King Crimson's similar (in spirit if not in musical execution) 21st Century Schitzoid Man. In fact, the entire song reads like an adaptation of KC's theme to the perceived wasteland of modern teen life and the utter lack of hope offered in the transition to adulthood."
"I think that the song is about our world going downhill because so many kids would rather play video games or watch movies than work. Children, like myself, will shape the world when they grow up, so in the next generation America will only offer poor quality, half assed work."
"Explanations nothing I really want to know what the garbled set of lyrics that apparently no one has printed up on the web are. specifically the ones pertaining to the 'Innocence raped with napalm fire' as their all sung over the background chorus and are vary hard to decipher. If anyone wants to e-mail me it I'd be grateful email@example.com As for the song's meaning it seems more like a rant about how adolescents are growing up in this generation. The majority of children of the baby boomers and the laughable gen Y are fed whatever info they can find themselves off the internet without a second thought to weather it's true or not. As the lyrics about the parents being the stereotypical over managed and over dosed portraits of normalcy we have come to expect out of people."
"If you listen really carefully right at the end with the repetitions of '21st century digital boy', he says '21st century schizoid boy' at one point."
"The lyrics to that last bit are: 'Cat's foot iron claw, Neuro-surgeons scream for more, Innocents raped with napalm fire, Everything i want i really need, 21st schitzoid boy, 21st century video boy, 21st century digital boy (repeat to fade)'. The first three lines originally appeared in a song called '21st century schizoid man' by a band called King Crimson the 4th and 5th lines are modifications of lines from the same song (they were originally 'Nothing he's got he really needs, 21st century schizoid man') the lyrics aren't reprinted because BR don't own them (obviously some one else wrote them!)."
"Jnw's right, the song is a tribute/parody of King Crimson's '21st Century Schizoid Man' which scared the crap out of a bunch of hippies in 1969. in fact, the name of the record label 'Epitaph' is a reference to the song 'Epitaph' from the same album, 'In the Court of the Crimson King.' Brett was a big Crimson fan, despite the fact that King Crimson may have inadvertently invented progressive rock. 'These records will be our epitaph,' Brett supposedly told the rest of BR, a play on 'confusion will be my epitaph, as I crawl a cracked and broken path' from the original Crimson song. 'Digital Boy' is as much a tongue-in-cheek joke as anything else, especially considering the stolen lyrics, parenthetical title, and the fact that it was re-recorded at the request of an Atlantic Records A&R man who didn't think Stranger Than Fiction would produce a hit single."
"My personal interpretation, a few lines at a time.
>I can't believe it, the way you look sometimes,
>like a trampled flag on a city street, oh yeah
Well, this verse doesn't really have much context to measure it against yet, but here's what it means to me; it's basically somebody saying that they can't believe the way a 'certain person' looks sometimes, so worn-down and miserable (like a trampled flag on a city street, maybe?) that sometimes it doesn't seem like they were ever fit for a social life.
>And I don't want it, the things you're offering me,
>symbolized barcode, quick ID, oh yeah
The same guy is now rejecting these quick and simple modern 'conveniences,' that the 'certain person' has, no matter how desperately they're objectified as the pinnacle of social perfection and whatever you could ever want.
>'Cause I'm a 21st century digital boy,
>I don't know how to live but I got a lot of toys,
>My daddy's a lazy middle class intellectual,
>my mommy's on valium, so ineffectual, woh oh
>Ain't life a mystery?
And now the perspective switches to that of the 'certain person,' of how he never really learned how to relate to other people, so only gets their attention (and defines his self-worth) with his flashy toys, gadgets, etc. (everybody knows or knew a guy like this), his rich, middle-of-the-road parents providing everything and nothing at the same time, throwing money at him as if he were a problem to be dealt with instead of a human being. Almost like actors paid to play a role. You know, the horrors of middle class. Ain't it funny how life works out sometimes?
>I can't explain it, the things they're saying to me,
>it's going yayayayayayaya, oh yeah
Life, it seems, is so full of illogical rules and ways to act, ineffable and never-expressed yet widely-known, that it's just like all the things they're saying make no sense at all.
>I tried to tell you about no control,
>but now I really don't know,
>and then you told me how bad you had to suffer,
>is that really all you have to offer?
I always thought this part was interesting since it looks like they reference all of their previous Epitaph releases here (No Control, Suffer). But as for what it means, I think it's saying how later on in their lives, all these 21st Century Digital Boys have to say is about how lonesome they were, what suffering they went through, and you have to wonder; is that all they can talk about, the limits of what they have to offer others? Pain? Oh well. And yeah, I've already read on 'The Answer' about how this song is supposed to mirror Mr. Brett's childhood growing up. This is just what the song's meant to me, and why I found it so compelling, even before I got into Bad Religion."
-Shingo Sabin Beyeler
"Its denizens raped in napalm fire, denizens means citizen."
"I believe this song reflects a growing trend in American thought that technology is and will be the answer to all our problems. This song reminds us that relying on technology to get us through life can create people who are intellectually void. "I don't know how to read but I've got a lot of toys" is a line that I think represents this point. Calculators can make our minds lazy because we rely on technology to do the work for us. Spell check can turn our bad grammar into perfect form. There are many more examples where Americans rely on technology and pretty soon we become dependent on technology to get by in life. Thus, we truly have no control as the things we own end up owning us. Another point that I think this song brings up is the idea that in America, status is often measured by how many items you have. Just watch some T.V. commercials and see how much emphasis is placed on buying things and what happens when you buy things. Buy the right beer, car, and clothes and some hot chick will hook up with you. But somewhere in our quest to obtain as many "toys" as possible we lose track of the importance of education, learning, and becoming well rounded individuals. I think the digital boy (a product of American society) is someone who has placed all his emphasis on acquiring "toys" and no emphasis on getting educated. Pretty soon this digital boy can't read or live life because all he knows is his toys. And this boy is suffering. He's shallow and is useless without his toys but it really isn't all his fault. His dysfunctional family gives him no direction and American society tells him that obtaining possessions is the right thing to do. Bad religion has produced songs before that remind us that technology doesn't solve all of our problems. Well, all of this is just my opinion. Like it or not, it's just one interpretation. And one last thing. The line 'innocence raped with napalm fire' is a direct reference to the napalm filled bombs that we dropped on south Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict. There are a bunch of pictures from this event that show little Vietnamese kids getting burned to death by napalm. Little kids (innocence) raped (killed) with napalm fire. Bad religion also mentions south Vietnam in recipe for hate 'maybe jack did it Marilyn, but he did it to south Vietnam.' Jack Kennedy, president of USA at that time, ordered the bombing of south Vietnam."