"This song seems to be about how we ignore the oppressed's prayers and pleas. Bums, innocent people in jail, the poor, etc., they plea for a bit of our help, for understanding, for compassion, for mercy, and for justice. However, their pleas are silent as there's no one to hear it, no one that is from the 'superior' class, the ones with the power to help but with enough greed and avarice to stop them from doing so. We should 'take those potatoes out of [our] ears,' as Greg writes in Modern-Day Catastrophists."
"Just to add to the comments above, I think that Graffin may be expressing a certain amount of frustration with the world of Academia. At least with the first two verses, i picture a few Professors that I have had. These guys know the rules of moving up the ladder, receiving funds, etc. You have to give lip service to ideas (such as having compassion), even if the only things on your mind are receiving a Stipend, your $2000+ merit, and campus-wide recognition. Professors should teach because they want to use their knowledge to make the world a better place. However, many get caught up in campus politics, and how correct they are (over another opinion), and the result is that they turn bitter. Students and society in general begin to see through insincerity of some professors, which unfortunately can take away from the credibility of Academia in general. Should anyone wish to e-mail to me personally, I can be reached at Nichtsnutz722@yahoo.de"
"My personal interpretation, a few lines at a time. >Hey mister, don't point at me; >You spout rhetoric nonsense like a Pavlovian model >responding to his questions >Hey teacher, arrogance is bliss; >You spend your time turning water into wine >as if you were God's foreman Listing off all these arrogant self-righteous proclaimers who push their opinions onto others, whether they like it or not, who can blame people for shutting out? It's people like these that eventually condition you to stop thinking critically, or even on your own, just to swallow the party line and to apologize automatically for faults and failures which aren't even your own. >Is it any wonder things seem so awry? >The masses are cloaked in confusion, >and we don't have to think to survive, so nobody listens Why wouldn't everybody be confused? These are automatic times, where the conditioned have a world built exclusively for them, made so nobody has to question, or even get a conclusive answer. So, nobody needs to listen. >Hey recluse, don't shout at me; >You proclaim yourself expert, by extensions of the methods >Detailed in your magazines >Hey downer, don't prey on me; >We've all got bum raps, that torment us day to day >that we hoist on our own shoulders Whether it be the recluse who proclaims himself intellectual superior, or the eternally morose downer who wants nothing but your pity and all the time you can give-willingly or not, there's more than enough reason to tune out and turn off your mind. >Is it any wonder people pass you by? >Your plea for understanding, >is heard as desperate lies, so nobody listens >I can't help you... >Is it any wonder things are so inane? >So many quests for compassion, >Are just for someone's personal gain, so nobody listens >Nobody listens to you And even if there's a genuine cry for help and friendship within the harsh roaring din of a multitude of others' voices, it won't and can't be heard above them all; even the most reasonable-sounding ones are simple power-trips and manipulative deceptionists, so nobody listens; even to you. Somewhat of a downer, but a reality none the less."
-Shingo Sabin Beyeler