"This is a really cool song that showcases Gurewitz's strong beat influences, in both the lyrical style of the song and even specific beat literature references. The song begins with some sort of scene, presumably violent ('a febrile shocking violent smack, and the children are hoping for a heart attack' is a line that has strong allusions to domestic violence). Mr. Brett then describes the witnesses to the scene: windows, lampposts, streets...no living person knows that this unique little 'story' is happening. The next couple of lines describe the major theme of the song: humanity cannot be generalized. The 'bunch of living dots' are people whose experiences (hungry lover homicides, loving brother suicides, etc.) cannot be summed up in one word. The pre-chorus takes the vantage point of an average citizen, whose only relation to the vast expanses of our world is their daily newspaper. All the experiences and stories and humanity of people are generalized in human interest stories and obituaries, both terribly unable to convey the true complexity of what has and is actually transpiring. The next two lines are complicated prose that I simply cannot decipher (any help?) but the line about caringosity is a reference to Jack Karouac, a legendary writer of the beat generation and huge influence of Brett's. Caringosity perhaps refers to Kerouac's immense knowledge of the complexity of humanity, and his inability to deal with it all that eventual embittered and killed him. The title of the song, 'sometimes truth is stranger than fiction' means exactly what it says. The next couple of lines describe the lives of a small cross-section of people in a Miami, another depiction of the complexity of peoples' various lives. The pre chorus repeats itself, substituting the Karouac line for references to Kurt Vonnegut's 'Cat's Cradle' and the author Tom Wolfe, yet more of Brett's influential figures. The final literary reference is reserved for Ernest Hemmingway, who committed suicide. Why did Hemmingway crack? Such a complex question simply cannot be summed up, in fiction or any other medium. The final outro uses a book as a metaphor for human life, saying that if our lives are summed up in nice little paragraphs and tidy sentences, they would be "crummy" indeed. Or perhaps our lives really are that simple, and therefore "crummy". Not really sure, but the interpretation of these couple of lines changes the meaning of the song as a whole. Hopefully I've set down some ideas for discussion, let's hear what you think. (BAD RELIGION! WHOO! NEW ALBUM IN FEBRUARY 2K!)"
"I agree with most of what 'Havenpunk' had to say about the song, but I would like to add in a few of my own interpretations and footnotes. The entire song embodies a literal motif of 'famous' fictional authors. All of which most-likely had a large impact on Mr. Brett's life. Wolfe, Kerouac, Hemmingway are mentioned, and if you have seen the video, it shows people burning books which alludes to Ray Bradbury's 'Farenheit 451'. There are probably more allusions in the video that I have not recognized. The song depicts scenes from 'real life' showing how they themselves are just as 'strange' as fictional stories."
"I agree with the last guy... but just something to add about the general stranger than fiction part. Greg says 'sometimes truth is stranger than fiction,' and often it is. But a lot of the time we have something in our minds before the fact, that makes truth stranger than fiction by default. Like, say your friend tells you something out of a world record book... you go 'No way! That couldn't possibly happen!!!' But it did, and truth is stranger than fiction. But you almost have that pre thought in your mind, you don't believe it."
"I agree with Havenpunk, but I think these words by Mark Twain pretty much sums it up: 'Truth is stranger than fiction; fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isn't.' Maybe this was a source of inspiration for Mr. Brett in this case."
-Son Of Dad
"I don't think that the song is so strongly centered on various authors but on what is happening every day all around us. There are things going on which are extremely sad, happy, funny, shocking, etc. and we only notice them when 'the morning paper got the scores'. Then we believe that we feel exactly like those people who happened something to. Just like in a book - but if such a story was written by an author, many of us would disregard it as 'the crummiest book I ever read'. An example: In 2001 in Witten, a town in Germany, two people killed a man with 66 stabs and then punched his face with a hammer. Questioned by the police, they explained that they were assigned by Satan to murder this man. This could be directly from a bad horror flick, but sadly it is not. I think this is one of 'the human interest stories' which are 'stranger than fiction'."
saying that life is really screwed up. In the bible, comics, and other
fictitious material, weird, strange and fucked up things happen, some universe
is created and the creator has omnipotent powers, super humans battle evil
etc... Yet in reality we are accepting most of this as fact, religion, churches,
"I think 'hungry lover homicides' is from Dante's inferno, 'cradle for a cat' is from Kurt Vonnegut (again, I think)."
"I have heard Brett mention that the song is about famous writers in history that have gone crazy or killed themselves and why they might have done that."
"I've always assumed that STF was a criticism of the American media, especially television. He mentions all these horrible things (with great images btw) but then seems to say that his interest into the causes of suffering is unfulfilled, and he feels let down by scandal driven media. Let's face it, not many of us will be involved with Satan assigned murders and such, but the causes of these things (despair, isolation, addiction) are somewhat universal but largely ignored by conventional media outlets."
""how many devils can you fit upon a match head?" This is the line that got me. It comes from an age old question "how many Angles can you fit upon the head of a pin". In other words: what is God? what is the substance of God? is like ours? material? or is it something else? and does it occupie space at all? I can't figure it out, perhaps he's saying: how much logic can you conjure up only to become complete nonsense. I could use some help, anyone?"