In its simplest form, love can be summed up as an intense feeling of deep affection. The Bible tells us that God is love and love is God. The bible also tells us that love is sacrifice:
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 ESV)
In the grand scheme of things, I think that’s exactly what River did. He laid down his life for his family, his mother and brother, as well as his friends. The only way to break the spell is to show that the emperor has no clothes, and sometimes death is the only way to get this point across. If I may be so bold, it’s almost as if River was the Jesus of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Even Heart Phoenix would agree with me on that. She placed a pink carnation in his coffin, no doubt aware of the symbolism. Pink carnations first appeared on earth as Jesus carried the Cross. The Virgin Mary shed tears at Jesus’ plight and carnations sprang up from where her tears fell…
If Heart Phoenix is The Virgin Mary in this story, than Hollywood really is Mystery Babylon and “love” is indeed sacrifice.
River’s song Senile Felines keeps playing through my head:
“Gifts were wrapped in coats of small critters, rats, too many litters.”
Too many stars. Too many child stars. This is an area I tend to shy away from but when he sings too many litters, I can’t help but think of Joaquin Phoenix. Frusciante’s Life’s a Bath also pops into my head:
“One year went by baby, does she want to be happy with you?”
And then we have R.E.M.’s video for Strange Currencies where the mother’s son (whom I believe represents Joaquin) holds up a winged figure just before the car’s headlights (the kingship/mad cat) appear around the corner.
In Dark Blood, Boy is angered when Buffy refuses to eat the rat meat he cooked for her. After forcing her to eat it, she immediately throws it up. This scene was left unfinished but George Sluizer made it a point to include it in the movie as he narrates from the script. I believe it to be highly symbolic in reference to River’s lyrics as dinner (gifts) comes with a sacrifice (rats). I’m not pointing the finger at Joaquin in any of this, but there’s a reason that Heart was so against the release of this film.
Sacrifice is love. Forced sacrifice is flat out murder.
All You Need is Love
When the Beatles sang that all you need is love back in the 60’s, the flower-powered hippies ate it up. Not to ruin a good song, but I think a double meaning is at play here. I’m a huge Beatles fan myself, but if you really look at the lyrics…I don’t know, it doesn’t really sound like love to me:
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
All you need is love
Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
All you need is love
Nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…
In other words, don’t try too hard to do much of anything except give in and go with the flow. I had a friend in high school who used to sing, “all you need is drugs,” maybe he was onto something. When Lennon sings, “nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game,” is he talking about the game of love, the game of life, or something entirely different? Personally, I think this album cover sums it up. Success in the entertainment industry is dependent on how well you play the game, how well you belong, and how well you go with the flow. The lower you bow to the kingship, the richer you become. Baby, you’re a rich man.
I get the feeling love in the entertainment world is more about wealth and fame than an actual feeling or emotion. In fact, it’s the opposite of love; it’s greed, self-indulgence, evil. Sonic Youth released an album back in 1986 called EVOL. For anyone unfamiliar with the band, they always went against the grain and were never truly considered mainstream despite a surge in popularity in the early to mid-nineties. I tend to think the name of the album is a crack at the system, screw your so-called love.
Madonna, Sean and Me, a song off the album (a classic according to Neil Young) repeats the line,
“Mystery train, three way plane, expressway to your skull.”
This brings to mind that whole drive, ride or walk theory. Who’s behind the wheel? For those too young to remember, Madonna and Sean Penn were married back in 1986, but the song has a deeper meaning than some Hollywood love affair. With a band like Sonic Youth, it’s more likely about the corrupt system controlling the entertainment industry which appears to practice some sort of mind-controlled buddy system; a group marriage of the mind. Checks and balance. See something say something. Aquaman to the rescue.
In R.E.M.’s Star Me Kitten, Stipe begins the song with the line,
“Keys cut, three for the price of one…”
The keys to what? Someone’s mind? In the video for Find the River, two keys are visible in the fire’s rumble along with a pair of scissors. Stipe goes on to sing about screeching tires in the driveway, that his love is tired, he’s changed the locks and River can’t have a key. I don’t think River wanted one, which may be the reason for the house fire — the phoenix bird that caught itself on fire.
And nothing’s free, but guaranteed for a lifetime’s use
I’ve changed the locks, and you can’t have one
You, you know the other two
I hear them screeching through the door from our driveway
So who are the other two?
Are You a God?
Born Courtney Michelle Harrison, Love is said to have written down in her diary all the things she needed to do in order to make it big in the entertainment world. One of the things listed was to meet Michael Stipe. I’ve always been a huge fan of Stipe myself, but I think Courtney probably had some insight into who (or what) Stipe actually is and how much power and sway he obviously holds. If I may use a Ghostbusters analogy, she knew who the Gatekeeper was (or at least one of them) and positioned herself to become one of the Keymasters. Ultimately, they all serve Gozer.
Released in September of 1991, Hole’s first album Pretty on the Inside was produced by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. I’m not sure when Courtney first met Stipe, but the second album Live Through This was recorded in October of 1993 in Stipe’s hometown of Athens, Georgia. It was released in April of 1994 four days after Cobain’s death.
How guilty is Courtney in all of this? I don’t know. Is she an opportunist? Absolutely. I also imagine she knows exactly what the “true” meaning of love is being that she named herself after it. However, I doubt the entire Seattle Police Department would coverup a murder just for her. Courtney suffered a horrendous childhood, and there’s no telling how many keys are needed to unlock her damaged mind.
Love and Marriage
Marriage is a performed ritual, a legal contract between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them. In some cultures, marriage comes with a bridewealth, money paid by the groom to the bride’s family. Tinsel Town has its own version of this with the kingship playing matchmaker, a little demonic cupid running around shooting people with poisoned arrows, showering everyone with wealth and fame, well, everyone who learns how to play the game.
“Keys cut, three for the price of one, and nothing’s free, but guaranteed for a lifetime’s use.”
Stipe tells it like it is. Nothing’s free, especially love. At the end of Star Me Kitten he sings,
Great, now he’s throwing in a ring, another layer I have yet to uncover or fully understand. Maybe he’s talking about the kingship’s ring, the Masonic ring that numerous celebrities and politicians are spotted wearing. I’ll have to look into it, but in River’s song Scales and Fishnails, he responds to Stipe’s proposal:
“Maybe I will marry you, or you won’t make love to no one, carry you, saying I won’t marry you.”
Love is a four-lettered word, backwards or forwards, and it’s apparently all you need to make it in the industry. Love is a contract, a buddy system, a game of D&D where each small group has it’s own Dungeon Master, the storyteller, the referee, the driver, but The Wizards of the Coast designed the game. They maintain control. Love is all around. It’s in pop culture, magazines, movies, put out there for the world to see, out in plain sight, right there, right there in front of you…hello, McFly, anybody home?
“I skipped the part about love, it seems so shallow and low.” (R.E.M., Low)
All your dreams come true in Hollywood. The Dream Machine — a machine controlled by power-hungry sadists. As with everything tainted by this over-reaching shadow, love is bad, bad is good, up is down and nothing’s free.
“Tell me up is down, cuz I’m not around.” (Papercranes, Sky is Down)
In Heath Ledger’s last film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, a traveling theatre group takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations and present them with a choice between self-fulfilling enlightenment or gratifying ignorance. Everything goes wrong when the Hanged Man enters the picture, commercializes the show and ruins a good thing. That’s exactly what happened to the entertainment industry. There’s nothing wrong with a good game of D&D, but if the Dungeon Master has a mad cat alter controlled by the Satanic Wizards of the Coast — that’s a major problem.
A three-way plane, a three-way marriage of the mind, keys cut three, ride, drive, all you need is drugs. Love your master. Love your servitude. The kingship loves you. Obey.
Love suddenly seems really complicated and If that’s what it takes to make it in the entertainment industry, I’m with River, I’d rather walk than ride or drive, which can be tricky in this Texas heat. It’ll make you sweat a river.