They told me this is a free country
But now it feels like a chicken factory
The chicken factory analogy is perfect for what M.I.A. is critiquing about the ever-romanticized American dream. A 2007 article from Britannica’s Advocacy for Animals titled “Factory-Farmed Chickens: Their Difficult Lives and Deaths” reads:
“As in all factory-farming industries, chicken production is designed for maximum efficiency and maximum profit. With these goals, regard for the welfare of the animals involved is a luxury that reduces profits unless the extra costs can be passed on to the consumer … The results are overcrowding, disease, high death rates, and observable unhappiness for the animals involved.”
M.I.A. opens up the psyche of someone who buys into the classic American promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness only to find more plague than prosperity. And as jaded and disempowered character quickly find new resolve (cf. below: “I feel cooped up, I wanna bust free / Got nothing to lose if you get me”), these opening lines essentially become the preamble of someone about to do some crazy shit.
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