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Both Solomon and Shondes' violinist Elijah Oberman are long-time advocates and activists for Palestinian rights and have frequently discussed their politics. The Shondes have also played benefits for organizations like Birthright Unplugged and Jews Against the Occupation

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The BDS movement emerged after a 2005 call from Palestinian civil society for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and stops violating the rights of Palestinian. More here

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The influence of famed Jewish philosopher Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s writings on Jewish ritual as architecture of time is especially apparent in these lines.

Singer Louisa Solomon has discussed the relationship of his work to this song.

Heschel marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965:

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This idea connects to the “punch a hole into the sky” lyric in the chorus. Singer Louisa Rachel Solomon explains:

I kept saying, “You’re basically living in The Bell Jar, and you need to let some light penetrate the space you’re living in.” I know for that person, that’s not what it feels like; it feels like the light’s not there. But I kept thinking: I wish I could punch a hole into that false sky you’ve constructed for yourself. Again, I know that for people that suffer from depression, it’s not that simple. But, I wanted to write a song that talked about the position of feeling so much love for someone and wanting to say, “I hear you that you feel totally contained in this dark, tiny place. Together, we can hopefully transform that.”

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Singer Louisa Solomon says:

I’m not a comic book nerd, but it just so happens Dr. Manhattan strongly resembles many of my ex-boyfriends. In that song I’m referencing Dr. Manhattan (the character from Watchmen) because he’s perfectly emblematic of a particular kind of emotionally detached masculinity. He’s so focused on obligation and isn’t really able to connect with other human beings. There’s this one scene in the book where he’s able to simultaneously be sleeping with his girlfriend and conducting experiments in the lab, and that struck me as so ultimately horrible. Like, intimate connection with his partner was on the same level as everything else he had to complete on his list of tasks. I’ve certainly had this experience, feeling more like a hologram than a full human being, and I feel like many other people have, as well."

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According to Against Me! fans, John Paul Allison aka Pope was a lighting designer who worked and was friends with the band. He tragically passed away in 2011.

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One of the more overtly hopeful lyrics on the album, describing moving forward from the past. While it references Aldous Huxley’s famous dystopian novel, the more relevant reference may be the Shakespeare quote from which that book takes its name.

O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.
The Tempest, Act V, Scene 1

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One of many references to suicide on the album. 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide and Grace has spoken in many interviews about her own suicidal impulses.

The rest of the song takes the listener through events leading up to this opening scene

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Parker Molloy writes in “A Trans Perspective on Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues”:

As someone who has had this particular slur hurled in my direction more times than I’d like to admit, the song highlights so many of my fears and insecurities, channeling the negativity into something powerful and defiant.

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"Coke on her black skin / Made a stripe like a zebra, I ca..." (Kanye West – No Church in the Wild) | accepted

This may also in part be a subtle response last year’s Kanye-only-dates-white-girls-now meme.

For whatever reason, the site wouldn’t let me leave a comment on the line itself.

you still rap? You still a fucking thorn?
Sticking yourself into more, war? For what?"

Similar to the rest of the song, Jean positions herself as a thorn in the side of much commercial hip hop, causing trouble just by being herself. Her reference to getting into “war” may also be a subtle homage to Pharoahe Monch, and the title of his last album W.A.R. (We Are Renagades), which featured Jean and the track “Assassins”, which also appears on Cookies or Comas.