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This, more than anything, could be the true crux of the song.

‘Teenage’ says everything about the awkwardness of the relationship between America and her victims. The country is immature, in that it has not developed beyond its individualism and greed. It retains a nascent glamour and appeal that makes it maddeningly seductive, but has none of the control to manage itself.

The personification of the country as a female figure supports this. Alluring, but socially inferior. Exploited and potentially abused (the girl-model with pants around her ankles). And we, (Byrne’s ‘I’) are in a heady state of infatuation (teenage fanclub) as alluded to in the ‘I’ll be your Dirty Harry’ frenzied babble of the preceding lines.

This is also confirmed by the Spanish lines of the song, which state a naive love of an America that routinely fleeces its fans.

Wow.

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Who is being addressed here? America? Us? What are the difficult things we don’t want to see that need to be seen?

A great exploration of these themes can be seen in the 2013 documentary on America’s historic relationship with drugs, social manipulation, crime and oppression: The House I Live In.

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“Why do you treat me so?”

Exactly.

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According to Google, this translates loosely as “Look Angel I’ve always trusted you”.

The shift into Spanish is deliberate, and political. Byrne is highlighting the non-English speaking communities that are, in ways, victimised by the USA, in that they are not given the economic freedoms afforded to white Americans. Perhaps.

It’s common knowledge that Spanish is the most widely spoken non-English language in America, yet Spanish speakers are often marginalised, if not denigrated. The irony is that these communities have had to trust America in its paternal position.

Very complex, difficult ideas.

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Telling words. America here is depicted as too naive, or perhaps cloudy headed/ inebriated to even recognise her own victims. Has America ever really known it’s victims?
–‘Native’ Americans
– Slaves
– The economic depressed
– Immigrant peoples
– Other worldwide cultures fed American culture
– Consumers of American culture
– etc

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The seduction is so alluring that Byrne wants more. The allure of America is implied in the desperation inherent in this cried out imperative.

Worth noting that America, clearly in need of help, is trying to run away. Esacpe? Flee? Find sanctuary? Return home? It’s a lot more complicated that America = evil…

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The awkwardness at play here is in America’s adolescent thoughtlessness. She seduces and exploits, but she is still a ‘girl’ (innocent?) and a ‘model’ (exploited for beauty, forced to wear high heels in the simile of height).

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Another elusive, but beautifully profound line.

Sometimes, we misunderstand the complexities of America because we are too busy being seduced by her, or being abused by her. Neither position is preferable, but both could explain our misunderstanding of how America can be great and evil, simultaneously.

‘sometimes she does too’ introduces the idea that America misunderstands itself; that bastard child of rebellion and justice that is too adolescent to appreciate its own flaws. This refers back to the ‘girl/ model’ conflict , which acts as a refrain to the song. Innocence vs Experience. Malice vs accident.

Deep.

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An intricate, slippery line this one. The suggestion is that America is manipulating her right to freedom, using it as an excuse for dishonest behaviours.

On a socio-historic level, these are profound assertions. The USA is indeed responsible for a string of atrocities, not least of all the decimation of indiginous peoples in North America, but, of course, it is a country born of rebellion itself.

This can’t give it the right to seduce and fleece peoples as it sees fit, but we (Byrne’s ‘I’) must accept that America is born out of ‘rugged individualism’ a phrase often used by President Hoover to describe the individual’s compulsion to help him/herself out of personal poverty.

It’s complex.

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A soft set-up to the more violent punchline to follow.

America offers sexual gratification, but takes more than it gives. The verb ‘fleecing’ makes this clear — she takes everything, while seducing you into blind acceptance. It’s a great metaphor.

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"'Twas a rough night" (Unseen Flirtations – William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth Act 2 Scene 3”) | pending

Macbeth’s terse, brief response is at stark contrast to Lennox’s passionate outpouring. I have seen this played as comic in some versions of the play, on stage.

"Bell rings" (Unseen Flirtations – William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth Act 2 Scene 3”) | pending

Or is that WHY they are ringing bells?

"Ring the alarum-bell. Murder and treason!" (Unseen Flirtations – William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth Act 2 Scene 3”) | pending

Glad, or alarmed?

"The life o' the building!" (Unseen Flirtations – William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth Act 2 Scene 3”) | pending

Not quite. The life of the building might refer to the spirit of the building (or, by extension, the spirit of Scotland) ie: Duncan.

"Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!" (Unseen Flirtations – William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth Act 2 Scene 3”) | pending

Shakespeare is using personification here… So what is he saying if Confusion makes ‘his masterpiece’?

"I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry." (Unseen Flirtations – William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth Act 2 Scene 2”) | pending

What did she REALLY hear? Was it an owl… Or was it the screams of Duncan?

"That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold;" (Unseen Flirtations – William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth Act 2 Scene 2”) | pending

Question: What makes you drunk? Alcohol? What has she been doing? Drinking? Why? Exactly!

"So tell me, what the hell is a fella to do" (Eminem – Marshall Mathers) | accepted

On a poetic level, this is a subtly brilliant line. The assonance is (as always with Em) easy and free flowing, but it also dovetails nicely with the everyman All-American Joe idiom of ‘What’s a fella to do?“ effortlessly shifting the tone from acerbic to colloquial, even jovial.

It’s touches like this that cement Eminem as a master of the craft, even if it all happens intuitively. goldfclap

"The underground just spunned around and did a 360" (Eminem – Marshall Mathers) | rejected

Hm…

He could have said: “The underground just spunned around and did a 180/ Now this kids lately just claim that they all hate me/ Oh, he just did some shit with Dre-zy/ So now he thinks he’s too big to do some shit with MC Get Crazy”

Nah.

"Whatever happened to" (Eminem – Marshall Mathers) | rejected

Controversial side note: You could argue that both acts are as manufactured as each other… The next question is, which did more cultural damage?

Discuss!