"It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself."
-- Salvador Dali
Who is laughing?
I have it narrowed down to three possibilities: (1) Elvis Costello, himself; (2) everyone who is not Elvis Costello; or (3) all the above.
First, I'll be damned! I had no idea! And B, those are some depressing lyrics. It's hard to imagine that Elvis Costello is laughing "in the darkness of insanity", and it's hard to imagine that everyone else is laughing if there is "only pain and hatred, and misery". Perhaps the answer is "nothing is funny about peace, love, and understanding."
(1) Thanks, for commenting, Triangle Man. It means a lot to me.(2) The Wikipedia entry doesn’t mention that Bill Murray sings a karaoke version of “What’s so Funny” in the movie “Lost in Translation.” I saw that movie recently, which prompted this post. Oddly, the televised version I saw had that bit edited out, maybe to make room for commercials.Truth be told, the song wasn’t necessary, IMHO, so I might have cut it, too. There was a Japanese youth who sang a karaoke version of “God Save the Queen” and that injected into the scene the potent dose of raw emotion the director was looking for.(3) I agree with your take on the song. The singer (EC, since that’s the version I’m familiar with) is asking a question and the answer is “nothing.”What makes the song fascinating, to me, anyway, is its anger. EC is pleading for "peace, love and understanding" and he is definitely fed up and pissed off -- not just pissed off at himself, but at the whole, cynical world, in general. Things suck and it is all our own fucking fault. I can relate to the emotion.(4) So what prompted this post? Last night I had a “What’s so Funny” moment right here. I deleted it very soon afterwards because I felt like I was coming across as a sap for no gain whatsoever.I linked to the Regina Spektor song “Laughing With.” Thinking about the horror of what that poor girl must have gone through put me in a reflective mood. Oh, well.
You can have any two but not all three.
As in life itself, Jason, as in life, itself.
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