Donald wept through the proceedings. His tears soaked through the canvas that cloaked his twisted face and they stained his orange jumpsuit where with such rare distinction he once displayed the evidence of his outstanding contributions to the maintenance of a kingdom come. But those days are gone. He’s nothing more than a number on a docket thick with shareholders, engineers, PR firms, politicians: war-profiteers. How the fuck did I end up here? This just isn’t fair. Ain’t no place for a millionaire. He searches for the words to stop this table in mid-turn, like “we are but old men” and “we only did what we were told,” but the laughter from the gallery drowns out these vestiges of a profession’s oldest defense. The court will direct the record to reflect compliments from the bench; you sir, are central casting’s crowning achievement. And for your outstanding performance in a comedic role, I’d like to dedicate the findings of the jury to the dead. But how can one man ever repay a debt so appalling? Can’t gouge 10,000 eyes from a single head so I think we should observe a sentence that will serve to satisfy both a sense of function and poetry: so you will spend the rest of your days drenched in sweat, with your face drawn in a rictus of terror as you remove another buried land mine fuse. Meanwhile, 100 yards back behind the sandbags, a legless foreman pulls the trigger on a red megaphone. Squelching feedback. Drunken laughter. Broken English. His dead daughter’s picture. Time and tide, no one can anticipate the inevitable waves of change.


Lyrics submitted by MrPryMinista

Iteration song meanings
Add your thoughts

11 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentThis is the best songever written. I don't know where boynigga got his retarded idea.
    indigion April 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI see a few comments I agree with and a few I disagree with, even if we all agree that this song kicks ass. I would like to synthesize this discussion and add my own perspective about the back story of the song and about the ending.

    Punkpirate is correct that this song is about Donald Rumsfeld being tried for war crimes for his participation in the Afghan and Iraq wars (see his/her post - it is good!). But what I would like to point out is that he is included with a whole other group of people as war profiteers: "He’s nothing more than a number on a docket thick with shareholders, engineers, PR firms, politicians: war-profiteers." If we focus too much on the biopic of Rumsfeld, we miss the larger statement about the systemic causes of war and imperialism, which include technocrats, capitalists, and perhaps just the average worker who is either unreflective about, and so unaware of, their complicity in this type of system, or aware of it but feels compelled to keep "doing the job" because one must eat, pay the bills, feed the kids, etc. For example, an engineer sent to Iraq to rebuild the nation stands to make a lot of money. Is he or she a war profiteer? I mean, they did materially benefit from a war; one might say they got paid because the lives of others were destroyed. Such an engineer either doesn't understand or doesn't care that this is the context in which they are making money. Ultimately, it is about more than Rumsfeld - it is about the complex relations between financial institutions, the state, the military, and business interests (the military-industrial complex), which all drive international conflict and imperialism.

    As far as Rumsfeld and understanding his complicity in the system, Chris implies that he understands and doesn't care, defending himself with a laughable response of "I didn't know": "the laughter from the gallery drowns out these vestiges of a profession’s oldest defense. The court will direct the record to reflect compliments from the bench; you sir, are central casting’s crowning achievement." He is thus sentence to clean up the desert of the landmines he sent there.

    As for the ending, as some have pointed out, the lyrics read, "Time and tide, no one can anticipate the inevitable waves of change", but the Chris only sings, "Time and tide, no one can anticipate the inevitable waves of..." He never says change; the guitar solo just comes in and replaces the vocals. Some have said this is an optimistic ending, but I disagree. The lyrics read "inevitable waves" of change but change never comes in the song. When you hear it, you wonder what comes after "of" and you look up the lyrics. You see "change" on paper, you expect change to come, but it doesn't. Instead of saying "change", the lead guitar comes in and replaces the vocals; for the rest of the song, the only change is the lead guitar, while the rhythm guitar, drums and bass stay the same, unchanged. The guitar solo is shouting for change but the underlying structures of the song (and of society) are unimpeded. Metaphorically, it doesn't matter how much or how loud you shout, because just as a lead guitar doesn't alter the accompaniment, talking changes nothing. It is more difficult to change things than it seems. And the song just fades out with no change at all. Whereas Propagandhi's previous album, Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes ends with a relatively optimistic lyric/solo combo, Potemkin City Limits ends more disheartened, possibly signaling the onset of pessimism that is depicted by the photo of "Greg Lambert" in a robe, on a mattress, with a shotgun in the liner notes of the album.

    As with everyone else, I get chills when I listen to his song because it lays out a great vision of the future; however, I think that great vision is undermined by a pessimistic turn in the last moments of the track, reminding us that "Iteration" is also just a speculative fiction.
    anderspaon May 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Donald on trial in this song is Donald Rumsfeld, on trial for crimes against humanity, He is astonished to be in that situation, as he is a millionaire and has always been given special treatment. The judge realizes that too many lives have been taken as a result of Rumsfeld for any punishment to truly be fitting, so he sentences him to a lifetime of removing un-detonated landmines under the supervision of a survivor of a past war.

    Brilliant. This song gives me chills every time, especially the end. A great end to a great album.
    punkpirateon April 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with punkpirate. The end of this song always gives me chills, especially when he says, "His dead daughter's picture."

    I like the positive note that the song ends on. No matter how bad our situation seems now, (with the current U.S. administration starting wars, and with anything else that needs changing) "no one can anticipate the inevitable waves of change."
    pmdkhon May 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's also cool cuz he doesn't say "change". i dunno why but i think its cool that he doesnt even bother to finish the last sentence of the last song on the record.
    mtvhatredon June 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits what puinkpirate said

    this is the most awsome song ever written
    seriously
    such a brilliant way to package that topic

    especially the end gives me chills with that guitar solo and the synthesizers
    feldwebelon October 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is an absolutely awe-inspiring song. I won't say best on the album, since I probably couldn't pick a single song to be best from Potemkin City Limits, but there certainly are none better.

    Inevitable waves of....
    viciousadventon April 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfuckin right on..
    charlesflemingandsunon April 22, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo compare my interpretations of "Iteration" and "Purina Hall of Fame", see songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858565166/
    anderspaon May 23, 2013   Link
  • -3
    General Commentthis song means that gays, blacks, and jews are superior to whites and hispanics
    boyniggaon January 10, 2006   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain