This morning, after chanting and reading a t-shirt,
I thumbed through the neighbour's paper
In search of a name like mine, or the funnies,
when the news of the untimely:
Death! Of an inspiration
The Great One, the Great One
to many who saw it through those eyes
Staring down at me, the captions eulogize,
Took me

But I did not weep, I did not weep,
caught the bus as I do every day of the week.
Even the lesser-known of us dies
Feeling less alone, I consoled myself
Then:
"The Great One, the Great One,"
said the person in the next seat,
"Is dead, dead, died while asleep.
What will happen? What will happen next?"
I pretended not to speak the language.

And one little girl in back of me crying sweet tender
tears I could not erase, she thought me a stranger
It was the Great One, the Great One they loved,
no one else could earn their trust.

But
The Great One, the Great One is dead,
the Great One is dead, the Great One is dead,
the Great One.

Mortician readjust bids, hagiographers send rough drafts,
tortured missionaries send their regrets, their regrets for the late one.
Religious arguments on the take converge, moments of silence in haste or absurd,
officials negotiate price, while sculpturers practice on Christ.
Tune dogs awaken a dark cry, "Where in the stars is the Great One's name written?"
Tragic scribes, the final entry, voices ahoarse in eulogy,
expulses ill thought of by lords also dug up in the humidity and the debris
World Leaders award hunger on the back burner,
and negotiate for positions among paupers.

But
The Great One, the Great One is dead,
(Let's celebrate! He's dead!)
the Great One is dead, the Great One is dead,
the Great One.


Lyrics submitted by Vandalog

The Great One Is Dead song meanings
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    General CommentI always thought this line in The Great One Is Dead was really funny. Clever in its ambiguity.

    "The Great One, the Great One is dead,"
    cried the person in the next seat,
    "Dead, dead, died in his sleep
    What will happen, what will happen next?"
    I pretended not to speak the language.

    This last line, 'I pretended not to speak the language', is completely out of place since the narrator is speaking in english, and the other person is also speaking in english. This must be an intentional oversight, which invites a creative response.

    There's no mention of geography in the song either, so based on this lyric it must be taking place somewhere with either a lot of multiculturalism, where it wouldn't be uncommon to be well versed in multiple languages, or which has been colonialized in the past, somewhere your choice of language would separate you by class. In the case of the later, it might be a dictator or other political figure, or possibly a rebel of some kind, a voice of dissidence, who has died.

    "Death of an inspiration, the great one the great one, to many who saw it through those eyes". If there was some kind of political schism involved, then it's easy to see how there might be a divide in public opinion.

    The narrator wakes up by "chanting and reading a t-shirt", before he reads the paper. Chanting could indicate religious ritual, which is also a hint. As for the t-shirt, when getting dressed in the morning we take a moment to consider our clothing. Maybe it's a graphic tee with an image or lettering which is culturally or politically significant, like the ubiquitous Che Guevara t-shirt. He also picks his clothing before finding out the news, another way of showing that, much like how he gets on the bus, 'just like every day of the week', this news doesn't greatly effect his daily routine.

    There are more concrete clues in the list of people mourning & reacting:
    "Morticians readjust bids." Reminds me of an article I recently read about Elvis Presley's death being wrongly attributed to heart attack in an attempt to protect the reputation of his doctors.

    What kind of person would attract the attention of both tortured missionaries and world leaders? Those world leaders who are 'negotiating for positions among paupers', suggesting political upheaval, or that, in the place of this particular death, they are encouraged to show humility.

    'Officials negotiate price', either to secure their positions following a shift in public opinion/the political structure of their country or, alternatively, the price of the ceremonies commemorating the Great One.
    Vandalogon November 19, 2014   Link

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