"Flagpole Sitta" as written by Evan Sult, Sean Nelson, Aaron Huffman and Jeff Lin....
I had visions, I was in them
I was looking into the mirror
To see a little bit clearer
Rottenness and evil in me
Fingertips have memories
Mine can't forget the curves of your body
And when I feel a bit naughty
I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes
(But no one ever does)
I'm not sick but I'm not well
And I'm so hot cause I'm in hell
Been around the world and found
That only stupid people are breeding
The cretins cloning and feeding
And I don't even own a tv
Put me in the hospital for nerves
And then they had to commit me
You told them all I was crazy
They cut off my legs now I'm an amputee, god damn you
I'm not sick but I'm not well
And I'm so hot cause I'm in hell
I'm not sick but I'm not well
And it's a sin to live so well
I want to publish zines
And rage against machines
I want to pierce my tongue
It doesn't hurt, it feels fine
The trivial sublime
I'd like to turn off time
And kill my mind
You kill my mind
Paranoia, paranoia
Everybody's coming to get me
Just say you never met me
I'm going underground with the moles digging holes
Hear the voices in my head
I swear to god it sounds like they're snoring
But if you're bored then you're boring
The agony and the irony, they're killing me
I'm not sick but I'm not well
And I'm so hot cause I'm in hell
I'm not sick but I'm not well
And it's a sin to live so well


Lyrics submitted by NeoNess, edited by MisterJim, GORZAS, Amsel

"Flagpole Sitta" as written by Evan Sult Aaron Huffman

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Flagpole Sitta song meanings
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  • +10
    General CommentI am sick of reading foolish comments about "it's all about masturbation and phallic symbols." I am sick of cop-outs like "the song has no meaning." Let's break this sucker down verse by verse.
    "I had visions, I was in them
    I was looking into the mirror
    To see a little bit clearer
    The rottenness and evil in me."
    --Narrator is trying to see who s/he truly is and figure out what's wrong with him/her(note that s/he's already made the assumption that something IS wrong with him/her).
    "Fingertips have memories
    Mine can't forget the curves of your body
    And when I feel a bit naughty
    I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes
    (but no one ever does)."
    --Not 100% certain on this. Could be jerking off to memories of a hot ex, could be dealing with resentment towards an ex by making fun of him/her to others (running something up a flagpole so everyone can see it and laugh and notice everyone else laughing). Could be impotence--"...and see who salutes/(But no one ever does)."
    "I'm not sick but I'm not well
    And I'm so hot cause I'm in hell."
    --Nothing diagnosable (or physical) is wrong with the narrator, but s/he knows something is wrong, and it's hell not being able to figure it out.
    "Been around the world and found
    That only stupid people are breeding
    The cretins cloning and feeding
    And I don't even own a TV."
    --Starting to looking outside him/herself now. Other people are seriously messed up and seem oblivious to it. The lack of a TV might signify poverty, non-materialism, non-consumerism, how different the narrator is, or just that s/he wants to watch his/her shows and can't and are bitter.
    "Put me in the hospital for nerves
    And then they had to commit me
    You told them all I was crazy
    They cut off my legs now I'm an amputee, god damn you!"
    --This is real important stuff. This is about trying to get outside help and it bites the narrator in the ass. "Put me in the hospital for nerves/And then they had to commit me" means that s/he went to the doctor because s/he felt something was wrong with him/her, but rather than therapy, s/he got a padded cell (possibly because the doctors over-reacted). The next 2 lines talk about someone close to the narrator (possibly same "you" whose bodily curves the narrator can't forget?) betraying and misrepresenting him/her and doing him/her great harm because of it. This verse may well be about speaking one's mind and holding unconventional opinions, or about admitting you have a problem and need help, and the negative consequences that can follow either one.
    "...And it's a sin to live so well."
    --Possibly guilt at being better off, or self-hatred and a feeling of deserving punishment. Could also be ironic.
    "I wanna publish zines
    And rage against machines"
    --Wants to speak his/her mind and do something constructive (and counter-culturey).
    "I wanna pierce my tongue
    It doesn't hurt, it feels fine"
    --Tongue piercing is "bad-ass" "rebellious", as is being unfazed by pain. This could, however, also be considered self-destructive/nihilistic.
    "The trivial sublime
    I'd like to turn off time
    And kill my mind
    You kill my mind...."
    --Life and speaking one's mind can be very painful, stressful, and confusing, and sometimes one just wants a rest, an escape. Plus, if the narrator's messed up in the head, then s/he wants a vacation from his/her own thoughts, wants their mind to stop torturing them. S/he'll "turn off time/And kill [his/her] mind" if it means inner peace.
    "Paranoia paranoia
    Everybody's coming to get me
    Just say you never met me
    I'm running underground with the moles (diggin' big holes!)
    Hear the voices in my head
    I swear to god it sounds like they're snoring
    But if you're bored then you're boring
    The agony and the irony, they're killing me!"
    --This is when (I think) our narrator has really started to lose it. S/he feels paranoid that everyone is out to get him/her, or at least is against him/her, so the narrator is leaving (figuratively or literally is anyone's guess). S/He's gone underground to avoid whatever problems or judgements are haunting him/her, and either hoping to find kindred spirits ("the Moles") or screw up other people ("digging big holes"). The voices in the narrator's head might be actual voices, or just conflicting instincts, but s/he's begun to bore him/herself with their own unending psycho-schmutz. The last two lines of this verse--I think--refers to the question that the narrator has: "Is society screwed up, or am I screwed up because I can't function in society?"

    I think this song is about having a breakdown, and is for anyone who's ever needed a therapist or not fit into the machine and wondered "is it them or me that's the problem?" I could be wrong and feel free to tell me so.
    Scheherezadeon August 03, 2009   Link
  • +7
    General CommentOk I read like the first 50 comments. Come on people. It is about trying to stay sane in a crazy world. He is at The point where we all try to keep it together, just before giving up. Feels he isn't crazy and everyone else is, but is so beat down by society, that he is contemplating to conform, or he is conforming and can't help it.
    perryton July 18, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think it's about how society is so fucked up and treats anyone who can see it for what it is as an outcast. Anyone who doesn't follow social conventions and norms because they can see how pointless or stupid they are is seen as paranoid or insane or delusional. The person in the song feels like there's something wrong with him because our unthinking, conformist society treats him that way, and he just wants to escape from it all.

    That's basically how I interpret it anyway. Maybe I'm biased cause it's how I feel about society.
    rudegirl92on March 10, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song is about how fucked up society is, that's why so many of us Grungers love it XD
    that's why I love it XP
    dark_eyez_666on October 31, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentHonestly, I think the lyrics are about war veterans (older ones, like the war in Vietnam or WWII.)
    The first four lines of the song sound like war veterans who're remembering themselves
    (I had visions)
    witnessing or committing crimes
    (I was in them)
    without saying anything or caring about it, and now they're looking in the mirror,
    (to see a little bit clearer)
    finally realizing and regretting their mistakes.
    (the rottenness and evil in me)

    The next five lines talk about war veterans remembering putting up and taking down the flag every day in the name of America
    (fingertips have memories)
    and how they'll never forget what it feels like.
    (mine can't forget the curves of your body)
    Now, they're trying to get benefits from their former status in the military
    (and when I feel a bit naughty)
    to see if people would help them out (because many veterans were left with nothing when they had come back from war),
    (I run it up the flagpole)
    but no one would show them kindness, even though they claim to be Americans.
    (and see who salutes, but no one ever does)

    The chorus is about them feeling physically fine,
    (I'm not sick)
    but not mentally.
    (but I'm not well)
    They are in deep crud with everything (family, friends, bills, etc.)
    (and I'm so hot)
    and they start to hate their lives.
    ('cause I'm in hell)

    The next four lines are about them traveling the world,
    (Been around the world)
    only to find third-world countries where the people know next-to-nothing
    (and found that only stupid people are breeding)
    and it's overpopulated,
    (the cretins cloning and feeding)
    and the soldier wonders why he's wasting his time on people who are uneducated if he's not even getting paid enough to own (what he considers) the simplest things.
    (and I don't even own a TV)

    The next four lines talk about the veteran having problems with himself due to such a change after coming back from the war that he needs to be put in the hospital. This could be due to either the government or due to family, seeing as how many military wives leave their husbands after war.
    (put me in the hospital for nerves)
    The veteran then gets committed
    (and then they had to commit me)
    because everyone else feels he's going crazy except for him. Again, this could either be family or the government.
    (You told them all I was crazy)
    He gets angry because he had been injured in the war, and the only thing people seem to care about is the fact that they think the war made him crazy.
    (They cut off my legs, now I'm an amputee, god damn you!)

    This next chorus is pretty much the same, except another line implies that the veteran is being sarcastic about the amount of thanks and benefits he gets after coming home from the war.
    (and it's a sin to live so well)

    The next eight lines are about the veteran wanting a normal life,
    (I want to publish 'zines)
    -'zines being short for "magazines"-
    wanting to rebel,
    (and rage against machines)
    and wanting to live life as it once was. Him mentioning that getting his tongue pierced doesn't hurt implies that he has had his tongue pierced once before, and he missed it.
    (I want to pierce my tongue / it doesn't hurt, it feels fine)
    He then goes on to say that he wants to think about the small things about life that don't really matter, the things that people think about while daydreaming,
    (the trivial sublime)
    and he wants to live like that forever
    (I'd like to turn off time)
    even though he knows it's bad for him
    (and kill my mind)
    because he felt the military was worse.
    (You kill my mind)

    The next four lines describe him freaking out because he's so paranoid
    (Paranoia, paranoia)
    because he's getting called back to war
    (everybody's coming to get me)
    and he wants everyone to just forget they knew him
    (just say you never met me)
    because he wants to desert and pretend he never was in the military.
    (I'm going underground with the moles, digging holes)

    The next four lines describe the veteran wanting to follow his own conscience
    (hear the voices in my head)
    But because of all the years of being manipulated by the military, the veteran barely remembers what having his own conscience is like.
    (I swear to god it sounds like they're snoring)
    The veteran is now reacting to how others are downplaying their travels and adventures as well as their crimes and sorrows of war by telling them that their stories are unreal, unimportant, and boring.
    (But if you're bored, then you're boring)
    The veteran thinks again on the irony of the fact that we say we support our military, but in the end, they get treated like shit.
    (The agony and the irony, they're killing me)

    -Chorus-
    PaigiePandaon March 22, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentAlso, the title "Flagpole Sitta" is symbolic for veterans getting fucked in the ass by America.
    PaigiePandaon March 22, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI've read through all these comments.... This song is about angst. Pure and simple. It's very evocative with witty lyrics, but it's about self reflection/loathing with a side order of counter culture.

    I'm considering writing this song into my will as a funeral track. It sums things up quite nicely for me.
    Steve79on March 30, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song is said to be about schizophrenia. i'm not entirely sure, however. it could be about the narrator questioning himself and the world around him.
    cynicalsainton April 23, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think everyone is right to an extent. the first verse is definatly about masturbating. as a whole though, i think the song is reflecting back on 90's popular culture, and the teenage agst that went along with it. like how every nirvana fan was jaded and depressed. the song looks opon this time mockingly. i think he's trying to say angst and depression and crazyness, during this time, were not at all sincere, but actually in style and trendy. The fact that the song is even called " flagpole sitta " is very telling. In the 1920s, a trendy activity for teenagers to engage in, was flagpole sitting, where someone would shimmy up a flagpole, and try to perch at the top. if this seems pointless and silly to us now, then just imagine how future generations are going to judge all the gloom and doom, that transpired after kurt cobain died
    zippoboy5446on June 10, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti just think its a rad song, commenting on how fu**ed up todays society is.
    Edwinaon April 17, 2002   Link

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