Sunday, October 15, 2006

I still think they are being way too literary...




Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh formed Devo when they were students at Kent State University. Jerry explains how the song came together:


"Whip It, like many Devo songs, had a long gestation, a long process. The lyrics were written by me as an imitation of Thomas Pynchon's parodies in his book Gravity's Rainbow. He had parodied limericks and poems of kind of all-American, obsessive, cult of personality ideas like Horatio Alger and 'You're #1, there's nobody else like you' kind of poems that were very funny and very clever. I thought, 'I'd like to do one like Thomas Pynchon,' so I wrote down 'Whip It' one night. Mark had recorded some sketches for song ideas in his apartment, and when we'd get together every day to write, rehearse and practice, we would listen to everybody's snippets of ideas. He had this tape with about 8 things on it, and one of them had a drum beat that was very interesting, it became the 'Whip It' drum beat.

“In 1974, the three-member Pulitzer Prize jury on fiction unanimously supported Gravity's Rainbow for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. However, the other eleven members of the board overturned this decision, branding the book "unreadable", "turgid", "overwritten", and "obscene". The novel was nominated for the 1973 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and won the National Book Award in 1974. Since its publication, Gravity's Rainbow has spawned an enormous amount of literary criticism and commentary, including two reader's guides and several online concordances, and is widely regarded as Pynchon's magnum opus.”

“Devo's music and videos were based on the concept of "De-Evolution," meaning that mankind is regressing. They dressed alike in their videos to convey the lack of individuality in the world. Casale: "I think a lot of Devo is in 'Whip It.' There's Americana mixed with something menacing, there's irony and humor, there's a hook and a big dance beat, there are interesting synth parts, lyrics that aren't the typical lyrics about getting laid or losing your baby. Although we weren't trying, it was a pretty concentrated dose of Devo in Whip It."

“In The 80s - Top Five Songs About Masturbation From the 80s
I understand the term "wanker" has a slightly different meaning in the ... Another theory From John Stephens: Actually, Devo's video for "Whip It" was a ...

This is was always my personal opinion... however if it was of a higher brow, all good, as if nothing else it is a great video pioneer! (excuse the pun)


“Proctor & Gamble, who make the Swiffer, originally had them re-record this for the commercial as "You must swiff it," but their lawyers found out that copyrighting "Swiff It" and the product implications down the line could cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars, so they changed the lyrics to "You must Swiffer" so they wouldn't have to copyright "Swiff It."”

I am familiar with Thomas Pynchon but I can not see how “Whip it” is a take off on any of his novels, even “Gravity's Rainbow”. I have not read said book, but hmmm I remember when DEVO came out as a band I thought it was about “wanking” – the press thought it was about whips, chains and women dressed in black. Evidently, I am so under educated that I am simply missing the Pynchon connection. Any literary thoughts on “Gravity’ Rainbow” with comparison to “Whip it” would be appreciated…


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

no comments? where are all the braniacs that usually rip into you. oh well, I read the whole blog and it was to cerebral for me. gave me such a headache I did not even feel like "wanking" it. Maybe I will go pull out an old copy of one of my "Archie" comic books and relax.

bwcubed said...

must have hit wrong button, not anonymous, bwcubed. cant stand to hide behind anonymous.

Anonymous said...

maybe you should hide behind anonymous.

Raspootin said...

If 80% of my peers did not comment under anonymous I would simply delete the option.

Thanks for the comment bwcubed. I must admit writing the post gave me a headache. I was testing the interaction between youtube and blogger and thought I should write something to go with "Whip It" instead of just deleting it.

I still have no idea what DEVO was really trying to say... I guess I need to read the novel.

S&M and “wanking” are probably more interesting than their true literary intent.