Sunday, March 05, 2006

You Got the Wrong Intent

The lesson of The Intentional Fallacy is that we don’t have control over the ultimate meaning of our utterances. Artists, no matter the intent, can’t dictate the meaning of their work. Meaning requires interpretation and context, two ungovernables. The artistic inspiration may be lofty or crass, comical or earnest, but in the open air that all gets flipped around. It’s the problem of creation. Free will in the world.

And so it is that the Nugrape Twins (heard here on American Primitive Vol II from Revenant Records) may have thought they were recording a soda jingle. No one really knows what they were thinking when they made “I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape.” It’s possible that they were mimicking the hawking technique of a soft drink seller, or maybe they were hired to make a catchy song to sell soda. On the one hand, it’s obviously about so much more than soda pop. It’s about the capitalist blues: What you’re longing for is a product to make you happy. But it’s beyond all that, too.

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