Sunday, October 23, 2011

"We're Selling the News"

 Welcome to the holy city of silver screen
built with a lens and a low self esteem
 a teenager's plea for meaning and means
 we're selling the news 

Photo: Taxis in New York City
National Geographic-New York

This is the opening verse of the song "Selling the News" on Switchfoot's new album Vice Verses.  It's a fast song with a timely message about pop culture and the misplaced trust we place in the media.  Each line of this song has a meaning behind it that I believe we all need to hear NOW!

The first line of the song sets the scene, taking the listeners to a bustling city with shining buildings and chaotic streets (I always picture NYC).  Described as the "holy city," the world of business, money, and underhanded tricks has become our god.  Power is more important than virtue, and men step on each other's heads on their way up the ladder of success.  This whole song describes the sad state our country is in, and this first line defines why humanity has fallen so far into decay: we've replaced God with money.

"A lens and a low self esteem," are the building blocks of this society.  Our movies depict gorgeous women in tight clothes dominating handsome, idiotic men while racing through city streets in sleek cars or while sleeping in the same bed, succumbing to lust and upholding rebellion.  The actors are perfect, the scenarios dramatic, the morals non-existent, and the plot lines predictable.  The films are marketed to the people as a standard they should follow; each picture redefining love and life in a seemingly flawless way.  Yet, more and more of our citizens are on antidepressants, seeing mental therapists, committing suicide, and losing hope.  We all dream we're in the movies, trying to live our lives on the edge, yet inside we're all scared to death that the person sitting next to us on the subway might not like our outfits or ideas.  America has developed a huge ego, yet we've become a nation full of "sheeple" (hat's off to Michael Savage for that perfect word) too afraid to turn against the crowd.

The proof of this analyzation can be seen in America's teenagers.  The girls walk around without enough clothes and more than enough make-up, frowns on their faces and phones in hand while their boyfriends trot behind in baggy pants and hats turned backwards, apathetic looks on their faces.  All they want to find is happiness, that charge to make them feel alive.  This search for "meaning and means" takes them to the nearest theater, yet the medicine the movies prescribes only leaves them hung-over, pregnant, and even more alone and empty than they had been.  The culture is setting a bad example, and the teens are following it blindly.

Despite this corruption, the news carries on, reporting about the latest sexual scandal within the Church and defending murderers in other countries because they have lovely faces.  The all-powerful news that we trust is telling us the truth is delivered to us every day from the mouths of beautiful reporters with big smiles and crossed fingers.  The lady anchor won't tell us about the girl who died from a botched abortion yesterday, or about the Muslims taking over Europe, neither will she warn us about Hospice murdering its patients or doctors taking beating hearts out of accident victims because they agreed to be "organ donors."

This may all seem very depressing.  You may be reading this in disgust, thinking that things aren't really that bad and that this is all an exaggeration.  But this is only the beginning of the song; Switchfoot's hasn't finished uncovering the truth the media has been trying to hide.  And no matter how hard it is to hear, this is a message every American must listen to if we ever want to see our society improved.

Pray for America, that we will turn from our sinful ways and once again receive God's blessing.

(This is this first part of a nine-part series.  I'm going to analyze the rest of the song's verses, then in the last part discuss why, despite this darkness, we can still place our hope in the light.  Though there may be different posts interspersed amongst this series, I'm going to be focusing on this for the next two weeks.  I hope you will follow the posts, look up the song, and really think about the important message Switchfoot is trying to convey.  And may God bless you!)


  1. The line "a teenagers plea for meaning and means" should read "a teenagers plea for meaning and memes." A meme is "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." In the context of the song meme makes more sense than means.

  2. Hello Anonymous, thank you for taking time to read my blog!

    The lyrics posted throughout this series were taken directly from the CD insert that came with the Switchfoot CD; I double-checked and I have the words above correct.

    When it says means, it's talking about finding the purpose in life, and how to find it. It is used in the same way "means" is used in the saying: "The end justifies the means."

    Thank you for your comment, and thanks for teaching me a new word! :)

    God Bless!


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