Snark Away, Or: How Not to Use Repetition

Once upon a time, I heard “Firework” by Katy Perry. It unleashed snark deep within my soul. This is an old piece, polished up, that I wrote a while back, loaded with snark, in honour of today’s Daily Prompt. I come in peace.

The song starts “do you ever feel like a plastic bag”. Plastic bags are inanimate objects, they don’t feel anything. And on the very slim chance they did feel something, the next logical question would be what do they feel? Since they have no ability to speak or in any other way express any thing (except an ad for a store) we don’t know how it would feel. Imagine asking a plastic bag “how do you feel about… whatever. The economy? Politics? Globalisation? Vampires? Leprechauns that tap-dance around with glitter?”. Said bag would NOT respond.

The second bit of this verse seems as silly as the first. “Do you ever feel so paper thin, like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?”. For a start, I guess this is metaphorically, as people can’t be paper-thin. I guess it relates to emotionally feeling paper-thin: but how does it feel to feel paper thin? To what emotion is it related? Stress? Anger? Or happy? Relaxed? There is nothing to specify. The next line doesn’t make much sense to me either. A house of cards takes the littlest thing to collapse, just the act of placing one card onto another can cause them all to fall. To my earlier point: how does a house of cards feel? Especially when its about to collapse? Again, inanimate object. Can’t tell us anything. I also think cave in is  too dramatic. Buildings cave in. A house of cards doesn’t have enough weight to be able to cave in. At most, cards just kind of flutter to the ground.

The second verse… Six feet under is how deep in the ground a coffin is. So if you were buried six feet under, you’d be under a hell of a lot of earth and stuff, and it would be an absolute miracle if anyone did hear you scream-or if you survived to start with. Then there’s the question of how you were buried alive in the first place.

There is apparently a spark in you. Consider all the potential sparks. In fires. Fireworks. Electricity. That welding thing you do in hard materials. These sparks are dangerous. Kids aren’t supposed to light fireworks for this reason. And in hard materials, you’re required to wear goggles should a spark fly up at you. Thus, it’s kind of worrying to think you have a spark in you. Again with the metaphor, because it’d be a mental spark. Even then, sparks tend to fizz out fairly quick. Then what? You’ve got a spark in you… for about three seconds, and then you don’t. Technicality? Maybe. Because apparently once your magic spark has gone out, it will just as magically reignite itself.

“You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine”. Fair enough, except what light, and how do you ignite it? And what if you don’t want to? Also, most lights have a bulb. What happens if one day you go to ignite it and the bulb’s gone out? Do you then get to replace it?

“Just own the night like the 4th of July”. Great! Own the night, like one night of the year. The only reason I make mention of this bit at all is the title of Lady Antebellum’s third album-Own The Night.

“Cause baby you’re a firework.” You are a firework? You, a person, are a firework? A nice sentiment. Until you consider that fireworks, while very pretty, are very temporary. Look at any firework display, ever. Rugby World Cup 2011. Guy Fawkes. You light a firework, it explodes in a brief shower of colour, light and noise, and promptly dies. So this metaphor doesn’t work at all. If we’re all fireworks, and you reconcile that with what I just said, you’d expect our world’s population to die out pretty quick.

The next line-”come on, show them what you’re worth”… What are you worth? As a firework, you might be expensive-look at those really big boxes of fireworks-or something a lot cheaper. And of course, cheaper ones are the more low-key ones.

“As you shoot across the sky”. All well and good, but about the only things that actually do shoot across the sky are comets and Santa’s sleigh, which isn’t real. Besides which, fireworks don’t shoot across the sky. They go high into the air, yes. But that’s about it. I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t recall seeing fireworks cross the sky like a comet.

The next verse is basically repetition, with like two words changed. The last line though-”you’re gonna leave them falling down”. What? How are people going to be falling down witnessing a fireworks display? I could possibly understand it if they were drunk, or really tired, but that’s about the only way I see this making sense. Also, it could be said that fireworks fall back to earth, so firework/you will be the one falling, not the people standing around watching.

Next verse. “You don’t have to feel like a waste of space. You’re original, cannot be replaced”. I think this is the best thing in the entire song. You are original, it’s true, and replacing you is exceptionally difficult. No two people are precisely alike.

“If you only knew what the future holds. After a hurricane comes a rainbow”. What? Good god. Let’s start with the first line. No-one knows what the future holds. At all. It’s simply not possible. Okay, some might say psychics do, but how much is based in coincidence? Moving on. Rainbows generally don’t come after hurricanes. I don’t know, they might, but the more pressing concern would be: damage? Loss of life? People would be calling loved ones and checking for damage. I’ve never actually been in a region where a really big hurricane has hit, but I’ve seen news coverage. Logic, people.

Then… A multitude of closed doors mean you’re able to open one to the perfect road? I once read somewhere that if one door closes, kick open a window. (Not literally, I imagine it’s expensive and I don’t want it on my conscience). Also, no such thing as perfection. Perfection is boring. It doesn’t exist.

“Like a lightening bolt, your heart will blow”. Huh? Sounds painful.

“And when it’s time, you’ll know.” Time for what, and how will you know? I guess we’re going back to the magic again.

On to: “Boom, boom, boom. Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon.” Too much repetition, especially as it happens again. Why the need to repeat moon three times? Are we sure she’s talking about the moon? I have my doubts.

“It’s always been inside of you, you, you, and now it’s time to let it through.” Again, repetition. Vagueness too. What is this “it” that has always been inside of you? How do you let it through? Also, if it’s time now, does that mean that doing so any time later isn’t right? Like you’ve delayed it and thus done something utterly heinous? Or maybe you did it at some point in the past, but you messed up and now have no chance of ever doing “it” again? I feel like you need to be a time-travelling unicorn to sort this stuff out. Since unicorns are not real, you’re out of luck.

Chorus again, and I’m not going to repeat stuff you’ve already read.

Last bit. I feel like I’m being hit over the head with a tablespoon. Full of irritating repetition. Six “boom’s” and six “moon’s”. Just make it go away. I’m tuning out at this point.

8 thoughts on “Snark Away, Or: How Not to Use Repetition”

  1. I had a coffee accident with “in hard materials, you’re required to wear goggles should a spark fly up at you. ” A lovely, delightful post–your serious inquiry was more a parody of academic interpretation for me than the song, which, oddly, your dissection elevates for me. I think I like that song now.


    1. My apologies for the coffee incident. Thank you – I think at the time I was doing a close analysis for English, and I treated the song in much the same way, picking out lines and finding meaning. I don’t think I set out to deliberately make this, as you say, a parody of academic interpretation, but no matter. Unfortunately, the repetition put me off the song. I found it too catchy.


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