Posts Tagged ‘community’

Doomsday Preppers: David Mays

Alright, folks. It would seem DP has finally jumped the shark—or at the very least, hit peak media oversaturation, and exhausted its fifteen minutes as a rating$ juggernaut—and stopped producing new episodes, which mean there are only two I have left to cover this season…and I really couldn’t be happier. It’ll be a big weight lifted off my shoulders when I won’t have to subject myself to watching this program (one which, in the big picture, turned out to be pretty sensationalist, exploitative, and generally detestable) for the bigger purpose of uncooling its message.

It’s not 2012 anymore, and I think folks are kinda sick of ‘reality’ shows about midlife-crisis, middle-class white guys with more money than sense, delusions of grandeur, and hard-ons for ‘tactical’ weaponry and foodbuckets. Don’t worry, they’re still out there; but the media landscape has (unsurprisingly) shifted over the past two years to the point where Prepperdom isn’t such a hot commodity anymore. Which is fine by me, because while it means a little less blog traffic for this page, it also means less toxic, deluded, status quo-y notions being broadcast into the public mindspace.

Anyway, episode ‘Nobody Will Be Ready’ cuts between the two Davids from Tennesseee; both guys are supposedly (but not unreasonably) preparing for a quake along the New Madrid fault line.
First up is David Mays:

© NatGeo/Sharp Entertainment

Transparency clause: David and his wife Holly run an essential oils business (remember, this show has almost always been about ‘preppers’ using their appearance as publicity for their own enterprises).
Even though they live in a tract of burbland, their family seems to be taking some good first steps to increase their self-reliance by raising silkie chickens in the backyard, and growing aeroponic vegetables in a vertical garden tower.

But David’s main hobby, it seems, is flying drones!
Huh.
While the military-capitalist-corporate-industrial hegemons rain down remote-piloted death and destruction on foreign civilians of colour, here at home the basic technology has trickled down to the prosumer level, allowing armchair hobbyists to tinker about and remote-pilot their own camera-equipped drones around their pre-apocalyptic suburban wastelands! Isn’t our modern age great?

David’s plan post-quake is apparently to use his ‘drone army’ to ‘patrol’ his neighborhood, and equip them with various payloads—like one of those GoPro cameras that are all the rage right now, or a disposable camera-turned-improvised taser, or an ultralight silver parachute of medical supplies.
I dunno, I feel like it might just be easier and more productive/rewarding for David and/or the family to get out in the neighborhood on foot, meet their neighbors face-to-face, and start turning their subdivision into an actual community. Get a couple more families in the cul-de-sac on the chickens-and-gardening bandwagon and they could have the seeds of a nice little self-reliant network. Just a suggestion.

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Doomsday Preppers: Kevin Barber

Like I said, ‘We Are the Marauders’ thankfully only referred to the previous numbskull. The other half of the episode consists of an update from a previous family profiled at the end of Season Two. And even better, this is a family that’s doing great things!
That’s right, Kevin Barber is back!

and, might I say, rocking a sweet suntan!

Last time we saw them, the Barbers had just packed up their suburban Kansas lives into a shipping container and moved to Costa Rica, where they set up a chicken coop and proceeded to eat a dozen kinds of fruit right off the trees.

They’re still required to have a single-issue preparedness motivator, so Kevin’s is still US&A Economic Collapse, but unlike pretty much every other person who talks into the camera on this show, Kevin doesn’t sound scared, paranoid, or like he’s spoiling for a fight, post-collapse. Instead, there’s just calm, levelheaded, healthy confidence. I wonder why that is? Could it be—just maybe—that Kevin seems to have peace of mind because his family’s survival plan takes a form that actually addresses his feared disaster? He’s not focused on hoarding guns, bullets, and purchased foodbuckets, or buttoning up in a concrete bunker—the Type I strategy held up by most would-be preppers as the one-size-fits-all ‘solution’ to every collapse contingency; such thinking is painfully inside-the-Box and as such only serves to play into the hand of the capitalist/consumerist system that bred the collapse in the first place. I have to believe the aura of fear that most preppers fairly radiate can only result from the realization that deep down, they know these ‘solutions’ are only temporary stop-gap measures: kicking the can, if you will, another six months or so further down the road (hmm, much like the US&A’s current infuriating pattern of debt-ceiling limit raising).
On the other hand we have Kevin Barber – who, instead of stumbling forward blind and unthinking, has hit the brakes on his suburban American daydream life long enough to take a good look at it, see what needs fixing, and make concrete changes to his way of life.

Down on their tropical homestead, we see Kevin and his wife setting up rain barrels for water storage, showing off their chicken coop, and compost system. In an extension of their last appearance, they’re now butchering their own chicken by themselves, AND they say some nice words for it before they dispatch it! Awesome.

However, the majority of the segment follows the family as they set up an aquaponics system, which unfortunately is chopped into five-minute snippets and spliced with said previous ‘marauder’ asshat. Blerg, I swear, the decision this season to intercut between segments has resulted in a whittling down of actual material by about half…which means the other half is spent recapping what we’ve just seen five minutes before. Ultimately I’m afraid it’s a chicken-or-egg quandary—is this kind of programming a cause of shorter attention spans, or simply appealing to them?

While they’re working on getting set up, a caption suggests that aquaponics may date back to the Aztec use of floating gardens (the chinampa system), which is a pretty cool idea; I’d never thought of it like that before, but it’s totally valid!
When the time comes for Kevin to dig the pits to put his various fish ponds and algae tanks in, he doesn’t foolishly attempt to do it single-handedly (as you might expect of a deluded, gung-ho, lone-wolf prepper)—he gets the neighbors involved! AND he speaks Spanish while working with them! Imagine that! Building community by coming to together to build a system that can contribute to a local, resilient economy! In other words, Kevin has taken a gigantic step towards true survival, a notion that terrifies Amerikans—he has ‘gone native’. How’s that for progress?!

In the end, this family is too cool. Major thumbs-up. Their ducks look to be all in a row, and they have the groundwork laid for a great life off the grid…now if people in this country would only realize that they could do the same thing, without moving to Costa Rica.

Doomsday Preppers: Rodney Dial

I had really hoped Doomsday Preppers had jumped the shark after their mini-season, but alas.
And so…they’re back. Can we really be surprised this show—loathsome parade of swagger and dick-measuring that it is—got picked up for a third season? When ratings (=profit$) are involved, of course not!
Because I really do have better things to do, until I see someone on this show doing really good things (y’know, demonstrating positive, life-affirming attitudes, progressive thinking, and real solutions—in other words, the polar opposite of what I think we’re in for this season), I’m gonna try and keep these commentaries short.
S03E01(‘Take Back the Country!’) opens with Rodney Dial of Ketchikan, Alaska.
© NatGeo/Sharp EntertainmentHe’s worried about “a major earthquake in the Alaska area”, which would likely result in a large tsunami. This is not entirely irrational, seeing how he’s right on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

As we’ve come to expect by this point, Rodney couches his fears using the same worn-out Survivalist mantra of ‘after three days without groceries, people go crazy!’. But don’t worry, because he also believes that “after a tsunami, only those who know how to live off the land would survive”.
Of course this sequence is intercut with a bunch of stock footage of rioting crowds in urban centers, which really clashes when juxtaposed against Ketchikan’s “quiet fishing village”. Seriously, with the right pre-disaster attitude, a small-ish town (Ketchikan is only about 8,000 people) stands a way better chance (compared to a major metropolis) of actually becoming a real community and coming together for mutual support in the event of a disaster!

Rodney apparently has “20 years of military experience”, so you know what that means—he’s all about black tactical crap, big talk, and showing off! Oh, and he runs a tattoo parlor.
Apparently, he’s dropped $100k on his wholly misguided ‘preps’—these include a 5,000-gallon grain-bin-as-rain-barrel (cool idea, but how watertight would that be?) and only six months’ worth of food storage (for a family of three), but don’t worry, he has a tank! (clearly used as mobile advertising for his tattoo shop):

© NatGeo/Sharp Entertainment

boys and their toys…*eyeroll*

Our narrator points out Rodney’s battlewagon is designed “to establish authority”—in other words, let folks know you’re the one holding power over their lives. This, of course, has been the policy of every Younger Culture military from Uruk up to Amerika: flaunt all the life-destroying goodies you’ve made, to keep the citizenry in line and make sure they know who’s in charge.
Rodney’s teenage daughter thinks dad’s tank is “kind of embarrassing”, and I have to agree—seriously, couldn’t he have just bought a red convertible like all the other mid-life crisis dads?

There’s a bit where Rodney goes scubadiving for sea cucumbers for the family to eat. “They’re everywhere here!” he says, which I’m pretty sure is exactly what they said about Atlantic cod, bluefin tuna, and the American bison. Thankfully, as soon as Rodney says that, a caption pops up, mirroring my thoughts—letting us know that overharvesting of sea cucumbers is strictly regulated. Of course, such in-system sanctions do nothing to combat the deeper, more insidious implications: this Man helps himself to these organisms because he has been taught by his culture that he is superior to them, and so he can continue to exploit them, giving nothing back, until they are gone. This is the pattern of our civilization.

About half of Rodney’s segment is wrapped up with his delusion of making underwater supply tube-caches to keep goodies out of the hands of his lawless neighbors. There’s some drama resulting from forcing a typical teenage girl to do something she doesn’t want to (she gets a piece of metal in her eye; she gets better), meh. They weld up these steel tubes and drop them out in the ocean (hope they don’t rust in the saltwater!), because if they can’t have supplies, nobody can! (or…something). Apparently, while they don’t want to rely on a boat (which could be lost in our hypothetical tsunami) to retrieve their caches, they do want to rely on terrestrial landmarks like trees? I got news for ya, dude—if your tsunami does go down, the landscape’s gonna look pretty different.
At least he has a cool improvised tank-free diving setup, using an innertube, compressor and battery.

Oh, and of course: to keep us watching, it looks like they’re cutting each show’s segments together, so unlike in previous seasons, we don’t just get a 15-minute block of JoeBob, then a block of BobbyJoe. This of course gives the producers more opportunities for dramatic cutaways. Ugh.

Aaannnd…it also looks like they’ve done away with season two’s ‘expert assessment’ scores? We still have an ‘assessment’ section, but it’s not quantitative: it’s mostly just the narrator telling our subjects ‘good job on buying enough stuff to make you feel ‘prepared’; now think about how you’re going to refill those foodbuckets’.

The Suburbs: ‘Deep Blue’

Here are my place and time
And here in my own skin, I can finally begin
Let the century pass me by
Standing under a night sky, tomorrow means nothing

It was with this song that I first started to suspect that there was an ‘Arcade Fire Sound’, which I can now articulate as ‘dystopian songs in A-minor with funky electronic backings’.
Once again, we have a reference to at long last being able to start or begin. Could it be that our singer—like that of The Smashing Pumpkins’ Muzzle, with its epiphanic climaxis at last at peace with his place in the world? After all, in the infinitude of multiverse, there can really only be one you in this time, this place.
As for that last line, the night sky falls neatly into the category of uncivilized Wild imagery; when you spend time soaking in the non-human world, you begin to realize how silly our attempts to control the flow of time really are. Spend an evening stargazing and tomorrow really does mean nothing. Here’s an experiment: go to bed early one night, then get up an hour or two before sunrise, and just watch and experience how the sky changes colour in the foredawn. There’s something sublime about the slow glow of a sunrise that the instantaneous flick of an electrically-charged liquid crystal can never capture.

I was only a child then feeling barely alive
when I heard a song from the speaker of a passing car
And prayed to a dying star, the memory’s fading
I can almost remember singing la la la, la la la la…

Now, another quintessential-Butler verse vignette: our singer as a boy (if it’s Win, this takes place in the ’80s), a car drives past, the radio plays some half-forgotten song. As for the identity of that song, Win has suggested that it might’ve been Depeche Mode, which would be pretty awesome if that’s the case. My real question is—what’s the dying star? Is it the general state of things, or our relationship with technology (because at its heart, that’s what this—and the next—song is all about)?

We watched the end of the century
Compressed on a tiny screen, a dead star collapsing,
and we could see that something was ending
Are you through pretending? We saw its signs in the suburbs!

Now, after turning the page of the millennial calendar, things are different. Glowing screens abound; people walk around all day with shiny devices stuck to their faces, cutting them off from all those around them; people experience life with gadget-screen as intermediary, recording and uploading every trifling moment of our lives. We’re connected, but we’re not connecting.
When our singer “was only a child”, the star (and the state of things) was merely dying; twenty-odd years (an entirely insignificant amount of time, on the planetary scale) later, that star has now died, and begun to collapse.
What could they see that was ending? While I’d like to say ‘the System’ or ‘the suburban way of life’, I think it would hit closer to the mark to say a world in which people were just people—we weren’t completely married to (and overly reliant upon) our beeping, glowing screens just quite yet.
I suppose it’s possible the Singularity is the endpoint of this path down which we’re blindly proceeding, but we must remember that it didn’t happen overnight, the signs were there in the ’burbs for all to see.

fate
You could never have predicted that it could see through you,
Kasparov, Deep Blue, 1996
Your mind’s pulling tricks now
The show is over so take a bow, we’re living in the shadows of…(something unintelligible)

Solid recent-history reference. For those of you who might not have been around or were busy watching MTV in 1996, Deep Blue was the IBM supercomputer that—with shades of Watson— saw through and beat chess champion Gary Kasparov in their first game. Granted, Kasparov eventually won the six-game match 4-2, but Deep Blue won the rematch 3½-2½ the following year.

Was Kasparov’s loss—to a machine—one of the “signs” seen in the suburbs?

The bit about living in the shadows is tricky, because it gets lost in the mix under the “la la la la” refrain; it might be “shadows of the night”, “shadows of the song”(that’d be a nice callback), or “shadows of the lie”, each of which could alter the interpretation of the song.

Hey, put the cellphone down for a while
In the night there is something wild, can you hear it breathing?
And hey, put the laptop down for a while
In the night there is something wild, I feel it, it’s leaving me

Note that they don’t sing, “Hey, throw the cellphone/laptop away”, just to “put [it] down for a while”. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the technology—cellphones and computers aren’t innately bad, if you use them to talk to friends and loved ones instead of playing Angry Birds or trolling the comment sections of Youtube—just don’t abuse and overdo it to the point of becoming grotesque and rococo, “where you have all this information that you don’t need or want but the medium is there so it’s filled up.”

(And yes, I’m completely aware of the irony that I’m writing this on my laptop, to be broadcast out into the electronic aether to be read by strangers. But at least when I’m done, I’m going to do just what Win and Regine say, and put the laptop down for a while, and go do some wood- and leatherworking with handtools.)

The Suburbs: ‘Wasted Hours’

As it closes, Month of May forms yet anther two-part movement with a fade from thumpy 80s rock into laid-back strummy guitar.

All those wasted hours we used to know
Spent the summer staring out the window
The wind, it takes you where it wants to go

Here in this song is where we see the origin of the message most people take away from this album—that “wasted time is sometimes more meaningful than the stuff that “matters”. Those carefree days in which, while we didn’t do anything ‘productive’, we made friends and goofed off and hung out, and gods willing, hopefully we’ll keep in touch with them after we are shoved out the door into the ‘real world’ (aka the wage-slave prison).
I like how the verse’s last line has an element of allowing oneself to be swept along by a natural force. You don’t go where you want to go—you go where the wind wants to go. Don’t try to force your ego and desires; instead, yield to and follow those natural currents.

First they built the road, then they built the town
That’s why we’re still driving around and around
And all we see are kids in buses longing to be free

Hmm, I have the strangest feeling we’ve heard this before… As before:
LLipton-Round&Round
Why, I wonder, are all these kids trying desperately to escape? Could it be perhaps that the Suburbs (and the System as a whole) don’t work for people?

Some cities make you lose your head
Endless suburbs stretched out thin and dead
And what was that line you said?
Something about how our time it owns us…

Interesting how it’s some—not all—cities; I guess the key is finding the ones that don’t make you go crazy. Powerful last line, and I have the damnedest time expressing it in words, so here’s some propaganda I hope expresses the same sentiment:
time was made for slaves - smash the clocks of domination
Wishing you were anywhere but here
You watch the life you’re living disappear
And now I see, we’re still kids in buses longing to be free:
SuckerPunchBusToParadise

In this verse, our singer sees his old friend from the wasted hours in the suburbs. The friend has likely ‘grown up’ and done all the things Our Culture says we’re supposed to do to be ‘successful’—go to college, get a job, buy a car, work your way up the ladder, get married, have some kids, &c.—and as a result he has become stuck in the Prison of a nine-to-five, 40-hour-week job, order takeout for supper, glued to the television every evening, beer and televised sports on the weekends. He is miserable and wants out  (first line ^), as this soul-crushing industrialized way of life is antithetical to the idea of freedom that they likely clung to as youngsters before they were fully ‘civilized’. In this routine, each year goes by in a blur, each one faster than the one before (second line ^).

Wasted hours before we knew where to go and what to do
Wasted hours that you made new and turned into a life that we can live

 I was seventeen when the last Star Wars film came out. I had spent the previous ten years immersing myself in that galaxy far, far away, absorbing the lessons encoded in those frames of film. One day in May, my best friend and I put the finishing touches on our junior year of high school, went home to watch the first two episodes, went to the midnight showing of the third, drove home, slept in the yard, and spent the next day watching the classic trilogy back-to-back. When it was over, I looked at him and I asked, “Now what? What do we do now?” That decade we spent hobbit-camping in the woods and studying the holy trilogies was our Wasted Hours. I think I decided that day that I needed to use what I’d learned, to ensure those hours weren’t just killing time before I got forced into a meaningless job. Which is why I teach those lessons I first learned from Old Ben and the others in everything I do—lessons of the Living Force and my place in the community of life, that are written on the universe for all to see. I hope I’ve taken those hours and “turned them into a life that we can live”.

The Suburbs: ‘Suburban War’

In Suburban War—which will take us to The Suburb’s halfway mark—we see reminders of most of the album’s main themes, including nostalgia for passed youth, alienation, war, driving, and escape, plus a very interesting notion that (like most songs on the album) solidly links back to previous material. The track begins with a beautifully bleak solo guitar playing the main riff, which is soon joined by pounding drums and high, keening fills and strummed chords from a second and third guitar(?).

Let’s go for a drive and see the town tonight
There’s nothing to do but I don’t mind when I’m with you
This town’s so strange, they built it to change
And while we sleep, we know the streets get rearranged

Boy, that’s yet another problem with the way our whole postpostmodern Industrial Lifestyle Suburban System is designed (the ‘why’ for this will be better explained come the Month of May): it doesn’t matter if you’re bored, scared, or otherwise “don’t feel right”—the answer is always ‘Go drive.’ Burning some more fossil fuels is sure to make you feel better.
And again, more changing streets and towns. Unlike the Shire, it seems things in the Suburbs and Sprawl aren’t “made to endure”. By this point in the album, I’m really starting to feel bad for the suburban kids who grew up in what sounds like a constantly-shifting landscape. Out in the country where I grew up, ‘changing streets’ meant that the highway department came through every few years and laid down some tar and fresh gravel.

With my old friends: we were so different then before your war against the suburbs began…before it began
Now the music divides us into tribes, you grew your hair, so I grew mine
You said the past won’t rest until we jump the fence and leave it behind

It’s in songs and passages like this one that people really key in on the nostalgic themes of the album. Now we come to a very exciting concept in this verse’s second line: a connection between tribalism and Music. Although it is said to “soothe the savage beast”, is Butler here proposing that in Music is found an escape from the civilizing influences of the suburbs? Possibly, if it be authentic. But such escape can be double-sided, however: if those tribes are just corporate cookiecutter scenes (see the now-meaningless labels like ‘indie’, ‘emo’, ‘metal’, ‘goth’, ‘punk’, ‘gangsta’, ‘hardcore’, &c promulgated by such outlets as Hot Topic) this inevitably leads to the empty lifestyle described in Rococo, which laments for victims of commodification and branding at the hands of the Merchants of Cool.
Finally, note the use in the third line of penal-system diction—escape from the Taker mind-prison is possible only by turning one’s back and “[jumping] the fence”.

With my old friends: I can remember when you cut your hair, I never saw you again
Now the cities we live in could be distant stars, and I search for you in every passing car

If there’s one good thing that can be said about Scenes from the Suburbs (luckily there are in fact many good things to be said about that film), it is that it fully elucidates this verse.
Here, however, is where it gets personal for me—because back in high school, I was the one who grew his hair and inspired his best friend to do the same; I was the one who cut his hair the day after graduation, I was the one who discovered deep-green, anarcho-primitivism and declared war on the whole System (and the suburbs along with it). Now, though those friends live in the ’burbs only an hour or two away, they’re sucked into the quicksand of the suburban American Dream wage slave rat-race and we see each other maybe three times a year. Distant stars, indeed.

The nights are warm, yeah, the night is so long
I’ve been living in the shadows of your song

This is a puzzling reference back to a line from Ready to Start: “I would rather be wrong than live in the shadows of your song”. So, if our Suburban War singer has been living in those shadows, what then does that mean? That he has been right? Right about what?

In the suburbs I, I learned to drive
People told me we would never survive
So grab your mother’s keys, we leave tonight

Preceded by plaintive moans, this subtly-different reprise of the album’s opening lines packs a much greater sense of urgency and bleakness. Compare to:
“In the suburbs I learned to drive/And you told me we’d never survive/Grab your mother’s keys, we’re leaving…”
Through all these songs, Butler seems to suggest that the only way to survive the suburbs…is to escape them.

You started a war that we can’t win
They keep erasing all the streets we grew up in
Now the music divides us into tribes:
You choose your side, I’ll choose my side

I’m assuming that the “war we can’t win” is the war against the suburbs begun by our singer’s lost friend in the second verse. If some find it troubling that someone like Butler sees a conflict against the Suburbs/Sprawl/System as hopeless, they’re not getting the message. It would seem that the answer encoded in the Arcade Fire’s works isn’t ‘rage against the machine, tear down the suburbs, and start over’, but something more like, ‘find your tribe, turn your back on the suburbs, and don’t look back. If you’re doing something that works, people will recognize that and take notice.’ That is, things won’t change if the bluepills are simply told not to live the way they currently do—they must be see that there is an alternate way that provides for all their needs, and works.
With this verse’s final couplet, Butler seems to bare his teeth and draw a line in the sand, restating his prayer that he “won’t live to see the death of everything that’s wild.

But my old friends, they don’t know me now
All my old friends are staring through me now
All my old friends wait…

The pounding climax of the song is alienation, plain and simple. It might have resulted from change (“we were so different then”), or it might be by choice (“I would rather be alone than pretend I feel alright”). But while our singer’s “old friends wait” (for things to change?), he is through with waiting; it’s time to do.

The Suburbs: ‘The Suburbs’



In the suburbs I learned to drive
And you told me we’d never survive
Grab your mother’s keys we’re leaving

Three words in and we’re already knee-deep in the ’burbs; the singer relates how he gained that all-important skill for postwar civilized life—driving—in the cul-de-sacs and tract housing that is The Suburbs.
One must wonder on what grounds it was believed they wouldn’t survive in the ’burbs?, because our Mother Culture’s conventional wisdom is that the ’burbs are a great place to live. Regardless, if they’re not going to survive (maybe because the system the suburbs are built upon is inherently unsustainable and unsurvivable?), they’re getting out.
We haven’t seen the last of this sublime little triplet of a verse, and it will show up again—with some subtly powerful changes—around the halfway point of the album. Start checking off those keyword themes, kids: twenty words in and we’ve already touched on a place (the suburbs), driving, and Escape.

You always seemed so sure that one day we’d be fighting in a suburban war,
Your part of town against mine.
I saw you standing on the opposite shore
But by the time the first bombs fell, we were already bored.

The second verse introduces what is probably this album’s biggest connection to Neon Bible, ominous war imagery. As the album’s first scene, Scenes From the Suburbs covers this concisely in the first thirty seconds as our heartsick narrator explains, “There was always some sort of conflict going on…towns would attack each other if a golf course was built too close to a border, or if a shopping center gave off too much light pollution…”.
As to why they “were already bored”, your guess is as good as mine. I’ll say it was something to do with millennial emotional numbness and desensitivity as a result of overexposure to hyperviolent mass media.

The kids want to be so hard
But in my dreams we’re still screaming
And running through the yard
When all of the walls that they built in the ’70’s finally fall,
And all of the houses they built in the ’70’s finally fall
Meant nothing at all?
It meant nothing…

Ah-ha, our first mention of The Kids! They want to be tough, because our Mother Culture tells them that’s how they should be, to bury their feelings deep down? However, despite their attempts “to be so hard”, they’re still screaming in dreams. What kind of screaming is it—fearful (the bombs are falling, remember?) or existentially frustrated (the suburbs are a stultifying environment for restless youth)?
And what of the walls and houses from the Seventies? Are they falling due to the bombs, or due to abandoned decay, or are they only metaphor for things that keep us from connecting with each other?

Sometimes I can’t believe it
I’m moving past the feeling
And into the night

We move on to the falsetto refrain, possibly restating a sentiment of emotional deadness. But now our singer is moving into the night. The harsh orange glare from the sodium-vapour streetlights doesn’t penetrate into that shadowy area, so why go there? Perhaps that is the reason for the attraction?: as we will see, “in the Night there is something Wild”, out of reach of the civilizing grasp of the Suburbs.

So can you understand
Why I want a daughter while I’m still young?
I want to hold her hand, and show her some beauty,
Before all this damage is done.
But it it’s too much to ask, then send me a son.

In this verse we hear another motif from Neon Bible, the request for a child. Note, however, that the reason for the request has evolved from its previous, exploitative iteration—
“Oh God, would you send me a child?/Because I want to put it up on the TV screen/So the world can see what your true word means/Lord, won’t you send me a sign?/Because I just got to know if I’m wasting my time” (Antichrist Television Blues)—to the entirely healthier appeal of the above verse. Believing that “damage” (read: destruction) is looming (in the form of the World War mentioned in Windowsill and City With No Children, or in the violent collapse of the suburban/civilized system?), he wants to show his daughter at least something nice before it all goes up in flames.

Under the overpass, in the parking lot, we’re still waiting
It’s already passed
So move your feet from hot pavement and into the grass
Cause it’s already passed!

Our final verse gives us vignettes in the first line—visualized in SFTS
of the Kids killing time in the Sprawl. It’s hard to tell (Butler’s lyrics jump around from past to present tense and back again), but I suppose the first two lines could be the singer looking back narrating the scene of his youth—“Look at us, wasting hours, waiting for our lives to begin”—with that third line directed at his past self, essentially saying, “Get out!”
Here one wonders what is “already passed” that makes the singer implore us to step off the asphalt and onto the cool green? Is it that the time of the suburbs itself is passed, and it’s time to imagine a different way to organize ourselves and form communities, one that is more organic and better-suited to humans? Or that we should first simply seek out the organic and discover the new way on our own? Either way, these closing lines seem to direct us to get out of the concrete jungle and into the Wild.