28 August, 2006

Reflection on Pearl Jam's "Jeremy"

You may have seen the video I embedded from Pearl Jam and as I was reviewing, I was struck by the flashing image or text: "Genesis 3:6." I wasn't surprised by a biblical reference because I've noted many allusions to bibilical material in Eddie Vedder's work, but I was interested to see what the reference was in connnection with the video. The verse is quoted here from the University of Virginia's etext library:

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
The verse refers to the "original sin" of Eve in her disobedience to God for eating of the tree of knowledge. The chapter begins with this line:

"Now the serpent was more subtil. . ."

If you watch closely the images in the "Jeremy" video, you will see this exact line, including the King James spelling of "subtil"! What is all of this about?

As my previous blog explains, the youth in America are subjegated to many experiences that disengage them from society. Some of the experiences are through their interactions with their peers (clearly one of the themes/ideas in the song). Disengaement also happens personally in that young people moving into young adulthood have no clear sense of their own identity and thrash about, desparately, for some sort of connection. The onus of this disengagement, I believe, lies in the education system that has no clear mission defined for itself. We often mouth the importance of our youth, but we--as a culture--really do not put the resources where our mouths are. And what was visited upon the American Indian--dislocation and an attempt to erase traditional spirituality in the name of assimilation and American consumerism--is being visited upon our youth.

"Jeremy" is not the sinner in this song; he is the one sinned against. . .

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