Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fight For Your Id

Today, I would like to examine an American musical masterpiece, Fight For Your Right, by the Beastie Boys, from a psychological perspective. I can only hope to scratch the surface of the wisdom contained therein. It would take a finer mind than mine to plumb the depths of meaning in these complex phrases.

Kick it! The brilliance here is evident from the very first line, which evokes the powerful imagery of the act of kicking it. One can almost feel the visceral joy of said kick.

You wake up late for school man you don't wanna go. Immediately, the song addresses the central theme, which is the internal struggle between what Freud labeled the Id and the Superego. The Id, of course, is the subject's unconscious desires, versus the Superego, or the pressure felt to adhere to societal mores; in this case, going to school.
You ask your mom, "Please?" but she still says, "No!" Here, the struggle becomes externalized, as a direct confrontation between the Id-driven self and an authority figure.
You missed two classes and no homework. Now we have an attempt to assuage the thwarted Id with a partial victory over the enforced adherence to the rules.
But your teacher preaches class like you're some kind of jerk. Now the Id lashes out, projecting the resentment felt toward the parental figure onto a substitute authority figure.
You gotta fight for your right to party. Ultimately, this struggle is won, at least internally, by the Id, as we see from the confrontational nature of the chorus.
Your pops caught you smoking and he said, "No way!" This time, the authority figure is male, but the theme continues.
That hypocrite smokes two packs a day. The fact that both the subject and the parental figure are male may compound the conflict with Oedipal overtones.
Man, living at home is such a drag. Here, the subject expresses his frustration with the restrictions placed upon him within the parental home.
Now your mom threw away your best porno mag. Busted! This line further suggests that an Oedipus complex may be a secondary subject in the work.
[repeat chorus]
Don't step out of this house if that's the clothes you're gonna wear.
I'll kick you out of my home if you don't cut that hair. Both of these lines serve to reinforce the subjects feeling of impotence in the face of authority.
Your mom busted in and said, "What's that noise?" Here, the subject's preferences (at least in music) are openly challenged.
Aw, mom you're just jealous it's the Beastie Boys! Because of his feelings of powerlessness, his response is classically passive-aggressive.
[repeat chorus]

I mean, wow. Heavy stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment