Video for context: GG Allin “Legalize Murder”
Is junk rock, punk rock, the fringe of society’s music and culture any less important, or less relevant, somehow invalid in the view of society. If one simply delves deeper into the text that is lyrical composition, one may find that like the onion, depending on preparation, deliciously bitter, caramelized and sweet, does it not have layers, as do our internal organs when sliced thinly, and subjected to close examination under an electro microscope? Do my similies and metaphors, perhaps, stroke too broadly a brush. What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Nevermind.
So let’s read into this mofo.
“So many people I want to kill,
maybe I won’t, maybe I will.”
Given a biographical perspective of the author of this lyrical journey, which I won’t go into detail, because I have neither the energy nor inclination to expand upon the subject, this speaks to the disenfranchisement of the marginalized elements of society, the poor and mentally ill. Frustration at the exclusionary practices of the power structure that sets the folkways, and mores of our society. The need to lash back in extreme force against those who oppress us. The indecision and confusion that accompanies the struggle for identity and the damaged clarity of a life of uncertainty.
“Put the gun to your head,
blow you away.”
This passage lacks a degree of reasoning, but rather seems to be expressed in an espousal of dominance, and posturing towards a male dominance, where force and finality determine superiority.
“Fucking pigs, legalize,
Fucking pigs, legalize,
Fucking pigs, legalize,
legalize, legalize murder.”
Thus we come to the chorus, which works in rhythmic repetition. Pigs, a word commonly associated with the police, or those in a position of power. The call for the legalization of murder, a dominant taboo to varying degrees throughout most societies in the world, is a call for anarchy in response to a system that has perhaps had its failings for those who are disenfranchised and punished by society’s indifference towards them.
“I heard you say I’m that crazy man,
Son of a bitch with a gun in his hand,
You’re gonna know who I am today,
I’m your enemy.”
If examined closely this stanza of the song provides meaning beyond the surface of the text. He is not claiming himself to be the crazy man, but rather he has “heard” others tell him he is so. He is a victim of one of the most vicious of social stigmas, insanity, and if one follows the of labeling theory, it is perhaps one of the most damning things you can do to a person. Once they are ascribed to having mental defect, it damages their credibility and alters social perception towards the individual. See most notably the Rosenhan Experiment, where graduate students were placed in mental institutions, and their behavior was interpreted due to their false diagnoses as being mentally unsound.
“It’s all out war on my war path
A lethal kill, a savage blood bath
Stick a dagger deep in your chest
As life fades away”
On the surface perhaps this appears to be a further expansion on the arbitrary violence of the lyrics, but given the psychological ascription of projection, the nature of projection is to treat others as they have treated you, counterintuitive perhaps, but a widely held belief by many religious organizations, the confusion between the actual biblical thought of “Do unto others, as you would have them do to you,” rather subverted into “Do unto others as they have done to you,” the response being to lash out violently in the same manner as those have treated the victim. Responding to the stigma of being marginalized and taught that your life doesn’t matter, by offering the same back to the authoritative source.
“In a pool of blood, where you belong
In a dead dead heap, on
the cold cold ground
Watch you squirm, watch you murmur
Fucking pigs, legalize murder”
This is a response to being told oneself that there are only certain stations in the societal collective where one “belongs”. The dead heap perhaps the societal walls, invisible or visible given to those disenfranchised, a dead heap for which there is no traversing or overcoming, the decays of the ghetto, or forgotten urban landscapes, where those who are not welcomed into society are ascribed and placed. The cold ground echoes sentiments of the coldness that society regards them. The wanting of others to suffer the same fate as the disenfranchised, to be watched, from an uncaring distance, their demands, pleas, and concerns gone unheard, as if struck mute by the power structures in place. The final plea, for an unstructured world, without mores, folkways, and societal expectancies, which have failed them.
After this, the structure is repeated again. For emphasis, structure, and repetition, a second call to an uncaring world that words echo off of, but are never taken into consideration.