Jungleland - Bruce Springsteen, 1975
Under a literal microscope, the acronym referenced throughout this tweet translates to the “Shaking My Head” Crew. The letters are used as symbols to express the message, and Ezra’s grammatical choice to abbreviate and capitalize each one speaks enormously to the sense of unity that his “crew” will have in order to work together in such a “sick society.” By emphasizing that “we are” this crew, he argues that all people are inherently a part of this movement that aspires for a less sick society. Furthermore, Ezra is advocating a peaceful protest to the problems in the world we live in—instead of violence, his call to “S our H’s” reinforces that an emotional response is the most effective way of making a point. The act of shaking one’s head expresses disappointment rather than anger, and the thought of making another person ashamed rather than outraged often yields more change over time. Surely, the combination of this previously mentioned sense of unity and such an impassioned method of action will pave the way for the less sick society that Ezra envisions. His insights even leave an attitude of openness—no period follows “justice & peace,” so it is obvious that the fight for such changes in the world will be ongoing, without a definite end to the journey.
Hey people. So here it is — ezrakoenigclosereadings.
We all know Ezra Koenig has quite the reputation for his super deep (ridiculous) and thought provoking (confusing) tweets. So I’m going to do close readings of them (link for anyone unfamiliar with the term) with hopes that maybe you’ll find them funny. This is all in an effort to poke fun not just at him, but at the silliness of over-analysis. Fellow English majors, you know what I mean.
So here goes my silly little idea. And if you find this stupid—to quote the man himself—“suk a dog dik, motherfucker.”
ezra being creepy (x)
wow thats so funny thanks facebook
Here, Ezra plays with ambiguity as two conflicting interpretations of his tweet arise. “Generation Selfie,” an obvious reference to a trend in pop culture, could easily refer to the mass practice among young people and young adults of taking pictures of oneself for fun. However, what if Ezra is addressing something personal with this tweet? Examination of Ezra’s social media records will quickly prove that he identifies as a member of Generation Selfie. His suggestion that this specific group of people should “take a good hard look at itself in the mirror” is a quiet, yet telling piece of evidence that supports the idea that he feels the need to do the same. This declaration suggests that Ezra himself is in a state of self-reflection and perhaps a state of conflict. As an audience, we are not given enough information to analyze what may be the cause of this conflict, but this short tweet succeeds in exposing how the needs and state of mind of a full generation, or simply a large group of people, can be the same as an individual with the same problem on a personal level.
The context of April Fool’s Day is not even necessary to understand the full implications of such an honest statement. Ezra is delving into the harsh reality that is the crumbling layers of trust that exist between ourselves and the institutions around us. These institutions can be people, places, ideas, and anything else that we put faith into, only to be let down. His profound proclamation that we live in a world “full of lies and deceit” is significant because it points out how the constant examples of broken trust that we experience every day go on to shape the way that we live. Ezra’s words may seem to convey a harshly negative attitude, but they only emphasize the extent to which a looming fear of dishonesty and the inability to trust others can completely overtake one’s life. His open question of “Today - what’s different?” further intensifies the feeling of upsetting uncertainty that can plague the life of a person so overwhelmed with distrust. Under this mindset, further questions could include: “Who can I rely on but myself?” and “Why even bother when I will be met with nothing but deceit?” Ezra is right that we cannot trust “nothing/nobody”—but with that being true, can we even trust ourselves?
Ezra’s tweet tackles the ways in which we identify ourselves with regard to the things we appreciate and enjoy as observers. By setting up three parallels that acknowledge the passage of time and the emergence of maturity, Ezra exposes the tendency of humans to watch ourselves as we grow and to label the beginnings and ends of our development. Scholars of popular culture can easily recognize what Ezra means with terms such as “fanboy,” “fangirl,” and “fanfic,” but understanding of such concepts is not necessary in order to understand his implications. Ezra’s fanboys and fangirls begin as small, arbitrary, inconclusive beings. As they transform into Fan Men and Fan Women, not only are their titles given more visual prestige and consideration, but their lives of “fic” become lives of “nonfic,” symbolizing a change from adolescent wonder to the reality of adulthood.