Quotes: Faux Symbolism

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"Oh no! They take it too far.
Now all the greatest love songs
Are secretly about heroin"
Lemon Demon, "Being a Rock Star"

"And you listen to the music,
and you love to sing along,
and you want to get the meaning out
of each and every song,
and you find yourself a message,
some words to call your own,
and take them home."
Bread, "Guitar Man"

"Hey man did you
write that for me?
It seems like it,
it spoke to me."
You made it up,
you made it up,
you made it up,
you make it up."
Starflyer 59, "M23"

The rats symbolize obviousness!

You know, I always thought that your short hair was somehow symbolic of your character growth.
Me too! I guess it was just a crappy haircut.

No. That's not how English class works. What we CAN do is pretend the book is a towering riddle of symbology designed to obfuscate a central theme so simplistic that it can be expressed in a single paragraph during a one-hour midterm.

Dora: Oh, there's TONS of deep meaning there. The pinup girls represent your feminine side, and the dinosaurs represent the oppressive, male-dominated society you were raised in. The wizard and the robot represent the struggle between superstition and technology.
Marten: And the bomber dropping kittens?
Dora: I like kittens.

Kane says it's symbolic and important, but I'm never certain whether he's serious or spinning nonsense to be mystifying.
LEGION, Tiberium Wars

Not everything is a metaphor!
Candace, Phineas and Ferb

Stan: Goddamnit, there is no deeper meaning in this book! Read it again!
Assemblywoman 1: Oh, so you're suggesting that the author just arbitrarily made fun of Sarah Jessica Parker for no reason??
Kyle: Yes!
Assemblywoman 1: But what would be the point?
Cartman: There is no point! It's just because Sarah Jessica Parker is fuckin' ugly!
Assemblywoman 2: No writer would take the time to make fun of Sarah Jessica Parker just because they think she's ugly.
Stan, Kyle, Cartman: YES, they would!
Assemblywoman 2: It is because Miss Jessica Parker is a metaphor in the book for oppression felt by the lower class.
Stan: What?? Dude, that is not in the book at all!
Assemblyman 2: Boys, this book is an important look at how liberals are hurting this country.
The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs, South Park

Aoba: Another cross attack!? Why!?
Maya: Because it's... deep?
Gendo: Ah, don't start start that tired argument again! It was added because the director thought it was shiny, so just move on and continue the operation.

Why do people think this show is a masterpiece?
It's a cartoon about a bunch of giant mechs.
Interspersed with the story of an emo kid.
And some pointless religious symbolism.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

In short, it has been shown that no man can sit down to write without a very profound design. Thus to authors in general much trouble is spared. A novelist, for example, need have no care of his moral. It is there—that is to say, it is somewhere—and the moral and the critics can take care of themselves.
Edgar Allan Poe, Never Bet the Devil Your Head

If you have to ask what it symbolizes, it didn't.

Now they're trying to come up with meanings for Beatles songs. I never understood what any of them were about, myself...

Why in the hell do journalists insist on coming up with a second rate Freudian evaluation on my lyrics when 90% of the time they've transcribed the lyrics incorrectly?

I don't know what it's about. I'm just the drummer. Ask Peter.
Phil Collins, when asked about the meaning of Genesis' Concept Album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

Lazarus Heart'' was a vivid nightmare that I wrote down and then fashioned into a song. A learned friend of mine informs me that it is the archetypical dream of the fisher king... can't I do anything original?
Sting, liner notes to Nothing Like the Sun

ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE NOT LIKE THE OTHER. Nothing made sense. What does an underage girl tinkling on a piano have to do with R. Kelly?! (I just answered my own question.) But really, what does Marilyn Monroe have to do with a young GaGa playing the piano and what does the 'CACA IS OVAH' headlines have to do with JFK? The play I wrote in the 3rd grade about a time traveling ladybug who’s really into Jody Watley made more sense than this shit.
Michael K. on "Do What U Want"

David: Zoe, of course, is having a one-on-one with Dracula in the Vampire Building, where she identifies him as the Gnome King, because her mom had been reading her the Oz books before her death. I’m no big Ozhead here, but does the Oz metaphor go any farther?
Chris: You never read the one where the Gnome King is a shapeshifter who murders a Goth Girl because she’s selling vibrators in his likeness? Frank Baum was a weird dude.
—Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Blade: Trinity

Some thought there was some greater symbolic meaning behind this infamous comic, and a couple of readers actually analyzed it as a representation of my feelings of women being inferior. Honestly, I just wanted to put Dominic in a He-Man harness because I thought he'd look silly.
Michael "Mookie" Terracciano

Suppose you are studying Moby-Dick. Anybody with any common sense would say Moby-Dick is a big white whale, since the characters in the book refer to it as a big white whale roughly eleven thousand times. So in your paper, you say Moby-Dick is actually the Republic of Ireland. Your professor, who is sick to death of reading papers and never liked Moby-Dick anyway, will think you are enormously creative.
Dave Barry, "College Admissions"

This game - discovering feelings that writers didn't know they had on the basis of things they didn't say - is great fun, and anyone can play it. (There's is a bit-part player in "Prince Caspian" called Mrs Prizzle. Well then, the fact that Lewis chose this name proves that he had an unconscious desire to spank women using the penis of a bull. See how easy it is?)
Lipstick on My Scholar, by Andrew Rilstone

In creating Elsa, Disney formulated a storyline that is richly applicable to dozens of different alienations and iconoclasms, any one of which can lead to social stigma, but which can also yield rich creative fruit and be a light unto the world. It is not reducible to just one, and never should be, but applies across many circumstances and conditions.
By making Elsa’s metaphorical significance so fluid, she is widely relatable to many individuals in a host of different ways.
— A blogger discussing Frozen

But by making its story specifically about magic powers, Frozen takes the idea further. The snow and the ice are effective as CGI elements, but they’re also emotionally resonant, because it all relates back to Elsa’s inner despair. And her powers — her shame and fear of them — could be read symbolically, too. Symbolic of what? Well, what have you got? It’s all vague enough that the allegory could really be for anything.
— Another analysis of the same movie