In his Songfacts interview
, Dan Mangan explained how the book's concept ties into this song's meaning. "What it was referring to was this principle that you can't look at the halo of something without looking at the s--t," he said. "[Kundera] explains it in a fairly vulgar sense of if we are created in the image of a God, then that God takes a s--t [laughs].
So you can't just look at the side of something that you want to see. You have to look at the whole round object and understand that there are parts of it that you don't like. So when you put a halo on concepts – gender roles, religion, nationality or pride - or you put a halo on any topic – anything that you hold dear like the relationship between a father and son or a mother and daughter, what it means to be married or what it means to be single or what it means to be a free spirit or what it means to be an artist - if you just put a halo on something and say it's untouchable – 'that is special and that is perfect' - you immediately close your eyes to the truth of it, because the truth is that nothing is perfect.
So the song goes through concepts:Ladies in dresses
Whores in the bedroom
It's the sick and twisted male fantasy that we want classy ladies out in the world that make us look good, but in the bedroom, men want subservient women who please all of their whims. It's the typical bullshit of male ego.
And then: Old boys in board rooms
The safety of sure doom
You think about the utter glee that people who believe in the rapture would feel when it's all going to end because they 'know it's their time.'
It's this tongue-in-cheek thing: Call it old fashioned
Call it nostalgia
Just call it something we can all die to
It's this idea that there are concepts worth dying for, which is a pretty big deal. So it's just taking the piss out of it.
What's the other line?Boys in the trenches
We always support our troops. We should support our troops because those are real people, but we take these particular facets of our society and we make them holier than anything.
'Love for the home team' is another line. I remember being in Manchester once and being like, 'What do you guys think of Liverpool?' Everyone was like, 'Booooo!' and then I went to Liverpool the next night and go, 'What do you guys think of Manchester?' and everyone goes, 'Booooo!' The two cities are literally 40 miles apart. It takes an hour to drive between them. It's like, really? Are you that
different? I don't think so [laughs].
It's this idea that something that is the other is bad and something that is us
The song is basically just picking apart a lot of these different concepts that we like to put halos on."