Song Of The Day 12/14/2015: Cake – “Satan Is My Motor”

Song Of The Day Outtakes 2015 – This was cut from the magnum dopus A Dream Date With Satan, just because other songs seemed to fit the tone a little better. A Dream Date With Satan just sort of showed up on the blog and left without any explanation. Unlike Week Of Lies, at the end of which I felt I needed to at least make some sort of statement as to what the hell I was doing, no such clarification followed ADDWS. But I ain't no David Chase on the last episode of The Sopranos,* so I thought I'd make a comment now since we're at that point in the year when I'm cleaning out my closet a la Marshall Mathers.

The title came from an old, old station promo that I heard on KDVS in Davis, CA - basically a game show announcer proclaiming, "You've just won a dream date with Satan!" That recollection was inspiration enough for me to block out a week before Halloween and figure out what I was going to do with it later. Since Week Of Lies had gone so well, both artistically (yup, I do all this for artistic reasons) and popularly, I decided to go the fiction route again. Favoring my inclination for dialogue and my impatience for plot development, I thought a one-act play made the most sense. I wrote the whole thing within the week it ran (six days, to be more exact).

As you might suspect theme development was nowhere nearly as vital to the series as sight gags and jokes, but there was some thought behind it. Nothing that hasn't been done before, but I never did it. Overall I suppose it was a referendum on the symbology of all religious icons, good or evil, and a poke at the curative and destructive powers of reports of miracles and immaterial events, again for good or evil. The narrative of Satan as the direct, evil opponent of Christianity has already worn itself out; that's why, as Satan notes, the whole idea of the "date" (and therefore the play) was a cliché before it even started. So in the rest of the story I either tried to escape the cliché or magnify the hell out of it (or do the former by doing the latter).

The other idea was that the notion of Satan as the mascot and chief engineer of evil was redundant because humanity has perfected malevolence, leaving Satan to run on automatic pilot for a while. To amuse himself in his superfluity now he does minor parlor tricks, like hypnotizing the waitress into going to Costco for artificial cheese or turning a Cubs fan into a Cardinals fan. (By the way, the devil's crediting Bill Murray for showing him that last trick was loosely based on fact.) There are also a few riffs on the folly of mainstream media's traditional take on ritual-sacrificing, animal-beheading, metal-listening Satan worshippers. I essentially counter that (a) they don't exist in mass numbers and (b) those who do don't get the point. This was unexpectedly reinforced this weekend by a rather surprising CNN report on contemporary Satanists.

Finally, it's not a pro-Satan or -Satanism piece. Neither is it an anti-Satan piece. It's not a pro- or anti-anything piece. You know me better than that. It's a reworking of Damn Yankees for people who aren't the least bit interested in musical theater.

That explains it sufficiently, I think. I don't want to spoil anything else if you haven't read it yet. Oh, except: Don't think too much about the special-effects-laden Part 6. Aside from setting and characters, there's no connection to any other part of the piece. It's its own subsidiary entity. It's like the food poisoning scene in Bridesmaids or the fart sequence in Blazing Saddles.** I was on deadline.

That's how the magic happens, students. Now go write Macbeth. Go Hawks!

* Not that David Chase owed us an explanation about the last scene in The Sopranos. He didn't.

** Not that the fart sequence in Blazing Saddles took away from the film; just that in the context of the narrative it had no reason to be there. But there are lots of things in Blazing Saddles that have no reason to be there. They should not detract from its greatness. They probably add to it.

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