A Dissection of 90's Pop Lyrics With Dr. Noodles: Flagpole Sitta

First off, I know that you all know what this song is about, it's not exactly subtle. Harvey Danger had kneading the dough on the mind, plain and simple. Masturbation to the layperson, churning butter to anyone but the Amish, relaxing to Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Yertling the Turtle to Theo Geisel. You get the picture. However, as a discerning lyricist, I find myself yearning for closure. So meat was beaten, that is just the what of it. I crave to know why? Where? By whom? In what style? Answers, my friends. We need answers.

I had visions, I was in them
I was looking into the mirror
To see a little bit clearer
The rottenness and evil in me

Yes, yes, you were imagining yourself in sexual scenarios. Quite understandable considering this song was recorded in 1996 and the internet had not quite fully bloomed into the cornucopia of instant porn that it is today. Without first-hand experience, the mirror action seems pretty tame, as are the loathsome feelings at the end there. Not terribly angsty and it doesn't answer any of our questions, so let's move on.

Fingertips have memories
Mine can't forget the curves of your body
And when I feel a bit naughty
I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes
But no one ever does

Again, pretty stock stuff here. Carnal memories lead to auto-copulation. The flagpole is a penis. The sun is hot. But, c'mon doofus, it's just you and a mirror, if you don't salute no one else is going to.

I'm not sick, but I'm not well
And I'm so hot 'cause I'm in hell

Huge clues here. Our masturbateur is in hell and may not be 100% healthy/sane. So, with the entire population of hell as the pool to choose from, I'm going to say with utter certainty that we are dealing with Hitler. Possibly.

Been around the world and found
That only stupid people are breeding
The cretins, cloning and feeding
And I don't even own a TV

Ok, this settles it. Hitler it is. Though he may not be as well-traveled as he claims, the Fuhrer did manage to see quite a bit of Europe in his day. He also may or may not have been the head of a political party dedicated to eradicating inferiors. Pretty good odds that he didn't own a TV either.

Put me in the hospital for nerves
And then they had to commit me
You told them all I was crazy
They cut off my legs now I'm an amputee, goddamn you

To piece this verse together, you have to know that "hospital for nerves" is a directly translated idiomatic German phrase that roughly means "bombproof bunker under Berlin." Towards his demise, Hitler had also become wildly schizophrenic and "me" means suicide in German. With that knowledge, the first two lines are pretty straightforward, and unless I'm missing the mark completely, the rest is just an inside joke with Mengele.

I'm not sick, but I'm not well
And I'm so hot, 'cause I'm in hell
I'm not sick, but I'm not well
And it's a sin to live so well

By now we have most of the big picture stuff. This song is about Hitler killing millions of unborn children towards the end of his life in subterranean Berlin. We still need to know why, and what method he employed whilst doing the deed.

I wanna publish 'zines
And rage against machines
I wanna pierce my tongue
It doesn't hurt, it feels fine

Seemingly a shoutout to his artsy youth, the tidbits here lead me to believe that Adolf is performing auto-fellatio, going to town with such ferocity that his pierced foreskin is doing some tongue damage. Hitler has jumped from middle school to doctorate levels of jackin' it pretty quick. Kudos.

The trivial sublime
I'd like to turn off time
And kill my mind
You kill my mind, mind

Just complaining about Eva Braun here. This is probably why Hitler found it necessary to straighten his own rotini.

Paranoia, paranoia
Everybody's comin' to get me
Just say you never met me
I'm runnin' underground with the moles
Diggin' in holes

Well, this is startlingly literal.

Hear the voices in my head
I swear to God it sounds like they're snoring
But if you're bored then you're boring
The agony and the irony, they're killing me

Back to the schizophrenia. Also Adolf is stating that his cut up mouth and irony are figuratively killing him. He's probably well aware that the real irony is that he is what killed him. So, so meta.

I'm not sick, but I'm not well
And I'm so hot, 'cause I'm in hell
I'm not sick, but I'm not well
And it's a sin to live this well
(One, two, three, four)

Back to the chorus for the outro. Probably the worst thing that Hitler ever did was rhyme well with well.

Really like the direction Harvey Danger went with this one. At first glance it's just another catchy tune loosely about self-diddling. A closer listening gives the audience an even more enjoyable first person narrative of the particulars of Hitler's masturbatory habits prior to the fall of the Nazis. A pretty brave direction to go in, no wonder Flagpole Sitta didn't chart in Germany.