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System of a Down: Shimmy Meaning

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Education, fornication, in you are go
Education subjugation, now you’re out go
Education fornication, in you are go
Don’t be late for school again boy
I think me, I want life
I think me, I want a house and a wife
I want to...


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    Jan 1st, 2006 1:07am report

    My interpretation of Shimmy is that it is an attack on the role played by education in creating a compliant and sexually repressed population. The aim of the education system is a "Subjugation of damnation"; 'damnation' being a reference to the religious concept of burning in hell for all eternity as a punishment for sinning (or at least not repenting from sin). Sex outside marriage, as well as various forms of behavior that deviates from what is considered as 'normal' (even where such behavior does not hurt others), is seen as a sin in a number of major religious traditions, with certain forms particularly frowned upon (for example, adultery - even if consentual - is explicitly prohibited in the Ten Commandment). Similarly, certain kinds of sex outside marriage is similarly either frowned upon or outlawed in society and the law, even where this behavior affects no-one other than the individual who commits the act. Damnation (in either a religious, legal, or social sense) from sex before marriage, or non-'normal' behavior, is something which is seen to need to be 'subjugated' and conquered (in a manner perhaps similar to how an invading army which captures a city may decide to subjugate or conquer the native population). In effect, the powerful have decided that their interpretation of behavior and thoughts which lead to damnation need to be conquered.

    This conquering of 'damnation' requires an "Indoctrination of a nation." And education is how the citizens of a (developed) nation have the thoughts which lead to damnation purged, and undergo 'indoctrination' in 'normal' behavior.

    The problem is that behavior and beliefs considered by some (i.e. The powerful) to be 'morally correct' (i.e. They don't lead to 'damnation') may not be 'authenic' foe everyone; thus the sarcastic lyrics "I think me, I want life/I think me, I want a house and a wife/I want to shimmy- shimmy- shimmy through the break of dawn, yeah." I'm not sure whether these sarcastic lyrics are sung from the point of view of System of a Down (who disagree with the norms of society), a hormonally charged high school student, or from the point of view of someone who generally doesn't fit in with what society considers normal. Whichever perspective it's sung from, there is a clear disagreement that 'normal' activities - like being a home owner, and needing to be married so that you can have sex (or 'shimmy') to the break of dawn, are necessarily desirable values (especially when not owning a picket fence house, or having consentual sex outside marriage don't hurt anyone other than the person undertaking said act).

    And how the powerful subjugate (or at least attempt to subjugate) the values and behaviors which - in their opinion - lead to 'damnation' - and 'indoctrinate' people with values which don't lead to 'damnation' - is through the 'education' system. The education system acts to repress thoughts and behaviors which lead to damnation ("Education, fornication, in you are, Go!") up until graduation, when such thoughts have hopefully ('hopefully from the point of view of the elites) been 'subjugated' ("Education, subjugation, now you're out, Go!").

    So instead of telling young people to be authentic to themselves in their thoughts and actions - as long as others aren't harmed - we shout at our young people (and shrilly nag them) that they "Don't be late for school again, boy!/Don't be late for school again, girl!"


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    Apr 5th, 2006 4:18pm report

    I interpreted it completely differently. Perhaps this is because I didn't see fornication as an act of horrendous sin; it's actually become the norm. This song lambasts the endless tide of soul-crushing life in most highly civilized countries. The child goes to school, the child has a good time in high school and college, being rebellious and screwing for prosperity. Then, he/she "wisens up" and settles down and finds a spouse and a home in suburbia. All along the way, this person believes that because he/she is disobeying their parents, that person is unique, an individual, but it's precisely the opposite; people in our middle class are being "herded" to a point without them even knowing.

    This synchs up with the "in you are" and "out you go", which mean both the tractor mill of the education system, and the animal-like thrusting of millions of mindless "rebellious" pelvises, the movement of "in" and "out".

    "Subjugation of damnation", gives the song more ambiguity and allows it to be interpreted in your fashion to an extent. In your viewpoint, "damnation" is a verb; ascetics damning people into submission. However, it can be seen as an odd adjective form, a "damnable subjugation", where the souls of the people are locked up in a superficial world, with the allure of flesh acting as a red herring.


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    May 29th, 2014 5:19pm report

    I believe the song is about being successful in life. Shimmy through the break of dawn. Working hard at it. Don't be late for school again boy. That means as simple as not showing up to school late is beneficial for you to have a successful life. Subjugation of our nation. Gaining control of things in your life to succeed in whatever life throws at you.


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    May 19th, 2014 5:48pm report

    I adore this one ... when i'm pissed off or feel like its too much ZOMBIES ATAACKS iv'e been trough and theres a wall i need to break right now i may dance this one like damn free in the woods gorilla , thats what we are basiclly way more than we are this . for me this song is about how "they" louds people with thoughts and feelings that are not even exist . and the people think their happy . they managed to get it and now they proud of themselves and their above others just like they told to when their were kids and just like their parents told to when their were kids . even when they realize it , it's very hard to break when its allready subjagated unto you . and its all a lie . back in history the term "gay" wasnt exist . westren psychology seemed to be based on collective traumas . when we are kids we dont think about those stuff as trauma , if you ever been in the army think about it too just try to see a movie with soldiers and see how you react . too much , way too much . thing is gorillas are 95-99% similiar to humans . puted behind glasses and then the "I want" a house and a wife goes with its kids and "feels" fun and "think" its funny , beacuse they phisically cant speak . fucked up .


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    Aug 27th, 2010 8:11pm report

    I agree with everyone else, but also i want to point out that armenians feel VERY strongly about the need for a good education....i dunno what that has to do with anything, i just wanted to point that out...


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    Mar 1st, 2010 3:46pm report

    I think it's about you think of your life as a fun place at first, and adults convince you so, but when you grow up you come to realise that you have to follow a schedule in which you don't believe in for the rest of your life,ruining your life and if you fail to do so you get in trouble for your own beliefs.
    what do you think?Contact-Onemanarmy675@yahoo.com


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    Jun 30th, 2009 6:27pm report

    Apparently the song talks about sex with underage children in school.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    May 3rd, 2008 5:36pm report

    This is song is talking about child molestation in school. When he says education fornication then you all go he means that they teach you things in school the teacher molests you and you don't say anything you just kinda Shimmy your way to the break of down which means death.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Apr 26th, 2008 4:53pm report

    My interpretation of this song is actually really different... I think it's about how as children we are told by adults how we are supposed to live our life. Get an education, get your own place, get married, the end. And how we as individuals are supposed to live life the way we want, and that if we don't decide what we want for ourselves and we just satisfy the norm of society, we don't really have life, hence the line "I want life!" and I think when he says "I think me!" He is talking about the same thing because he is saying he thinks about himself, and his desires. Not the desires or expectations of anyone else.


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    Dec 11th, 2007 12:30pm report

    I might be wrong but I think this song is saying that marriage isn't the best thing in the world.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Nov 1st, 2007 11:41am report

    It does matter how happy you were in life. That's really all that matters. (that was a response to the one above) what they're saying is basically fuck the formal education system. They are saying "don't be late for school again boy/girl" in a sarcastic way. but people have already said most of this before me so il stop


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    May 8th, 2007 5:54am report

    I always thought it was something a little like OldNo7's interpretation... but different too... maybe just cos of my outlook on life but I take it more as in,. what's the point of it all really? I mean, you live, your pushed to get your education, and be on time for all this "important" stuff.
    u wanna break free to an extent, even though it's supposedly what's best for you (there's no evidence I can think of off the top of my head to support that but I say it kinda cos of the tone)
    and you want a house and wife and all this.. cos then you know u'll be happy.
    and then you die. and did it matter how happy you were? I don't think so...
    ok well I got off the subject, most of that was me elaborating and getting carried away. I think it's about how we've had this whole way of life programmed into us.
    and other than that the song kicks ass...


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    Apr 1st, 2007 4:19pm report

    This song is about how we all 'shimmy' through our lives. We don't live based on following our own will and way, but follow a guideline society has put before us and forced us to follow for a large part of our life. Modern society does not allow for survival and acceptance outside of the normal ways of living.

    You go to school for the first 18/19 years of your life. If you don't you find it extremely hard to get a job and make a living. Then you have to go to college for another 2-8 years in *hopes* of making a decent living. I say hope because you have to realize just how many people will still fail even after all their hard work. So now you're about 25 years old. You get a job to sustain your existance, and work there for a good while. Maybe get a wife somewhere along the timeline and have a few kids. You're now probably around late thirties. So what happened to your life?

    You've been moulded into what society wants you to be. Maybe you don't want to get married? Society judges people harshly who decide to live single or just as partners. Maybe you don't want kids? Well, if you don't reproduce, you're frowned upon by society also. School is the largest of offenders in this song, but it's in general about how modern culture sucks your life out of you.


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    Jan 2nd, 2007 1:14pm report

    I think this song is about sexual abuse towards children. Maybe the teacher is a paedophile, which would explain "Education, fornication" and "don't be late for school again, boy/girl!". The child is traumatised and doesn't want to share it with their parents, so they continue an ordinary life, while this child won't have a house, wife, or life. I don't get "shimmy, shimmy, shimmy..." though. Someone help me?


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    Jul 7th, 2006 7:31am report

    man this songs about a parent who has a shitass life and doesn't want his kids to have the same thing happen to them. He doesn't have a house or a wife... or a life.so he says go to school and get an education dude

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Apr 24th, 2006 4:30pm report

    Every time I hear this song I get a mental picture of the band members sitting in desks at my school and some teacher is yelling at them the first few sentence like he's ordering them to do things like have sex, and stay in school, and be on time like sending the mixed messages most kids get from parents, friends even our "great" society. And then all the band members like scream back with "I want life" and "a house and a wife" and daron says "I wanna shimmy, shimmy, shimmy till the break of dawn yeah!" that reminds me of something funny he would say.
    -Amanda F.T.R.S.


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    Apr 21st, 2006 4:42pm report

    I think this song is about how the school system just makes all the kids grow up just wanting to get a house and a wife, get an SUV with a house in the suburbs shimmy all night long, etc.

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