Home / White Stripes Nation Manifesto VIII: “We’re Going to Be Friends”

White Stripes Nation Manifesto VIII: “We’re Going to Be Friends”

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Matthew 18:3 – Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Generalissimo Alberto: It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine?

LegendaryMonkey: Oh, geez, we’re playing Bible verse again too, I see. Alright, at least I know what to expect. Albert, do I need to go count the blue pills? Are you chewing down all your meds again?

GA: No, really. I only had one. It’s just a nice day. We should go out and play.

LM: Oooh! This is something I can get into with hand-clapping abandon. Perhaps you can leave the Pinky and the Brain-inspired plans for world domination on hold, and we can kick through the autumn leaves.

“We’re Going to Be Friends”
White Blood Cells, 2002

Well here we are, no one else
we walked to school all by ourselves
there’s dirt on our uniforms
from chasing all the ants and worms
we clean up and now its time to learn

Numbers, letters, learn to spell
nouns, and books, and show and tell
at playtime we will throw the ball
back to class, through the hall

teacher marks our height
against the wall

LM: Here are Jack and Meg as little children playing with bugs and worms on their way to class. You could just cry at the tender purity of the love in this song, a love not yet complicated by sexuality and other grown up issues. It’s very rainbows-and-lollipops.

GA: This is the White Stripes most direct Jonathan Richman play. This reversion to childhood would mirror, for example, “Back in Your Life.”

There’s a big difference in the vibe, though. Richman offers himself up as a fool for love in “Back in Your Life.” He’s offering himself up for mockery when he expresses a desire to help the girl’s mama with the pancakes.

Whereas Jack drops “We Are Going to Be Friends” right in the middle of a collection of otherwise clearly adult songs, without that obvious extreme self-consciousness crowding him.

LM: I dunno, I rather see this as the pinnacle of a very straightforward album. White Blood Cells is the “love” album. Every song has something to do with love and relationships, and as I said, this is the look at love before it gets complicated. But it goes beyond that — this song is as pure as a hymn on Sunday morning, and it’s the gleeful top-o-the-world moment on an emotional roller coaster. It’s all part of the same cycle — this is just the upswing.

But I don’t want to argue. I want to go roll around in the grass and sketch pictures in the dust with a stick. Or maybe climb a tree and skin my knee. And then maybe we can strum on a guitar and sing folk songs!

GA: Okay, let’s not start like some Joan Baez pinko folk singer, or I’ma have to start rounding up damned hippies, and putting them to the lash. Tracy Chapman, are you listening?

LM: Now Al, you’ve been so good up till now. Let’s keep it on the love track. How about a nice game of hopscotch?

GA: You mean play a game representing how Jack White’s guitar army will leap across the country, seizing territory for The People?

LM: Yes, exactly. I’ve got some colored chalk. We can draw a map on the sidewalk with all the countries, and we can hopscotch across it.

GA: Wheeeee!

Come hand in hand with us, back to the beginning of WHITE STRIPES NATION!

LegendaryMonkey Alisha Karabinus provides the inner voice of sweet reason for evolved primates at Sudden Nothing.

Al Barger plots the overthrow of the government and his continuing crusade for Moorish dignity at More Things.


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