April 11, 2015

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates a blogger who quotes a lyric from the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour."

The blogger — a Democratic activist named Daniel Tilson — made fun of an on-line "tax cut calculator" as "Gov. Scott’s Magical Mystery Tax Cut Calculator" and used the line from the song "Coming to take you away, take you away..."
Some person at FDLE (an “analyst,” the agency said) eyeballed those words on Tilson’s blog and perceived a potential threat to the governor. Could somebody be plotting to take him away, take him away...?

Not since Charlie Manson got mesmerized by “Helter Skelter” has anyone twisted the words of a Beatles song so ludicrously — and Manson, let’s remember, is crazier than an outhouse rat.

Yet the FDLE, the top crime-busting force in Florida, detected possible ominous undertones in the lyrics of “Magical Mystery Tour.” An agent was promptly sent to interview Tilson....
I thought no one took song lyrics seriously anymore. Anyway, "coming to take you away" meant that whatever it is that is coming — the mystery tour or the tax cut calculator — is going to transport you on a journey into ecstasy or madness. The song "Magical Mystery Tour" is quite obviously about going on a psychedelic drug trip. It's hard even to try to project a threat of violence into "coming to take you away" in that very 1960s songs. Other coming to take you away material from those simpler times:

1. "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!," the 1966 novelty single by Napoleon XIV. The "they" who were coming were the "men in white coats" — which is an expression you don't hear anymore — who would take him to "the funny farm" — you don't hear that either.

2. Calgon "Take me away" advertising. For some, it took drugs. For others, a simple bath:

21 comments:

Laslo Spatula said...

I thought the Invitation to the Magical Mystery Tour was code for gay sex.

Also "Penny Lane." Because of the piccolos.

And "Mean Mr. Mustard". Because of the peccadilloes. And, of course, the Mustard.


I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

It's a microagression.

Agression works on a log scale, by the way. You never reach zero.

It's Mrs. Zeno's paradox.

rhhardin said...

I've been looking for the Doonesbury cartoon from 1976 that half the US newspapers refused to run, where the guy that the girl was smitten by announced he was gay, and that explained why she wasn't getting anywhere with her flirting.

It must be some google image but I can't find the right search term.

The girl misunderstands with something like "I'm happy myself" as I recall.

Laslo Spatula said...

rhhardin: Here it is.

I am Laslo.

khematite@aol.com said...

rhhardin said...
I've been looking for the Doonesbury cartoon from 1976 that half the US newspapers refused to run, where the guy that the girl was smitten by announced he was gay, and that explained why she wasn't getting anywhere with her flirting.


http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2013/02/11/53683

rhhardin said...

What I remember, from a distance of 40 years, is

Guy responding I'm gay.

Girl responding I'm happy myself.

Pregnant pause frame

Girl saying Oh God.

just to narrow down the cartoon, if I'm not false-memorying the thing.

rhhardin said...

@khematite Ah, thanks.

traditionalguy said...

I note that that the writer first had to distinguish the lyrics usage from Charles Manson's use of lyrics, because after all Manson is crazy and this is nothing more than youtful druggies asserting the innocence behind their drug induced ecstasy trips.

The writer confidently asserts that whatever happens to human minds that makes them into insane killers is irrelevant to drug dosage.

I wish he was right.

khematite@aol.com said...

Althouse: 2. Calgon "Take me away" advertising. For some it took drugs. For other, a simple bath

And now, thanks to better living through chemistry, you can take drugs known as "bath salts."

Anonymous said...

I thought no one took song lyrics seriously anymore.

District Attorney's across the nation are taking them seriously, and entering them to the court as evidence of crimes.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/rap-lyrics-used-evidence-court/

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-new-york-man-gets-life-in-prison-after-rap-lyrics-used-as-evidence-2015-4

http://genius.com/Vonte-skinner-lyrics-used-as-evidence-in-trial-annotated

Ann Althouse said...

@madisonfella

I think those are cases where the defendants argue that their statements -- seeming confessions of crimes -- are NOT to be taken seriously. The idea is that songs are so meaningless the lyrics should not even be admitted as evidence when there are direct statements with details that corroborate crimes.

Largo said...

"I've been looking for the Doonesbury cartoon from 1976 that half the US newspapers refused to run, where the guy that the girl was smitten by announced he was gay, and that explained why she wasn't getting anywhere with her flirting."

Oh, Joanie! I loved her :)

What a wonderful 3 x (4panel strip) followed her "I'm pretty good at breakfast too." [And the kid goes for broke.] Starts here:

http://www.gocomics.com/doonesbury/1976/11/11

Marc said...

Hadn't realized until yesterday that 'micro-aggression' is from the 70s-- Charles something or other.

I clicked on the Napoleon XIV link and, trying to find the Hessian version on Spotify, only found a US group with the same name, The King Beats, who only appear on an album called Teenage Rock and Roll Sinners: 'I broke your heart and I broke your jaw', 'She's my witch', 'Let me play with your poodle', and, among several others, the evidently popular 'Night of the Sadist'.

Anonymous said...

@Althouse,

Yes, the defendants say that that their lyrics are just an artistic outlet, but the DA's are taking the song lyrics very seriously.

Or at least they pretend to take them seriously, in order to get a conviction.

Ann Althouse said...

"Yes, the defendants say that that their lyrics are just an artistic outlet, but the DA's are taking the song lyrics very seriously."

You didn't respond to my point about how the evidence was used. Specific details matching the crime were in the songs, I think, showing the lyricist knew things about the crime that wouldn't have been know by someone not connected to it.

That's different from taking the lyrics seriously in the sense of reading them as a threat to commit a crime in the future or some such thing that's not in the corroboration category.

Ann Althouse said...

If a witness reports seeing a man running from the crime scene who was wearing a red coat and orange sneakers, and the police look for a man running in a red coat and orange sneakers, that doesn't mean the police are taking fashion seriously.

rhhardin said...

There's the Dixie Chicks Cowboy Take Me Away

Erich said...

Calgon can't take me away/From the things I did today

Anonymous said...

Specific details matching the crime were in the songs

One of the songs was written years before the alleged crime took place, yet the DA still entered them as evidence.

Anonymous said...

"it", not "them"

my bad

Kirk Parker said...


"If a witness reports seeing a man running from the crime scene who was wearing..."

"There were few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the man who ran, looked a lot like me"