Archive - May 2010

Parliament Explains It All

Know Thyself

     Parliament dabbles in all manner of treatises of the human condition. Like all great thinkers, they acknowledge and profess the importance of knowing oneself, of maintaining the connection to who you really are. We see this in “Agony of Defeet, where Parliament warns us all that:

“Tryin’ to put a size twelve foot in size eight shoe (you know that won’t do),
it’s like putting a five dollar hat on a nickel head (it’s about that hat rack)”

     Truer words have never spoken. One would never put a five dollar hat on a nickel head. The idea is clearly preposterous, and yet Parliament wanted to remind us to keep these things on the forefront. That the obvious truth of statement does nothing to diminish its importance.

     Another example is seen in “Ride On,” where parliament reminds us that:

“It ain’t what you know, it’s what you feel
Don’t worry about being right, just be for real”

     Parliament here is suggesting that all people are born with the inherent knowledge of right and wrong, and that therefore we need not concern ourselves with “being right,” that being “for real,” i.e. true to ourselves and our very nature, will inevitably lead us down the right path. To further expound on this notion, in “Ride On, ” Parliament implores you to:

“Put a hump in your back, shake your sacroiliac.”

     It is important to note that it is extremely unlikely that it is a coincidence that the phrase “Ride On” sounds very much like “Right On.” And the lyric, “Baby do the ride on,” is to be heard, and consequently understood to be, “Baby do the RIGHT on.” Do the right thing.

The Science of Nature


     Parliament is also capable of dropping some knowledge on you about the physical world around, including anatomy and even physics.  In “Dr. Funkenstein,” we learn that:

“Hip bone connected to my thigh bone
My thigh bone connected to my leg bone
My leg bone connected to my ankle bone”

     Three simple lines, and Parliament has effectively conveyed the structure of the entire bottom half of the human species. Simplicity is amongst the true genius of Parliament. And, as the lines are delivered by Dr. Funkenstein himself, we are left with no cause to doubt their veracity. Especially as he (Dr. Funkenstein) is the King of Funk, a position of great power and great knowledge. 

“Dr. Funkenstein, King of the Funk, yeah!
Swift lippin', ego trippin' and body snatchin'
I'll blow your mind
Comin' to you directly from the Mothership
Pulling up the last leg (ah, ah, ah)
Of the P.Funk
Well, alright”

     We shall see soon the true power of funk, in particular P.Funk. There can at this point be no doubt that Dr. Funkenstein is one of its most influential messengers as he has been imbued here with the characteristics of “swift lippin’” and “ego trippin’.” But Dr. Funkenstein does not relegate himself to just anatomy; he is well versed in particle physics as well:

“Microbiologically speaking,
When I start churnin', burnin' and turnin'
I'll make your atoms move so fast
Expandin' your molecules
Causing a friction fire
Burnin' you on your neutron
Causing you to scream
"Hit me in the proton, BABY!"”

     Friction exists even on a molecular level. Protons have mass. Neutrons are flammable. 


The Fuel of the Universe

     For quite some time now, scientists have been in search of a “theory of everything.” That is, one theory that explains all the interactions of everything in the universe. For Parliament, it is simply “funk.” Funk drives the world, the universe. Funk compels humans to act, strengthens them, and protects them. One can only assume that what George Lucas really meant was, “May the Funk be with you.”

     The protective nature of funk is evidenced in “Bop Gun:”

“When the syndrome is around (on guard!)
Don't let your guard down
All you've got to do is
Call on the funk, ohhh”

     While “the syndrome” is never vetted out more fully and our understanding of it remains rudimentary to this very day, it is clearly evil, or at least a harbinger thereof. A calamitous being or force, but one that can be defeated or avoided by calling on the funk.

     We see in “Do That Stuff” further evidence of the importance of funk.

“I want to go back and get 
More of that funky stuff
I got to get some more of that
More of that funky stuff”

     Where one must go back in order to get “more of that funky stuff” is never made clear. Assumedly this passage refers to a state of mind, the clarity that can be had through a steadfast refusal to try to “put a size twelve foot in a size eight shoe,” can lead one back to a state of innocence where funk can be harvested.

     “Flash Light” reinforces this notion of the necessity of funk in humankind.

“Most of all he needs the funk (shine it)
Help him find the funk”

     The wording is not to be taken lightly here. “Most of all he needs the funk.” It is obvious that possession of funk is of paramount significance to the human condition. More funk equals more strength, more happiness, more protection. “Give Up The Funk” provides an insight into the state of nature that might exist from funk being withheld from those in need.

“Ow, we want the funk
Give up the funk
Ow, we need the funk (let us in we'll tear this mother out)
We gotta have that funk “

     The passage is of course metaphorical, but we can clearly see the repercussions if some nefarious force or entity (perhaps “the syndrome?”) were to refuse access to the funk. It could in fact bring out an uprising. Funk seekers would be forced to “tear this mother out.” And historians everywhere can attest to the disaster that would lead to.

     But why? How powerful is the funk? Well, for that, let us refer to “P. Funk,” where we are shown:

“If you got faults, defects or shortcomings,
You know, like arthritis, rheumatism or migraines,
Whatever part of your body it is, 
I want you to lay it on your radio, let the vibes flow through.
Funk not only moves, it can re-move, dig?”

     But all funk is not created equal. We saw earlier in “Dr. Funkenstein” a reference to a specific type of funk, namely, P.Funk. And while it is the only type of funk ever mentioned by name, we must assume the existence of others, or there would be no need to demonstrate the superiority of P. Funk. And as it referred to as “P” Funk, we can safely assume that, following any widely accepted system of nomenclature, there exist at least fifteen other, presumably weaker, forms of funk, namely A. Funk through O. Funk.

     “Mothership Connection” refers to P. Funk as “the Bomb.” Capital B. And “P. Funk” reinforces the idea by stating the P. Funk is “uncut funk, the Bomb.” Another capital B. And capitalization is the universal sign of importance. And lest, the importance of P. Funk be still understated, “P. Funk” goes on to say:

“Make my funk the P.Funk
I want my funk uncut (make mine the P)
Make my funk the P.Funk
I wants to get funked up. (wants to get funked up)
I want the bomb,
I want the P.Funk (yeah)
I want my funk uncut. (make mine the P)
Make my funk the P.Funk
I wants to get funked up.”

     In the end, we can operate under any funk umbrella, even the sub-par A through O varieties, but true knowledge, true power, true protection, can only come from P. Funk.

“Somebody say, "Is there funk after death?"
I say, "Is Seven Up?"
Yeah, P.Funk!”

     “Yeah, P.Funk!” indeed.

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