Geraldine Fibbers’ “Richard”: Atheism in Pop Culture

I’ve been paying attention lately to pop culture depictions of atheism. Not so much to the usual dumb stereotypes of atheists — cynical, hyper-rational, dismissive of emotions, unable to make a leap of faith, yada yada yada — but to pop culture that seems to be depicting an atheist or atheist-friendly viewpoint.

One that’s been leaping out at me lately is the Geraldine Fibbers song “Richard,” off their “Lost Somewhere Between The Earth and My Home” CD. The song as a whole is a “devil wreaking entertaining havoc” song, interestingly mashed-up as a lesbian love story with a happy ending. But the second verse is the one that’s jumping out at me. At first listen, it plays like your basic obscure, enigmatic, magic realism. But when you remember that “fish” is/are a common symbol for Christ and Christianity, it all falls into place. The verse goes like this:

In an hour and a half the devil was down by the sea
working strange mischief on her bride to be.
Seems the pretty girl was laughing as her world was filled with doubt,
she laughed as her own head was chopped off
and the fish came spilling out.
Watching the fish swim into the sea through a river of red, she said,
“I’ve been wondering what’s been troubling my head.
And I thank you for expelling those irritating pests,
now if you’d slap me back together I’ll be at my very best,
and we can go you devil, we can go.”

I just love it. Especially the girl laughing as her world is filled with doubt; going “I’ve been wondering what’s been bugging me!” as the fish pour out of her head; and flirting with the devil-girl who cut off her head and emptied the fish out of it. I like this girl, and want to meet her. She’s saucy.

Geraldine Fibbers’ “Richard”: Atheism in Pop Culture

2 thoughts on “Geraldine Fibbers’ “Richard”: Atheism in Pop Culture

  1. 1

    I still love these folks, and thanks for the reminder. Honestly, if it weren’t for our mutual acquaintance Steve Omlid (along with a couple of other friends), I would be a total pop culture idiot. He has turned me onto many hours of great music over the years, and Carla & Co. was one of his very best picks. So smart and funny.

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