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Re: Smoke In Your Eye

Posted by Pamela on May 01, 2007

In Reply to: Re: Smoke In Your Eye posted by RRC on April 30, 2007

: : : : Unreleated to the "shit in your eye" post, what does this phrase mean. I've heard it used several times, but the prime example I can remember is from a Les Savy Fav song, "Pills":

: : : : "I must admit," I said with a smile "I'm frightened as a child."

: : : : And I suspect by the smoke in your eye you're thinking "so am I".

: : : : Now, my thoughts are that it means someone who has tears in their eye but is too proud to admit it, using "smoke in my eye" as an excuse for the teariness. Anyway, any help on this phrase would be appreciated.

: : : : Thanks!

: : : Given that the speaker in the song is talking to a burning bush, I don't think you should worry so much about assigning a figurative meaning.
: : : Perhaps you could work on the Kern/Harbach song "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" written for the 1933 musical "Roberta":
: : : They, said some day you'll find,
: : : All who love are blind,
: : : When you heart's on fire, you must realize,
: : : Smoke gets in your eyes.

: : Ah but see, he's (Tim Harrington of LSF) such a clever lyricist that there probably is a figurative meaning. The burning bush is the one heralding the apocalypse, so "he" shouldn't be showing fear yet "he" is. The double meaning then attaches itself when you consider that it's a burning bush. This is why Tim Harrington is the best!

: If it is, in fact, that clever, then you can't say that it's even the same phrase, i.e. the meaning is specific to this song only and may have little or no relation to the way anyone else would use it.


The "Smoke gets in you eye" Kern/Harbach lyric is so famous that it's possible that Les Savy Fav are lifting the figurate meaning from the other song. I'd say - while the bush is literally blinded by smoke from it's spontaneous combustion (or self immolation - I don't know who lit it), more importantly, this makes it figuratively blind to the irony of its existence (or the hypocrisy inherent in the situation). But I like your explanation as well - after all the bush and the person in the song are going down together. Why not check and see if there's a lyric meaning discussion board for the group? Pamela