1

I was in search of the usage I'm he or I'm him and came across a quote that spun my head further!

“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together - John Lennon

What does it mean?

Also, no commas at all? Is this quote even punctually correct?

15
  • 1
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles_in_India. (Not really related to the question. Just something the question reminds me of. :-) Dec 19 '14 at 9:36
  • 1
    @Kreiri it doesn't work quite so well with Walrus walrus Walrus walrus walrus walrus Walrus walrus ;) Dec 19 '14 at 10:50
  • 5
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about interpreting a song lyric, which action is subjective.
    – user6951
    Dec 19 '14 at 11:21
  • 2
    @BenKovitz The person who should clarify the answer is the author. If there was some ambiguity because of grammar or spelling problems, I edit to interpret it so that it reflects what I believe is the author's intent, but Maulik's English is excellent and you should give him the opportunity to clarify what he meant in his own words instead of what you assume he meant. The question isn't going to go away in the next few hours - there's time to let him sort it out.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 20 '14 at 15:20
  • 2
    Actually, editing a question is usually the first step in getting it reopened.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Dec 21 '14 at 21:18
4

The quote is taken from a song by the Beatles (obviously) called I am the walrus.

Metrolyrics provides the lyrics, and I will just quote the first part (the rest does not make more sense than this anyway):

I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun
See how they fly
I'm crying

Sitting on a cornflake
Waiting for the van to come
Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
Man you've been a naughty boy
You let your face grow long

I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

This song was written in a time when in general Western pop music was (in part thanks to these same Beatles) under a heavy influence of Eastern philosophy and drug inspired psychedelic movement, while at the same time the press was trying to scoop all kinds of dirt on the Beatles. One of the stories of the time was that Paul McCartney was dead.

This song, apart from having indeed a psychedelic tune, had lyrics that were meant to confuse people. It was supposedly one of a few attempts to make the press realize the futility in trying to unearth all kinds of stuff about the band; attempts that failed miserably, because the fact that Paul sang the line "I'm the walrus" was, ironically, seen as an indication that in fact, he must be dead! Another "hint" that he was dead was that on the famous Abbey Road album cover, he walked barefoot. And everybody knows that when dead people walk about, they don't wear shoes.

I wouldn't try to read too much into the lyrics, as they were never supposed to convey a real message other than "some of the things we say are nonsense, why can you press mosquitoes not accept that?"

That said, obviously the first line does allude to the Buddhist idea of oneness.

1
  • I am the walrus, for Beatles' sake! And, yes, a lot of the song is self professed gobbly gook, in part to foil a teacher who was having her students interpret the words of Beatles songs. The first line written under LSD influence, per John.
    – user6951
    Dec 19 '14 at 13:00
2

A is C and B is C and A is B and we are all together: A = B = C and they are all together because they are the same. Maybe there was some backgroud to that quote that gives it more meaning, I don't know.

Notice that he isn't consistent with the pronouns, in I am he and you are he he uses subject pronouns in the object, which would be wrong, but in you are me he uses an object pronoun in the object, which is right. Usage of pronouns in this kind of sentence is confusing even to many native speakers. It could also be artistic licence.

The punctuation is correct: the words as link the different parts and no comma is needed before and.

2

I was in search of the usage I'm he or I'm him

Let's talk about Lennon's grammatical choices. I've indicated with bold where he is not consistent.

“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together - John Lennon

He doesn't say "as you are I" nor does he say "as I am him as you are him", although he says "as you are me".

Is it possible for rhyme to be more important than grammatical consistency in pop-lyrics?

1

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together - John Lennon

What does it mean?

Krishna consciousness within you and without you spawned by then-legal LSD, it means and does not mean:

George is John like Yoko is Paul like Ringo is Best, and we're all breaking up the Eggman.

It refers without shadow of a doubt to tensions within the band (the eggman) that were only mollified by repeat visits to the dentist Dr Roberts for pain meds, with the phrase 'all together' a reference to the song title 'come together' Which was a plea for band unity altered by what George brought in Eric Clapton to play guitar on 'As my guitar gently weeps' but also to the song 'All together now,' the band's secretive message that it were finally disbanding. The walrus was James Joyce and the late Paul's replacement was Rocky Raccoon. Norah Jones is the daughter of the Beatles erstwhile Swami and some lady in Texas and whispered all this in to my ear after a Hare Krishna guy in the Philadelphia airport accosted me and when he realized I was not going to donate unslipped a George Harrison album from my arm he had put there two minutes earlier.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .