matthew: god bless you
alfred: GOD BLESS AMERICA
I’ve been waiting for this gifset my whole life.
So I’m assuming at least 95% of tumblr is hearing this whole scene perfectly in their head, right?
Hello, Portal friends!
Since my native language happens to be the same as Cara Mia's, and even though it has probably been done countless times, I thought I'd explain the lyrics a bit more in depth than usual, also giving a few interpretations. If you are curious, follow under the cut.
Please refrain from reposting or spreading uncredited.
Portal Appreciation Post 34.3:
|1:||Go to underground city|
|3:||Put them in crates|
|4:||Distribute to warehouses|
“What is that?” says the man who is not short, pointing at the sky.
“What is what?” says the man who is not tall, from just behind him.
“That planet up there!” says the man who is not short. “It’s so dark, and so close! It’s looming! It’s…so close! I wonder if I could…”
— Welcome to Night Vale, Episode 45 (“A Story About Them”)
A Story About You and A Story About Them have a lot of parallels and mirrors. There’s definitely some rich meta to be found in these two episodes somewhere, so maybe this comparison post will help. I’ve tried to collect them all here - A Story About You is in normal text, and A Story About Them is in quotes.
This is a story about you,” said the man on the radio. And you were pleased, because you always wanted to hear about yourself on the radio.This is a story about them,” says the man on the radio. And you are concerned, because this is not a story you were ever supposed to hear.
You’ll sit out on the steps of your trailer, with your back to the brightness of the Car Lot, watching the radio tower for hours.The man who is not tall watches a house through the window. He makes no attempt to hide what he is doing.
The Moonlight All-Night is radiant green; a slab of mint light in the warm darkness. You squint when you see it, like it hurts your eyes, but it does not hurt your eyes. You park near the front door.That part of their work done, they drive to the Moonlight All-Night Diner. It is not night, but the neon is on – an insubstantial wisp of green in a larger insubstantial wisp of blue.
As you drive you turn off the headlights, for a moment. At that moment, you feel again, above you, not even far away now, that planet of awesome size, lit by no sun. An invisible titan, all thick black forests and jagged mountains and deep, turbulent oceans. Note: in this episode, this happens before getting to the diner.In the parking lot, the man who is not short looks up.
“Hey, what is that?” he says, indicating the clear nothing of the sky.
“What is what?” says the other.
“I saw something,” he says, “for a moment. Just there, for a moment.”
Obviously it’s not described, but we learn later that the man who is not short is seeing the Dark Planet at these moments.
The radio speaks soothingly to you from static-y speakers set into a foam tile ceiling.The diner smells like rubber and bread. The man on the radio tells them this quietly, from staticky speakers set into a foam tile ceiling.
Note: Here there are two sets of awkward conversations - between You and the Apache Tracker, and between the Man Who Is Not Short and the Man Who Is Not Tall. The conversations themselves are totally different.
You turn the ignition, and your car radio comes alive with a pop — just as the announcer says that your car radio comes alive with a pop.The car pulls into a warehouse. The radio is back on, and still talking about them.
Note: Here, You has taken the crate they stole and is taking it back out to the Sand Wastes. They are at the warehouse where the crates are being taken. The Man Who Is Not Short sees the Dark Planet again.
You moved the crates. The man in the suit, a stranger, watched. But then, as had never happened before, the man in the suit received a phone call. He walked off at some distance to take it. “Yes, sir!” he said, and “No, sir!” Also he made hawk shrieking sounds. It wasn’t terribly interesting. Note: This comes from earlier in the Story About You episode, but it is mirrored in the warehouse part of Story About Them:“Hold on,” says the supervisor. She mumbles instructions into a walkie talkie, and a series of ‘yes sirs’ and ‘no sirs’ and hawk shrieking sounds come in response.
You drive past the Moonlight All-Night — still aglow and full of people slowly eating what sounds good only late at night, and Teddy Williams’ Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex — which has taken to not only locking but barricading its doors at closing time. You pass by City Hall which, as always, is completely shrouded after dark in black velvet.
Moving farther out, following the pull of the distant, uncertain moon, you pass by the Car Lot (where the salesmen have been put away for the night), and Old Woman Josie’s house (where the only sign that the unassuming little home could be a place of residence for Angels is the bright halo of heavenly light surrounding it, and the sign out front that says Angels’ Residence).
And the town is behind you, and you are out in the Scrub Lands, and the Sand Wastes.They drive past the Moonlight All-Night, a glass box of bad food and good people. They pass Teddy Williams’ Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex, badly damaged by the war, but still running its weekly bowling league. They pass by City Hall, which is covered in a yellow tarp, stamped with an orange triangle. Moving farther out, with absolute purpose, they pass by the Used Car Lot – alive with the wolves that populate all car lots at night – and Old Woman Josie’s house, silent and empty for months now.
Then the town is behind them, and they are in the Scrub Lands and the Sand Wastes.
You stop the car and get out. Pebbles crunch in the sand in response to your movement. The radio murmurs behind the closed doors of the car. The headlights illuminate only a few stray plants, and the wide dumb eyes of some nocturnal animal.
Looking back, you see the bulge of light that is your Night Vale. The Purple Cloud, now floating over the heart of the city, reaches its tendrils in and out of buildings.They stop the car and get out. Pebbles crunch in the sand in response to their movement. The radio murmurs behind the closed doors of the car. The headlights illuminate only a few stray plants and the wide, dumb eyes of some nocturnal animal.
The two men don’t look back at Night Vale. They look forward, at the darkness that stretches out as far as anyone here can imagine. Most anyone here tries to imagine as little as possible. There is no need to imagine here.
The man who is not short steps up to you, puts a knife against your throat. Nobody says anything.The man who is not tall, still by the car, pulls out a knife. It is not stained, does not look used, but he speaks its brutal history in his posture – in the way he holds it.
The knife presses harder against your throat, but it doesn’t hurt. Your eyes wander up and you see above you the dark planet of awesome size perched in its sunless void, an invisible titan all thick black forests and jagged mountains and deep, turbulent oceans.“What is that?” says the man who is not short, pointing at the sky.
“What is what?” says the man who is not tall, from just behind him.
“That planet up there!” says the man who is not short.
You see it just above you. Maybe even if you tried very hard, you could touch it.
You reach up…
This has been your story.“That planet up there!” says the man who is not short. “It’s so dark, and so close! It’s looming! It’s…so close! I wonder if I could…”
He reaches up.
This has been your story.
The radio moves onto other things — news, traffic, political opinions, and corrections to political opinions. But there was time, one day, one single day, in which it was only one story.
A story about you.This has been a story about them.
The radio moves on – news, traffic, political opinions, and corrections to political opinions – but somewhere in the desert there is one person who does not move on. This was also a story about him.
Okay, having done this I now want to write a meta about how the ideas of past and future are represented in these episodes, and how that ties in with the theme of “past events are not predictors of future results” that runs through this show. You is trying to run from their past, always looking back, and The Man Who is not Short is anxious about the future… and yet his fate is “always an unpleasant business”, suggesting a cyclical nature to Them. Many thoughts are occurring…