Comes Now a Petitioner


The esteemed Justice Woolsey addresses a matter of grave import. The meaning of language is a matter of deep significance to all professions, but especially the legal one. Moreover, a precise and accurate understanding of musical lyrics is utterly essential to the continued reasoned governance of an increasingly complex and interdependent society such as ours. It is for these reasons that this court grants certiorari to answer the narrow question "In precisely what manner does a baby want God's love?"

This is a matter of first impression for this court. The question derives from an issue of textual interpretation: How are we to understand the following lyrics from the band Iron & Wine's song "Fever Dream"?":

"I want your flowers like babies want God's love"

The authors of these lyrics clearly intended us to understand their desire for the audient's flowers within the context of the manner in which babies want God's love. Unfortunately, the careless authors failed to provide a precise definition of their terms and we are left to seek sources outside the text to allay our confusion. It is advised that future authors of song lyrics understand that, if they are not satisfied with the interpretation that this court lays down today, they ought to write their lyrics with a great deal more care and precision so as to prevent such ambiguous terms slipping in. In the instant case, a verse appended to the end of the song providing explicit definitions for all the relevant terms used would have proved most helpful, and would have obviated the need to turn to the canons of construction in examining the lyrics.

Sadly, no binding precedent exists for this court as to the interpretation of the phrase "like babies want God's love." The authors are advised that if they are to use a term of art, as they have chosen to do here, they would do well to choose one with a precise and well-understood legal meaning. In the absence of such guidance, we are left to reason from unrelated, but analogous, precedents.

We are faced with three principle questions: What, precisely, is a baby? What is God's Love? And to what extent and in what manner can a baby be said to want God's Love?

A search for the term "babies like" in the relevant annals reveals that a Washington woman is "Poppin' out babies like gumballs." 35 Sploid 184 (Wash. 2006). In the absence of contrary authority, we can therefore liken a baby to a gumball for purposes of interpreting these lyrics.

A further search for the term "God's Love like" reveals that "We should at once find that bitterness will close our hearts to God and His love just like turning a faucet on our shower." 54 ChristianSite 1094 (Ga. 1996). Clearly, in the cited opinion, our hearts are like faucets, and God's love is like water.

Thus we find that, because babies are analogous to the case of gumballs, while God's love is more or less equivalent to water, we can understand babies to want God's love in much the same way that gumballs want water. While gumballs can not, in any meaningful sense, be said to want water, given that they lack the mental capacity to form such a desire, the court can nonetheless extrapolate their interests in the matter, in much the way that a court can extrapolate the interests of a child who finds itself a ward of the court (noting that, as discussed above, children and gumballs are more or less equivalent).

Would, then, a gumball want water? Water, it seems, would wash away and disintegrate the protective outer layer of the gumball. We therefore treat with suspicion any contention of a positive affinity between gumballs and water. Further, water would leave a gumball soggy and waterlogged, a state that most would find uncomfortable indeed.

It is argued that saliva is equivalent to water, given that it is mostly composed of water, and that saliva is an integral part of the chewing process, which is an essential element of the gumball's intended purpose. We do not find this argument compelling. To begin, saliva is not just water, but contains also various acids. Moreover, the most essential part of the saliva is the acid, not the water. The water serves only to dilute the acid, which lends credence to the claim that water merely subverts the chewing process. Moreover, it is uncertain whether chewing is, indeed, the desired destiny of the gumball. Is its purpose to be determined by its creator? By its purchaser? Clearly it is not, given that we are examining the gumball qua gumball, and not anyone else related to it. Were it so, we would care not about the babies' desires for God's love, but their parents's desires. Given the inherently destructive nature of the chewing process, it seems premature to declare that chewing is desired by gumballs. It would, nonetheless, be a breach of decorum to rule on the desires of the gumballs to be chewed at this juncture; such a determination is better suited to a finder of fact at the trial level.

This court therefore holds that there is a rebuttable presumption that gumballs do not desire water at all. Therefore, babies do not want God's love, and thus Blood & Wine does not want your flowers. We leave open the possibility, however, that gumballs wish to be chewed, and that water is an integral and essential element in the chewing process. The lower court is instructed to conduct an inquest to produce a finding of facts on what, exactly, gumballs want. We remand the case to its court of origin for further proceedings not inconsistent with this ruling.


I am beside myself. I've added a link to this to the end of my post because the pair of them together is so much more absurdly beautiful than mine alone.

Though I would submit that to substitute "Blood & Wine" for "Iron & Wine" in the last paragraph suggests you've read too much fantasy, and fantasy is clearly a frivolous pursuit which does not prepare the mind for disciplined exercise on the question of the desires of pliable candy treats. Please, counselor, try to focus.

Mind you, the suggestion that gumballs would specifically not want water because of its destructive effect upon them glosses over the question of the collective and individual values of gumballs. It's easy to assume from one's own experience in a non-self-sacrificing culture that gumballs will always shun that which could potentially end their existence, but there are plenty of ways in which people (who are much like gumballs in this behavior) can positively value the prospect of their own destruction. Many peoples share beliefs in self-sacrifice for worthy causes, while several major religions stress as their reward for spiritual awareness the cessation of the enlightened being's life. Even in cultural contexts which stress self-preservation, there are often individuals whose life conditions, both internal and external, lead them to willingly seek their own deaths. Without some reference to ethnographic studies of gumballs and their attitudes toward death, I don't believe that you can assume gumballs' inclination to self-preservation based on anything more valid than the biases of your personal experience.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on April 11, 2006 11:53 PM.

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