‘Jesus Christ Pose,’ a Soundgarden Classic

I’ve been organizing discographies of my favorite bands including the grunge era. One of the best songs to come out of that time period is “Jesus Christ Pose” by Soundgarden. Not only does it have great lyrics but Chris Cornell wailing them out against a pounding rhythm is…well, it fuckin’ wakes up your senses.

The lyrics can be interpreted in several ways, but Chris Cornell has said the Jesus Christ Pose (JCP for short) mainly refers to people who exploit religion for personal benefit. Those religious leaders, politicians and celebrities who put their arms out as if they’re being crucified in the same way as Christ are often attention seeking hypocrites. I would add to that the general mass of western Christians who shout bigotry whenever someone dares to make a crack about their religion or tell them they can’t put the Ten Commandments up in a state courthouse, whining as if they’re a persecuted minority when their faith is in the majority.

The video is a bit more obscure with the meaning, as with all rock videos, and shows some images that might imply more bite–why is there a skeleton still hanging on the cross? The woman on the cross is more obvious (persecution of women) but a skeleton implies permanent death with no resurrection. It may have been unintentional. According to Wiki, numerous items/people were shot on the cross and then narrowed down to only a couple of visually striking images.

The real hypocrisy is MTV banning this video in 1991 and apparently still not playing it in its entirety because of a woman on a cross and related imagery. As if, by this time, this JCP message is still that offensive and MTV’s  junk TV isn’t offensive to the intellect to begin with? Even Christians could see this video as an indictment of false prophets and anti-Christs. And Jesus Christ, if he existed, never had exclusive reign over being crucified. It was simply a method of execution.

And you stare at me
In your Jesus Christ pose
Arms held out
Like you’ve been carrying a load
And you swear to me
You don’t want to be my slave

But you’re staring at me
Like I need to be saved
In your Jesus Christ pose
Arms held out
In your Jesus Christ pose
Thorns and shroud
Like it’s the coming of the Lord
And I swear to you
That I would never feed you pain

But your staring at me
Like I’m driving the nails
In your Jesus Christ pose
And you stare at me
In your Jesus Christ pose
Arms held out like it’s
The coming of the Lord

And would it pay you more to walk on water
Then to wear a crown of thorns
It wouldn’t pain me more to bury you rich
Then to bury you poor
In your Jesus Christ pose
Read more at http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3938/#pGa6bO4lDpzxjR5b.99

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