Korn’s Thoughtless – Selling Satanism To Suburban Kids

The association of rock music with satanism isn’t new. Groups like Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath have exploited this type of imagery decades ago. Young fans saw in those groups the perfect way to rebel against authority and the ideal medium through which they could affirm their individuality. Korn’s Thoughtless video could be considered a continuation of this “tradition” but with a troubling twist: in this case, satanism is directly marketed to school kids and is presented in an almost practical answer to their problems.

I can already see comments saying: “Korn members aren’t Satanic, they’re Christian except for one who is atheist”. That’s great to know. I honestly don’t care what religion artists claim to be. You should also know that I’m not writing this from a “Christian fundamentalist” standpoint. I’m simply not one of those people and I don’t think this way. I have however studied communication models. The aim of this article is to analyze the message of this video as a self-contained cultural product, which is diffused to the masses through media corporations. Like a common TV advertisement, the video is aimed towards a particular market (teens and pre-teens). It presents a problem to be solved and a solution which addresses the problem. This solution is satanism. Here’s the video.

Analysis of Video


The main character of the video is an average student attending an upper-class, suburban white high school. Girls are pointing and laughing at him for no apparent reason. He is constantly picked on by jocks who can’t resist the urge to pummel the crap out of him every time the boy walks by. After the jocks are done with him the boy sits there, stunned and a banner above him informs us of an upcoming senior prom.

Meanwhile, we see Korn playing inside the guy’s head. Jonathan Davis’ lyrics resonnate in his brain, representing the sick inner-thoughts that are fermenting inside of him. Here are the lyrics:

Thumbing through the pages of my fantasies
Pushing all the mercy down, down, down
I wanna see you try to take a swing at me
Come on, gonna put you on the ground, ground, ground

Why are you trying to make fun of me?
You think it’s funny?
What the fuck you think it’s doing to me?
You take your turn lashing out at me
I want you crying with your dirty ass in front of me

All of my hate cannot be found
I will not be drowned by your thoughtless scheming
So you can try to tear me down
Beat me to the ground
I will see you screaming

Thumbing through the pages of my fantasies
I’m above you, smiling at you, drown, drown, drown
I wanna kill and rape you the way you raped me
And I’ll pull the trigger
And you’re down, down, down

Why are you trying to make fun of me?
You think it’s funny?
What the fuck you think it’s doing to me?
You take your turn lashing out at me
I want you crying with your dirty ass in front of me

All of my hate cannot be found
I will not be drowned by your thoughtless scheming
So you can try to tear me down
Beat me to the ground
I will see you screaming

All my friends are gone, they died (gonna take you down)
They all screamed, and cried (gonna take you down)

I’m never (?) back against the wall
Gonna take you down

All of my hate cannot be found
I will not be drowned by your thoughtless scheming
So you can try to tear me down
Beat me to the ground
I will see you screaming
All of my hate cannot be found
I will not be drowned by your thoughtless scheming
So you can try to tear me down
Beat me to the ground
I will see you screaming

So, the lyrics aren’t too nice or forgiving. They’re rather violent, vengeful and twisted. They’re also obviously the words of a young person. I don’t see too many adults telling each other “Why are you trying to make fun of me?”. Its more schoolyard talk. The singer of Korn is yelling those lyrics inside the guy’s brain and is therefore the messenger of those thoughts. Back to the video.

So the guy is in the cafeteria, alone and is looking troubled and disturbed. He is drawing demonic images in his notepad. For a couple of seconds, some of the text starts shimmering, giving it a supernatural feel.

We soon understand that the drawings are actually an evil entity expressing itself through our main character. It is announcing the coming transformation of our angry guy. We then see his hand bubbling, further symbolizing that something inside of him is trying to get out.

In the next scene, our main guy is minding his own business, swimming in the pool when the jock douchebags see him and say “hey it’s that loser kid again, let’s all go in the water and act like the bullies that we are”. So the guy gets his daily those of knuckles. Afterwards, we see him floating in the water with his skin crawling again. Every unfortunate event seems to give more power to the being inside of him. It has been historically recorded that people who have fallen victim of spirit possession claimed to feel a constant crawling sensation all over their skin. So the apparent discomfort of the main character also represents an actual effect of spiritual possession.

In the next scene, the guy is in the locker room and isapparently losing it. His skin keeps crawling and he’s starting to look and act like a wild beast.

Then the actual possession takes place. We see the singer Jonathan Davis floating in mid-air, with apparently no physical body and creepy devilish eyes. This scene alludes to the etheric and metaphysical nature of the change that is occurring inside the main character’s head. He looks at his yearbook, throws a TV out the window for some reason and finally decides to get a phone book and finds an ad for escorts (prostitutes). We see the singer’s devilish face flashing in the yearbook and the phone book, signifying that the entity inside the guy is taking over his thoughts and pushing him to carry out a great revenge.

So we are now at the big prom night and we see the prom king and prom queen doing their prom things. Then the loser that was picked on makes a dramatic entrance, dressed like some kind of Scarface from the suburbs and escorted by an attractive prostitute. The escort removes her coat, revealing a demonic face, whose flashing eyes are conveniently placed on her breasts. If you had any doubts concerning the nature of the guy’s “disturbance”, they should be gone by now. She flashes the devil’s horns hand sign to leave absolutely no doubt about who she is. In fact, the girl is a representation of Satan himself, who is assisting our guy in his plan.

Prostitute flashes the infamous satanic saluteThe guy is then overpowered by this entity, making him tear open his shirt and then vomit about like 32 gallons of sour milk of everybody. At this point, I can hear all the young people who identified with the hero saying “Yeah, take that stupid prom king and the rest of you conformists!”. The escort is pointing and laughing at everybody as if it was saying “Yeah, that was my plan and I’m proud of it”. In a final display of satanism, we see a shot of vomit dripping on the Christian cross worn by the possessed guy.

Interesting fact: in the original (but banned) video, the boy came in the prom with a gun and shot everybody. Yup. So you can pretty much imagine that the vomit is actually gun bullets. This whole scene is based on immorality, which is the playground of the evil principle. Prostitution, revenge, hate and murder were part of Satan’s plan.

Message of the Video


This video annoyed me because it directly took aim at school kids. In every school, there are kids being picked on, laughed at and harassed on a daily basis. These kids directly relate to the hardships of the hero of the video. His final victory becomes their victory, and the underlying message of satanism becomes a positive one. In the final prom scene, satanic possession gave the hero the strength, the courage and the confidence to get back at everybody. Satan made the hero look cool, get a new attitude and even got him a hot date. The girl flashes the devil horn signs, which is associated with rock star attitude and being cool. So the guy is basically fulfilling the ultimate fantasy of all rejected kids to get back at their oppressors. Oh, and he also killed everybody in the original video. Who permitted that? Satan.

So, after the video, kids are left with a subconscious positive feeling towards satanic possession. Who won? The possessed guy. Is he cool? Hell yes. Did the jerks get their comeuppances? They sure did. Everything is good then. Satanism is thus a great way to stop being a vulnerable, victimized loser and there’s no bad side to it. What the video fails to show is that high school is just a couple of awkward years in a whole lifetime. It is a self-contained bubble that you eventually get out of and the people that made fun of you quickly disappear from your life. The video however amplifies the illusion suburban kids maintain that the “big prom”, ”jocks” and their high school world is at the center of the universe. It is worth becoming self-destructive, vengeful and hateful because there’s nothing else in life than high school. The video tells kids that Satan is there to help you get the respect that you deserve. Defenders of the video might say, that the character didn’t CHOSE to become this way, that others made him become like this. Others might say that the video simply portrays the negative effects insults have on persecuted kids. Yes, but the classical symbols of Satanism are still present and communicated to the viewer.

Am I saying that all people watching the video will immediately revert to satanism and start shooting people? No, far from it. This video is simply part of the conditioning young people are put through by mass media during their whole childhood. It is yet another powerful piece of media that adds up to the others, and, after many years, this conditioning slowly but surely molds a generation of people with weak moral values.

What’s up with Korn?


Korn had always been associated with the dark and twisted, much to their fan’s enjoyment. Like many artists who show talent, potential and charisma, they however seem to have been co-opted by the “establishment” and became tools of the record industry to promote the elite’s brand of satanism. Their 2003 album cover of ”Take a Look in the Mirror” is typical Western Occultism.

The Member who Defected


In 2005, the lead guitarist, Brian “Head” Welch (pic: passed out while still with the band), left the group to rededicate his life to Christianity. The guitarist claimed that he had moral objections to the band’s music and videos. He told MTV:

“For the last year and a half, I wanted to leave, but someone would always talk to me and convince me to stay. But I’ve had a problem with the way things were going since the second record. I mean, we would do things, and I would be like, ‘Oh, this is metal! This is the rock and roll life!’ But inside, I thought they took it too far. It was a little too crude for me.”

Other members of the group did not appreciate his defection. Head added during the same interview:

“I think it made the guys mad. It confused them. I left at the worst possible time. We got off Sony, and all the money was there, we were going to own all of our songs, but I had to prove to myself that money wasn’t my God. I talked to Jonathan [Davis] and he said, ‘I don’t get it, man, you’re all happy and we’re sitting here grieving because our band is breaking up. And I wanted to tell him, ‘Well, for years, you guys were out partying while I was sitting on the tour bus wanting to die.’

Head had problems with the content of the songs and videos for a while, especially since he had a daughter. In another interview Head stated:

“I can go up there and play those songs and those solos but … I distanced myself from Korn for probably a year and a half, two years. I just wanted to fade away, it was crazy. I was so gone. But I found my way out and I want to help anyone that wants to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had to go through the lows to appreciate the highs and it’s not perfect but it’s damn near.”

The band’s official statement concerning Head’s decision goes as follows:

“Korn has parted ways with guitarist Brian ‘Head’ Welch, who has chosen Jesus Christ as his savior, and will be dedicating his musical pursuits to that end. Korn respects Brian’s wishes, and hopes he finds the happiness he’s searching for.”

The most striking aspect of those statements is their moral and spiritual nature. Head had obviously developed an aversion to the band’s philosophy, hinting that something was profoundly wrong with the message Korn transmitted to the fans. He believed that his self-destructive lifestyle (addiction to drugs and alcohol) and Korn’s immoral content could not be justified by any amount of money. He believed that something greater was at stake here. He also especially didn’t appreciate the way he was portrayed in some of the group’s videos. Did he feel that corporate America had taken over the band to promote their mind corrupting agenda?

Whatever the case be, Head’s decision to quit supports this analysis of “Thoughtless”. Apparently disgusted by the direction taken by the group, Head disowned Korn’s material and sought refuge in Christianity. When you see Satan’s face and don’t like what you see, you usually run as far as you can the other way. In his case, the other way was the Church.

To Conclude


Korn fans love the group’s aggressive style to which they can release their bottled up rage and anger. The group’s trademark twisted songs and videos have grown to be increasingly mainstream which eventually earned the title of “corporate sell-outs”. It is at this point that “Thoughtless” came out. The made-for-MTV video kept some of Korn’s deviant style but inserted typical elements of teen movies, effectively attempting to reach the a young audience. The main character of the video is harassed and picked on by other students and eventually gets revenge after going through supernatural changes. He sold his soul to the devil, which made him “cool” but also made him kill everybody at his school. He thus effectively lost his soul. But kids will remember that what he did was cool.

The video is an allegory for satanic possession, a practice where one obtains the help of a supernatural being in exchange of the soul. “Thoughtless” refers to the insults of the other students towards the perscuted boy, but it also refers to the state of a person under evil possession. The hero of the video wasn’t in control of his thoughts and actions anymore and thus became “Thoughtless”. If you’ve read other articles on this site, you might notice that the story of this video is similar to those of Rihanna, Beyonce and Omarion. They all show steps to satanic initiation. Why is that? Because the same people are behind all of those videos. They just reach different audiences through different styles of music. MTV and music channels distribute this to young people around the world. The ultimate goal: they want you to become “thoughtless”.
http://vigilantcitizen.com/?p=1308

Vigilant Citizen

From films, architecture and music, Vigilant Citizen exposes and explains the hidden occult symbolism behind much of modern culture