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Thoughts & Meanings

El Macho cover El Macho by Mark Knopfler

El Macho is a dark song about some rough guys who are subtly menacing a lone man that they have come upon, possibly the last people in a bar seeing him alone, a dandy, an actor, " you look like a fine thing, Jerry." Some people suspect that Jerry might be a woman, but I don't get that vibe, especially when the lyrics say " you don't mean shit to me". A man would not say that to a woman. Men degrade men verbally by showing disregard or disrespect or by feminizing them("fine thing"). They do that to women by insulting their physical attributes. He also calls Jerry an actor, not an actress. He compares himself to Jerry, which a man would not do to a woman: "They got a name for people like you. Yeah they do. And they got a name for people like me too. El Macho, El Macho." This is a very menacing passage. I suspect that the name for people like Jerry is not politically correct, and has same gender attraction connotations. It sounds like the group is going to degrade him by forcing him to sing for them, and maybe later show some acceptance or at least a decrease in the level of menace by rewarding him with a beer. Leaving it there leaves the audience hanging, a very clever, compelling tactic by the songwriter. When I hear these lyrics, I am reminded of the role played by Benicio Del Toro in Sicario. When he is intimidating bad guys, his physical presence is pseudosexually intimidating and masochistic at the same time. That is the vibe that I get from El Macho.

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