“Californication” is an astute observation on the false hope that is offered by reducing and caricaturizing reality to a tiny and shiny sliver of it. And while it’s easy to blame the media for that manipulation, we have to admit that we the consumer is empowering them to do so, by buying into what they offer because what’s presented is easier to the eye and more convenient.
The let down occurs, though, because even when we are conscious that what we’re seeing is a small, glossy portion of a big picture, it’s still easy to let it sink into it and let it fool ourselves into thinking that that’s what reality is like. Then when you really get into the situation you’re struck with the bigger and more complex scope on hand, and realize how naive we have been to expect any less, without realizing we’re doing that.
This song doesn’t offer any hope. It has a sense of resignation. But I look at it as a warning, a sobering realization that we are swimming in a sea of information, more vast than we can comprehend and digest, so we choose to latch on to the shiny, pretty surface of things. I’m not sure we can help ourselves completely, but it’s good to at least be aware that life is a lot deeper than those pretty pictures.