DUMB = Duke University Marching Band

And yes... this is seriously the name.

This large moving object is composed of many individuals from the Duke student body. Included in this group is the infamous Muffin Man. DUMB follows the football and basketball teams wherever they may go, and remains a constant part of the Cameron Crazies.

I remember the faux-granite cafe table,
your graceful hand smoothing your blue
silk batik dress as you lamented the cost
of your daughter's crow-footed tuition.

Not merely a teacher but a professor, you 
knew college like a chef knows meat. Score-
happy undergrads claimed you as a favorite
while you eased them into life's grinder,
took them for treats before they left town

for rosy jobcoggery.  Tenure buttered
your budget for croissants and birch beer,
but oh, your kid's crimson-lined hunger -
on a tweed skirt paycheck, Harvard's hard.

But it would cost her almost nothing here
,
I said. Your oh-please smile marked me
naive. You declared your only child
deserved class with smart people.

The pastry went to sand in my mouth.
I wanted to leap onto the brittle table, yell
Woo howdy no don't let yer purty little gal
git learnt longside fool rubes like me!


My dumb face surely flushed Hoosier red
but you chatted on about racism, social justice
as the kid at the counter carved fresh turkey
and I realized I'd never have the cash to pay
for the sandwich I wanted to feed you.

So I snuffed my reply with a bite of turnover pie
as tinsel wisdoms spilled from your unbruised lips. 
Let you assume silence was assent.  That I left
in mute admiration of your enlightenment.

Dumb is a song on Nirvana's third album, In Utero, released in 1993. Although this was Nirvana's third album, it was their second major label album, after the breakout Nevermind.

When Nevermind was recorded and released, Kurt Cobain was as anonymous as a minor label musician in Seattle could be. It wasn't expected that anyone would search his lyrics for biography, even if anyone could understand him. After Nevermind became popular and Kurt became one of the rock stars that he despised, his personal life became tabloid fodder. A large part of that was his addiction to heroin, a substance that he apparently had not yet used when recording Nevermind.

"Dumb" may or may not be a heroin song. Unlike Lou Reed (amongst many other rock stars), Kurt Cobain never seemed to want to become a drug addiction celebrity, of either the glamorous or dirty variety. Although his songwriting was always personal, he didn't seem to have the desire to write explicit biography. And as far as heroin went, he probably wanted to avoid glamorizing it for his mostly teenage fanbase.

"I'm not like them
But I can pretend
The sun is gone
But I have a light
The day is done
But I'm having fun
I think I'm done
Or maybe just happy"

Sung, like many of the songs on In Utero, in a soft singsong with minimal musical backing, it has a droning, lulling quality. I don't know from listening to this whether it is a song about drugs, or a song about depression, or maybe just a song about the long Seattle winters. Whatever the subject matter, it showed that Cobain could be a wonderfully evocative songwriter, even if it wasn't clear what he was evoking.

Dumb (?), a. [AS. dumb; akin to D. dom stupid, dumb, Sw. dumb, Goth. dumbs; cf. Gr. blind. See Deaf, and cf. Dummy.]

1.

Destitute of the power of speech; unable; to utter articulate sounds; as, the dumb brutes.

To unloose the very tongues even of dumb creatures. Hooker.

2.

Not willing to speak; mute; silent; not speaking; not accompanied by words; as, dumb show.

This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him. Shak.

To pierce into the dumb past. J. C. Shairp.

3.

Lacking brightness or clearness, as a color.

[R.]

Her stern was painted of a dumb white or dun color. De Foe.

Deaf and dumb. See Deaf-mute. -- Dumb ague, ∨ Dumb chill, a form of intermittent fever which has no well-defined "chill." [U.S.] -- Dumb animal, any animal except man; -- usually restricted to a domestic quadruped; -- so called in contradistinction to man, who is a "speaking animal." -- Dumb cake, a cake made in silence by girls on St. Mark's eve, with certain mystic ceremonies, to discover their future husbands. Halliwell. -- Dumb cane Bot., a west Indian plant of the Arum family (Dieffenbachia seguina), which, when chewed, causes the tongue to swell, and destroys temporarily the power of speech. -- Dumb crambo. See under crambo. -- Dumb show. (a) Formerly, a part of a dramatic representation, shown in pantomime. "Inexplicable dumb shows and noise." Shak. (b) Signs and gestures without words; as, to tell a story in dumb show. -- To strike dumb, to confound; to astonish; to render silent by astonishment; or, it may be, to deprive of the power of speech.

Syn. -- Silent; speechless; noiseless. See Mute.

 

© Webster 1913.


Dumb, v. t.

To put to silence.

[Obs.]

Shak.

 

© Webster 1913.

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