Metatalktail Hour: I am confusion September 3, 2022 2:01 AM   Subscribe

For this week's metatalktail hour topic, brainwane would like to know, "what is the artwork that gave you the most dissonance between what you expected based on the title and what you actually got?"

And she notes that this idea grew from the "improper nouns" thread. (1, 2, 3)

Or just let us know what's up with you, what's new, what's on your mind (but no politics, por favor!).
posted by taz (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 2:01 AM (73 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Cat's Cradle.

No damn cat. No damn cradle.

(It was my first Vonnegut though, I knew better after that.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:25 AM on September 3 [9 favorites]


The British crime drama Shetland has virtually no ponies.
posted by scratch at 5:27 AM on September 3 [15 favorites]


Before I ever heard the Grateful Dead, I thought that they would be some kind of heavy metal (based on all the skulls and skeletons in their scary-looking iconography.) Then somebody in my 8th-grade class put on American Beauty, and I was enlightened.
posted by Daily Alice at 5:55 AM on September 3 [13 favorites]


My daughter really likes Glass Animals, so I have listened to a lot of Glass Animals songs. My favorite - the only one I've liked enough to add to my own music collection - is called Psylla. Psylla is a genus of sap-sucking insects. I can't tell what the song is supposed to be about (reading the lyrics doesn't help and neither does watching the video), but nothing in there seems to relate to sap-sucking insects in any way. It's a good song, though.
posted by Redstart at 5:59 AM on September 3


The Hay Wain, by Hieronymus Bosch.
Yes, there is a hay wain in the center of the tryptich, but also lots of other stuff going on. The hay wagon is a Red Hering.
posted by 15L06 at 6:03 AM on September 3


Anything by the 10,000 Maniacs.
posted by daisyace at 6:46 AM on September 3 [10 favorites]


Son of Godzilla. I wasn't acquainted with the genre, much less its star, and in spoken Polish "Godzilla" sounds like "an hour" (godzina) so you can imagine my 9 year old self's surprise.
posted by hat_eater at 6:54 AM on September 3 [4 favorites]


I absolutely thought that Watership Down must be a story about a boat sinking.

Nope. Rabbits. Great book though.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 7:10 AM on September 3 [12 favorites]


I would say the Grateful Dead as well perhaps, but twice over. At first I was surprised that were mellow folk - stoners are listening to this? Then I heard part of a live show, and was surprised again.

Similarly, though not particular tied in with the theme, listening to The Wall didn’t prepare me for Dark Side of The Moon.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:11 AM on September 3




Julius Caesar isn’t about Julius Caesar.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:58 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Ivanhoe. I read it for a high school class, and picked it at the suggestion of our school librarian (I just had to pick something written in the early 1800s, and he suggested that when I said that I wasn't into Jane Austen).

Ostensibly it's about a knight named Ivanhoe, but he's laid up in a prison for most of the book and so it's really about this Jewish woman named Jessica and a little person named Womba trying to get him out of jail.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:14 AM on September 3


I absolutely thought that Watership Down must be a story about a boat sinking.

Today I learned that Watership Down is not about rabbits on a sinking boat.
posted by meese at 9:04 AM on September 3 [8 favorites]


just the other day I listened to Godspeed You, Black Emperor for the first time. not at all what I was expecting!! also such loooooong sooongs.
posted by supermedusa at 9:12 AM on September 3 [3 favorites]


Fuck This Shit by Belle & Sebastian
posted by gauche at 9:13 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


When I was 10 or so there was a whole slate of bands that I knew only from t-shirts worn by older kids on my street. I was scared of these bands, because of what these shirts looked like. Lynard Skynard, AC/DC, Bad Brains ... stuff like that. The scariest one, though, was The Buzzcocks.

Imagine my surprise on finally hearing them!
posted by chavenet at 9:32 AM on September 3 [4 favorites]


Fuck This Shit by Belle & Sebastian

Possibly in the same vein: Punk as Fuck by the American Analog Set.
posted by LionIndex at 9:58 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


I went to The Return of the Pink Panther when I was a lad, believing it to be an animated film. I was deeply puzzled but didn’t hate it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:35 AM on September 3 [11 favorites]


When I heard the title, I was interested in seeing The Squid and the Whale, but ...
posted by Countess Elena at 12:41 PM on September 3


I recently cracked open One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish for the first time since I was approximately the age my kid is now, and it was a lot more random and episodic than I expected, even for Seuss. Starts with the titular line, but doesn't really continue in that vein. Even the 3-year-old (who loves nonsense!) was kind of "???"
posted by aws17576 at 2:51 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even is not what you might expect from the title, fortunately.
posted by jamjam at 4:16 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


I avoided Death Cab for Cutie's catalog for a while under the assumption that it was going to be screamo.
posted by eponym at 4:32 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


<<Ceçi n'est pas une pipe>> my ass!

*: I get that it's an image of...
posted by k3ninho at 4:41 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


waiting
posted by clavdivs at 8:02 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


for
posted by clavdivs at 8:02 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Godot.
posted by clavdivs at 8:02 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


For those surprised by the Grateful Dead not being metal, consider that their original name was The Warlocks.

The first time I had some, I was expecting sour cream to taste much differently.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:24 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


My partner likes to remind me that before I met him, I had walked nearly three decades on this Earth thinking that Steely Dan was: a) one guy named Dan who b) played country/bluegrass music. (I maintain that this was a perfectly reasonable conclusion to have drawn from the name Steely Dan)
posted by btfreek at 10:57 PM on September 3 [21 favorites]


Well, it's been over three and a half decades for me, ending today. Why would you call yourself Steely Dan if you're a band???
posted by Dysk at 12:27 AM on September 4 [6 favorites]


William S. Burroughs and the bizarre sexual origins of Steely Dan's name

Excerpt:
As both Becker and Fagen were huge fans of the bizarre world of 1950s ‘Beat’ literature, they chose the name Steely Dan. It was pulled directly from William S. Burrough’s highly controversial 1959 novel, Naked Lunch.

So what or who is ‘Steely Dan’, you might ask? For those of you who haven’t read the meandering, psychotropic book, ‘Steely Dan III from Yokohama’ is the name of an oversized, steam-powered strap-on dildo that is used by Mary during the chapter of the book entitled ‘A.J.’s Annual Party’.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:03 AM on September 4 [19 favorites]


This is more in the abstract and potential, but I have always wanted to form a band with an entirely misleading name: a speed metal band called Bluegrass Breakdown or maybe a guitar rawk band called the Minneapolis-St. Paul Philharmonic Orchestra.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:17 AM on September 4 [8 favorites]


Naked Lunch. (SLYT SFW)
posted by essexjan at 5:37 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Cy Twombly's Fifty Days at Iliam
posted by Stanczyk at 5:37 AM on September 4


A couple of cinema ones:

In the mid-90s, at a late-night screening of something in Soho (with a largely gay audience) a trailer for "Free Willy" led to huge mirth around the cinema.

In the early 80s my sister and I went to see the Jack Nicholson/Jessica Lange version of "The Postman Always Rings Twice". As the end credits rolled my bewildered sister said, loudly, "But where's the postman?"
posted by essexjan at 5:43 AM on September 4 [7 favorites]


Essexjan, you've reminded me of one -

There's a British film from 1943 called The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. What I did not know, before watching it, was that there was a frequent "stock character" in British political cartoons of the late 1930s called "Colonel Blimp" - he was usually depicted as a portly guy with a floppy walrus mustache who would usually be mouthing off about "here's what the government should do" despite being rather mis-informed. The film was meant to be a sort of reformation of the character - presenting a story about the kind of guy who would be like that but showing us his younger years, and kind of explaining Why He Was Like That.

However, I didn't know anything about the stock character - so I was totally baffled for the first hour of the film because the main character seemed to be a guy named "Clive Candy", and I kept wondering "when the hell are we going to meet this Blimp guy?"

(The best equivalent I can think of for what the film did would be if someone did a film called "The Downfall Of A Karen" and the main character was named something like Lorraine.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:34 AM on September 4 [7 favorites]


Heh, ricochet biscuit, my partner & I keep a list of potential band names and one of our favorite candidates is "Alton Brown Book Signing".
posted by magicbus at 9:55 AM on September 4 [8 favorites]


Atari Yars Revenge. What they promised. What you got.
posted by signal at 11:30 AM on September 4 [4 favorites]


I am a Jew who did not read the New testament until i was in my late 20s.

There are no animals in The Seventh Seal.
posted by brujita at 11:40 AM on September 4 [7 favorites]


I distinctly remember being surprised and disappointed hearing the Boo Radleys for the first time because I assumed they'd be heavier and...I dunno, weirder or darker than they actually are based on the name.

Naked Lunch

In the pre-smartphone era, I was witness to a bar argument over the origins of Steely Dan's name. It was between two regulars, and one was not willing to accept the true origins of the band's name. I got involved and said yeah, I could confirm that was the case since I read a lot of Burroughs in high school.

Still no dice.

The way I ended the argument was by excusing myself, going home (the bar that was only a couple of blocks from where I lived) and getting my copy of Naked Lunch. I returned to the bar and handed it to the disbeliever, open to the page with that scene.

I'm happy to report that this settled things, but that guy had a follow-up question after reading the scene: "What kind of fuckin' book is that?"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:48 AM on September 4 [22 favorites]


Of anything I would have expected an unreleased heavy metal demo song called "River of Blood" to sound like, it wasn't this.
posted by Zalzidrax at 12:01 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


It strikes me that Naked Lunch has itself caused this kind of problem in the past (at least the Simpsons would imply thus).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:32 PM on September 4 [4 favorites]


Kids these days will never know the satisfaction of returning to an argument in a bar brandishing a book that will settle it once and for all.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:23 PM on September 4 [33 favorites]


From what I had read about the British tv series The Prisoner, I expected it to have a 1984 kind of vibe, with everyone walking around in drab clothes in a prison camp environment entirely devoid of colour. Imagine my surprise.
posted by rjs at 1:42 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


The title of Levity did not prepare me for what a complete slog it was.

On the other side of things, I was put off the (excellent) Murderbot series for years because I was expecting it to be basically a slasher pic in space. (It's not; it's much smarter than that.)
posted by johnofjack at 1:50 PM on September 4 [4 favorites]


The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty; Beauty's Punishment; Beauty's Release. by A. N. Roquelaure....
posted by zengargoyle at 2:03 PM on September 4


On one internet community there was a small, enthusiastic clique of people who were very keen on a band called Cardiacs. For some reason I thought they were psychobilly or something, like The Cramps, which doesn't float my boat. They were not. When I finally got round to actually listening to them, they became my favourite band of all time.
posted by Grangousier at 2:19 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


On The Beach is not really a surfer dance party film.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:20 PM on September 4 [11 favorites]


I was raised by a Deadhead. The Touch of Grey video was released when I was in Kindergarten.

At that time, I was still literal-minded enough to assume that the Grateful Dead were actually a bunch of dead guys who somehow still played music.

Maybe this doesn’t count? I know “skeletal remains with instruments” isn’t a genre, per se…but if it were, I have to assume it wouldn’t sound like that.
posted by armeowda at 5:13 PM on September 4 [7 favorites]



On The Beach is not really a surfer dance party film.


Threads
is not a lighthearted mockumentary about the fashion industry.....
posted by lalochezia at 6:34 PM on September 4 [5 favorites]


I assumed based on the name that Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring would be something like Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony- all bambis prancing through meadows, birds tweeting and so forth. It is most definitely not that.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 9:39 PM on September 4 [4 favorites]


I once invited a young woman to see Todd Solondz's Happiness at the cinema, on the grounds that it seemed to be a light comedy. It is emphatically not light comedy.

(24 years later we are still together).
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:53 PM on September 4 [9 favorites]


On The Beach is not really a surfer dance party film.

Threads is not a lighthearted mockumentary about the fashion industry.....


The War Game is not a comedy about a battle re-enactment society.
posted by Grangousier at 12:46 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


On one internet community there was a small, enthusiastic clique of people who were very keen on a band called Cardiacs.

A friend of mine — possibly part of that clique — is a devotee. He laments that they have never had a wider success but also notes that the core of the band is two brothers named Tim Smith and Jim Smith (as well as at one point including Tim’s wife, saxophonist Sarah Smith). He speculates that they could have pulled in bigger numbers if they billed themselves as The Smiths.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:25 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


A family friend, sadly now gone, pitched The Way Back (2010) as a fun romp, like a road movie where the characters happened to walk rather than drive. We all came out of the cinema pretty harrowed after that one.

Not quite the same thing, but it also reminds me of watching Inland Empire at the age of seventeen, with basically no knowledge of David Lynch or the geography of southern California (so no preconceptions at all about what the title might mean and how that might compare to the contents of the movie). It was more of an endurance exercise than any other film I've ever seen. I watched it with one of my best friends, the son of the family friend mentioned in the previous anecdote, and when my dad came to give us a ride home after the showing he asked how we found the film...and we were both just like "I don't know?". Our seventeen-year-old brains couldn't even begin to process what we'd just seen into coherent thoughts suitable for car ride chit-chat.
posted by terretu at 8:40 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Fiasco da Gama, the movie in my bad-choice-based-on-title, first-date tale is "Sunshine." Glad yours has a sweet ending.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:25 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


When I was fifteen and living on an Air Base, in Utah; I first heard the Byrds singing Eight Miles High, on my new transistor radio, out on the front sidewalk. It was later I learned that song wasn't about airplanes. Oh and then my friend and I suddenly realized The Doors, Back Door Man, was not about having dinner.
posted by Oyéah at 5:12 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


I distinctly remember being surprised and disappointed hearing the Boo Radleys yt for the first time

well, that's just the wrong bloody Boo Radleys track to hear first.

Sorry, what were we talking about?
posted by philip-random at 5:55 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Dysk: Why would you call yourself Steely Dan if you're a band???

Why would you call yourself The Mountain Goats if you're one guy?
posted by tzikeh at 8:54 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


why would you call yourself Squirrel Nut Zippers period? Or Poi Dog Pondering for that matter.
posted by philip-random at 9:01 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Ben Folds Five was three guys, just to bug you.
posted by armeowda at 11:15 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Years ago I believe right here on Metafilter I saw a post or comment that encouraged me to check out the video for a song called "We Are Water" by a band called HEALTH, directed by comedian Eric Wareheim. It was NOT AT ALL WHAT I EXPECTED.
posted by saladin at 5:44 AM on September 6


I'm not sure what I expected from a band called King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard but it wasn't this.
posted by eirias at 7:31 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


The Final Girl Support Group, by Grady Hendryx.

For those not in the know, the "final girl" concept is horror is the one woman who survives in your slasher movies, like Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. This book's conceit was a support group for women from events that mirrored all the different movie franchises, getting together to try and deal with pain.

Given the 4th wall breaking set up, I'd assumed it'd be mostly comedy, maybe some gore and action, but not taking anything seriously. But it was basically horror, plenty of gore, and with a lot of confronting trauma by the narrator. It wasn't bad but the disconnect between expectation and reality was pretty jarring.
posted by mark k at 12:12 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


The Mirror Crack'd

Agatha Christie - any of the Ms. Marple novels, really. You go in expecting a 'cozy' 'British' 'Mystery' and about half way through you realise it's about power (between the characters in the novel) and expectation (on the part of the reader of the novel) and the interplay of these elements. The characters don't act as you expect, and the form of the novel is fluid in the same way as a 'literary' novel.

I go back and read them every couple years.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:41 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


Friend of mine expected Priscilla, Queen of the Desert to be a documentary about a primitive kingdom or something.
posted by Mavri at 12:16 PM on September 8 [3 favorites]


...Oh and then my friend and I suddenly realized The Doors' Back Door Man, was not about having dinner.

Oyéah -- Back Door Man was written by Chess Records's producer Willie Dixon and was first recorded by that label's star Howling Wolf. It was an old Southern black expression describing a homewrecking man having an affair with a more or less married woman and refers to the preferred entry way to her home. You must explain the having dinner part. Oh, wait -- it does mention food being served as an ancillary benefit, so never mind...
posted by y2karl at 7:25 PM on September 8


The, uh, Elgin/Parthenon Marbles. Which I thought were large orbs. My then boyfriend, now husband, were studying abroad in the UK, went to the British Museum, and I was very excited to go see them because I was, at the time, an English major and had read the Keats poem, and I walked into the very, very large gallery, looked around for some orbs and didn't see any, then went "ooooohhhhhh they're *made out of marble*, I get it now".

(Also, obviously, they should be in Greece, give them back, etc.)
posted by damayanti at 6:03 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


I had the exact same experience! although somehow I had managed to get as far as believing they were large orbs made of marble. I did see an artwork incredibly close to my mental image of them, eventually.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:12 AM on September 9


give them back

Hey, we were playing keepsies!
posted by Phanx at 6:35 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty; Beauty's Punishment; Beauty's Release. by A. N. Roquelaure....

I don't know these, and have not yet looked them up. At the risk of making a fool of myself I'm going to speculate that they might be 18th century French porn...
posted by altolinguistic at 8:44 AM on September 9


altolinguistic: close. They are indeed porn, but not technically French; "A.N. Roquelaure" is a pen name Anne Rice used when she wrote these, based on the original, non-Disnefied version of Sleeping Beauty (in which Sleeping Beauty is not awakened with a kiss - rather, she is raped, and sleeps through it, gets pregnant and gives birth and sleeps through it, and only wakes up when one of the kids tries breastfeeding on her finger).

This trilogy is more like: imagine that instead of Prince Charming finding Sleeping Beauty, it's Christian Gray from Fifty Shades of Gray who does, and when she wakes up he takes her to his palace complete with a harem full of BDSM sex slaves.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:52 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


I found a Sleeping Beauty book in a place where I should really not have been snooping as a kid and opened it to find ... what the hell? I think I was a tween and old enough to know the basic mechanics, but it was baffling and off-putting. I left it where it was.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:02 AM on September 9


I've now looked them up - they're not going on the "to read" list!
posted by altolinguistic at 9:29 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


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