#MLMM I Shot the Sheriff and Popeye

music challenges banner

Jim Adams is the host of Mindlovemisery Menagerie’s Music Challenge. Jim says:

The challenge today is to focus on Bob Marley and The Wailers’ song,  “I Shot the Sheriff” and use it for inspiration in any form of creative expression (including but not limited to short stories, poems, lyrics, artwork, photography, (etc.). 

After reading the lyrics, and using stream of consciousness, what bubbles to the surface is Popeye, the famous cartoon sailor, saying, “It’s all I can stands. I can’t stands no more.” When Popeye says this, it is usually Brutus harassing Popeye or harassing Olive Oyl, the lanky female that both Popeye and Brutus are sweet on. Where Popeye is the bashful, yet congenial sailor who is hoping to win Olive’s affection, Brutus is the stereotypical testosterone-jacked bruiser who chronically forces himself on Olive in various ways. I think one of the reasons why I loved Popeye so much as a kid is not so much because he kicked Brutus’ butt every time after eating his magic spinach, but because he was willing to protect her from the brute that is Brutus.

I see Brutus as Sheriff John Brown in this story. As a kid did you ever wonder why Brutus acted the way he did? Since he was so consistently a brute, the conclusion many/most kids would draw is that Brutus is just that way and he needs to be avoided or to be dealt with to get him off my back or to stop him from harming someone I care about. Marley states that he doesn’t know why the sheriff is out to get him. Maybe that’s just the way the sheriff is, which is targeting and malicious, as Brutus is.  Marley tried to avoid Sheriff John Brown when freedom came his way, but then he was in the crosshairs of the sheriff’s scope; this left him no choice.

Marley says that reflexes got the better of him and he shot the sheriff. Imagine if Popeye wound up that spinach-infused forearm of his, punched Brutus across the screen, and Brutus fell flat dead. In cartoons the villains reanimate in the next cartoon. I don’t think the sheriff will be coming back. The cartoons couldn’t afford to have any corpses on their hands. In Marley’s song, death is the only way the song can exist, as Marley was using self-defense and shot first.

As to why they are trying to pin the death of the deputy on Marley, it’s hard to say. Maybe there were people who hated the deputy and one saw an opportunity to kill the deputy and pin it on Marley as being part of a double homicide. Brutus worked alone so there is no comparison to speak of.

I started this with Popeye’s, “It’s all I can stands. I can’t stands no more.” I see this as Marley’s bottom dropping out of the bucket. Maybe Marley’s reflexes got the better of him; maybe not. Maybe the bottom dropped out and he mentally quoted Popeye as he pulled the trigger.

The sheriff needed to die if he wouldn’t back off, and he wouldn’t back off. This is shown by, “Every time that I plant a seed…” I take the seed as literal seeds that are planted in hopes of a food crop. Where Popeye’s magic crop was spinach, Marley’s may have been weed, but I think it was the type of food crops grown in Jamaica.  The campaign against Marley by the sheriff, the boots on the ground interface of a government ends, but now he faces the boots behind the bench.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. What an awesome analogy! A decomposing rotting corpse would really stink up a cartoon, as people watch them to laugh and Popeye was always good and Brutus was the protagonist, so people had someone to route against. What anyone ever saw in Olive Oyl was beyond me, but the damsel in distress made for an easy plot to write. I always enjoyed Wimpy begging for a hamburger saying, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” The kicker was that when Tuesday rolled around Wimpy never came back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I tried to find a Popeye with him saying that in a context of Brutus’ harassment but could not. That said, I watched several cartoons this afternoon. What I didn’t know is that Olive is an adaptation of Betty Boop. The first Popeye cartoon features Betty Boop and she sounds exactly like Olive! So… this prompt response led me to learning something new. To me that’s a win.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. msjadeli says:

      You make me laugh at the thought of the body count piling up in a cartoon. I’m thinking now of one of those John Wick movies and trying to imagine the same. My mind is a trail that forges ever into weird connections. There has to be a diagnosis for this.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. They should blame Wimpy, and he’ll pay dearly on Tuesday

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      lol I can see the headlines now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. No where did you pull that one from? Wow Lisa, that was a fantastic analogy! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      From the crazy cupboard in my mind 😉

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.