About 12 hours ago Cinema Blend‘s Katey Rich tweeted about two films “ending with overly literal Beatles songs” — the most recent episode of Mad Men, which ends with an instrumental of “Do You Want To Know A Secret?,” and The Social Network, which ends with “Baby, You’re a Rich Man.”
The latter is kind of a weird song because it says two diverse things. The chorus makes fun of people with scads of dough but don’t have much of a life (“keep all your money in a big brown bag inside a zoo / what a thing to do”) but the verses allude to spiritual satori as a source of immense wealth of another kind, hence the last chorus line “baby, you’re a rich man too.”
Most of the song is about a questioner asking a certain guy where’s he travelled inside his head, and what it’s like to know enlightenment. “And have you travelled very far? / Far as the eye can see / How often have you been there? / Often enough to know / What did you see when you were there? / Nothing that doesn’t show.” You could also say that these lyrics describe the adventures of a guy who’s gone off on his own and found something novel and head-turning — a guy, you could argue, who’s a bit like Jesse Eisenberg‘s Mark Zuckerberg. Not in a spiritual sense, of course, but in the realm of being an intellectual pathfinder and/or finder of treasure.
All to say that Rich, usually a sharp observer, has considered only the song’s title and hasn’t really settled into the lyrics.
Incidentally: it was reported in Bob Spitz‘s The Beatles that as the chorus is repeated at the end of the song, John Lennon sings “baby, you’re a rich fag Jew,” an allusion to Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, who was Jewish and a closeted homosexual. That sounds like Lennon’s cruel humor, all right, but I’ve listened to the song four times this morning and I don’t hear it.