When I was young Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise ” was always on the radio. It was everywhere, it was catchy, and it gave you the impression that there was some deeper meaning in the lyrics, as if in those words a greater truth could be found.

I was in the third grade when I thought that.

Here, in Korea, cell phone shops, butchers shops, just any random place will put the loudest boom box they can buy and put out on the street. That was how “Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang,” by Lee Hyo-Ri was blasted into my skull for a couple of years.


This was blasted into my skull.

At the time, I didn’t think much about the phrase “Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang,” thinking that it was probably slang for a mythical sex act or at least a predatory racial slur. But recently, that phrase turned up in a mix of music that I often listen to from my favorites KEXP. “U-Huh” by Tkay Maidza, (an Aussie)

Not blasted into my skull. Not yet.

So, I decided to use the infinite wisdom of the internet to find out what the phrase is all about. According to Wikipedia, it’s from noisy British race cars from the turn of the last century. And also this:



So, it’s a catchy phrase. It keeps popping up. And again, I’m brought back to that same bizarre feeling I had in the third grade: that in it, must be the meaning of life. Like how Pi pops up in everything. Or 42.

If you do see the movie, check out this interpretation. You might find it illuminating.

Or we just keep using a phrase that has no real meaning. If you do know an alternate meaning, please let me know. I’m curious.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the meaning of life.