There I was, certain I would finally get to writing an essay about Global Warming, or at least another one of the many I want to write about Islam. Things lately have a way of not working out as I expect they should. A couple of rock musicians caught “foot in mouth” disease and I feel compelled to comment about it. I was more than capable of ignoring Sheryl Crow’s attack on white house adviser Karl Rove and her suggestion (joke we hope) about toilet paper conservation. Who among us possesses high expectations of Sheryl’s intellect or influence? But this statement I could not overlook:

“The current administration needs to be tried, hung and shot. We need to treat them like the war criminals they are.” Zack de la Rocha

For those that don’t know, Zack de la Rocha is the lead singer for a politically charged rap metal band called “Rage Against The Machine.” I don’t know why this incident at the band’s reunion performance at the Coachella Music Festival has gone relatively unreported. I don’t want to let such an irresponsible remark go unchallenged.

Rock stars, whether knowingly or not, have long been the stooges of the socialist left wing of American politics. In the sixties they were quite eloquent at vocalizing an anti-establishment point of view. There are those who would suggest that this point of view is as essential to the music as is the sexuality that permeates throughout it. The youth of the sixties were convinced that they were going to change the world and music was going to be their instrument of change. Rolling Stone Magazine is giving itself a pat on the back for this very reason in its current 40th anniversary edition. The mantras of the time were “peace and love,” the “Age Of Aquarius” and all that beautiful naivety. (OK, If I had been around back then I am sure I would have been the supreme Doors fan just because they weren’t all of that). The Vietnam war, and the necessary military conscription that came with it, was a wonderful catalyst to provide young people with both an incentive and a collective cause to stand against. But today’s war in Iraq is not the same. There is no longer military conscription and, more importantly, the enemy we fight seriously threatens the American homeland. Sorry, but the unity of the “good old days” that the aging “baby boomers” pine for is still long gone.

Rock music, and the musicians who play it, have always tried to portray themselves as unifiers and parlayers for peaceful change. It has always bothered me when musicians (or actors) try to inject themselves into politics. It makes no sense to presume that these people, who shut themselves off from reality to pursue their musical endeavors, possess any real insight into the political machinations that hold our society together. It is good to remember that in the great society of ancient Rome, musicians and actors were looked upon as favorably as prostitutes. Useful, but not dignified trades. Self absorption is a skill requirement for rock stars and there are many excellent biographies out there to prove it. In other words, the preponderance of rock musicians and the establishment constructed around them are…..not smart. There can be no greater example of this than the music industry’s fawning over the recent politically charged Green Day record “American Idiot.” Does anyone really believe the same people who gave us “Dookie” are qualified to comment intelligently on politics? Only an “American Idiot” could believe so.

“Rage Against The Machine,” however, is a different breed of band entirely. This band has been thoroughly engorged in radical politics from its inception. They also embraced the cause to free convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Tom Morello, the bands guitarist is an avowed socialist as well as a Harvard graduate. In other words, these are not low level common stock rock star dummies. But they are emblematic of the current divisions within the country and how very serious they have become. Most of Rage’s songs (ironically written during the Clinton administration) rail against what they percieve to be a “fascist” establishment. Yet fascism and socialism have a lot more consistent historical relationship than anything one could reasonably percieve from the so called American imperialism that socialists and, unfortunately, the left wing of the democratic party rail against. After all, what is Nazism? National Socialism. Fascism, communism and socialism are all in bed together. Always have been. The particular brand of socialism advocated by socialist democrats, for which so many rock stars, actors and other meddling entertainers are made stooges for, is essentially “international socialism.” Or as it is more infamously known: “The New World Order.” Considering how much of this has infiltrated the entertainment we consume, we may have to revisit the work of Senator Joe McCarthy. It appears he was right.

Though this tries to portray itself as a “progressive” movement it is nothing of the sort. As Mr. de la Rocha’s statement makes clear. It is not now, nor has it ever been, a movement concerned with human rights. It is all about human control. Here in America, the movement for the last 40 years has masqueraded as a human rights enterprise. It has concentrated on creating what are essentially protected classes of people. They argue that these groups were the victims of discrimination in the past, therefore they are entitled to extra protections and extra rights. In other words, more government intrusion through regulation and law. Simply put; more control.

The irony about socialist movements however, is that they turn against these “aggrieved classes” of people as soon as they can assume total control. This is done to placate the very masses they have sought control over. That is how socialism, fascism and communism acquire and keep power. Class warfare. All rock music politics stems from class warfare. And what happens to the political enemies of socialist/communist movements?….they are “tried, hung and shot!” So you see the new boss isn’t really new at all is he?

You have to be empathetic to Mr. de la Rocha’s predicament though. Think of all the pseudo-intellectual nonsense that a lot of 20 year old males say while they are going to college, to try and appear “sensitive” to the plight of others, just to get laid by the artistic, politically active girls who are vulnerable to that sort of thing. Now imagine if you did that within the scheme of a rock band and all of your ignorant diatribes were recorded and subsequently revered by a generation of people who, through their own ignorance, think you are an enlightened soul and buy into your “political awareness.” Now you come back and reform your band in your thirties and try to sound convincing singing that same nonsense to a crowd of people you are now old enough to know haven’t got a clue. But hey, earning a guaranteed visit from the Secret Service for threatening the life of the president will certainly add to your street credibility with this crowd of would-be revolutionaries.

Rage Against The Machine should have taken a clue from Motley Crue. Getting laid for being stupid is a lot easier to live down than getting laid for being smart when you are not. There tends to be more regret associated with that. Perhaps everyone needs to forget Rage Against The Machine and give that old rocker that failed to “die before he got old” a listen. Pete Townshend seems quite prescient in this new light:

We’ll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that’s all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed
‘Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again

I’ll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I’ll get all my papers and smile at the sky
Though I know that the hypnotized never lie

There’s nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Are now parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Sunday, May 6, 2007


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