Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I OUGHTA GO TO WORK, BUT I AIN'T GONNA DO IT/BECAUSE I'M REALLY JUST NOT QUITE UP TO IT. It’s low-hanging fruit day. I mean, who really wants to follow the "You take back what you said about Uncle Irving" thread at The Corner? It’s like Long Day’s Journey Into Night as performed by the Willowbrook ’72 Dramatic Society. Today I just don't have that much jam.

So let’s indulge in some really dumb shit. Tbogg points to this charmer’s “Rock Songs Conservatives Can Love.” Now, you all know by now how I feel about the relationship of art to politics – if the former is not master of the latter, bullshit ensues. And many if not most overtly political rock songs, whether you like the politics or not, are terrible – for every “London Calling” there are a dozen or more like “Gun Control” or “Do They Know It’s Christmas” or that horrible thing your sister’s boyfriend sang about apartheid at the 1983 talent show.

But when I read trenchant analysis like this --
Camper Van Beethoven - Might Makes Right (anti-Iraq war but with only in one line. Ignore the line and the song plays like “Team America”)
-- what can I say except, hey, buddy, let me help you out with some real conservative rock songs:

“No Feelings” – Sex Pistols

“White Minority” -- Black Flag

“I Live, You Die” – Flotsam & Jetsam

“Pray I Don’t Kill You, F****t” -- Run Nigger Run (Steve Albini project!)*

“N****r Loves His Possum” -- Collins and Harlan*

And anything by the Allendale Melodians! Here’s me bus! Bye!

UPDATE. Oh, for Christ's sake, the madness is not limited to the margins -- one of the numbskulls at The Corner is now compiling his own "conservative rock song" list! Feel free to send him my suggestions.

UPDATE 2. Lotsa good suggestions -- "I Don't Care About You," Fear -- "Suit & Tie Guy," DRI -- "Killing an Arab," the Cure -- and, meta as always, Jeremy Osner suggests "Psychotic Reaction" by the Count Five.

Let me say this in response to commenter Kyle -- because he contends honorably, and because it has to do with what we always talk about when we talk about culturewar here: I don't see evidence for the subtler argument you attribute to SMB. His language is as knuckleheaded as that found at The Corner, where conversion of otherwise poli-sci-neutral artworks into rightwing rah-rah is a thriving business. The difference between "songs that conservatives would find especially agreeable" and "songs that were written to cheerlead for conservatism" is as real as you suggest. But the words you put in front of these phrases -- "looking for" -- changes everything. That's what our nemeses do, because they can't imagine any art that isn't -- oh that phrase -- politically correct by their lights, and by making such lists encourage a false understanding of what art is for. If we get to the point -- a point these guys are working toward -- where a person can't enjoy a song or a story or a poem without first being assured that it reflects his reified world view, then we are lost, not just politically but as human beings.

I mean, "Okie From Muskogee" and Leonard Cohen's "The Future" and Graham Parker's "You Can't Be Too Strong" are great songs. If I worried about where they fell on some bean-counter's notion of a political spectrum, I'd be deprived of their pleasure. And some poor kid sucked into the blogosphere's sorting machine may never get the chance to enjoy them as I did.

Even Rod Dreher could enjoy the Clash. Jesus Christ. If that clueless Flanders can enjoy music without a political imprimatur, why can't everyone else?

UPDATE 3. They just keep getting worse. Highlight of this particular "Everyone I like must be exactly like me" fantasy: "I feel [Lennon] would have become a card-carrying Republican and voted for President Bush in the 2004 election. Perhaps his latest song would have even been a cover of 'G-d Bless The USA.'" J-s-s Chr-st, what an -ssh-le.

* -- titles expurgated to please illiterate bureaucrats at Google, who consider straight quotations (with quotes around them, even!) to "incite hatred against, promotes discrimination of, or disparages an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion," etc.  Please, nobody tell them about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and N***r Jim.

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