Doce me faces voluntarem tuam quia Deus meus es tu

Thursday, August 05, 2004
Oh boy.

Here's a picture of a handful of the artists on the upcoming Vote for Change tour. I think we know the script by now. Every real artist in this country wants Bush out and Kerry in. Great. Look, I'm not some high-minded opera critic who hates rock and roll. I'm twenty-two. I've been to more punk shows than weddings in the last two years, but enough is enough. Some of my favorite bands are on this tour. But could someone please tell me why I should care what Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) or Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) have to say about politics? Sure, they're entitled to their opinion, but that doesn't make that their opinions are well-developed. I realize that it doesn't take a PhD to understand the world. I'm not asking for that, but I would love for the Vote for Change tour to be represented by something better than this breathtaking Natalie Maines (of Dixie Chicks fame):

"A change is in order," Maines said. "There's never been a political climate like this, which is so the opposite of me as a person and what I believe in."

Hmmm. It's Thursday, and the bars in Tuscaloosa usually have a good crowd on this night. I'm sure I could drop in a few watering holes and find more succint quotes from more inebriated young women. Bruce Springstreen and Jackson Browne should be embarrassed by such drivel.

This sort of thing makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Pick up a guitar or write a poem and suddenly you understand the world in a clearer light. Anyone who stayed awake during Freshman Lit. realizes that good artists are able to tap into something universal about the human experience. Springsteen's done it; so has James Taylor and R.E.M. Even the younger arists on the tour are very, very good at what they do. Bright Eyes is pretty fantastic when Conor Oberst tones down the pretentious factor, same thing goes for Ben Gibbard's Death Cab for Cutie. And I love Jimmy Buffett. So now we have every reason to enjoy their music, but why should I care about the politics?

My mind is already made up; I'm voting for W. In fact, I have a Dave Matthews decal on my back windshield right next to my W. sticker. The W. sticker was on my window when I saw Death Cab back in April. When bands speak out politically, I don't care. What bothers me is the fact the arrogance of the stance, as though Dave Matthews or Eddie Vedder have a particular insight into the world. Well, I suppose they do have a particular insight. I, for one, am just not convinced that said insight is worth the paper it's written on. A preternatural ability to play the guitar does not automatically endow one with keen political wisdom.
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