Doce me faces voluntarem tuam quia Deus meus es tu

Monday, October 25, 2004
It's nothing new to me when I learn that a band is left-leaning. I'm adjusted to it. Call it comfortably numb. Aaron Copland and Woody Guthrie sympathized with the Soviets. Joan Baez and John Lennon thought Vietnam was peaceful oasis. The Clash had a support for Daniel Ortega that would make John Kerry jealous. I could crash my bandwith rattling off the names of bands and artists that I love who find their political home in the same camp with Mao and Lenin, to say nothing of Bill and Hillary.

So why am I just irate this year?

Because they just won't shut up. It's not that Springsteen doesn't have a right to his opinion. He certainly does. I'm not advocating Michael Stipe be thrown in jail, though the level of mediocrity in R.E.M.'s recent work has bordered on criminal. No, all I want is a return to good music, whatever its political leanings. Springsteen's Nebraska had something to say about the working class in Jersey during the late 70s and early 80s. I may not agree with his economic theories (seriously Bruce, read Friedman. Please? Humor me.), but what he said was artful. It was creative and even if you were a true-blue Reaganite, you could enjoy the record.

Well no more, apparently, because Carole King has elevated "So Far Away" to some obscene level of political discourse. And for what? So that some Volvlo-driving, bearded hippie can have his cake and eat it, too? Well forget that, because when I hear Chris Martin sing about a broken heart, that ain't just a Democrat who's hurting, it's all of us. Arists are free to be political, but if these clowns spend eight days a week shilling for John Kerry or Ralph Nader, there's an impression left. It says no matter how much you love us, no matter how powerful you find our art, no matter what it means to you, if you don't vote for our guy, then you're one of them.

That's why I wish things were like they used to be. There were Democrats who hated KISS and there were Republicans who loved them. Vice versa. It was just rock and roll. Everyone knew James Taylor wasn't into Nixon, but was the rancor so vile that a Republican felt uncomfortable? I doubt that very much. But as it is, these people just won't shut up and so if you're not exactly like them - if you don't repent of your SUV and your handgun and your low taxes and your (gasp!) willingness to support the war - then you're on the outside. You don't belong in their world. You follow that scoundrel, that monkey, that nincompoop cowboy. Him with the stupid grin. How could you? I mean, I'm Linda Ronstadt, that Michael Moore is a p-a-t-r-i-o-t. Don't you know? You poor sap out in flyover country.

What Linda doesn't know is that the PTA members in the crowd didn't pay fifty bucks to hear about Michael Moore. They came out to hear "Blue Bayou." I can accept Coldplay's fair-trade talk, but if the rhetoric about Bush causing the end of the world doesn't trail off, then my money sure as heck will.

Just sing. Make me think. Make me cry. Make me remember. Just don't berate me. My guy's not a criminal. I don't think yours is, either. Persuade me. I'll accept the invitation.

I'd like to think James Taylor would, too.
9:04 PM :: ::
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