banner photo:

"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

Banner photo
Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rock star foreign policy

In the 2004 US election, we were treated to the spectacle of every liberal musician from Barbra Streisand to Bruce Springsteen campaigning musically to defeat Bush (plus a few on the right that were pro-Bush). They lent their star-wattage to the campaign without shedding much light on any of the issues other than repeating the same old talking points. In Canada, we had the vapid Avril Lavigne weighing in, and my favourite - Paul Martin with his rictus grin, on stage with Bono who was lecturing us about our own country. (Can't you just see Paul Martin at a U2 concert, loosening up his tie and waving his lighter in the air? No? Neither can I.) I can't stand it when celebrities, whose only qualification is their own fame, lecture us about politics. Keifer Sutherland - are you listening?

Which brings me to the point of this post. I hopped in the truck the other day and drove to "the city" and stopped at Starbucks for a latte. There was some cool funk music playing on the sound system; I asked the "barrista" what it was : Ben Harper's Both Sides of the Gun. So I bought a copy. You know, it's a pretty good album, but I can't listen to it anymore because listening to the lyrics is like being trapped in an elevator with Jack Layton and Cindy Sheehan. Here's what I mean - the words to Black Rain:

You left them swimming for their lives
Down in New Orleans
Can't afford a gallon of gasoline
With your useless degrees
And your contrary statistics
This government business
Is straight up sadistic

You don't fight for us
But expect us to die for you
You have no sympathy for us
Still I cry for you
You may kill the revolutionary
But the revolution you can never bury

Don't you dare speak to us
Like we work for you
Selling false hope like some new dope
We're addicted to

I'm not a desperate man
But these are desperate times at hand
This generation is beyond your command

It won't be long 'till the people flood the streets
And take you down one and all
A black rain is gonna fall.
Here's a verse from Gather 'Round the Stone:

You whip the back of freedom
'Till it bleeds an oil stream
Then you sail down upon it
In your killing machine

Get it? No blood for oil? I hate to break it to Ben Harper, but if his albums are being featured in Starbucks, he's not exactly at the cutting edge of counter-culture, and his fans aren't going to pull their lips off their bongs long enough to flood the streets and take us down one and all.

By the way, if you like these lyrics, you might enjoy my previous post Teen Angst Poetry

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bozo from U2 and other morons like him should stick to singing and dancing because they reveal the depth of their ignorance every time they say anything else...