Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rockin' The Suburbs With John J. Miller

A good afternoon to all!

In one of Codemorse's recent posts, I touched on Michael Long's attempts to identify "Conservative" songs. Frankly, I don't get it. What's the need to identify these things? Can a song not simply be a song, enjoyable without political connotation?

Apparently not, as John J. Miller has released a list of the Top 50 Conservative Songs.

And, as you'd expect, it doesn't make a lick of sense.

At number 15?
I fought The Law, by The Crickets. The original law-and-order classic, made famous in 1965 by The Bobby Fuller Four and covered by just about everyone since then.

How is this a conservative song? In any context? Because the singer goes around robbin' people with his six-gun? Because the Law won? Does Miller understand that the singer in this song is not pleased with having had said-Law win?

At number 18?
Cult of Personality by Living Colour. A hard-rocking critique of state power, whacking Mussolini, Stalin, and even JFK: “I exploit you, still you love me / I tell you one and one makes three / I’m the cult of personality.”

One might be forgiven in thinking that conservative skepticism in the face of the Cult of Personality is fairly ludicrous. Certainly our current Administration works that Personality like an all-day sucker. And isn't it wrong to criticize our President? Aren't the Dixie Chicks pulling a shameless Martyr pose by capitalizing on said-criticism? You'd think so, given some conservative reaction. But you'd only be half-right, because apparently it's okay to criticize someone as long as they're dead.

At number 3?
Sympathy For The Devil, by the Rolling Stones. Don’t be misled by the title; this song is The Screwtape Letters of rock. The devil is a tempter who leans hard on moral relativism — he will try to make you think that “every cop is a criminal / And all the sinners saints.” What’s more, he is the sinister inspiration for the cruelties of Bolshevism: “I stuck around St. Petersburg /When I saw it was a time for a change / Killed the czar and his ministers /Anastasia screamed in vain.”

This choice is so fundamentally misguided that one could possibly write a book and guest on Jon Stewart, using just this paragraph alone. I'll be mercifully brief. This song is not the Screwtape Letters of rock. Saying so ignores the entire history of the Rolling Stones, the entirety of the lyrics, and the meaning of words. Yes, the meaning of words.

Labeling this song "conservative" is so utterly fakata that it essentially renders Miller's logic meaningless to me in full. What is the criterion for judging a song to be "conservative?" Let's let Miller tell us again:
The lyrics must convey a conservative idea or sentiment, such as skepticism of government or support for traditional values. And, to be sure, it must be a great rock song. We’re biased in favor of songs that are already popular, but have tossed in a few little-known gems. In several cases, the musicians are outspoken liberals. Others are notorious libertines. For the purposes of this list, however, we don’t hold any of this against them.

What does that even mean? We've already discussed how "traditional values" has no viable meaning in this context. We know firsthand that many modern-day conservatives are anything but skeptical of the government and are, in fact, deeply wounded when said-government is criticized. So what's the reasoning?

It appears to be that the reasoning is "It's conservative because I'm conservative and I still like the song." Because otherwise, there's just no making heads or tails of this thing. Yet, here I am, attempting to do just that.

I need more hobbies.


At 3:20 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

“Right Here, Right Now,” by Jesus Jones - It's got the word "right" in it.

“Capitalism,” by Oingo Boingo. ; buy CD on
“There’s nothing wrong with Capitalism / There’s nothing wrong with free enterprise. . . . You’re just a middle class, socialist brat / From a suburban family and you never really had to work.” - So wait, because I'm a democrat I'm anti-capitalism?

“I Can’t Drive 55,” by Sammy Hagar. ; buy CD on
A rocker’s objection to the nanny state. (See also Hagar’s pro-America song “VOA.”) - It's Republican to break the law? I thought the law winning was a good thing. I'm sooooo confused.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Don't you know all Dems are socialists, Scott?

Just like all gay people are effeminate, all black people speak poorly, all Arabs wear "towels" on their heads, and all white people can't dance!

Don't beat yourself up over your confusion. It's only natural when trying to make sense of nonsense.


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