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Article posted Jul 04 2014, 5:19 PM Category: Commentary Source: William Norman Grigg Print

Springsteen? Mellencamp? Creedence? Heretics All!

William Norman Grigg

As a necessary accompaniment to today’s saturnalia of state worship, the kind folks at Newsbusters (published by the Media Research Center, which is devoted to “exposing & combating liberal media bias”) have published the War Party’s equivalent of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

In this case, rather than “heretical” books, the guide describes “5 Songs You May Not Know are Un-Patriotic.” The MRS offers this public service on behalf of those who earnestly seek to have their every thought taken captive by the sacred nation-state, and seek to avoid sullying their lips by humming along to infectious songs secretly laden with “anti-American” sentiments.

Heading the roster of proscribed tunes is Bruce Springsteen’s much-misunderstood “Born in the USA,” which is censured for expressing anti-Vietnam War views and lamenting the plight of veterans left wounded and unemployable after being sent abroad to kill foreigners who posed no threat to us.

The Guess Who’s “American Woman” is next on the list, although the essay singles out Lenny Kravitz’s cover version for criticism because his “sexualized version of the song camouflages the Guess Who’s anti-American lyrics.” The Guess Who’s impassioned anti-Vietnam perspective was inspired, at least in part, by the Canadian band’s experiences with the US immigration bureaucracy, which almost manipulated them into registering for the Vietnam-era draft.

Green Day’s “American Idiot,” an eruption of punk disgust over the Iraq War, was the next selection, edging out a much better anti-war candidate, “Wake Me Up When September Ends” (most likely because the former mentioned America in the title). John Mellencamp’s requiem for the economically marginalized, “Pink Houses,” is presented as representative of his supposedly anti-American oeuvre.

Mellencamp, who has spent his entire life in Bloomington, Indiana, is a living archive of middle America’s musical heritage and a champion of what Bill Kauffman calls “front-porch patriotism.”

“No, I cannot forget where it is that I come from, I cannot forget the people who love me,” sang Mellencamp in “Small Town.” “I can be myself here in this small town, and people let me be just what I want to be.” Such sentiments are unshirted blasphemy to people who worship the Warfare State: Parochial attitudes of that kind detract from the unity required for The Indispensable Nation to carry out its divinely ordained global mission.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s high-octane protest song “Fortunate Son” is lambasted for “criticiz[ing] nationalist imperialism,” as if this were an indictment rather than an endorsement. John Fogerty, who was drafted during the Vietnam era when soft-handed hawks like Dick Cheney and John Bolton were seeking deferments or hanging out at Plato’s Retreat, said that his song was inspired by “the old saying about rich men making war and poor men having to fight them.”

Each of those selections displays more authentic patriotism than the entire catalog of insipid post-9/11 jingo jingles extruded by Nashville. It’s curious that country titan Merle Haggard, who came to the defense of the Dixie Chicks when they were execrated for criticizing the Bushling at the beginning of the Iraq War, was spared criticism for his anti-war protest songs “Where’s All the Freedom?” and “America First.” Perhaps Haggard was given an indulgence for his 1960s counter-counterculture anthem “Okie from Muskogee.”

For faithful adherents to the cult of the Warfare State, “patriotism” requires an unwillingness to acknowledge our country’s faults, let alone to offer objections to the government’s hugely destructive and needless wars. This attitude is less a love of country than idolatrous admiration of the Regime’s ability to inflict violence on those who do not submit to it.

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Comments 1 - 7 of 7 Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: Jul 04 2014, 8:00 PM

7565 I find the idea of Any "libeal" media sadly amusing. I wish we had some.

A historical and a current example of the "heretics" come to mind: the slogan on Woody Guthrie's guitar ("this machine kills fascists}) and the one on Tom Morello's ("arm the homeless").

I peripherally wonder how the NRA would like an armed homeless population.

Posted: Jul 05 2014, 2:13 AM

10842 @7565, Lots of homeless people are armed, though, not with rifles nor, AR's. I see mostly low-caliber handguns, so, the NRA likely wouldn't care too much. I do help arm them however, but, not with weaponry. I buy used copies of books, like "1984," and give them away, along with packs of cigarettes.

Someone once told me: "the English language is a war construct." < That site could speak to your "liberal media."

I'm surprised that SOAD, or, Serj Tankian didn't make the list. Then again, if people were to start question the meanings to songs like, "Sky is Over," the government would be completely exposed. That suggest this "Heretic" song list is complete bull-shit. Everyone knows "war is (NOT) peace," and, that propaganda is the most effective form of mind control hence: "one nation controlled by the media." (I should have read who authored this article, before putting any thought into a comment. The Hegelian dialectic is second-nature to Grigg).

Posted: Jul 05 2014, 7:45 PM

7565 @10842 – Interesting response, and an interesting site. Thanks.

Good on your arming the homeless. I used to do it with food until corporations took over the between-buildings space that ca. half a dozen homeless, mostly vets, were using. I don't know where they went after that; haven't seen any of them.

As to why SOAD/Tankjian didn't make the list – probably too modern. I remember laughing when some GOPer candidate or other used the opening to "Fortunate Son" as a theme song. He never got any further than "red, ,white, and blue." Heh.

Side note: My fascist senators have gone to militaristic hold music on their phones these days. I remarked on this to a senator's aide, who was astonished that I didn't like it.

Two other points: I ran into "Behind the Barricades" by David Rovics on a creative resistance site and thought "here''s a tipping point" because it romanticized resistance and death during resistance with a "kiss behind the barricades." - It's Not a tipping point, though, because it's not on MSM; i.e., no one hears it. – But if they did…

When the first Russian sentimental novel came out, people flocked to the monastery and cliff named in the book so they could "romantically" commit suicide there. Rather short-sighted and permanent, I'd think; but that's how it was

Second point: The above is why tea-baggers ridicule "Kumbaya" and the like. People singing "We Shall Not Be Moved," "Which Side Are You On," and so forth are strengthened by the musical solidarity itself. Music - and any art that doesn't serve the State - threatens the status quo.

For darkly humorous observatins on society, the psychology of barricades (heh), capitalilsm, communism, slogans, and a bit of time slippage, read Terry Pratchett's fantasy novel Night Watch. Best satirist since Swift. If it doesn't make you laugh, give it up. - "Freddom, justice, reasonably priced love, and a boiled egg." Because at the end of it all, it's good to have Something helpful. Food will do.

Posted: Jul 06 2014, 2:29 AM

10842 @7565, I'll definitely order the book you've suggested. A fictional escape, is something I'm long overdue for, though, my view on society is already a grim one; likend to the matrix. I don't see people in tubs of liquid, however, I do see them like robots - animated with the same program, with only subtle variances.

Perhaps, "fictional escape," was a poor choice of words on my part, considering the ladder portion of comment. I should clear-up the contradiction in case someone else reads this thread.... I wrote "fictional escape" to be taken in an infinite context.

I live in California, though, I don't claim any senators. When I happen to see the people, who I am told are "my senators," on t.v. I can't help but notice how out of place they look. If you've ever ran across a Jehovah's Witness - they have a distinct, almost drugged-up look in their eyes. The "senators" have that same look. I don't believe in aliens, so, I reject the notion that they are otherworldly beings. I can only speculate, that Jehovah's Witnesses and politicians, must undergo similar brainwashing tactics.

Thank you again, for the book suggestion


Posted: Jul 06 2014, 8:39 AM

65110 10842: I'd think that food would be more practical than cigarettes. But at least they have something to read while slowly poisoning themselves.

Posted: Jul 06 2014, 1:48 PM

10842 @65110, Many of the homeless are on mind-altering substances that suppress their appitites. However, if they are hungry, I prefer to give them money. Many of them are older than I am, and, if I were to give them food, it would be like suggesting that I know what they need - more than they do. I choose cigarettes, because it takes away stigma, from them having to walk into the cigarette store. People don't like seeing the spare-change they've given to the homeless, spent to buy tobacco.

The way I see it... I'm not the messiah, so, it's not my job to judge the homeless. Plus, how can I make the claim: "all people should be free," if I'm deciding what they need, for them?

If you'd like to help the homeless, but, you don't feel comfortable giving them money, or tobacco - clean socks, sunblock, and chap-stick, are some other things that they always need.

Posted: Jul 08 2014, 9:14 PM

7565 @10842 - I see your point; but I asked, and they were hungry. The deed should fit the need.
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