Tuesday, April 08, 2003

I'm All War Out

Rusty had a good time too. It's fun to lose at Acquire, too, though I usually don't learn that, since I rock the Aquire boat.

What, our government has done something? Really, though, the main thing to talk about in a time of war is... war songs:

I've heard a handful of these, both pro and anti war. For the most part, I think they all suck and that both sides are incredibly naive. All of the pro war songs I've heard are country songs. Garth Brooks has one called "Iraq and Roll." The best (worst?) one is the "Have You Forgotten?" song where he says "I haven't forgot Bin Laden," as if he has anything to do with this at all. But then you get crap like Lenny Kravitz for the anti side (something to the effect of "I want peace" said twenty times in a row), and that's possibly even more horrible.

The thing is this: Most war songs favor the message over what should be a key ingredient, that these are still songs and should be good. Anyone who says "You have to listen to the words to like the song" is missing the point of a song. If someone writing a war song isn't concerned with the goodness of their song, then they should write a poem--or better, an essay. If the argument is that people will hear the radio and that's how their anti/pro war message gets across to the masses, then it's even more important that the song be good.

I heard the new R.E.M. protest song (called "The Final Straw," which is available on their website) and they seem to be a nice exception here. The song isn't the greatest R.E.M. song ever, but it's not a bad song. In fact, it's even better than a war song because it doesn't make any specific references. In fact, if you didn't know any better, you might not know it's a war song at all--which is a plus... certainly in terms of lastability. R.E.M.'s always been pretty good about this, about making good political songs, songs which surpass the time/event they are singing about and go on to be classic in their own rights. Bob Dylan did a few of these (but he had some duds too).

(R.E.M., by the way, is coming to Austin in September. Also to New Orleans on their tour. And some other places that people reading this might be near.)

Celebrities and war is kind of annoying to me anyway. They have as much right as any other US citizen to say what they want, but the fact that they already have a pre-created stage for speaking their mind is kind of unfair to less famous people who probably have smarter things to say, either for or against... or--shudder to think--somewhere in the middle (since really what I'm annoyed by is people jumping quickly to their pre-prescribed "right" sides depending on what is the always-already popular/acceptable thing to say). I haven't heard too many smart, balanced celebrities. Jon Stewart, perhaps? The Daily Show in general seems to be the smartest thing on television right now concerning the war, certainly more than the 24 hour news networks (and I'm not just talking about Geraldo).

Hey look, an actual rant. Possibly I shall transform this into a We Like Media essay.

Woodie Guthrie.

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