Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Popular Music Goes to Washington

A concept that used to be inconceivable back in the good old days of “Reaganism”, does the increasing use of copyrighted popular music in US Presidential campaigns mere kitsch, or does it expose the ugliness of American politics?

By: Vanessa Uy

The trend probably first gained widespread media notice during the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign ticket using Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop (you know the lines: “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow…”). But the 2008 US Presidential Race has made the issue of using copyrighted popular music in campaign ads an especially contentious one, especially the Republican McCain-Palin campaign ticket’s practice of “drafting” songs like Van Halen’s Right Now and Heart’s Barracuda instead of nicely seeking permission from the artists themselves. Instead, the GOP ticket drafted these songs like the way they use young Americans in their prime as cannon fodder for Halliburton and KBR. If this isn’t bad enough, Senator John “The Manchurian Candidate” McCain even used Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty on an anti-Obama political campaign ad highlighting Senator Barack Obama’s lack of experience. McCain did this without asking permission from Jackson Browne which is a sure sign of GOP-style hypocrisy given McCain and his ilk's propensity of admonishing musicians inspired by Woody Guthrie’s “socialist” views. A move that’s even worse than McCarthyism.

Maybe the Democratic Party always has a penchant for doing things like this right. Like Senator Barack Obama’s choice of using Stevie Wonder’s 1973 R&B classic Signed, Sealed and Delivered. A song brimming with an eternally optimistic view on life, which surprisingly doesn’t sound corny in comparison to the song’s hackneyed brethren.

So far, the Democrats had managed to avoid the pettiness of their GOP rivals by officially releasing ads criticizing their rival candidates that utilized copyrighted popular music. To me, it would be very interesting if the Democrats ever attempt to pull-off such an undertaking. Especially the Lunachicks’ song Spoilt is ripe for the taking as an almost biographical critique of the 8 years worth of George W. Bush’s miserable failure - which the GOP’s Vice Presidential candidate and Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin affectionately termed as the Bush Doctrine. Or what about Lunachicks’ Fallopian Rhapsody as a critique for Governor Sarah Palin’s anti-feminist Heinrich Himmler inspired Lebensborn pro-life stance. Given the choices, how long can the Democrats resist to be drawn into such political pettiness, or maybe the Democrats are a better bunch of people than I am? Maybe the message is Washington D.C. will never be like your private listening den or I-pod.


Sherry Rashad said...

I wonder if Tennessee Williams ever wrote a musical drama called "An Alaskan Town Named Wasilla"?
I also wonder if Paris Hilton and Nichole Ritchie has or will ever shoot an episode of The Simple Life in Wasilla, Alaska. Given Sarah Palin's tenure as mayor of that town with regards to women and rape. Gov. Palin just created a landmark legal precedent where a crime that penalizes the victim. Pat Benatar will be making a comeback album singing about rape kits.

Yvette said...

Has anyone of you noticed how that Anti-Obama ad approved by Sen. McCain redeemed Paris Hilton? It did "improved" Paris Hilton's "moral standing" even more than existing conventional hymen reconstructive surgery or some road-to-perdition quasi-religious 12 step moral turpitude awareness program ever could. I just hope that what works for Paris works for Sen. McCain - as soon as he distances himself from that unabashed racist from Wasilla, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Lunachicks' Fallopian Rhapsody sounds like a show tune, but a show hasn't been written for it yet. Sounds like one of my grandma's stories about Nina Simone. I wonder what would Nina Simone think about Gov. Sarah Palin if Ms. Simone is still alive today?... Ne Me Quitte Pas?!

Letiche said...

What's the great soundtrack for Gov. Palin accusing Sen. Obama as a terrorist?

April Rain said...

William Ayers a terrorist? Does this make Jesus Christ a terrorist then? Ergo all freedom loving people are terrorists.
Gov.Palin should listen to Lunachicks' Spoilt, to Me It's about Gov. Palin's mindset.

Guapita said...

Shouldn't we be more afraid if an anti-Sarah Palin ad would be Iron Maiden's Two Minutes to Midnight? Like Gov. Palin being a "heart attack" away from the presidency and she forces a group of Ph.D's to make a batch of "red mercury" / californium 252 for a Sam Cohen-type enhanced radiation device - i.e. neutron bomb - to be used against President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela or Bolivian president Evo Morales?

Ferdinand said...

Does the song "Drill Here, Drill Now" make a good sountrack to the latest Hustler CEO Larry "Barely Legal" Flynt's latest video based on GOP's 2008 VP pick Gov. Sarah Palin, especially when sung in ethnic Ukranian with a balalaika ensemble accompaniment?
Larry Flynt had been aggressively marketing video on line lately because the video's trailer can pass off as a "wholesome" post-WW II Disney-esque movie. Looks like the Family Guy NAZI Palin video is now facing "stiff" competition. Thankfully, Larry Flynt didn't make one based on the "Branchflower" Investigative Committee - i.e. Dresden Mistress S&M style Troopergate abuse of power scenario . Branchflower- sounds like a Pres. Clinton-era debacle, isn't it?

Marie Lynne said...

Iron Maiden's 2 Minutes to Midnight probably is the most apt song describing a Palin Administration. Since The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist has always been a political - rather than a scientific - commentary on our planet's nuclear arms race, the magazine's editors should try to interview Gov. Palin even if she loses this election just for a first-hand view of stupidity destroying the human race. Note that Dan Quayle is no longer the worst US Vice President.

Guapita said...

Please God, don't let Gov. Sarah Palin win because she might get jealous of Ukrane's Yulia Tymoshenko. Jealous enough to nuke Ukrane back to the Cretaceous Period. As an aethiest desperate enough to pray, I urge every American who can vote, Please vote for Sen. Barack Obama.
P.S. help support or watch Relogulous by Bill Maher.

Pantaleon said...

President Barack Obama, has a nice ring to it. U2's Pride In the Name of Love should have been an apt victory song for the now President-elect Barack Obama. America and the rest of the world is now one step closer to Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr.'s dream.