Thursday, March 23, 2006

Foresight or consistency?

So I whipped out one of my favorite CDs today, Frankenchrist by Dead Kennedys. Released in 1985, it has been on my greatest hits list for almost twenty years. Of course, I've always been a fan of Jello Biafra's lyrics and I continue to believe that he is one of the greatest songwriters in punk when it comes to mixing biting sociopolitical commentary and humor.

I think what struck me the most today while listening to "Stars And Stripes Of Corruption" was whether the lyrics showed foresight or whether there is an awful consistency to America's approach to the rest of the world.

I think both statements are true.

You can find the words here, but some lines struck me as particularly apt given our political climate. Remember again that these were written over twenty years ago:

Makes me feel so ashamed
To be an American
When we're too stuck up to learn from our mistakes
Trying to start another Viet Nam
While fiddling while Rome burns at home
The Boss says, "You're laid off. Blame the Japanese"

"America's back", alright
At the game it plays the worst
Strip mining the world like a slave plantation

No wonder others hate us
And the Hitlers we handpick
To bleed their people dry
For our evil empire

The drug we're fed
To make us like it
Is God and country with a bang

People we know who should know better
Howl, "America rules. Let's go to war !"
Business scams are what's worth dying for

Sound familiar? Startling how little things have changed over the last two decades. Wouldn't it be nice if in another twenty years this song would have only historical significance? But somehow I doubt I'll live to see the day when the lyrics aren't a reflection of America. Then again, in twenty years we may be bankrupt and run by one of our foreign creditors anyway. Perhaps we should take Jello's advice? "Budget's in the red? Let's tax religion."

Sure, some of what Jello has to say is even too far left for me (can you believe it?). Socialism will never work because the vast majority of humans will always be greedy and self-serving. However, I do agree with Biafra in that we'd be a lot better off if we put Rambo back inside our pants.

Punk, politician, prophet?

Hearing hellish heathen hosts:

Dead Kennedys - Frankenchrist
(glorious harmful matter)

Various - Merciless World Of Trance
(pumping up the jams)

His Name Is Alive - Home Is In Your Head
(weirder than you)

Enduser - From Zero
(breakcore to break your face)

Redman - Whut? Thee Album
(Reg and the Green Eyed Bandit do dat thang)


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