Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ryan Against the Machine?!

Paul Ryan and Zack de la Rocha: separated at birth?

What's with politicians and cool bands and musicians?

First, Wayne Swan rubbishes Bruce Springsteen without any mercy: "Swan enlists Springsteen to bash the bosses".

And I've just learned that Paul Ryan ten days ago threw a big bucket of shit on another of my favorites: "Paul Ryan's Favorite Band: Rage Against The Machine?"

Aw man! At least Swan pretends to want something that Springsteen could approve of: to bash the trash.

So, as Paul seems clueless about Rage Against the Machine's ideology.



Or in Tom Morello's words:
"Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn't understand them. (…) And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine". (See here)

3 comments:

  1. Well, the joke's on RATM. No matter how much we wish that we can usher in the revolution through song, it isn't going to happen. Music is music, not political action. Listening to a radical song doesn't make you radical any more than thinking a radical thought does. And in many cases, maybe most, it is counterproductive because some people take it as a symbolic act - like they're agitating the Man. Well, obviously not. The Man really likes that music too!

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    1. As I see it, you hit some balls, you also missed some others.

      Hits: “No matter how much we wish that we can usher in the revolution through song, it isn't going to happen. Music is music, not political action. Listening to a radical song doesn't make you radical any more than thinking a radical thought does.”

      Misses: “And in many cases, maybe most, it is counterproductive because some people take it as a symbolic act - like they're agitating the Man”.

      Some people take it as a symbolic act, because, well, that’s what it is. No more, no less. That’s its strength and its weakness.

      But I wouldn’t underestimate the power of symbols: they give you strength you when you feel doubts; they transmit ideas that you might never have thought before; they identify you as member of a larger group; they let you express yourself when you are unable to do so.

      That’s why that man (and the Man) wants to steal that symbol for himself.

      =====

      But, in a more humorous tone: “The Man really likes that music too!”

      This sounds to me like unrequited love. As in “boy meets girl; boy falls for girl; boy tells girl” and girl says: “Eeew! Like, as if... Get lost, loser!”

      Not much for a romantic comedy plot. :-)

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    2. Alright. Good points. I concede the misses. Specifically, I like this, "But I wouldn’t underestimate the power of symbols: they give you strength when you feel doubts; they transmit ideas that you might never have thought before." I didn't consider it in what I wrote, so I thank you for correctly pointing it out. However, I would like to double down on my claim of, at least potential, counter-productivity. Again, I welcome your insights.

      I think symbols all-too-easily have a surplus of meaning - a gray zone which can be readily abused by people trying to confuse an issue. I think the mind-numbing culture war talk in the US is an example of this (culture groups, in other words, being intentionally disfiguring stand-ins for class - the class struggle sequestered in the symbolic order, where it can be twisted, tangled, and passivized). This brings me to what you said here: "they[symbols] identify you as member of a larger group." This is true, and it's the problem. In the US, that seems to be as far as anyone is willing to go since, really, it doesn't disrupt the rubric of consumerism. You can be against the system of power by listening to the right music, wearing a Che shirt from time to time, and driving a hybrid. Symbolically, you are left. Not because of what you do for a living or what political program you support, but because of the lifestyle you find most accurately expresses your inner self. Thus the Ryan phenomenon; you get a perfectly privileged upper-middle-class kid who thinks he is radical because he listens to Rage Against The Machine. And, maybe he is in some ways. After all, the last remnants of the social safety net are part of "the Machine," and he's got a lot of rage for those.

      You have, of course, already addressed this point. That's why he wants to steal it for himself, as you say. My problem with the tendency to over use symbols in this capacity, is that they are so easy to steal. In fact its hard to make the case that they are stealing it at all since symbols are so nebulous. Actions and specific programs, on the other hand, are less so. That's why the Tea Party has to reach so far back in history to find an event with foggy enough circumstances that it can be abused symbolically.

      I'm not trying to be pigheaded, and am open to your thoughts.

      By the way, I enjoy your blog.

      -Paul

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