Sunday, August 08, 2004

Open All Night

So, in light of the recent Springsteen/Pearl Jam/REM/et al tour, I've been reading a lot of articles recently which criticize musicians for becoming involved in politics. My guess is the people writing these articles are not exactly music afficionados. Have they never heard of Woody Guthrie/Leadbelly/Buffalo Springfield/Leonard Cohen/Public Enemy/anyone? As long as there has been music, there've been musicians expressing themselves about social and political issues.

But I suppose--acting under the guise of feigned objectivity--for the modern newscastor/commentator there really is no difference who gets elected this fall. Politics is merely a game, an NFL for geeks with bowties and pressed down hair, not something that actually impacts people. For someone with this mentality, I suppose it would be strange if someone like Bruce Springsteen wanted to get involved politically, even though he doesn't have the sort of personal special interest usually associated with politics (e.g. looking for that subsidy/tax break/religious imperialism shoved down the rest of the country's throat/etc.).

From my perspective, the very purpose of art itself is to serve as a chronicler and engine for society. Art does not have to be political, but for art deliberately to avoid all politics... Well, all you would be left with is the "art" of a TV sitcom. That's hardly art at all.

In closing... [Not to make an inappropriate analogy, but simply to highlight the ludicrousness of this music/politic separation trumpeted in the media by people like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty note:]
Voltaire and Rousseau both got their start writing operas.


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