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OT: music and politics.


rumpelstiltskin.

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[warning: politics.]

 

it's not an uncommon thing for musicians, artists, actors, or other performers to mix politics with entertainment. some people are into it, and some aren't. i have a tremendous amount of respect for people who use their fame to speak out about their issues of conscience whether i share their views or not, no matter how trivial i may or may not consider their preferred issues. it's not new, and

 

you may have heard about this or watched it already, but i think russell brand brings up at least one novel angle in the justification for and method of mixing politics and entertainment by attacking the triviality of the nature of his fame. he says, "i don't need the right [to speak out] from you. i don't need it from anyone. i'm taking it." see below:

 

[video:youtube]

 

so fair warning: this isn't about whether you agree with his politics. any posts discussing the content of his message (pro or con) will be deleted. but i think there's a good discussion to be had whether musicians, actors, artists, and performers have a voice in politics, whether we should listen to them, and where the legitimacy of that voice comes from.

 

are you one who likes musicians who are political? why is the mixing of politics and entertainment a good or bad thing?

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In this day and age, it really doesn't matter anymore. People in the US, anyway, have been conditioned through bad psychology that how they "feel" is what matters most, not what reality is or what the facts are. Hence, everyone believes they not only have a right to an opinion, but a right to ignore any facts that would dispute their position.

 

So what does it matter that some young actor guy who knows f***-all about politics comments about it? No different than the chucklehead down the street who works as a (insert career path here) making comments with a similar level of knowledge on the subject...

 

Just my decidedly cynical $46.39 (sorry, inflation...)

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We have billionaires who spout off their opinions all the time and get great press coverage....sometimes they even have their own TV or radio shows. They are not always telling the truth, as a matter of fact they are often extremely insulting to people with whom they disagree.

 

Do they really know more about how politics affect the common man than the common man does? I'd say they know less.

 

I'd rather hear the opinions of artists over the opinions of politicians.

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In this day and age, it really doesn't matter anymore. People in the US, anyway, have been conditioned through bad psychology that how they "feel" is what matters most, not what reality is or what the facts are. Hence, everyone believes they not only have a right to an opinion, but a right to ignore any facts that would dispute their position.

 

So what does it matter that some young actor guy who knows f***-all about politics comments about it? No different than the chucklehead down the street who works as a (insert career path here) making comments with a similar level of knowledge on the subject...

 

Just my decidedly cynical $46.39 (sorry, inflation...)

+1

 

Personally, the aspects and factors of most controversial topics won't fit into a 3 minute pop song, so I'd prefer that they shut up and play their guitars.

 

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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Russell Brand has some very legitimate points to make in this interview. But it seems that in the United States, some rightwing elements in the media have made a point of trying to marginalize the political voices of people in the arts. That's largely because the majority of those artistic voices have spoken in support of those who are less fortunate. So what do those rightwing elements do? Attack the messengers.

 

Historically, artists have been at the leading edge of social change. They seem to be among the most connected with the collective consciousness of the people. But as with any person who lends their voice to the overall political discourse, artists will be judged based on the thoughtfulness of their arguments and the value of the movements they represent.

 

As for an overtly political message in music now? I think audiences will be more accepting of that message if it's presented in good material. But the aforementioned marginalization does rear it's ugly head on a regular basis, and it was the incident with the Dixie Chicks some 10 years ago that has made the term "shut up and sing" all that more common among audiences.

 

But if an artist's voice is silenced, then who will speak for people in our culture? Politicians? Their greed, ambition and desire to keep their jobs all too often seem to motivate their political agendas. An artist's ability to operate outside of that system is part of what gives their voices added value. So I'm not one to discount the voice of an artist in the context of political discourse.

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"My concern is, and I have to, uh, check with my accountant, that this might bump me into a higher, uh, tax..."

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I'd rather hear the opinions of artists over the opinions of politicians.

 

This, because artists are not interested in maintaining the status quo and are (usually) speaking from a position of relative powerlessness. Think of all the great moments of social, cultural, and economic progress in human history--these movements usually begin among artists, especially if you define "artist" as broadly as possible to include anyone outside the mainstream (of the arts, of business, of philosophy, etc.)

 

I watched this video last week and one of the first things that struck me is how articulate Brand is: his vocabulary, his quick wit, and his ability to actually engage in a debate with his interviewer without spewing "talking points." This is a guy with no college education and who is a former drug addict. Is there an American "celebrity" anyone could identify who could do the same? I can't think of any.

"Everyone wants to change the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves." Leo Tolstoy
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It's all good as long as whomever is spouting the bilge I personally believe in. If whomever is spouting the oppositional bilge, they are a liar, cheat and fraud.

 

American politics in a nutshell. If we could have an open, honest debate about anything, we wouldn't need Keith Olberman, Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews or Bill O'Riely (in no particular order). Instead, we gravitate to the message we want to hear, believe "our" guy has pure motives, and "the other" guy is trying to screw us.

 

If you don't believe me, throw a "Nader for President" sign in your front yard in 2015 and watch the fun unfold. I did in 08 and 12 and had to chase both parties off my lawn with a stick.

 

And I don't think for one minute that an actor, or a singer, or a cartoonist is any more honest, forthright or informed than one of those "billionaires".

 

 

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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Personally, the aspects and factors of most controversial topics won't fit into a 3 minute pop song, so I'd prefer that they shut up and play their guitars.

 

And ... ^This^

 

Besides, the people that disagreed with you would run you off to Canada anyway.

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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"If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are." -- Alice Cooper

 

I think that goes double for Mr. Brand.

 

Being famous doesn't imbue the celebrity with any special knowledge or insight.

 

There are exceptions, of course -- celebrities who possess some intelligence and insight, who've taken the time to deeply understand a topic and truly have something to share.

 

But for every one of those there seem to be 100 Rosie O'Donnells.

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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People in the US, anyway, have been conditioned through bad psychology that how they "feel" is what matters most, not what reality is or what the facts are. Hence, everyone believes they not only have a right to an opinion, but a right to ignore any facts that would dispute their position.

 

 

Right on all accounts, Griff.

 

I tend to avoid conversations about politics with people simply because I like to stick to the facts. And the minute I introduce a fact that runs counter to their opinions, they absolutely explode.

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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People in the US, anyway, have been conditioned through bad psychology that how they "feel" is what matters most, not what reality is or what the facts are. Hence, everyone believes they not only have a right to an opinion, but a right to ignore any facts that would dispute their position.

 

 

Right on all accounts, Griff.

 

I tend to avoid conversations about politics with people simply because I like to stick to the facts. And the minute I introduce a fact that runs counter to their opinions, they absolutely explode.

 

I'm with Griff as well.

 

I think if a celebrity has some particular specific issue that they are passionate about and have devoted their lives to, then using their celebrity is admirable. But there are ways to go about it without introducing politics. As soon as you introduce politics, you alienate 50% of the poplulation, no matter which side you are on.

 

Bono is a good example of somebody who has tapped both sides of the political spectrum successfully.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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but i think there's a good discussion to be had whether musicians, actors, artists, and performers have a voice in politics, whether we should listen to them, and where the legitimacy of that voice comes from.

 

are you one who likes musicians who are political? why is the mixing of politics and entertainment a good or bad thing?

 

There's a great tradition in this country of mixing music and politics. What an incredible way to express powerful ideas. On the one hand there's the integration of politics into music. Whether through the collectivity (e.g., spirituals) or through the art of a single artist or band (e.g., It Takes a Nation of Millions, "Tricks of the Shade," "Ohio," What's Going On, and more). The arts -- not just music -- offer multimodality for the expression of ideas and often connect emotionally to the listener, reader, viewer.

 

On the other hand, there's the expression of political ideas by artists not through their art (public interviews, campaign contributions or fundraising, etc.). I think it's the artist's choice whether he or she wants to express his or her political opinions publicly or not, whether intentionally or unintentionally drawing on celebrity to advance a particular message.

 

As a listerner, consumer, independent thinker, etc., I can make whatever decision I want regarding the value of that artist's perspective. I don't necessarily believe that the artist's involvement in the political sphere is good or bad, but I do think that it's good that there are some artists involved, adding their views to the pot. They have the same legitimacy, at least in the USA, as any of the rest of us. Those that are famous have the ability to draw more attention -- but that goes for anyone famous (sports, business, whatever). Who am I to say who and who does not have a right to share their views, to make statements, etc.?

 

Peace.

--SW

 

 

 

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Everyone has the right to their opinion, and to express it.

 

Unfortunately, everyone thinks that they have the right to a huge audience that will agree with them and change the world in their favor. Or to be taken more seriously than the next person.

 

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band

 

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On the basic question, many artists do integrate their political views in their music because it's a reflection of their worldview. Even though many times I don't agree with them, I respect their perspective.

 

Everyone has the right to their opinion, and to express it.

 

Unfortunately, everyone thinks that they have the right to a huge audience that will agree with them and change the world in their favor. Or to be taken more seriously than the next person.

 

Even more, many think they have the right, and in some cases the obligation, to completely insult, lampoon, and decimate those who voice a different opinion. And they get a free pass!

 

They have the same legitimacy, at least in the USA, as any of the rest of us. Those that are famous have the ability to draw more attention -- but that goes for anyone famous (sports, business, whatever). Who am I to say who and who does not have a right to share their views, to make statements, etc.?

 

I agree- I just wish some would recognize the importance of having an educated opinion instead of reciting the talking points to their millions of just as ill-informed followers.

 

...I like to stick to the facts. And the minute I introduce a fact that runs counter to their opinions, they absolutely explode.

 

But which 'facts' do you trust? Most political "facts" are little more than partial truths and talking points. Most people really only look for the 'facts' they want to find. That's why statistics has the reputation of generating unreliable facts from reliable figures.

 

Everyone has bias. We are quick to accept one side's facts as gospel and the other side's as garbage. We don't vet out own sources enough. Both sides buy into artfully crafted opinions and especially correlation-cause statistics (when one usually has nothing to do with the other) as 'facts' when it fits their own views.

 

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"- George Orwell
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Everyone has the right to their opinion, and to express it.

 

Unfortunately, everyone thinks that they have the right to a huge audience that will agree with them and change the world in their favor. Or to be taken more seriously than the next person.

 

It sounds like you might be looking at this purely from your own standpoint, and no other. These issues really do present themselves from a number of angles.

 

I've seen a good number of objections from segments of audiences regarding artists making political statements at their gigs. And I have to say, both the artist AND the audience bear some responsibility. Artists have an obligation to entertain and keep a show flowing, especially considering ticket prices in todays concert business.

 

But I think the audience has just as much responsibility to be engaged with the artist, and have an idea of what to expect when you go to a gig. What kind of casual fan is plunking down $200 for tickets? Not that many concert-goers do that just on a whim. They're usually fans who are engaged with the artist, and now they're probably following them on social media. Many an artist will discuss the causes that they're involved in through those outlets. So if they talk about those same things in concert, is it really such a surprise?

 

I suspect that some of the outrage from the "Shut up & sing" crowd is an unspoken desire on their part to be offended and to give voice to their offense. To which I say this: you have a right to say what you want. But you don't have the right to not be offended by what someone else chooses to say.

 

Going into the gig of an artist who may be known to occasionally voice a political opinion and NOT expecting them to do that is an exercise in either wishful thinking or willful ignorance. Be an educated consumer about the artists you choose to support. But to all of the "Shut up & sing" crowd? Please, spare everyone the phony outrage and go to a Toby Keith gig.

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"My concern is, and I have to, uh, check with my accountant, that this might bump me into a higher, uh, tax..."

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I believe fully in freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression. I have people in my family who have beliefs very different from mine. I won't argue. I'll discuss but if it starts to get heated I smile and walk away. Regardless I still love them.

 

I feel the same way about artists that I love. If I like their music I'll listen and/or buy. If I don't I won't. Everybody doesn't HAVE to think like me. If I'm at a concert and Billy Joe Armstrong or Ted Nugent start preaching beliefs I disagree with I'm fully capable of ignoring it. I won't boo. I may not woo but I won't boo. I'll still enjoy the show.

 

There's a long loved history of politicking and music.

 

http://i615.photobucket.com/albums/tt232/kenfxj/woodyguthrie-killingfascists_zps025998e6.jpg

Push the button Frank.
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I was raised to listen to all three sides of any question equally ('Position A', 'Position B', 'Position C (common Sense)') and come to my own conclusions. I'm usually so far to the left that I'm tilted over, but that doesn't mean that I can't still think The Other Side has good workable ideas on many subjects. To that end, I listen to music (all types) without pre-judging an artist due to their political or socialogical beliefs. Great music has been written based on politics for as long as I've been alive - some of it influenced me enough to take up an instrument.

 

Some artists work in the background, some bring it on stage. If I didn't want to hear it, I wouldn't go to the show.

 

Besides, where do the 'shut up and sing' folks draw the line? If you're going to a Gospel show, wouldn't you expect to hear religion? Is it just politics that divide people so badly that they will actually disown family members who hold different political views? Is this the 'you're either with us or you're with the terrorists' come home to roost? Us vs Them? Me vs You?

 

It's sad to think that this nation, founded on a brotherhood of differing ideas whose founders put aside those differences for the common good, should have fallen to this level. We're the UNITED States, or at least we used to be.

 

People, they're just normal folks speaking their opinions. No one is bitching at you for spouting yours in this thread - why should they be forced to hold their tongue? Let the market decide.

Play. Just play.
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I didn't watch the video yet but I'll just throw in...

 

- Some people just like to hear themselves talk.

- Some people will believe they are right no matter how or how often they are proven wrong.

 

Now, stick a camera in their face and it's magnified.

 

I think part of true intelligence, which does not necessarily mean a high IQ, is the ability to listen to an opposing side and on occasion, realize or admit that you may have had it wrong.

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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Two words: Dixie Chicks.

 

 

Two more words: Jenny McCarthy

 

No matter how well intentioned, if they're misinformed or simply dull-witted and people listen to them, it can cause harm to more than just their reputations.

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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People, they're just normal folks speaking their opinions. No one is bitching at you for spouting yours in this thread - why should they be forced to hold their tongue? Let the market decide.

 

that's a great point. we're bombarded with political messages all the time, and not just during the news. you'd be surprised how often politics is subtley invoked during sporting events (both live and on TV). and yet when we expect a political message it's only vexing if we disagree with the message.

 

is the reason you want them to shut up and play because you don't think they don't have the standing to voice their options or that you're worried that their politics might clash with yours and disrupt your relationship with their art? do you as the consumer have any expectation of control over their voice? is that how the market decides?

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The bottom line for me is this; usually, I like an artist for the work the artist does, usually before I even know the artist's name let alone the artist's political beliefs or anything else. That's why I prefer that the artist continues to be known first and foremost for producing art, and not become blowhard who charges me to enter the hall to see the art, but then takes advantage of my ticket fee to harangue me, so yes, "Shut up and play your ..."

 

Even after I find out I don't share those political beliefs, I don't burn the works of that artist, call for a boycott, or otherwise seek to ostracize the artist or keep the artist from earning a living. That's tolerance in my book.

 

FWIW, Woody Guthrie was supportive of communism at a time when many Americans thought that maybe Stalin and Lenin were onto the right path, and so he supported anti-fascism, sadly, both present two side of the same totalitarian coin. That doesn't discourage me from enjoying his music, it only means I'm glad he kept singing and playing rather than become head of the Communist Party.

 

 

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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That's why I prefer that the artist continues to be known first and foremost for producing art, and not become blowhard who charges me to enter the hall to see the art, but then takes advantage of my ticket fee to harangue me, so yes, "Shut up and play your ..."

 

how many years did i listen to U2's "until the end of the world" by U2 before i realized that it was a clever double entendre of a break up and a story of jesus christ's betrayal told by judas iscariot. i wonder if maybe these blowhards have been haranguing you for years without you realizing it.

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I don't even listen to what musicians do in the same room with me, why should I listen to what remote musicians say? :confused:

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

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I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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Bands, particularly political bands lose me when they get outside their comfort zone and start thinking their music can "change the world". You can't change the damn world. Just because the crowds adore you doesn't mean you have power. Just because your opinions get coverage doesn't mean they carry any real weight. The people with the real power are at worst mildly annoyed by you. Stick to writing about what you know.
Push the button Frank.
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Here is a small list of actors, musicians, and playwrights who have held elected offices. Maybe they got their positions because they were famous or maybe because people liked what they said.

(we don't have to talk about how well they did in office)

 

Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California

Ronald Reagan, President of the USA, Governor of California

Fred Thompson (Law & Order), Senator from Tennessee

Jesse "the body" Ventura (wrestler), Governor of Minnesota

Sonny Bono, Congressman from California, Mayor of Palm Springs

Ben Jones (Dukes of Hazzard), Congressman from Georgia

Fred Grandy (The Love Boat), congressman for Iowa

Clint Eastwood, Mayor of Carmel, California

George Murphy, Senator from California

Gilberto Gil (Brazilian singer/guitarist/songwriter), Minister of Culture, Brazil

Václav Havel (Czechoslovakian playwright), president of Czechoslovakia

 

There are also revolutionary movements in a number of African countries which are spear-headed by musicians.

 

 

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Unlike the others, I think that Fred Thompson was first a politician who later became an actor.

 

 

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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