Thursday, August 14, 2008

Get ’Em While They’re Young -- and Rock Them, Politically

•I was reminded during the Israel debate I hosted last night that indoctrination of the young in the militant mindset is a recurring criticism of the Palestinians. And indeed, radical movements — good or bad — always rely upon the zeal of youth to some degree.

•In the U.S., the left almost always commands broader allegiance among the young than the right — and luckily for the right, the young tend to forget to show up come election day (not long before despairing and taking his own life, I believe Hunter S. Thompson reacted to the failure of young people to turn out and vote against Bush by saying something like “The young people — they’ve fucked us again!”). So I’m not sure how much it matters electorally that Obama is reportedly slipping among the young (McCain still looked pretty doomed electoral-college-wise last time I checked), but it should be troubling to Obama if he’s not dominating his natural constituencies.

•Speaking of appealing to the young (which I still believe to be important for long-term philosophical-formation purposes even if it has no immediate electoral payoff), Arkansas State Rep. (and friend of Todd) Dan Greenberg has posted a list of conservative rock stars I sent him (which may well be slightly inaccurate — but not wildly inaccurate), and he linked to a philosophically-significant free-market Oingo Boingo video in the process, so watch that, you filthy socialist hippie.

•In other rock news, in an earlier entry I mentioned the dreamily weird cyberpunk miniseries Wild Palms making very Miami Vice-like use of one of my favorite songs, “House of the Rising Sun,” and my memories from 1993 do not lie. What I had forgotten is how dapper James Belushi looked in the series. It was full of well-dressed rich people casually killing each other’s henchmen, as this scene suggests.

•That scene about a raid on a cult aired two years after another oddly-subversive cult-related TV item — the amazing, utterly out-of-the-blue and seemingly purposeless 1991 promo for the Church of the Sub-Genius — which at the time had no website or any other clear product to push, aside from absurdity.

•I would be remiss if I did not round out this talk of rock and TV with an item from the 1980s, so here’s Weird Al Yankovic’s first-ever TV appearance, on Tom Snyder’s show. You can sense a legend being born. Harness that, and you could move political or cultural mountains and raise armies.


T.A.B. said...

Ahhhhhh. Weird Al.

Todd Seavey said...

In related news, Jacob Levy draws my attention to a conversation about the heady days when alternative rock was mainstream rock (the early 90s), a conversation including a couple _Reason_ editors:

dave said...

How about Rush highlighting the evils of a future oppresive government on their mini concept album 2112 – loosely based on the book Anthem, which the ARI distributes to Jr. High kids in the hopes of similarly shaping young minds. (The book is distributed for free, not the Rush album)

Todd Seavey said...

Rocker #7 on my linked list on the Arkansas blog!

P.S. By contrast, the upcoming rock opera film _Repo!_ will feature a world where debtors risk having their organs forcibly removed for sale to others, so people who like both heavy metal and, say, _Saw_ movies can see people singing while tearing other people’s spines out.

Who says music and philosophy don’t mix (aside from Plato)?