7 thoughts on “Shut Up And Sing

  1. Like you with your undergrad poly sci degree and 22 years of vast political and international relations experience make you that much more qualified.

  2. Golly, what a clever remark. Of course, an undergrad poli sci degree would make Jay more qualified to comment than the Dixie Chicks. You see, that’s what actually studying gets you. But then Jay is not preaching to a captive audience at a concert that just wants to hear some good music, and that’s a big difference.

  3. Having Dave Matthews or Madonna trying to paint themselves as being some kind of fountains of wisdom in political matters is about as bad as me singing… and God knows nobody wants that…

  4. Hey! Don’t knock Undergrad Poli Sci degrees! I’m going to have one too by the end of next year… with additional majors in Philosophy and Religion, as useful as those are… 😛

  5. Now, Jay, this is just making me nostalgic! You remember how I ended up coming to this site in the first place? It’s still in the archives, and I still think I’m right….

    Gotta say, though, that we have gained a lot as a country by having celebrities speak out on major issues. Irving Berlin was great at writing songs of political importance that helped change popular perceptions on many issues. “God Bless America” is a song that owes its very existence to celebrities speaking their minds, and “Strange Fruit” is one of the great examples of a political song that needed to be sung by a woman unafraid to speak the truth.

    But I personally think that anyone putting too much stock in Britney’s take on current events gets what they pay for. But if you go to hear Tom Morello, you shouldn’t be surprised if he gets political: he’s like the Phil Ochs of the 90s. If this was a Christina Aguilera show, then nobody should expect politics to show up–it would distract from the real reasons (both of them) that people watch her. Rage Against the Machine is a political band, and always has been. Maybe that’s because Tom Morello actually is qualified to speak about politics: he graduated in 1986 from Harvard with a degree in politics. (http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Morello)

    Plus, your post is griping about celebrities pushing politics outside of their music at concerts, yet you include Dave Matthews in your follow-up. In the interests of accuracy, Dave Matthews is pretty good about not pushing too many political statements at his shows; his big political statement (and one that vicariously formed my relationship with JayReding.com) came in the form of an open letter, and was distributed to his fan base outside of a captive setting.

    The great thing about a democratic system like ours is that even lay participants are important to the process. These guys are trying to promote their agenda, as are we all–they simply have a much larger pulpit than most.

    Nevertheless, I would hope that we’re smarter as a country than to simply take the word of celebrities as to whom we should politically support.

  6. Sorry, the “Plus, your post is griping about celebrities pushing politics outside of their music at concerts, yet you include Dave Matthews in your follow-up.” was meant for James. I would like to distinguish between outside activism and musicians promoting an agenda in a concert setting.

  7. I guess, to some extent, I agree with Jay… I don’t particularly care for it when celebs preach politics, either. On the other hand, I don’t have any problem with celebrity artists who want to express their political opinions through their chosen mediums (like Morello today, for instance, or the numerous anti-war musicians in the 60’s and 70’s). That’s part of a grand tradition of artistic political dissent that can be traced back to ancient times. If a celebrity thinks that they need to write “open letters” to their fans or sound off in interviews or on television to get their point across, it merely proves their incompetence in doing so through their chosen artistic medium.

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