Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Songs and Campaigns: How Politicians Never Learn to Listen

Tom Petty Tells Bachmann to Back Off "American Girl"

I like to think that this blog has documented very well the stupidity of Michele Bachmann.  But, I can't really blame her. All politicians have a stupid streak through them.  There's a quiet tragedy about how politicians never seem to actually listen to the song.

In the above link, there's an article that details Bachmann using the song "American Girl" and didn't get the permission of Tom Petty.  Below that, HuffPost lists the several examples of politicians that use songs without the artist's permission.  Even though its probably a biased list (most of the offenders are Republicans, though Obama is on the list), it seems that most frequent offender was John McCain, and specifically John McCain back in 2008.  It was like an intern just hooked up their iPod shuffle to the PA system and hit play.  Ridiculous.

Two things strike me as insanely odd in this:  First, why are there so many offenders?  I mean, surely the one mistake that would have been made would have been Ronald Reagan using "Born in the USA" and then all political campaigns after that would have hired a guy to ask all the artists whether or not they can use the songs.  You got a thousand people working for the most minor of campaigns.  All you have to do is google the record company and call them.

Bachmann Intern:  Hey, I'm So-And-So with the Michele Bachmann for President Campaign and we were wondering if we could get your permission to play "American Girl" during campaign rallies.

Tom Petty:  What?

Bachmann Intern:  Can we play "American Girl" during our campaign rallies.

Tom Petty:  Um... no.

SEE HOW EASY THAT WAS!?  It's a quiet action, your rejection isn't public and people wasting their time talking about how your campaign is ridiculous because you couldn't take the time for a five minute phone call. PS, I wish that calling Tom Petty was that easy.

Me:  So, when you were touring with Dylan in the 80's, you guys totally got high, right?

Tom Petty:  What?

Me:  You got blazed with Dylan?

Tom Petty:  Um... yeah, man, like all the time.

Me:  Awesome.

But this leads me to the other point:  Do the politicians actually listen to the songs that they are choosing to play at the rallies???  Reagan obviously never listened to "Born in the USA" before he started playing it or he would have known that the song is from the point of view of a homeless guy who was a veteran of Vietnam and was subsequently rejected from American society despite his service.  Charlie Crist played "Road to Nowhere", which is a terrible, terrible, terrible idea for a campaign song and Crist deserved to lose just based off of that.  Why not play "And She Was"?  The girl in the video was floating for Crist's sake (sorry for the pun, couldn't help myself), which suggests that we're going some where with Crist!

Then you have Bob Dole changing the lyrics from "I'm a Soul Man" to "I'm a Dole Man", which is like saying "Yeah, I'm fucking cool!" to "I work for a banana company and I'm here to see that all your banana needs are being met..."

And then we come back to Bachmann's use of "American Girl".  It's clearly a song about a girl that jumps off the balcony after losing something (or someone) that completed her.  I'll grant its appropriate in the sense that what made her American was the fact that she was going to try and die trying, if that's what it meant.  But maybe you shouldn't share with your followers that you don't have a problem with them imaging you jumping off the balcony.  Think about that.  But I suppose, if you did, you wouldn't be Michele Bachmann.

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