Thursday, May 12, 2005

Just a good read

From Quotatiousness comes a link to this great read.

"Elvis, Chuck Berry, and the rest did this as artists, not proselytizers. If they were the voice of those suffering social injustice and prejudice, they broke free by standing up for a joyous liberty of pleasure and expression, not by campaigning for campesinos and a ban on nuclear power. They were about flamboyance and excitement–especially their own highly individualized visions of such things–not dour attempts to institute Chumbawamba’s dream of endless town meetings.

It’s easy, of course, simply to accuse stinking rich entertainment celebs who talk about overthrowing the system that pays them so well of being hypocrites. Easy, perhaps, and necessary, since of course they are. It’s a pose that, however stylish, is just that. But there’s something more interesting going on than either conscious or naive hypocrisy.

What rockin’ leftists have the hardest time facing up to is rock’s reality as a product of capitalism. Chumbawamba claims it is playing the game of "exist[ing] within [the capitalist system] and at the same time trying to find ways to bring the bastard down." The members also admit that, thanks to their deal with a major label, they have "a decent standard of living for the first time in their lives." (These quotes all from the FAQ on their official Web site, On the site, they also fend off accusations from young fans who complain that Chumba should never suggest that it’s all right to get drunk if you enjoy it–that beer money, after all, could have been spent helping the downtrodden.)"