In a New York Times puff piece that profiled our newest Vice Presidential candidate, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Ryan attempted to show his Gen. X cred with the claim that he is a fan of the band, Rage Against the Machine, although he doesn’t listen to their lyrics, which are often about social justice.
Tom Morello, the group’s guitarist took to Rolling Stone to point out the irony in Ryan’s proclamation.
Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn’t understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen but doesn’t understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine.
Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.
I wonder what Ryan’s favorite Rage song is? Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans? The one lambasting American imperialism? Our cover of “Fuck the Police”? Or is it the one where we call on the people to seize the means of production? So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!
Don’t mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta “rage” in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged élite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions.
Republicans have a long history of not understanding the music they claim to identify with, beginning with Ronald Reagan and Bruce Springsteen’s anti-war anthem, Born in the USA. Interestingly, the purported intellectual go-to guy in GOP punditry, George Will, seemed to have a big man crush on the liberal rocker.
Some bands have even gone so far as to sue or at least start legal action. Heart sued Sarah Palin for using their songs. Jon Bon Jovi, an Obama supporter, simply complained that she used one of his band’s songs in a rally. Survivor, John Mellencamp, the Foo Fighters, Van Halen and Jackson Brown demanded that her running mate, John McCain, stop using their music. Survivor also sued Newt Gingrich. Tom Petty issued a cease and desist order to George W. Bush and to Michele Bachmann. Even Katrina and the Waves thought Bachmann went too far with her use of Walking on Sunshine. Rapper, K’naan has threatened Mitt Romney with a lawsuit. To be fair, Sam Moore of Sam and Dave sent a cease and desist order to Barack Obama for misappropriating one of his songs.
Let’s dedicate this song to Paul Ryan: