Anti-American songs used as Pro-American slogans

I was re-watching Austin Powers 2 the other day, and it featured Lenny Kravitz covering the Guess Who’s “American Woman” during a scene to show how hot the female american character was. Did they miss the point of the song, or were they just hoping that the audiance would only remember the first two words in the lyrics?

I’m sure there are more examples of this too, in marketing and movies.

I can’t believe you didn’t mention Born In The U.S.A. by Springsteen. Though not anti-US, (at least not along the lines of I Hate The USA kind of thing) it was grabbed by the Republicans during the 1984 Presidential campaign and held up as a “shining example of everything that is good and right about America.”:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:.

George Will devoted an entire opinion column to it in which he utterly and completely misinterpreted the song. I t was laughable how wrong he was.

Well, during the 1984 Presidential campaign, I was 6 years old…

A large jeans company - I think it was Wrangler - committed this type of error a few years ago with a commercial that featured just one line of CCR’s “Fortunate Son”. The commercial played the line “Some folks are born, made to raise the flag/ Ooh, they’re red white and blue!” The rest of the ad’s music was instrumental, so you didn’t hear the follow-up lines indicating that the song considered all of that flag-raising to be a bad thing.

Don’t forget the original anti-American song, “Yankee Doodle.”
The Redcoats sang it to mock the colonists, but it has become a classic American folk song.

N&I Scott you are asking/talking about situations where someone pro-American uses an anti-American song, oblivious to the fact that the lyrics to the song are, well, anti-American.

The key word here is oblivious. The fact that the person using the song either doesn’t get it, hasn’t listened closely or is trying to “put one over on” the listener is what rings so false.

But what about Yankee Doodle? The lyrics are anti-American - the Brits made up the words to describe Yanks as un-refined and clueless:

Yankee Doodle when to London just to ride a pony
Stuck a feather in his cap (i.e., put on fancy airs - tried to look stylish in the way of the day)
and called it “macaroni” (at the time, a word used to mean really cool/fancy Italian; here, the Brits are saying that Yankee Doodle thinks he’s cool but he’s really white trash)

Yankee Doodle keep it up Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind your manners, watch your step and with the girls be handy (basically the Brits giving condescending encouragement to YD whom they hold in contempt)

However, in this case, the Yanks took the song, which they knew to be condescending and adopted it as a fight song to rub the Brits faces in it…

Doesn’t quite fit in the category you are looking for, but worth mentioning within this context.

Okay Payne you beat me on the simul-post (someone had to mention it - right?), but at least I offered more background!!

Mystery Dog, I saw the Wrangler “Fortunate Son” commercial twice this weekend. As you noted the “it ain’t me” chorus is conspicuously absent.

Didn’t someone use John Mellencamp’s Little Pink Houses as a campaign song?

Not anti-American, but it fits the general category: I find it enormously funny that automaker Jaguar is using the Clash’s “London Calling” in their commercials. Oh, and there was a hue and cry several years ago when Nike employed the Beatles’ “Revolution” in their campaign.

It wasn’t Born in the USA that Reagan wanted to use, it was Pink Houses. Mellencamp refused.

I think it’s funny that people laughed at Reagan then, saying that he obviously hadn’t listened to the lyrics, and that the song was supposed to be a criticism of the U.S. (which it was).

Then, Mellencamp himself sang it as a pro-US anthem at the concert for New York City. Go figure.

Also not necessarily anti-American, during a concert in Wembly stadium for a newly free Nelson Mandela, Neil Young played “Keep on Rocking in the Free World”.

A few years ago? Hehe. I think this is airing currently. I laugh my ass off every time I see this commercial. I have nothing against patriotic songs, but jesus, this has to be the stupidest commercial I’ve ever seen.

Also, I think the point of the song was not about flag-raising, but about the privileged class avoiding the vietnam war.

I do find it very sad that such a great Vietnam protest song is now presented as a patriotic anthem.

I don’t know if this counts as anti-American, but The Star Spangled Banner is about a battle that we lost, but “at least the flag’s still flying, so nyah.”

It was, in fact, Born in the USA. And Reagan didn’t try to use it, he did use it on at least one occasion. Bruce then came out against Reagan’s use of the song, and Reagan dropped the song. Cite (third and fourth paragraph), cite (fourth paragraph), and cite (fourteenth paragraph).

Reagan also wanted to use Mellencamp’s Pink Houses as you mentioned.

A funny footnote to the whole Reagan/Born In The USA thing, they interviewed Ron Reagan (Ron’s son) about it and Ron said, "My dad wouldn’t know Bruce Springsteen from Cab Calloway…

Trust me I was ROTF, when I heard it.

I think I heard Monster by Steppenwolf used once. Don’t remember what it was for.

Several winter olympics ago, in the 80’s, ABC used American Woman kind of as Bonnie Blair’s theme song.

There’s an article in the new Onion book titled “Song about heroin used to promote investment firm”.

I remember Little Pink Houses was used by one of the TV networks as the theme song for their coverage of the Superbowl (1986?). It was pretty obvious from the graphics they used that they missed the point of the song completely.