It’s 11:00 p.m., I’m watching the Republican National Convention, Cheney just finished his speech, and now they’re playing “The Star Spangled Banner.” The Jimi Hendrix version! What, if anything, does this signify about our modern political culture?
What do you think it tells us?
That they’re trying to co-opt “hip.” As with the Bush Twins’ speech. But it’s still some major cognitive dissonance – I mean, supposedly the modern Republican Party is committed to destroying everything the '60s counterculture stood for.
“It tells me that goose-stepping morons like yourselves should try [listening to records] instead of [smashing] them.”
- Henry Jones, paraphrased
It tells me that Jimi Hendrix is dead.
Sorry, I meant to have a smilie after the quote to indicate its status as a joke. And of course, I forgot the honorific “Dr.” for Dr. Jones.
Not possible. Not the Hendrix anthem, not the one that made my hair stand on end when I heard it in the movie Woodstock. Not the one with the planes shrieking down, strafing and bombing, women and children screaming in terror, fleeing for their lives… Not possible.
Of course, they did do a cover of Spencer Davis’ Gimmee Some Lovin’ (“so glad we made it!..so glad we made it!..”) And they did yusta play Springsteen’s Born in the USA like it was some sort of anthem for jingoistic meatheads (’’…to go kill the yellow man…")
Is an absolute immunity to irony part of the Republican’s genetic makeup?
Nah, forget it. Not possible. Nobody could listen to Hendrix’s anthem and not get it. Nobody. Nobody.
Actually, I’m from a GOP stronghold. The strafing & bombing is expected, & seen as patriotic. In fact, it never registered to me as anything but sound effects. What irony? There are people who quote that line from Conan, “true happiness is to see your enemies flee before you & hear the lamentation of their women,” with no irony. And they may think you’re “feminized” because you don’t have the basic emotional makeup of a brutal adolescent chimpanzee.
You think Hitler was ironic?
Jimi Hendix’s “National Anthem” must have brought back some haunting memories to the Repubicans. Dubya Bush asking Dad to get him in “The Guard”, Dick Cheney pursuing his “other priorities”, John Ashcroft valiantly defying death during the Tet Offensive by teaching business at Missouri State…
For one thing, it demonstrates that Republicans are a few steps ahead of Democrats. As Michael Moore has said, the Democrats have built a “weak-kneed, wimpy party that hasn’t stood up to the Republicans”. It used to be the Democrats who championed things like freedom, moral values, and American goodness and vitality:
Republicans have stolen their thunder and have herded them into Republican-defined pens, where the Democrats snarl about how Republicans pronounce words, second-guess the minutiae of their behavior in crisis, mock their children, and marvel at their choice of music. Republicans have set America on fire and have given the Democrats fiddles. Democrats pluck the fiddles they’re given, and complain only that the fire gives them insufficient light. They seem to believe that this election is about the skills of grammarians and documentarians.
Democrats have made themselves into a party perceived as a gaggle of far-flung and petty special interests, each demanding something from the pie baked by others. Its mantra today is entitlement, enshrined by promises to take things away from people simply because they are successful. It is a party of wealth envy that rewards sloth, demanding a “level playing field” when life is composed of mountainous struggle. It presumes that the equality with which we are born marks us as drones of the State whose lives must be merged by a central Politburo into a lowest common denominator. It has lost its understanding that free people are not equal, and equal people are not free. Democrats have lost their courage.
If Democrats will pause to rediscover their roots, the Democratic Party will take the nation by storm and win back the offices it has lost. They have forgotten what it is that stirs the hearts of people who rebel against kings:
Golly, that’s a lot of meaning in one song selection! I thought it was just done to wake people up after Cheney’s speech.
Can you play Sweet Sunny South?
Bryon York in National Review sneering at John Kerry’s retro taste in music:
There’s a “Purple Haze”/purple hearts joke in there somewhere…
Oh my God, the dead have risen and are voting Republican!
Just wanted to point out that Jimi actually made some rather hawkish statements about the Vietnam War. According to Electric Gypsy by Harry Shapiro and Caesar Glebbeek, in early 1967 Jimi said to reporters:
Another time he said:
Of course, I highly doubt the Republicans know this about him and didn’t select his music because of these views. And Jimi of course went on to write the classic “Machine Gun” which seems pretty anti-war. Also Jimi wasn’t very socially conservative, what with all the pro-civil rights, pro-drugs, and pro-free love views.
Hendrix had enlisted in the army, had volunteered for service in Vietnam, and was a paratrooper with the 101st. He was honorably discharged after breaking his ankle. But over time, he became as disenchanted with the war as everyone else. Regarding his Star Spangled Banner, people can judge for themselves:
The real fun in the evening was seeing the confused looks on the faces of Bush, Sr. and others whenever soul music was played. It was sort of like watching Steve Martin in “The Jerk” trying to keep time.
I have to say that I agree with Liberal on most of his points. The Dems are pissing me off more each year with their wimpy responses to egregious insults. I’m thinking Green Party next time around.
What does it “signify”? Nothing, except that rock music has now been around a looooong time, that 50 and 60-something Republicans grew up listening to “classic rock” too, and that it’s been ages since a fondness for shrieking guitars correlated neatly with any political ideology.
To be sure, there are rock songs that would be ridiculously inappropriate at a GOP convention (practically anything by Springsteen or CCR, for example)… but Jimi Hendrix was never a very political artist. His rendition of the national anthem didn’t seem out of place.
It signifies that Karl Rove did NOT see Monterey Pop. When Jimi comes lighter fluid on that Strat, you just know he’s not a repub.
Actually, The Dead have been vocally campaigning for Kerry.
In another 35 years they’ll be playing re-runs of Gay Eye For a Straight Guy during the convention.