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Sunday, June 18, 2006

And Then They Came For Sir John... 

Sometimes, it takes a village to raise a ruckus.

It's a sad day when terror is so widespread in this country that only foreigners dare speak out against tyranny:

Sir Elton John has attacked what he calls a McCarthy-like "era of censorship" in America. Entertainers who speak out against the Bush administration or its policy on Iraq, he claimed, risk scorn and damage to their livelihood.

As everyone knows, Europe has a longstanding tradition of protecting free speech. Meanwhile, here in America political dissidents live in a virtual police state where domestic spies monitor their every word for evidence of "anti-government sentiment" and the slightest misstep leads to an airless cell in Gitmo and the horror of genital mocking. We can no longer close our eyes to the overwhelming evidence:

"Things have changed. I don't know if there's been a time when the fear factor played such an important role in America since McCarthyism in the 1950s, as it does now," he added. Sen Joseph McCarthy was the leading figure behind the "red scare" of the 1950s. At the height of the anti-communist hysteria, an investigation of Hollywood by the House Committee on Un-American Activities led to a "blacklist" of actors and writers who were then denied employment.

He recalled playing at Kent State University in 1970 shortly after National Guard troops fired on Vietnam War protesters on campus, killing four, and wounding nine.

Sir Elton said: "People were taking to the streets. With the war in Iraq and all that's gone on with it, that's not happening - yet. I don't know why."

In the 1960s, "people like Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, The Beatles and Pete Seeger were constantly writing and talking about what was going on", he said. Now, "hardly any are doing it . . ." The era of protest songs by major artists was long gone. "That's not happening now. As of this spring, there have been virtually no anti-war concerts - or anti-war songs that catch on, for that matter."

No doubt Sir John is mindful of the fate of Neil Young, whose twisted and broken body was recently found half-buried on the White House lawn by horrified Easter Egg Roll participants who managed to expose the Republican party's so-called "family values". But after the Protest Song Suppression Act of 2006 was rammed through Congress by a sinister cabal of radical right-wing extremists, major artists like Outkast, the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, The Dave Matthews Band, U2, Springsteen, and Green Day fled the United States, no doubt fearing for their lives. And the voices of those few who stayed have been tragically silenced as they languish in a prison of fear:

One reason for the reluctance of performers to speak out, according to Sir Elton, "might be that they are frightened by the current administration's bullying tactics when it comes to free speech".

It's a sad day when Hollywood artists cower in their gated mansions while George Bush's war machine crushes our precious freedoms flatter than Rachel Corrie; when the last feeble whispers of protest are drowned out by a hail of National Guard bullets:

"There was a moment about a year ago when you couldn't say a word about anything in this country for fear of your career being shot down by people saying you are un-American."

I never thought I'd hear the death knell of freedom in America; never thought I'd see the day when unruly mobs were allowed to threaten the profit margins of those know that dissent is the highest form of patriotism:
"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."

Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin'
We're finally on our own
This summer I hear the drummin'
Four dead in Ohio

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Shoulda been done long ago
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground
How could you run when you know?

11 Comments:

By Blogger sirius_sir, at Sun Jun 18, 11:32:00 AM:

Most of the protest is being successfully countered by the government's new thought-reading technology which can detect the formation of antiwar attitudes before they are fully formed. The government's computers do continual, practically instantaneous, cross-referencing of the entire population (and you thought the NSA was up to something else--Ha!) to weed out artists and performers holding an anti-war/anti-government bias before they become widely known so that they can be removed from the general populace and held in secret CIA prisons for 'reprograming'.

Of course, the intellectual cognizatti knows all this, but what can they do without risking their own safety? And yet some, like Ms Maines still bravely speak out.

I fear it is only a matter of time before she, too, becomes one of the 'disappeared'. At this point, her only hope of salvation is to keep talking and stay in the public spotlight. For now, she is probably untouchable. But only for now.

They'll get her sooner or later.  

By Blogger Cassandra, at Sun Jun 18, 12:39:00 PM:

I'm convinced the only solution to this rabid fear-mongering is a Musical Fairness Doctrine that requires all radio stations to play protest songs.

Oh, and folks should not be allowed to pick and choose which CDs they will, and will not buy. After all, this is tantamount to suppressing speech.

Only in Amerikkka...  

By Anonymous davod, at Sun Jun 18, 01:16:00 PM:

Elton is trying to gin up some US anti war protests.

It would never enter his mind that just maybe people do not agree with his point of view.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sun Jun 18, 06:22:00 PM:

They enlarge their opponents so that they can look brave. When the salamander sticks his disapproving tongue out at these artists, they claim "Dragons! Mercy me! You need us to protect you."  

By Blogger Screwy Hoolie, at Sun Jun 18, 10:06:00 PM:

On an operational level, Sir John's statement is absurd. He can sell as many albums with any message he'd like.

It's interesting though that this feeling of impending or existing persecution is so common.

The Al Qaeda threat is scary stuff, and there's no way to avoid the rising terrorist threat. It's going to take the extended efforts of worldwide coordination and cooperation to corral and control the religious extremists who choose violence and a strategy of eventual domination. I don't think the Bush administration is capable of leading this effort - because it requires a will to unity that the dispensationalists in the White House do not possess.

When Americans, along with the odd aging British pop star, are as frightened of their own government as they are of the threat of Al Qaeda, it's important to address that fear in a serious way.

Has the Bush administration made efforts to silence critics through smears and vilification? Have they proven that they can be trusted with the power to spy on our citizens, to hold detainees without trial, to build unity among the American people? Have they led us to a better nation or a better world?

I believe the Bush administration is as great a threat to our American way of life as Al Qaeda. That'll be lampooned as crazy in these parts, I know. But I reckon it's important for you to know that perfectly reasonable people with decent jobs, beautiful families, discriminating tastes, thoughtful morality, and a deep love for America believe this to be true.

I'm not seeking agreement, folks. I'm seeking the willingness of folks on the right to drop the foolish notion that people who disagree with the current plan to combat terrorism are unhinged radicals.

We're your next door neighbors and your cab drivers and your Little League coaches. We're your fellow Americans.  

By Blogger Dan Kauffman, at Sun Jun 18, 11:30:00 PM:

As everyone knows, Europe has a longstanding tradition of protecting free speech.
**********************************
Someone should tell that to v Oriana Fallaci, I think she is being tried for "Vilification of Religion"?

Isn't it amazing how much the Left approves of the masses going to the street in protest, as long as the protest is something THEY approve of?  

By Blogger Dan Kauffman, at Sun Jun 18, 11:35:00 PM:

I'm not seeking agreement, folks. I'm seeking the willingness of folks on the right to drop the foolish notion that people who disagree with the current plan to combat terrorism are unhinged radicals.
***********************************
Well some of them sure act like unhinged radicals don't they.

I think Elton needs a lesson in history, there is a difference between government censorship and a spontaneous rejection of a message by the masses.

NO ONE has censored the Chicks, that is painfully obvious they have maintained a constant message of insult to those who were formally their fans.

Words mean certain things and not others. If I do not wish to listen to or pay for the Chicks product I am exercising my right of choice. I have "censored" nothing.  

By Blogger Cassandra, at Mon Jun 19, 05:39:00 AM:

Screwy, there is a difference between reasonable fear and fear based on a feeling or even worse, misinformation. And in any event, conveniently re-characterizing the remarks that make up this post as principled dissent ("I'm seeking the willingness of folks on the right to drop the foolish notion that people who disagree with the current plan to combat terrorism are unhinged radicals") is just another means of setting up a straw man, not to mention gratuitously insulting people who disagree with you. None of these people said, "Gosh - I disagree with the current plan to combat terrorism for reasons x, y, or z". They just spew bile and if they bother to try and justify it at all (in Elton's case) do so with extremely silly arguments like "Wow... there are no protests in the street...therefore the Bush administration must be suppressing them! Aiieee! A police state!.

First of all, there have been protests, so his whole premise is dishonest. Second, you don't prove government oppression by saying "The peasants aren't revolting! Therefore someone must be brutally repressing them!" You have to supply actual evidence if you want people to take you seriously.

Without commenting on the reasons for your particular opinion, celebrity after celebrity has vilified the Bush administration and the President, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM WITHOUT REPERCUSSIONS from the government. Bush hasn't even opened his mouth to address some of the more disgusting. hurtful, and moreover patently false things said about him by various celebs.

Yet you maintain that if they make hysterical statements clearly not based in fact, he must "seriously address" their concerns?

In your book, ignoring their grossly insulting statements (Ooooh! How scary! He IGNORED me!) isn't high-minded enough - he has to seriously address their fears.

Am I the only one hearing "Feelings" here?
Talk about blaming the victim.

Has the Bush administration made efforts to silence critics through smears and vilification?

Ummm.... no. They haven't. Shockingly enough, the Left is going to have to get used to the fact, however, that the Constitution protects free speech... even [gasp!] from Republicans. And here's another shocker for you... if someone like Joe Wilson makes serious accusations, the administration is entitled to rebut his arguments. Damn. That's harsh. Speech kills.

At any rate, even if the administration had used smears (like the incredibly scary and threatening "This is America - they're entitled to their opinion but I happen to disagree with them" that is Bush's standard response when asked about it (he doesn't say anything until asked by reporters), wouldn't that would just be repaying them in kind? Amazing the way you blithely excuse that behavior on Elton John's part yet harshly condemn it if the administration *did* engage in it (which they have not).

Have they proven that they can be trusted with the power to spy on our citizens, to hold detainees without trial, to build unity among the American people?

These people were saying this stuff long before the NSA thing and long before anyone knew what the disposition of the detainees was, so that is utterly irrelevent. They started up before he was even elected.

Have they led us to a better nation or a better world?

Good lord, Screwy. Now 'failing to lead us to a better world' is grounds for irrational fear and slander? Well gosh, IMO Pres. Carter definitely did not lead us to a better world, but I didn't go around saying he was worse than Hitler or that the McCarthy era was back.

Dan is exactly right; people like Elton John and the Dixie Chicks demand the right to say whatever they want without allowing anyone to disagree with them - otherwise their "Constitutional right" to grab center stage and make asses of themselves is being brutally trod underfoot, and durnitall, they blame the administration. Why isn't there a LAW saying they can vilify the President as well as their critics, and no one can disagree with them.

That is nothing short of ridiculous, and if people don't choose to buy their CDs, ridicule them, or [shudder] dare to criticize, perhaps that is something they should have considered before opening their big mouths.  

By Blogger Cassandra, at Mon Jun 19, 05:45:00 AM:

people like Elton John and the Dixie Chicks demand the right to say whatever they want without allowing anyone to disagree with them - otherwise their "Constitutional right" to grab center stage and make asses of themselves is being brutally trod underfoot

And nevermind the fact that they have undeniably been allowed to both grab center stage AND make asses of themselves.

Mein Gott im Himmel, someone had the nerve to notice they'd made asses of themselves and disapprove! Some of them have even exerised their right to boycott a product they do not wish to support! (a tactic the Left uses all the time, but when used on the Right is clearly unreasonable and harshly repressive)

It's McCarthyism all over again!  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Mon Jun 19, 11:52:00 AM:

Heheh. Sounds a little like Iowahawk is guest-blogging :)

*reads Cassandra’s post*

*gently sweeps the smoking dust of Screwy into a dustpan*

*makes mental note to never get Cassandra mad*  

By Blogger Cassandra, at Mon Jun 19, 01:21:00 PM:

Oh, I don't usually get mad at Screwy, except every now and then when he says something outrageous to get under my skin. Sometimes I even agree with him.

We just like to argue :)  

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