Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Protest!

I really don't have much to say, but I'm tired of seeing The Crystals. Since that video has been sitting there for a week, however, it did inspire me to research the god-awful song, and I learned some interesting things about it. It was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and produced by (irony warning) Phil Spector. Originally, the song was written as a protest song against the abuse of women, and was inspired by the bad love life of singer Little Eva, who said her boyfriend only beat the crap out of her because he loved her. It never got much radio play in 1962. Apparently, the irony doesn't come across very well, and it sounds more like an anthem to abuse than a protest against it.

The obscure little gem has, however, been influential in the lives of other tragic singers. Courtney Love and Hole covered it. Amy Winehouse says the song "inspired" her and shaped her life. Have you seen Amy Winehouse lately? Gerry Goffin and Carole King should pay for her next trip to the ER.

So that's all I have to say about "He Hit Me (and it felt like a kiss)".

Ev tried to post another video yesterday, but it wouldn't post. Which was sad, because it was a nifty video of one of our favorite singer-songwriters, John Prine, talking about the tragedies of war and the young lives sacrificed to it, and singing a verse of "Sam Stone" to illustrate the point.

I like a nice protest song, don't you?

I was reading yesterday about a protest movement afoot for a "general strike" on September 11, 2008. The idea is that everyone in America should do exactly nothing on that day. Don't be a consumer. Don't drive. Don't show up to work for The Man. Don't turn on your lights or watch your TV. Just disappear from the grid for a day. It sounds good, in theory, but I don't think it will work in practice. It's like threatening to punish your kids by cancelling the family vacation to the beach. They know you aren't really going to do it, because it's your vacation, too, and you aren't going to punish yourself for their bad behavior. I'm not going to just not show up for work, or call off and say, "Hey, I'm not coming in today because I'm showing solidarity and engaging in a general strike against ... everything," because I'm a wage slave and I need my job.

I'd like to march and protest and picket and raise hell about something, but it's really hot and muggy out there, and I have hot flashes even with the air conditioning on. That's why I love a good protest song, and why, when "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore" comes on the CD player while I'm at a red light next to a redneck with flag stickers all over his truck, I turn it up really loud and sneer. Take that, motherfucker!!


XUP said...

Amy Winehouse... I want to shake her and slap her and then shake her some more. Such an amazing talent and she's chucking her whole life down the toilet. UNLESS -- all this abuse propaganda is just a PR campaign to get her press and give her a tragic/bluesy persona and sell out her concerts and CDs. If so, it's a brilliant campaign. (Am I too cynical?)

Anonymous said...

I have SO been thinking that much of John Prine's Vietnam-era ouevre is totally appropriate these days - "Flag Decal" is often what I'm singing as I drive around town and observe the "Support Our Troops" magnetic stickers on the other cars.

I've also been thinking about Country Joe and the Fish ("And it's one, two, three, what are we fightin' for?") and Tom Paxton ("Lyndon Johnson told the nation, have no fear of escalation...").

Who says Iraq isn't a quagmire? All the old quagmire songs seem to apply...


Kwach said...

Jessie, you'd love the video Ev tried to post. It's an interview with Bobby Bare. Here's the link, since it won't post to the blog for some reason: