Notions of nationhood have long been wrapped up in emotions of neighbourhood. Samuel ‘Call me Doctor’ Johnson immortally uttered the line ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel’ in response to ‘false’ patriotism. Has ever a line ever seemed more topical?
Pledging allegiance has incorporated Dimbulb Dubya’s ‘You’re either with us or you’re against us’ to surreality star Trump’s persistent calls to arms, his Machiavellian hectoring causing the division he and his handlers crave. They are no more than puppets of the Brotherhood acting out their roles, reading their lines, picking up their rewards. All part of the charade, the curtain’s up and it’s perma-panto season in D.C.
Like a folky Crass teaming up with They Might be Giants, anything but ‘average Joes’ American Anymen are the thorn in the side, one in the eye of PsyClops Inc. that stops at nothing in carving up the globe, rapacious racketeers running the world that affect difference when on the screen, their symbolically positioned hands betray their performances. These power brokers choke us with their land grabbing, war mongering and resource pillaging all in the name of ‘freedom’.
‘Flag Burner’ is an articulated diatribe against the boneheads that subscribe to the ‘constitution’, the ‘amended’ dos and don’ts designed to enslave and disempower within the absurd electoral system that purports to be a democracy in the Land of the Free (‘the electoral college, itself put in place to protect the slave states’). This, remember, movie-buffs is a place where ‘anyone’ can get to the top of the tree, honest, it’s all matter of hard work. Not if you’re in the network, on the web, from the nest, if you’re not part of it, you’re apart from it. The greatest trick the devil …
The song reels off the embedded socio-cultural signifiers that comprise the American Dream ©: baseball, football, oatmeal, quiz shows; textbook sleight of hand distractions.
The heretic who sees through these fallacies is the true hero, the citizen who sees beyond the inconsistencies of the loyalty to a contentious piece of cloth, that reminder of oppression, colonialism, genocide and bloodshed. This song smashes the myth in more than 147 characters.
‘President 2’ is an urge for the selected ‘pussy-grabber-in-chief’ to go surfing on watery waves as opposed to fanning online waves of discontent.
The gangster-folk ‘Late to the party’ outlines the myriad ways the bullies exploit the runts, scrambled attendees to the litany of clubby cabals: G8, NATO, E.U., WTO, Davos, WHO wreak havoc, genetically modifying food and folk, no joke.
This E.P. and this band in general are powerfully effective in their simplicity, their words of erudite protest cutting deep, delivering a disaffected dissatisfaction drawl with their sharp observations there to keep. This anti-Jock rock illustrates that it’s not a crime to think … yet.