Yes, Even Michael Stipe would be able to take out Steve Doocy (R.E.M./Fox News Saga)
“Last year, a girl was raped by two wastes of sperm and eggs while they sang the lyrics to our song “Polly.” I have a hard time carrying on knowing there are plankton like that in our audience. Sorry to be so anally P.C. but that’s the way I feel.” – Kurt Cobain from the liner notes of Incesticide
I have to admit before I start this, that one of the aspects that I have always appreciated about R.E.M. is their support for causes, whether they were local issues, global politics or their ability to build awareness among their fanbase. In their heyday, the reason that the music meant so much was not just limited to the fact that they were good songs, but that it meant something. They were more than just a pop song on a piece of plastic but carried an inherent meaning much greater than many people realize. They grew in prominence from grassroots beginnings, keeping their small town charm while providing audiences with thoughtful rock and roll that didn’t dumb down their audience but rather challenged them.
Throughout their career, they had been very careful about having their songs used in advertisements for products, clearly understanding that they did not want to go down that path of selling out their music. There was even some misconception of course when I believe it was Microsoft used the song “Superman” from Lifes Rich Pageant on an advertisement. Of course, while the song received acclaim from the band, it was actually written by a little known band “The Clique” in 1969. But for the most part, you can say over their 30 years they were pretty clean in that respect.
That all boiled over when I would imagine, Michael Stipe was on his second espresso of the morning, flipped to Fox News and found Fox and Friends playing the song that he made a hit.
Ok, maybe I am slightly exaggerating my point here aka pulling a Ryan. He was probably on his first expresso. The simple point is that Fox News had used a clip of Losing My Religion on the air. Oh the horror!
Of course, the response from the reviled Fox:
“Fox News Channel’s use of an R.E.M. song was in full accordance with its license agreements with all appropriate parties. Nevertheless, we’re always flattered to have this much attention for a song selection and we hope R.E.M. was able to satisfy their publicity fix.”
Since, I have misplaced my online correspondence law degree from Dr. Nick Riviera’s School of Law, so I am really not going to discuss the legalese of the case but if I were to make a guess, I would imagine that R.E.M. doesn’t have much of one but that really wasn’t the point.
My knowledge of Fox News of course is that it is about as relevant as professional wrestling. In fact, in many ways professional wrestling and Fox have a lot in common in that they are both fake, a display that is purely entertainment with no educational value whatsoever. The only difference of course is that the hosts of Fox are not lathering themselves up with body oils (at least when they are on the air).
To their credit they have a strong fan base of nimrods, and I would imagine that nimrods have to go somewhere to be entertained and they have built a healthy franchise in instilling hatred and fear.
My knowledge of Losing My Religion of course can be summed up by looking at my iTunes collection which features a hefty 66 mp3s, most of them live performances, not to mention countless others on disc. I had often joked that I wanted to come out with a boxed set of 20+ discs just playing all the different versions of ‘Losing My Religion’ with the dream that there would also be a full 200 page booklet written by Peter Buck describing each of these versions. Of course, knowing Peter Buck he would fucking pull it off and people would buy it just to read that shit.
(Peter Buck of course is the guitarist of R.E.M. who is coming out with his own solo album out November 20th, which just so happens to be my 40th birthday. Of course Peter Buck is such in dire need of PR that he is releasing his album only on vinyl and limiting it to 2000 copies.)
The true meaning of the song has nothing to do with becoming atheist as the nimrod might understand. It would be about completely obsessive or infatuated with someone else. The song has nothing to do with organized or disorganized religions/cults/sects whether they are Christian, Muslim, Judiaism.
The song is about being 18 and totally infatuated with someone and doing everything fuck shit wrong and getting totally depressed about that and listening to the song about 50 times in a row. It has nothing to do with choosing not to take communion anymore.
If you are like me, sitting with your Che Guevara shirt on, and staring at naked photos of Oak Trees in a luscious manner, or bronzing children’s lunchboxes, I would imagine that if you ever had written a song or put together a piece of art and that piece was represented on a station like Fox, of course you are going to be upset. You are a liberal and your creation is now being broadcast on the anti-Christ channel. Congratulations, someone is taking a shit on your lawn and now you have to pick it up!
I was clearly impressed by quote by Michael Stipe: ‘We have little or no respect for their puff adder brand of reportage. Our music does not belong there.’ the emphasis on Puff Adder of course.
If R.E.M. were in the business of keeping its fans they would have kept their mouths shut during their career. They would not have supported candidates, protested wars, got booed on stage for their comments ,.etc. The point was that they just didn’t put shit on a record and sell units but rather were the band that mattered. So I am not sure how this is a PR move. Their comments in this case could have clearly alienated fans who might not be aware of their status of being very progressive in their politics.
From someone like myself who feels very passionate about politics, I have to admit that I do have problems listening to “Republican” bands. You will not see me play any, Ted Nugent, Hank Williams Jr. or Megadeth anytime soon.
Yes, you rile up the fanbase by being political but alienate some fans that might not share the bands opinions.
At the end of the day, it is their song, they are playing on and they are fucking playing a Mandolin. Does Steve Doocy even know what a fucking mandolin is? There are times when a nice “Fuck You” is warranted.
In the meantime, I think I will have to devise my own “Puff Adder” playlist to dedicate to Fox. Stay tuned.