Trump and the Beatles

This is just to say how disheartening I found it to hear the Beatles’ “Revolution” played twice at Donald Trump’s victory rally in New Hampshire last night.

I realize that his use of the song is perfectly legal, and that it probably won’t make a dime’s worth of difference to the way anyone votes. And we seem long past the point where candidates even think about, let alone care, what the artists whose work they employ for political purposes would be likely to say about the platform their songs are being used to endorse.

But at their best, the Beatles projected hope for a world that would foster better understanding and connection. To hear “Revolution” used by a candidate whose campaign has been marked, as the Chicago Tribune notes this morning, by “Trump’s many offensive remarks–targeting women, minorities, and the handicapped, among others” is demoralizing.

February 11: updated to add this link to an ABC news story about why Trump can play Adele’s music at rallies despite her request that he stop. Apparently Trump has a “blanket license” to use music from ASCAP and BMI. Looks like this could apply to the Beatles’ recordings as well.

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44 Comments

  1. Avatar Rob Geurtsen wrote:

    Actually what Trump does it is not necessarily legal. Apple and Universal Music could stop this for various reasons. What Trump does is most of the times on the border… but then again…

  2. Avatar ChelseaQW wrote:

    Go, Nancy!!

  3. Avatar Glaven wrote:

    This is way worse than when Nike used “Revolution” in a commercial back in 1987. I won’t even say “At least Nike paid for the ‘right'” because the fact that they shelled out money doesn’t cancel out the feeling of disgust. Nor did it mean that the foax who most mattered – i.e., THE BEATLES – gave their permission.
    .
    Artists typically call on political candidates they dislike to stop using their songs. I can’t imagine Yoko staying quiet on this. Or Paul, for that matter.
    .
    You have to wonder the Trump people are aware of the lyrics to the song: “But if you want money for people with minds that hate. /All I can tell you is brother you have to wait” … “But when you talk about destruction …”etc.
    .
    Do politicians hear only titles? This is reminiscent of the time Reagan used Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”, evidently under the misapprehension, based on the title alone, that it was a Toby Keithian jingoist screed set to music.
    .
    This is sad on so many levels. Musically. Politically.
    .
    I’m just glad John decided against including that stanza where he came out in favor of waterboarding.

    • Avatar Rob Geurtsen wrote:

      Glaven, Trump doesn’t need the money he is not asking money from his voters. The lyrics are on top, see my other response.

      • Avatar Glaven wrote:

        Is it possible that John is using the term “money” as synecdoche for any type of support for people “with minds that hate”?
        .
        In other words, my point was that Trump’s appropriation of the song is an especially egregious act because he embodies so much of what the lyrics are railing against. Regardless of whether or not you want to characterize what Trump is up to as a “revolution” of some sort, to me the question is … well, what kind of revolution? I think the whole point of the song, the whole point of the ambivalence about the term “revolution” that is built into the song, is to warn against those who would use that term to advance nefarious, dangerous, and/or self-serving ends and call it a revolution.
        .
        Similarly, John’s use of “Chairman Mao” cannot necessarily be seen as an out-and-out dismissal of all forms of collectivism. Mao’s collectivism was a pernicious, murderous, indefensible version of collectivism. John uses him as a stand-in for all terrible instances of collectivism. And, regardless of how John Lennon lived his life in this world, I find it difficult to view the composer of “Imagine” (to name just one song) as philosophically opposed to collectivism as a concept or a philosophy. You can accuse the man of being naive or a hypocrite for writing that song given the way he lived (and many have; and those who do that are problematic for me too; I think a lot of their issues could be resolved if they just looked up the meaning of the word “imagine”); but I don’t think you can characterize him as anti-collectivist.
        .
        “Revolution” doesn’t come out in favor of many things.
        .
        But it does pretty clearly come out against a few. And Donald Trump is the physical embodiment of many of the things the song is clearly against.

        • Avatar Rob Geurtsen wrote:

          Okay Glaven, make your case, what is Revolution against which Trump embodies for you?
          .
          Let’s not forget ‘Revolution’ was a comment on the revolution a lot of people wanted in 1968 and was as often political as it was projected out with a lot of violence… which The Beatles were against.
          There was a revolution in the late sixties and early seventies that was going against the elite there and then, just as Trump is going for the sentiment right now. There are some similarities you better n to disregard or you will come out surprised by the numbers in the next primaries.

          • Avatar Glaven wrote:

            Does this seriously require an answer?
            .
            Mexicans are “rapists and criminals”? Is that not a mind that hates? If I recall correctly, he’s said some pretty hateful things about women, too.
            .
            “I’d bring back waterboarding and much worse”. Who doesn’t see that as destructive?
            .
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWejiXvd-P8 (“Bombing the shit” out of ISIS necessarily entails indiscriminate bombing.)
            .
            Again, I never said the song was in favor of anything that was going on in 1968. I said it was clearly against certain views and behaviors. Many of which are embodied by Trump. I think that’s so obvious it amounts almost to a truism barely in need of being stated.

  4. Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

    Ugh say it ain’t so! These are the times I appreciate litigious Yoko. I hope she sics her lawyers on him.

  5. Avatar Nestor wrote:

    Next time, Trump will use Imagine, hahaha, it would be so unlogic. What a shitty world.

  6. Avatar Rob Geurtsen wrote:

    Hi Nancy

    you write: “And we seem long past the point where candidates even think about, let alone care, what the artists whose work they employ for political purposes would be likely to say about the platform their songs are being used to endorse”
    .
    Isn’t it a good thing we are going to be able to separate the art from the artist? Once an artist has created his art and sold it to you and me, we’re able and allowed to experience with their art whatever we like to experience. What meaning, emotion and motivation we derive from the experience with the art is ours, what the artist intended is his’ or hers.
    .
    Today I am reading ‘Der Verbrecher aus verlorener Ehre’ (Criminal out of lost honor) by Friedrich (von) Schiller. Whatever it is that he intended to convey, I use his little story as an instruction and piece of thought for authors of stories and creators plays/series, whether it is on stage or on television.
    .
    Let me try to think while I type… so I am sorry for too many non-english mistakes, and I will not make second-guesses or re-think. Please don’t feel offended with whatever I will write here. It is not about anyone of you, it is a perception from across the ocean and it’s mine as a Beatle-fan.
    .
    I think The Beatles/Apple should object to the use of Revolution (single version?) but it makes perfect sense that Trump is using the sound and the phrase – superficially.
    .
    If we dig deeper though, it also makes perfect sense.
    The sound and the band’s name and the rocking feel it gives those listening to it at thigh volume, and singalong kind a song it sort of is makes it a good poster for the feelings Trump’s fans probably have about society and politics.
    .
    The mistake Reagan’s staff made was that they didn’t look into the lyrics and meaning the lyrics without the music are more likely to convey. That deeper meaning of hidden lyrics most of the times gets lost, who thinks about the meaning of the lyrics when you are rocking and dancing and screaming on and with ‘Born in the USA’? One could even sugget Bruce failed his own message and lyrics by first releasing the hard rocking version. Aa lot of Beatles’ fans in America think that Beatlemania is an American phenomenon, once our mind is bothered by thinks that fire us up, the clear thinking is out of the door.
    .
    Now Trump does not make a mistake using Revolution. Conservative Americans like and love violence and, from the outside seem to have a pre-occupation with death, war and violence, like I don’t know of any other country (which says more about me than about anything else). There ar more dead kids every year thru fire arms use than ever happened thru terrorism, the suffering from right-wing-conservative violence in the USA is a whole lot bigger than anything comparable from the left-wing, the middleclass and terrorism. Trump is not stupid, he knows that, but even if he doesn’t, his staff knows that. Lyrically it is a smart move, using ‘Revolution’ is about promoting a non-violent revolution – for Trump this revolution is supposedly to be happening in America. The lyrics are also clear about individual freedom and against anything associated with collectivism, like communism in China, thru John mentioning Mao.
    .
    But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
    You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow
    .
    Trump’s fans surely will love that.
    .
    A democratic revolution is more like an ‘evolution’, as John compares revolution and evolution in the first lines of the lyric. Trump makes that a reality, he is part of a democratic system, that allows for evolution – sort of slow revolution?
    .
    You say you got a real solution
    Well, you know
    We’d all love to see the plan
    You ask me for a contribution
    Well, you know
    We’re all doing what we can
    .
    Trump will do what he can, we all are convinced about that, even more so than we believed Obama would act. Obama’s promise was ‘we can’, his staff came up with “Yes, we can” and not “Yes we will…”.
    Show me your plan, what are you up to, that’s is what campaigns are about, we don’t like what he says, we even bring up the argument he hasn’t got a plan. Well that is a huge underestimation of his intentions.
    The lyrics acknowledge the connection of the listener and the source, in this case not The Beatles, but Trump,
    Trump says to his voters:
    .
    ‘You ask me for a contribution’
    .
    and the audience feel addressed, something that is essential to the succes of The Beatles in Beatle-mania days, much more so I believe than the sexual connotation. In the songs The Beatles were communicating ‘from me to you’, ‘from us to them’ – a phrase sometimes used too, only meaning from them, The Beatles, to us, you and me. Trump listener will not feel offended, but attracted.
    .
    You say you’ll change the constitution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change your head
    You tell me it’s the institution
    .
    You can bet Trump isn’t really going to change the constitution, he fundamentally loves it. Surely he will bring havoc to the institutions, that’s what his voters want, don’t you think(?), without knowing or having a clue about the consequences.
    .
    The problem with all of the above is, just like with Bruce’s ‘Born in the USA’, the music spoils the message… But that to many outsiders is what right wing most of conservative Americans seem to be about. Cynical and lying cheats, talking about the lord and the law while being bad and violent all the time.
    The music conveys a violent, adrenaline driven emotional physical drive to get into action. Artistically John failed his own art, partly because he was being pushed by his band brothers to not release the slow version on a single. The music of the single-version is loud and violently action driven and. Yet because it was supposed to be on a hit-single, the ambiguity about the use of violence, in the slow version, is gone now,
    .
    But when you talk about destruction
    Don’t you know that you can count me out.
    .
    A successful artistic contra-point.
    Lyrically The Beatles give the appropriate message they are pro non-violence, totally against violence, pro love and peace. Gone is the ambiguity of

    .’you can count me out – in.’
    .
    and right there and then is the promotion of peace, that started within the Beatles, even before ‘All You Need is Love’ and in 1968 Paul talked about the promotion of peace as a project thru the Beatles-vehicle, a project that John then took up during the next four years.
    .
    oh and yes, I know,
    no no no no,
    Trump is not about peace
    but the word peace ain’t in the song.
    (think reggae sound and rhythm)

    love
    Rob
    (oh btw in 2008 I worked for the Hillary campaign, and today I would too, even though I like Sanders’ analysis better)

    • Avatar ChelseaQW wrote:

      Rob, I think you make some good points. Especially this:

      “Isn’t it a good thing we are going to be able to separate the art from the artist? Once an artist has created his art and sold it to you and me, we’re able and allowed to experience with their art whatever we like to experience.”

      • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

        If I wrote a song and the KKK, ISIS or some similarly slimy group appropriated it for their cause, I would fight to my dying breath to stop them. I think art should be tied to at least the intention of the artist.

        .

        • Avatar ChelseaQW wrote:

          I don’t disagree with you, Karen! I’m just saying… if John Lennon were alive today and endorsing Trump (or endorsing Trump’s use of the song), would I be obligated to hate the song from that point on? I can appreciate “Revolution” either because of the intent I assume it was written with (which I might have all wrong anyway) or the meaning I personally ascribe to it. You know?

          • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

            “I don’t disagree with you, Karen! I’m just saying… if John Lennon were alive today and endorsing Trump (or endorsing Trump’s use of the song), would I be obligated to hate the song from that point on? I can appreciate “Revolution” either because of the intent I assume it was written with (which I might have all wrong anyway) or the meaning I personally ascribe to it. You know?”
            .

            Chelsea, if John Lennon were alive today and endorsed Trump and consequently allowed REVOLUTION to be used for the Trump campaign, I would conclude that he lost his marbles. 🙂 Seriously though, if that were the case, more power to him. It’s his song, after all. But I don’t think it would happen, and here’s why.
            .
            There is such a disconnect between the message of REVOLUTION and Trump’s message as to be unrecognizable to one another. According to Lennon, REVOLUTION espouses the view that change must first occur in one’s personal world view, and that change for change’ sake, or mindless change, is no change at all. This hardly represents Trump’s talking points. I think Michael expressed it artfully (doesn’t he always?) when he said that Trump is “pretending that his nativist, know-nothing faux-Christian corporatism is some sort of guerrilla warfare against a (mythical) East Coast liberal elite.” Trump is using the social capital afforded by the Beatle/Lennon mystique toward his own, disparate ends.

        • Agreed, @Karen. A song isn’t just an arrangement of pleasing-but-random sounds and words. It’s a unit of communication, and that is where authorial intent has to be weighed. Nothing that John Lennon said or did around the time of his writing “Revolution” suggests that he would’ve supported Donald Trump’s current agenda. Nothing that he said regarding the song suggests that either.

          Trump’s campaign is attempting to draw on people’s affection for that song — and by extension their affection for Lennon, the Beatles, the Sixties, and “liberation movements” — while at the same time fighting against all those things, root and branch.

          As to enjoying the work, nobody says you have to agree with an artist’s intent to enjoy the fruits of that impulse. You can like “Guernica,” while totally ignoring its fundamental nature as a statement against war. But if a Spanish Fascist movement started using it as its poster, one could rightly 1) think they were idiots, and 2) be outraged on Picasso’s behalf. Because in part it is the anti-war stance that has made Guernica so well-known and loved, and it’s the notoriety and affection that’s being drawn upon here. Unfairly borrowed.

          Trump is using “Revolution” because — as with every GOP candidate since Reagan, and maybe Goldwater — he’s pretending that his nativist, know-nothing faux-Christian corporatism is some sort of guerrilla warfare against a (now entirely mythical) East Coast liberal elite. And he’s using that particular song because it is well-known and loved. But “Revolution” isn’t well-known and loved simply because it’s a crunchy good rock song; it’s because it’s a John Lennon song, and a Beatles song, and from a particular moment in the Sixties — and all of these things, its Lennon-ness, its Beatles-ness, and its New Left youth rebellion-ness, makes it diametrically opposed to the Trump campaign. He’s using something produced by Sixties youth counterculture to fight against the values of the Sixties youth counterculture, and that’s not OK. Any more than it’s OK to say, “In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us, ‘Always look out for number one.'” It’s Orwellian use of language, and any artist should fight against that.

          It reminds me of something John Landis once said about “Animal House.” He said he went out of his way to make an anti-war, anti-establishment comedy — and when he met George W. Bush, W told him that he always related to Belushi and the Deltas. Is it W’s right to enjoy the movie? Sure, I guess. And its our right to think, “You totally missed the point, idiot.” And it’s John Landis’ right to be annoyed that his piece of work was so misinterpreted, either via stupidity or convenience, and be appalled at the idea that his work would strengthen the very mindset he was fighting against.

  7. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    How about some alternate titles for Trump and his followers?
    .
    “I’m A Loser”
    .
    “Piggies”
    .
    “Baby You’re A Rich Man”
    .
    “Can’t Buy Me Love”
    .
    “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party”
    .
    “I Me Mine”
    .
    “Sie Liebt Dich”

    • Avatar Rob Geurtsen wrote:

      With the risk of being very unpolite…
      .
      Isn’t Trump representative of a society, and that is all of the Americans together, and not an outlier? His narcissism, his anti-government, his anti-Islam/terrorism stand.
      .
      Is the system and the decency in America so below par, that political opponents and their voters are seen and treated as animals, as dumbheads… What does that say… about other opinions.
      .
      It makes me sad.

      • @Rob,
        “Isn’t Trump representative of a society, and that is all of the Americans together, and not an outlier? His narcissism, his anti-government, his anti-Islam/terrorism stand.”

        In a word? No.

        No, he’s not representative of “all of the Americans together,” any more than some Dutch right-winger is representative of the Netherlands. Trump is a rich real-estate developer, famous since the mid-80s mainly for being a buffoonish asshole. He is the current beneficiary of the Republicans’ 45-year Southern Strategy, which has systematically made militaristic xenophobic Christianity seem much more prevalent than it actually is. To put it another way: according to a Pew Research poll in 2015, only 23% of Americans identify as Republicans. So even if every Republican agreed with Donald Trump, he wouldn’t be representative. And within Republicans, the xenophobic, falsely Christian, militaristic viewpoint is counterbalanced by a powerful corporatist/”money is God” wing.

        TL;DR — Does Trump resonate with even 5% of Americans? Probably fewer than that.

        We see this basically every four years, especially on the Republican side, where non-mainstream candidates with small-but-vocal bases come to prominence. But what wins you a party primary is not what wins you a national election, because the groups that are voting are vastly different. Anyway, as alarming as he is, it’s important not to mistake good TV for reality.

        • Avatar Rob Geurtsen wrote:

          Okay Michael, this is tough, because you might throw me off the list.

          Of course Trump is as much a representative of THE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY and mentality, his expressions might differ but he is firmly grounded in American thinking. Pluralism is a fact in America and it makes it strong one would say, however everything that arises out of this melting pot is part of that melting pot, and while you’re part of that melting pot, everything that comes out of it, is a representation of every little thing in the melting pot.
          .
          or, as I asked would you say Trump is an outlier, like Caldwell meant?
          .
          The Dutch horrible right winger Wilders is really a proper representative of the Dutch culture, do not ever think it is not. All these populists were never represented in elitist politics, today they are, and this dark side of the moon is an integral part of our melting pot, as you are, and us Beatly-maniacs…
          .
          If anything is typical for the structural thinking of American society is militaristic xenophobic (read nationalistic) Christianity – check out the dominant Hollywood family Spielberg movies or Tarantino, or even more important the curriculum in West-Point. Or if you want check out the curriculum for any, really any study for an Economic Masters Degree, it is monomaniacally Neo-classical theory, and nothing else… a real problem addressed from the outside by Re-thinking Economics.
          .
          America has been in a serious war every ten year or so, since world-war II. Basically on their own assumption of interpretations, and it is widely supported by neglect or …
          .
          I could go on, and you would deny it… get back to the basics, never underestimate the representational power of strange anomalies. In hindsight these anomalies appear to be representations of a cultural and social system at a certain time…
          let’s for just a moment look at our main topic here: The Beatles…
          .
          were they the creators of events end trends in the sixties or representatieve of a broader trend, cultural and social developments that were going on for awhile and came out of the ground when the proper stimulus was there…
          .
          That is why I never think the Beatles made the cultural changes but were representatives of changes going on elsewhere… and The Beatles are not much different from Trump in this respect. Ans sometimes the actors ar e not in control of that.
          .
          Again a similarity between The Beatles and Trump. Both entities (meaning Trump and his team, and The Beatles and their team) were never in control of the crowds response, however they were in control of what their own creation. Do not underestimate the media power and shrewdness of the Trump-team, it, he, they is/are not as loose and out of control, responding emotionally or acting in the media battle as his/their potential voters and supporters might appear, or for that matter as the supporters of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands might come across. And they know just as Paul McCartney showed his awareness and humbleness about this aspect of his fame and media power. And from time to time John said so too.
          .
          I am sorry to disagree, and see y’all part of that melting pot that create and love the likes of Trump and Bush, even if you and I both vehemently disagree with these people. We are part of and acting in a culture that creates these phenomena… and we are co-responsible for that – not meaning anything in a direct causal nature. Responsible is related to ‘response’ – to distance yourself from the phenomenon like Trump or right wing violence is unreal to me, and cowardly, claiming they are losers and stupid, doesn’t make them go away. The poor and the losers, the narcissistic people in economic and political are part of your world and my world, and as co-humans we are responsible, and walking away from them, rejecting them is distancing yourself from the world you, in the USA, and me, in the Netherlands, live in… and where does that end.

          Make love not war…
          accept and include,
          otherwise you loose
          (think reggae sound and rhythm)

          • “I could go on, and you would deny it…”

            See, this is where I get annoyed with you, @Rob. You assume you’re telling me stuff I don’t know, or can’t handle. I know quite well all the shameful aspects of American culture; nothing you have said in any of your comments comes close to how heartsick I often am over the US — how furious I am at my country for what it has done, and continues to do. But where you and I part ways is this:

            “The poor and the losers, the narcissistic people in economic and political are part of your world and my world, and as co-humans we are responsible, and walking away from them, rejecting them is distancing yourself from the world you, in the USA, and me, in the Netherlands, live in… and where does that end.”

            Being responsible for the welfare of all humans — all beings — this entire Earth — doesn’t somehow make me directly complicit in all their actions. You’re mixing the relative and absolute; we are simultaneously one entity, and individuals acting individually. Yes, I am my brother’s keeper, and in aiding him, I aid myself. But Donald Trump is running for President, I’m not; Donald Trump says we should deport Muslims, I don’t. And to continuously shift the discussion from the individual level — the individuals involved in Donald Trump’s campaign played “Revolution” last night in New Hampshire — to a more universal one of what? collective guilt? participation in the zeitgeist? blanket approval of shitty people doing shitty things because we’re all part of the same species? I don’t get it. Overlaid with a fairly simplistic view of the United States’ history and politics — I don’t mind that you say it, I just don’t think it means anything. Saying I think Allen Klein was a sleazeball, or Trump is a narcissist, this doesn’t isolate me from Humanity. It is using discernment to support wise actions, and discourage unwise ones. This is not only acceptable, it’s necessary to cultivate wisdom.

            “while you’re part of that melting pot, everything that comes out of it, is a representation of every little thing in the melting pot.”

            This is what you’re not getting, @Rob, and I really implore you to read and ponder more deeply before lobbing more of this junk into the comments. Elements in “the melting pot” — a problematic and imprecise metaphor that obfuscates as much as it reveals, but let’s go with it for a second — are not spread evenly throughout the melting pot. Certain aspects of the American experience (certain races, regions, beliefs) have been suppressed, while other elements have been pushed forward. Militarism, for example, was much less prevalent in the US before the 1890s — after which point American corporations and the military worked hand-in-glove to secure markets.

            The American labor movement has been actively suppressed. The rights of African-Americans, of women, of gays — of anyone who is not a white male — have been viciously and systematically suppressed. The electoral college suppresses. The fact that Wyoming has as many Senators as New York or California suppresses. The effect of money on elections — Citizens United — the 2000 Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore — all these suppress certain aspects of “the melting pot” in favor of others.

            There is a vast difference between what America is, what individual Americans are, and the political entity that has been created. In this case, it’s very important NOT to accept someone like Trump as an authentic expression of “the melting pot.” He’s just the opposite: he’s a sociopath with no interest in democracy, who would set fire to the Constitution to make s’mores. There’s nothing inherently American about Donald Trump; he’s part of an international clique of super-rich idiots who wreck the world. Trump isn’t some Huey Long figure who’s been carried to the Presidency on the strength of his ability and message — he’s Mussolini-by-way-of-Atlantic-City, an empty-headed blowhard who tells angry white people (a group vastly overrepresented in the GOP primaries) what they want to hear, precisely as long as it benefits him to do so.

            Your comment also touches on issues of history — process or personality — that I have opinions on, but I gotta go.

  8. Avatar Rose Decatur wrote:

    Why assume that Trump’s use is legal, especially as he got previously dinged for using songs without permission (as other candidates have as well)? I don’t see the footage in question, but if Trump used the Beatles’ recording, I’m certain it was without permission, as achieving Apple’s permission is both a long and costly process (and considering the political bent of Paul and Ringo, plus the widows, unlikely to ever be granted). If it was a cover version, permission from Sony would have to have been given, more likely perhaps, but I’d never assume.

  9. Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

    Since several people were wondering about the legal status of Trump’s use of “Revolution,” I added a link at the end of the original post to an ABC news article about why Trump can use Adele’s music despite her protests. I can’t find anything that specifically addresses his use of the Beatles’ music, but if anyone else turns something up, please pass it on.

    • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

      Thanks @Nancy. Great info.
      .
      I liked this part, according to BMI: ” We built into the license agreement a provision which allows a BMI songwriter or publisher to object to the use of their songs and, if so, we have the ability to exclude it from the license,” said Mike Steinberg, senior vice president for licensing at BMI.”
      .
      The article goes on to say that Steven Tyler exercised that particular provision and sent Trump a cease and desist letter. Good for him.

    • Avatar Rose Decatur wrote:

      That BMI license only applies limitedly to live venues. Once the song is heard on TV (where Nancy stated she heard it), on YouTube, etc. all bets are off. You cannot broadcast a copyrighted song simply because you’re using at a live event for which you paid a BMI license. That’s why events are edited for TV, livestreamed events will go black, become muted, etc. at seemingly random times (it’s because something is playing that they don’t have the broadcast rights for).

      Trump’s spokesperson is a loon (and that quote is hardly the biggest example of obfuscation/lying).

      • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

        “Trump’s spokesperson is a loon (and that quote is hardly the biggest example of obfuscation/lying).”’
        .
        Which quote is that,@Rose? The one from the Senior VP from BMI?

  10. Avatar Rob Geurtsen wrote:

    What song are use inappropriately by mass-meeting organizing folks trying to get to anyone’s power’s heaven…
    .
    TOP 10 right-wing music
    .
    .
    1. “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” by The Who.
    .
    The conservative movement is full of disillusioned revolutionaries; this could be their theme song, an oath that swears off naïve idealism once and for all. “There’s nothing in the streets / Looks any different to me / And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye. . . . Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss.” The instantly recognizable synthesizer intro, Pete Townshend’s ringing guitar, Keith Moon’s pounding drums, and Roger Daltrey’s wailing vocals make this one of the most explosive rock anthems ever recorded — the best number by a big band, and a classic for conservatives.
    .
    .
    2. “Taxman,” by The Beatles.
    .
    A George Harrison masterpiece with a famous guitar riff (which was actually played by Paul McCartney): “If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street / If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat / If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat / If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.” The song closes with a humorous jab at death taxes: “Now my advice for those who die / Declare the pennies on your eyes.”
    .
    .
    3. “Sympathy for the Devil,” by The Rolling Stones.
    .
    Don’t be misled by the title; this song is The Screwtape Letters of rock. The devil is a tempter who leans hard on moral relativism — he will try to make you think that “every cop is a criminal / And all the sinners saints.” What’s more, he is the sinister inspiration for the cruelties of Bolshevism: “I stuck around St. Petersburg / When I saw it was a time for a change / Killed the czar and his ministers / Anastasia screamed in vain.”
    .
    .
    4. “Sweet Home Alabama,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
    .
    A tribute to the region of America that liberals love to loathe, taking a shot at Neil Young’s Canadian arrogance along the way: “A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.”
    .
    .
    5. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” by The Beach Boys.
    .
    Pro-abstinence and pro-marriage: “Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true / Baby then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do / We could be married / And then we’d be happy.”
    .
    .
    6. “Gloria,” by U2.
    .
    Just because a rock song is about faith doesn’t mean that it’s conservative. But what about a rock song that’s about faith and whose chorus is in Latin? That’s beautifully reactionary: “Gloria / In te domine / Gloria / Exultate.”
    .
    .
    7. “Revolution,” by The Beatles.
    .
    “You say you want a revolution / Well you know / We all want to change the world . . . Don’t you know you can count me out?” What’s more, Communism isn’t even cool: “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao / You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow.” (Someone tell the Che Guevara crowd.)
    .
    .
    8. “Bodies,” by The Sex Pistols.
    .
    Violent and vulgar, but also a searing anti-abortion anthem by the quintessential punk band: “It’s not an animal / It’s an abortion.”
    .
    .
    9. “Don’t Tread on Me,” by Metallica.
    .
    A head-banging tribute to the doctrine of peace through strength, written in response to the first Gulf War: “So be it / Threaten no more / To secure peace is to prepare for war.”
    .
    .
    10. “20th Century Man,” by The Kinks.
    .
    “You keep all your smart modern writers / Give me William Shakespeare / You keep all your smart modern painters / I’ll take Rembrandt, Titian, da Vinci, and Gainsborough. . . . I was born in a welfare state / Ruled by bureaucracy / Controlled by civil servants / And people dressed in grey / Got no privacy got no liberty / ’Cause the 20th-century people / Took it all away from me.”
    .
    and there is much more at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/217737/rockin-right-john-j-miller
    .
    i love this list, because it shows that the people walk away with art anyway they want, and that intention of the artist, is utterly irrelevant for the enjoyment of music. What is relevant is the sound, the rhythm, the feelings and associations.

    Oh, and see how the English rule the list and classic-rock? I love it, and it won’t bother me when I listen to a song, because I suggest my own associations and meaning are strong enough to remain connected with the song, and my democratic notions too. Everybody needs somebody, and everybody is entitles to use use music for whatever purposes they want, as long as we remain civil and within the law.

    • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

      Rob, I see this issue of using artworks for political purposes from a different perspective. Like Karen earlier in this thread, I’d feel violated if I produced a work of art and saw it used to promote views or actions antithetical to my intent. And since I don’t believe in treating others as I wouldn’t want to be treated, I think such use is unethical — even when it’s legal. I see such public use of art as different from the question of one’s personal interpretation of a work. A person employing art publicly to make a political point assumes a responsibility that a person privately enjoying a work of art does not.
      .
      I also think that using work with no regard for an artist’s intent is part of a larger issue. Not paying enough attention to history and context in general is a major problem in postmodern society, in my opinion.

      • “I also think that using work with no regard for an artist’s intent is part of a larger issue.”

        At its worst, this is a form of “doublespeak“, and should be disdained accordingly.

        Words and collections of words, sounds and collections of sounds, these things are painstakingly selected and arranged to communicate a meaning. While it is of course every listener’s right to interpret them however he or she chooses — meanings cannot be enforced — the meaning intended by the creator(s) of the work should retain a primacy, a privileged position. Otherwise, these powerful tools of communication are completely subject to what people with the most money and power want them to say. The meaning of a word cannot only be determined by who shouts it the loudest, otherwise language (and art) devolves to only propaganda.

        Trump hijacking a song that Lennon wrote about the May ’68 student rebellions?
        NIKE playing “Instant Karma” to sell shoes made by children in Indonesia?
        Slavery is Freedom.

        And it’s important that we speak up: “A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks … English … becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” — Orwell in Politics and the English Language.

        • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

          @ Michael said: “..the meaning intended by the creator(s) of the work should retain a primacy, a privileged position. Otherwise, these powerful tools of communication are completely subject to what people with the most money and power want them to say. “
          .
          …or for what purposes they choose to use it:

          .

          Associated Press reported that various musicians were coordinating their objections to the use of their music as a technique for softening up captives through an initiative called Zero dB. Zero dB is an initiative against music torture set up by legal charity Reprieve, which represents over thirty prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Zero dB aims to stop torture music by encouraging widespread condemnation of the practice and by calling on governments and the UN to uphold and enforce the Convention Against Torture and other relevant treaties. The initiative is backed by the Musicians Union which is calling on British musicians to voice their outrage against the use of music to torture. Among the musicians united in their objections were Christopher Cerf, a composer for the children’s show Sesame Street, and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave.Others include Massive Attack, R.E.M., The Roots, Rise Against, Rosanne Cash, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt, Trent Reznor, Billy Bragg, Michelle Branch, Jackson Browne, T-Bone Burnett, David Byrne, Marc Cohn, Steve Earle, the Entrance Band, Skinny Puppy and Joe Henry.

  11. Avatar Dan wrote:

    I’m not American, but… it’s pretty obvious to me that Trump is just as much a revolutionary as the Beatles were. His real enemies aren’t the Democrats, but the Republican establishment. He’s giving a voice to the working/middle class conservatives who have been betrayed by the corporate elites. Remember that video that was posted some time ago, Howard Goodall’s analysis of the Beatles’ music? His point was that mid-20th century classical music had boxed itself into an atonal, sterile, ‘avante garde’ corner, and the Beatles were a liberating return to the joys of melody and rhythm. Remember that the Beatles had more contempt for the ‘intellectual’ jazz scene than they had for traditional showbiz. They took the energy and ‘vulgarity’ of black music and shook up white pop, in the same way Trump is taking the ‘vulgarity’ of reality TV and WWF into traditional politics. Sometimes, vulgarity can be a joyous release.

  12. Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

    .
    Below, an apt description of Trump and his campaign by Ezra Klein. Trump could be the poster child for the very type of “revolution” John was warning against:
    .
    .

    “It is undeniably enjoyable to watch Trump. He’s red-faced, discursive, funny, angry, strange, unpredictable, and real. He speaks without filter and tweets with reckless abandon. The Donald Trump phenomenon is a riotous union of candidate ego and voter id. America’s most skilled political entertainer is putting on the greatest show we’ve ever seen.
    .

    It’s so fun to watch that it’s easy to lose sight of how terrifying it really is.
    .

    Trump is the most dangerous major candidate for president in memory. He pairs terrible ideas with an alarming temperament; he’s a racist, a sexist, and a demagogue, but he’s also a narcissist, a bully, and a dilettante. He lies so constantly and so fluently that it’s hard to know if he even realizes he’s lying. He delights in schoolyard taunts and luxuriates in backlash.
    .

    Trump’s path to power has been unnerving. His business is licensing out his own name as a symbol of opulence. He has endured bankruptcies and scandal by bragging his way out of them. He rose to prominence in the Republican Party as a leader of the birther movement. He climbed to the top of the polls in this election by calling Mexicans rapists and killers. He defended a poor debate performance by accusing Megyn Kelly of being on her period. He responded to rival Ted Cruz’s surge by calling for a travel ban on Muslims. When two of his supporters attacked a homeless man and said they did it because “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” he brushed off complaints that he’s inspiring violence by saying his supporters are “very passionate.”
    .
    Behind Trump’s success is an unerring instinct for harnessing anger, resentment, and fear. His view of the economy is entirely zero-sum — for Americans to win, others must lose. “We’re going to make America great again,” he said in his New Hampshire victory speech, “but we’re going to do it the old-fashioned way. We’re going to beat China, Japan, beat Mexico at trade. We’re going to beat all of these countries that are taking so much of our money away from us on a daily basis. It’s not going to happen anymore.”

    .
    Trump doesn’t offer solutions so much as he offers villains. His message isn’t so much that he’ll help you as he’ll hurt them.Trump’s other gift — the one that gets less attention but is perhaps more important — is his complete lack of shame. It’s easy to underestimate how important shame is in American politics. But shame is our most powerful restraint on politicians who would find success through demagoguery.”
    .

    • This is great, @Karen, thank you. As we acknowledge that Trump speaks for a certain type of American, we also have to examine what he’s saying, and whether that would be good for the country and the world. An expression of untrammeled id which is appropriate and even beneficial in a three-minute rock and roll song, is cataclysmic in a President.

      • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

        I suspect that as much as Trump loves being a candidate, he would hate being president, precisely because being a candidate allows him to act the part of untramelled id and “outsider.”
        .
        That he’s succeeding in selling as revolutionary positions that are actually reactionary says a lot about his self~marketing skills.

      • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

        @ Michael said: “An expression of untrammeled id which is appropriate and even beneficial in a three-minute rock and roll song, is cataclysmic in a President.”

        ,
        @ Nancy said: That he’s succeeding in selling as revolutionary positions that are actually reactionary says a lot about his self~marketing skills.
        .
        Precisely, to both, IMO. Trump’s campaign is vacuous and bombastic, a preening display of reactionary posturing designed to appeal to a specific voter base. The stop-and-think-before-you-act message of REVOLUTION is diametrically opposite to every thing Trump has said and done in his professional career and during his presidential campaign.

  13. Avatar Dan wrote:

    “That he’s succeeding in selling as revolutionary positions that are actually reactionary says a lot about his self~marketing skills.”

    As I understand it, Trump favours affirmative action, abortion, medicare, gay marriage and taking down the confederate flag. He also wants to significantly raise taxes on corporations. Apart from the flag issue, he’s pretty much Clinton in 1992. The Republican establishment hates him because he threatens their corporate donors. Don’t believe the media hype.

    • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

      Dan, I believe that the Republican establishment is threatened by Trump, for sure. But I also think he’s reactionary. To take one example, there’s an ugly undercurrent of racism in his statements about Mexicans and his “birther” position on Obama.

  14. Avatar Water Falls wrote:

    I haven’t commented on this subject before, preferring to read what others have to say about it. The civility and intelligence brought to the debate fascinate me. I didn’t think I could add anything to it other than just to say Rob, I get what you’re saying ( devil’s advocate?) but I’m more in agreement with Nancy, Karen, and Michael G, who have said what I think (but I could not have articulated anywhere near as eloquently). I know it is the subject of discussion, but I think phony canidates trying to hijack other people’s “coolness, hipness, artistic messages, relevancy” are the least of our problems in the scheme of things. It matters, don’t get me wrong, but what is more frightening is, if, such people with megalomanic characters were to get elected or manage to steal the presidency…again…like George W!
    I have laughed at the idea of Trump being a serious canidate for the GOP, I thought “Really GOP? The first time someone says anything negative about him, he’ll shoot his mouth off, tweet, engage in playground bullying.” He is so thin skinned that if anyone looks at him crosseyed, he’ll go “there.” Frankly I’m not impressed with anyone on the GOP side to be anything other than,”failed canidate for the presidency.’ But I remember how the activist conservative Supreme Court, selected W in Gore v Bush, and shoved that dangerously inept “man/child of privilege” down our throats while he played president and Darth Vader Cheney was the REAL power behind the throne! And then came the tax cuts for the rich. because they weren’t comfortable enough, while W “joked” that his base was “The Haves and The Have mores”, then the Haliburton enriching ‘wars of choice’, in the name of the American people, the ‘Constitution trashing’, Bill of Rights stripping, common sense flushing, Bogeyman searching of Muslims, olive and brown skinned people, all around fear and paranoia run amuck! And the second time around with vote blocking, thowing out whole rolls of voters with bogus claims and dubious practices to ensure that W got another term to continue with America’s destruction from within, from the top.
    Not to mention the disaster that was the handling of Katrina and the running the economy into the ground! I can’t forget to mention how the establishment and “leaders” of the GOP behaved after the disastrous 8 mindbending years of W, when this country makes history by electing the first president who happens to be black, with the goodwill, hopes and dreams of the country and the world, the leaders of the GOP, announce their “only” agenda was, not to help, not to work with the new president to solve the nation’s problems, no, no, but STOP anything President Obama does! So they offered no ideas except the same failed ones as before, no solutions, just soundbites and slogans, foot dragged, held up nominations of important posts to be filled, voted down bills, bitched and whine at any successes he gained, did everything in their power to try and break his presidency, to help him fail, even if his failing meant that the country also failed.
    So what I’m saying is that in the big picture…in the scheme of things, phony, narscisstic, would be presidential canidates trying convey some artificial relevancy of themselves to would be voters through the use of music is the small compared to actually getting that coveted position of power and laying waste to the country because they have succeeded in getting it. Frankly they should just use Ted Nugent music. He’s kind of one of them.
    I hope I haven’t offended any of you with my rant. I know I went off on a tangent.

    • @Water Falls, it would be a small matter, but for one thing: the Sixties, and specifically Sixties culture, has been ground zero for the GOP’s reactionary behavior from the beginning. The Beatles were, are, and always will be, political.

      Being a Beatles fan is approving of what the Beatles were and are, what they did and said then and what they mean to people now. The Beatles are a peace activist and a vegetarian, a devout Hindu and a guy who punctuates every public utterance with the Sixties slogan “peace and love.” It is impossible to square those four guys, and the music they made, with the ideologies of the right, no matter how much conservatives want to do so.

  15. Avatar Water Falls wrote:

    My daughter just told me that Justice Scalia has died. And as expected the GOP is having coniptions about President Obama getting the chance to name a replacement. Well after my rant above y’all know where I stand.

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