Episode 191: Election Night Special!
(Featuring Music, Comedy bits, and my own special brand of “rant” regarding the importance of voting, and Presidents in general.)
It’s Election Day, the stage is set, and the population is geared for an incredible victory, a massive disappointment, or in the case of the majority of Americans, complete and totally obliviousness with regards to what day it is. With that in mind, we decided to offer a selection of songs about the process of picking a government official. There are songs about presidents – specific and generic – comedians weighing in on the subject, critical analysis in the form of a song, and a handful of rants from yours truly as I rail on and on about the importance of voting, regardless of your political preference. (Spoiler Alert: I’m voiting for Obama, and you should to. But more than anything, you should make your voice heard.)
I am not usually the kind of person that gets too political, but I have done it a few times on this program. My politics run the “Let’s Dismantle Everything! / Fuck This Shit! / If I Have To Listen To One More Misguided Statement From A Lying & Manipulative Moron I Will Destroy Your Precious Capital And Myself If I Have To In Order To Send A Message About The Rampant Corruption And Nonsense You Guys Are Constantly Spewing!” spectrum of political ideology. I have always believed in the value of tearing things down, questioning everything, and explaining to people that the shared reality most people have agreed upon is merely a construction, and carries no more validity than we arbitrarily assign to it. But this is a difficult position to take, politically, because most people don’t want to have their reality undermined, and more to the point, feel better when they have an ideological coin to flip every four years to set their mind at ease.
However, I do think elections are important, because if you want to hack into the shared reality around us, a very direct way to do so is to make your voice heard. There are a number of elements in this world conspiring against us to minimize the way we can interact with the world, and as things become more compartmentalized and digitized, this problem seems to become amplified. It is quite easy to feel powerless, and as we are constantly searching for quick-fix solutions to this powerlessness (drugs, money, sex, cars, shopping, rock ‘n’ roll etc.) we ignore the things that offer us the most direct connection to affecting change. So please, if you are feeling marginalized, fill your ballot! It’s like working bureaucratic magic in its own weird, round-about way.
I talk and rant in this episode more than I have ever before, and for that I do apologize. But this cause is pretty important, and so I feel it is worth it to have made the effort. The show is only an hour and 30 minutes, and there’s lots of music to help balance it out. I think ranting about the need to vote is probably one of the least harmful things I could do, and if you’ll just ignore my occasional comments on why Obama is the better choice (because he is), then these segments are completely harmless.
(Full disclosure: while there are issues with Obama as president, I haven’t really been too keen on any of our candidates since I was of voting age and helped put Clinton in office for a second term. Politicians in America, by default, have no business running things. However, politics is a lot like a shitty car: the one we have blows, but until we can culturally have the wherewithal to afford one with multiple gears, better steering, and much better features, we’re stuck driving the beater. Obama is not a perfect president, and there is much to be upset about. But compared to the competition, he does not support the war of women, he is not a power-hungry businessman with a short-sighted view on the economy, and he is pro-Health Care, something that everyone in this country needs desperately, no matter what your income might be. That alone makes Obama a much better choice than Mittens. Also: I just can’t see myself voting for Roseanne.)
Many of the selections in this episode are satirical, and humor is indeed something I value more than politics. But I also think humor manages to uncover something about us that sincerity doesn’t manage to get at, and songs like “Homosexual President” and “The President” by King Missile drive at a kind of honesty that you can’t convey without tongue planted firmly (and intentionally) in cheek. With that in mind, I wanted to include some comedy bits here and there, too. There was a period in time where I had mostly memorized the entire “Election Special” routine by Monty Python, and have always wanted to include it in a program, and now I’ve finally gotten my chance. Honestly: if you don’t look at any candidate and think to yourself “slightly-silly,” then I’m not sure you’re paying enough attention. (If you really want some insight into my psyche, as a developing teen I listened to The Final Rip-Off as much as – possibly more, actually – Nirvana’s Nevermind, and I contend both had equal effect on me.) Bill Hicks & George Carlin seemed like an obvious inclusions, but strangely enough I managed to also find a Bob & Ray routine that captured the ludicrousness of most Presidential candidates.
The song I most desperately wanted to include in this show is “The New World” by X. This song, more than anything in this show, seems to embody an aspect to politics that I think is most often overlooked. There are huge swaths of our population who are not only aware of the political process, but are not able to participate for one reason or another. Looking at the long lines in Florida and the entire debacle surrounding that has put this aspect of things into sharp relief. We still live in a democracy in the Greek sense: the privileged have access to rights that others do not. Consider that yesterday was only the 100th Anniversary of female suffrage in Oregon. Our country seems inordinately interested in the idea that only certain classes have the right to make big decisions in this country, and if you think democracy is the backbone of this country, look at the homeless population and ask them about the last time they were able to vote. We may be forward thinking, and we may believe that we are a country founded on idealism and principles, but we have a long way to go.
Maybe in my lifetime? Or maybe when we finally elect Zacherle.
Anyway: hopefully you find a good place, and with good company, to spend the evening, and I hope I haven’t just bummed you out completely. Chin up. We’ll know how things pan out tomorrow night. And in the meantime let’s dream of a time when Friend The Robot Vice President can walk hand-in-hand with a Homosexual President, and lead this country into the 21st Century.
See ya in seven.
Part I: Get Out And Vote!
01.) I Could Never Be President * Johnnie Taylor *The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1968-1971
02.) Aquaduct * The Presidents * Why We Were Right
03.) Open Letter To The President * Billy Jack * Wrestling The Bald-Headed Champ
04.) Homosexual President * Wrangler Brutes * Zulu
05.) The Elite * Bill Hicks * Philosophy
06.) If Reagan Played Disco * Minutemen * Bean-Spill EP
07.) Vice Presidente * Eighth Route Army * Killed By Death Vol. 100
08.) American Dream * The Redundants * I Hate The Redundants
09.) Views Behind The News: Presidential Candidate G.L. Hummerbeck * Bob & Ray * The Lost Episodes, Vol. 3
10.) Take Us To Your President * Hans Conreid & Alice Pearce * Monster Rally
Part II: They Must’ve Been Voting For President, Or Something
11.) The New World * X * More Fun In The Big World
12.) Flawless Victory [Excerpt] * The Fucking Champs * III
13.) Zacherle For President * John Zacherley
14.) The President * King Missile III * The Psychopathology Of Everyday Life
15.) Election Special (Live) * Monty Python * The Final Rip Off
16.) Presidents Song * Zip Code Rapists * Zip Code Rapists
Part III: It Isn’t Hard, If You Try
17.) Good Friday, 2033 * Men’s Recovery Project * The Golden Triumph Of Naked Hostility
18.) Post Election News * WATIV * Baghdad Music Journal
19.) International War Criminal * The Slackers
20.) Let’s Impeach The President * Neil Young
21.) Fuck The Motherfuckin’ President * Witchy Poo * A Slice Of Lemon
22.) Imagine This * Tom Compagnoni
23.) “One Thing I Don’t Complain About” * George Carlin