As Newsweek and Matt Drudge have reported, the Rolling Stones will release a new album next month called “A Bigger Bang,” which features a song titled “Sweet Neo Con.” Here’s a taste of the lyrics: “You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite. You call yourself a patriot, well I think you’re full of @##$. How come you’re so wrong, my sweet neo-con?”
National Journal’s Hotline–which is sort of a daily Bible for “inside the Beltway-types”–recently wondered why there hasn’t been more of an outrage from conservatives about this story, the way many conservatives have recently been outraged, for example, at Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s changing stance on embroynic stem cell research
The answer is simple. We expect rock bands like the Rolling Stones to behave (as Bob Dylan once sung), “Like a Rolling Stone.
We live in a world where many Generation X conservative Americans get up on Sunday morning and go to church. Later, that night, they watch The Simpsons (I prefer “Simpsons’ conservatives” to “South Park conservatives”) and Family Guy before going to bed. On their way to work the next day, they flip back and forth between James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, Toby Keith and Bruce Springsteen.
I have two very good friends who are both active conservatives who work in politics. Recently, they bumped into each other at the bathroom during a John Mellencamp and John Fogerty concert in Washington, D.C., which is kind of like bumping into your boss at a movie … during the work day. I won’t give out there names (I want to protect the innocent), but the fact is the next morning, they were both back at work, fighting for lower taxes, the right to life and a strong national defense
They are not the exception–they are the norm.
We have reached a point where we tune out the political message of these “Dinosaur” rockers the way we used to turn out our teachers or parents when they told us, “Don’t drive too fast.”
Now, you could make a good argument that we shouldn’t be giving our money to these causes and I agree. (Heck, I haven’t been to a concert since Tom Petty’s “Into the Great Wide Open Tour” in 1992.) But you can’t argue that we are being indoctrinated, because the facts prove otherwise. Not only do conservatives “ignore” the cultural pressures–it doesn’t seem like anybody has been indoctrinated by obviously liberal cultural forces (though it’s not for a lack of trying on the liberal’s part).
So, to answer National Journal’s question: We aren’t outraged? It’s because we’ve spent the last decade becoming desensitized by Bruce Springsteen, P-Diddy and George Clooney. After all, in order for something to be newsworthy, it has to be, “man bites dog,” not “dog bites man.” We expect our rock singers to behave like … well, rock singers.
Now, if Toby Keith or Brad Paisley start mouthing off about the war, they will in fact be, “walking on the fighting side of me.” For now, country music may be the last bastion of secular entertainment. Maybe we can do something about that? In the meantime, let’s do something productive. Every time you hear “Satisfaction,” I urge you to make a donation to the Leadership Institute.