(x-posted from adswithoutproducts)
Just came across another candidate for my collection of incredibly strange American politico-cultural amalgamations, hybrids, and halfrights: Green Day's recent cover of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero."
Did they actually listen to the song before they decided on this Darfur x-over thing? High-Period Lennon Political Ambivalence (see also: "When you talk about destruction, doncha know that you can count me out... in...) meets Teary Liberal Piety about those Poor, Poor People Elsewhere at the crossroads of unmetabolized reflexivity.
How about this part, as the noble faces of the Darfurians bubble across the screen, and Billie Joe Armstrong sings:
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV,
And you think you're so clever and classless and free,
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
Yeouch. Just to make it worse, here's a bit from wikipedia that quotes the band's press release about the song:
When asked why they chose the song, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said, "We wanted to do 'Working Class Hero' because its themes of alienation, class, and social status really resonated with us. It's such a raw, aggressive song -- just that line: 'you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see' -- we felt we could really sink our teeth into it. I hope we've done him justice."
You could write a dissertation, not an acceptable one, but whatever, on the topic: "Who does Billie Joe think the 'you' of that toothsome line refers to?"
Secondary mystification, or simply vapid distraction, "what the fuck, yeah, the Africans, cool..."? Benettonism gone libidinal? Inadvertent self-disclosure, a profoundly unconscious honesty that leaves Lennon's navel-gazing in the dust?