Get Over It: A Column, Issue 6

Cassandra Bristol, Opinions Editor

   A common complaint amongst boomers and conservatives alike is that music has gotten “too political.” They’ll point to songs like This is America by Childish Gambino and say that music is not a place for politics – that they miss the good ol’ days when celebrities didn’t voice their opinions about things. As most of you were probably thinking, this is (obviously) a load of garbage.

   Music has always been political. The 1960s, when most of these boomers grew up, were practically a breeding ground for political statements in music. One of the most obvious examples is Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song’s lyrics blatantly state a defiance against patriotism, the rich, and militarism. Yet (somehow) all of our conservative relatives adore that song.

   There’s also an odd group of old punk rockers who complain about the “cancellation” of punk legends like Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols for having outwardly conservative views, stating that the genre is inherently apolitical. This specific type of old punk is also (consequently) ill-informed politically, with their only stances being “I don’t like Ronald Reagan,” and “I don’t like taxes,” which is hilariously contradictory if you think about it for more than two seconds. The anarchist aesthetics of punk rock have a weird way of leading some people into leftism and others into right-wing libertarianism, but it is undeniable that the rebellious nature of punk rock is best encompassed by the leftist politics of bands like Crass, and not by the flashy corporatism of bands like the Sex Pistols. It’s also quite curious that the only time anybody complains about political messaging in music is when those politics happen to be left-leaning, but I digress.

   Even with all of my arrogant opinions about music set aside, my main point is that the act of trying to push apart politics and art is an impossible task. Art and music are ways of expressing the current state of society, of the world, or of the individual. And these can all be interpreted in a political way, whether it is the artist’s intention or not.

   Not only is art political, but so is quite literally every aspect of the world. The right for any of us to speak our minds is political. The right for this article to be published could be the subject of political debate. Any opinion you may have about how the world should work is political by definition. So, instead of saying that art “shouldn’t be political” when you disagree with it, you should actually be starting a discussion about why you disagree with it.