Cultural Revolutions

Newt Rocks!

I read in a recent New York Times article of a new conundrum for Republican presidential candidates; to wit, what music they can play, and what music they can’t, at rallies whose purpose is the extrusion of Barack Obama from national political life.

Songwriters and performers, it appears, are waving off the GOP candidates out of—what else?—ideological pique and outrage.  In February, reports the Times, hip-hop musician K’naan threatened Mitt Romney with a lawsuit if his campaign continued to play the “Somali-born musician’s” song “Wavin’ Flag,” supposedly “an international hit in 2009,” at campaign events.

Once K’naan learned (from Twitter) that his music was being used to rally Romney supporters, he had to put his foot down.  “I’m for immigrants,” he told the Times.  “I’m for poor people, and they don’t seem to be what he’s endorsing.  My song being his victory song didn’t seem quite right.”

It’s been going on a while, it seems, this problem with conservatives (loosely defined, of course) latching onto rock songs, then being forced to let go.  Tom Petty got on Michele Bachmann’s case for unauthorized use of “American Girl.”  Ditto Sarah Palin, who offended Nancy Wilson’s...

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