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Freaky Friday: “California Uber Alles”

Posted by purplemary54 on November 22, 2013

Yeah, it’s kind of tacky to post a Dead Kennedys song today.  But I have kind of a demented sense of humor.

Hey.  Don’t pretend you’re shocked.

It’s sort of appropriate, since it’s written about politicians and politics.  The inspiration was Jerry Brown, former and current governor of California, who once had presidential aspirations.  (I registered as a Democrat back in the 90s just so I could vote for Moonbeam in the primaries.)  Of course, the vision of a world controlled by a hippie-fascist with a “suede denim secret police” is just kind of bizarre.  (You should totally read the lyrics.  They’re hysterical.)  Jello Biafra and John Greenway drew a lot of their ugliest imagery from Nazi Germany; the song title harkens back to the old German national anthem.  It’s a freaky juxtaposition to say the least.

Of course, Jello Biafra is a pretty well-known radical, so that makes his weird vision of California politics kind of reasonable.  It’s hard for people who aren’t that liberal to understand why he’d attack an icon of Blue state politics, but I suppose Brown represents everything that’s wrong with more mainstream liberalism.  His last foray into electoral politics was an unsuccessful run to be the Green Party’s presidential nominee in 2000.  What makes Biafra interesting as both an artist and a person is that he seems to be taking the process seriously by participating in it, while simultaneously subverting it by being as outrageous as possible.  He tries to shock people into awareness, to get them to think about the stuff they believe in.  His point seems to be that if you don’t question why you follow a certain path, then you’re not paying attention.

I think that’s a reasonable attitude.  So maybe this is a good song for today.  Question your leaders, question your faith.  Question yourself.  If you don’t like the answers, maybe it’s time for a change.

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