Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Flip-side of Propaganda

“Well maybe I'm the faggot America.
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along to the age of paranoia.” –Green Day

“F--- you, f--- you
Very, very much.
Cause we hate
What you do
And we hate
Your whole crew
So please
Don't stay in touch,” –Lilly Allen

Propaganda is one extreme of the artistic spectrum that, especially after the past century, is seen as of lower merit and really pretty clunky. “Real” art tends to be more subtle and get its truth across in an extraordinary way. Propaganda just tells you what to believe and doesn’t encourage independent thought. The message could be a good one, but the means used to communicate are manipulative.

If propaganda tends to be the voice of the system, there is also the voice of the opposition in art. Historically, these voices tended to be creative, subtle and subversive. They had to be most of the time, or their message would never be heard. For some reason, this is less and less the case. Artists who are praised for their creative dissent these days are anything but creative. Turn the radio on in this past decade and you hear stuff like Green Day’s “American Idiot” and Lilly Allen’s “F--- You.”

When did the art world get taken over by middle school mentality? Sure, both Green Day and Allen are very talented musicians. They write catchy music. It would just be nice if intelligent writing could go along with the tunes every once in a while.

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