January 3rd, 2012
I hit a couple of parties New Year’s Eve, and they had on the TV with the ball dropping. Tens of millions watched…as Cee Lo Green did something as offensive as one artist can do to another:
Personally I’m offended whenever someone’s art is changed without their permission. It’s bad enough when lyrics are cleaned up for curse words like shit, fuck, or merely suggestive phrases. No one is fooled, and no one is really offended that these words and phrases exist. It’s a game to be mock offended, usually in the name of protecting the children who already know the words and don’t care — or wouldn’t if we didn’t demonize them. But it’s one thing when a living artist dubs in something less offensive to get airplay and perhaps more exposure and sales, and it’s another thing when someone appropriates work to mean the opposite of its originally intended meaning.
John Lennon was a peacenik and he wrote a legendary song suggesting that we imagine that the most historically divisive forces behind war and strife didn’t have to exist. Nationalism, materialism, and religion, to name a few. People believing their religion is true has caused a lot of war — and everyone believing all religion is true is illogical to say the least. It’s especially offensive in New York City after 9/11, because respecting everyone’s beliefs means respecting some pretty sick shit.
And why change the religion line only? Cee Lo is a fur-wearing, bling-bearing rich dude, so hypocritical to touch the line about possessions. Also the USA is pretty damn nationalistic, so that would offend folks. But hey, the USA is also ridiculously religious for a supposedly secular state, so screw with that line! So what if a few atheists are offended? Wasn’t Lennon that blasphemous guy who said the Beatles were more popular than God?
Yeah, he did, and it’s still true for a lot of fans. Shame on you Cee Lo Green!
We live in a world where intellectual property is pirated, illegally shared, sampled and resampled. Students don’t know that cutting and pasting from Wiki into a paper is wrong.
Don’t like Lennon’s lyrics? Don’t sing that song! Pick some jingoistic faux patriotic crap full of God and apple pie and materialism. Get a material girl to hold up a cross and sing, “America fuck yeah!”
I root for Team USA and like my possessions as much as the next guy, even if I’m not religious, but if Cee Lo’s new and improved lyrics were what Lennon had originally written, I wouldn’t fuck with them, or any of the others. That’s just offensive.
At least Lennon’s dead and didn’t have to see this shit.
And let me offer something more interesting on a related theme: Above us only sky, an essay regarding the early theological question of where the sun goes at night. Imagine all science is true…
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