todd snider

Todd, Rahm and hydrogen bombs made out of dumb

A new record from Todd Snider is always a cause for celebration, and Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables is currently streaming here. (Or was.) [Update 3/19–now on Spotify!]

But. BUT. Todd is friends with Rahm Emanuel? WTF?!! This little snippet pretty much blew my mind:

Yeah. He’s my friend. I love that guy. He first came to see me in Washington, D.C., and he was about to go to some big meeting. The next time I met him was in Chicago. I was telling him about this song I was making up about the military-industrial complex. I was telling him it’s a stoner fable. All the stoners in the world are convinced that the world is run by these people that Eisenhower warned us about. He said, “You’d be surprised how much power the banks have now by comparison.” He pointed out that there’s a song about “the military and the monetary” by Gil Scott Heron called “Work for Peace.” So it’s been tackled. He said, “What would Woody Guthrie do? He’d figure out a way to point out what the bankers are doing right now.”

Now if I were a marginally famous folksinger and the White House Chief of Staff came up to me after a show to tell me how awesome I was, I’d probably have a hard time bad-mouthing the dude, but … Rahm Emanuel. You know, the guy who made 18 million dollars in two and a half years as an “investment banker.” As per the Times, his rainmaking for Wasserstein Perella & Company involved “turning many of his contacts in his substantial political Rolodex into paying clients and directing his negotiating prowess and trademark intensity to mergers and acquisitions.”

For this guy to talk about exposing “what the bankers are doing right now” and to imply he’s down with Woody Guthrie and Gil Scott Heron–that takes some pretty spectacular compartmentalization. Or balls. Or both. I want to say it started with Clinton and his sax, the first hipster president, but I think the real precursor is this guy.

It continues to this day of course….. Yeah, Obama’s day job involves making up lists of people to assassinate without charge or warning … but did you hear that Al Green thing he did????


And slightly off the topic, here is a quotable quote from the Salon piece. Here’s hoping “Hydrogen bomb made out of dumb” becomes part of everyone’s vocabulary:

I grew up conservative Christian and all that, and now when someone tells me they’re conservative politically and also a Christian, I think, Why didn’t you just tell me that you’re a hydrogen bomb made out of dumb. Because those two ideas don’t gel. There’s one group that’s saying, Take everything you have and give it to the poor. And there’s another group that’s saying, Don’t tell me what to give to the poor. How can you join both groups? That’s like you’re joining Puppy Kickers Animal Rights of America. It just doesn’t gel, and that’s what I ran away from.

Phil Ochs’ birthday: You know what they say, or you don’t

I’m strongly of the opinion that Phil Ochs’ “Love Me I’m a Liberal,” as timeless as it is, could use an update.

There is this one, from Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon, good as far as it goes, but a lot has happened since 2007. There’s Schumer, there’s Clooney, there’s Kerry on a surfboard, there’s Bill,there’s Hillary (lots of Hillary!), but it would be nice to have a verse or two about the current occupant of the White House, who probably wasn’t even on Jello Biafra’s radar in 2007.

Here also, for comparison, Phil’s version:

AND, Todd Snider doing a beautiful version of his great song “Thin Wild Mercury,” about the time Dylan kicked Phil out of his limo for “speakin’ his mind.” (It’s pretty stripped down: the studio take is much more uptempo.)

Happy Birthday, Phil.  We could have used you the past few years…..

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