Sunday, October 03, 2010

They Started This First

To the tune of "The Star-Spangled Banner":

They started this first
We are not to blame
It was all their fault
Why aren't they ashamed?

Yes they started this first
We must do as we must
Who do they think they are?
We shall blast them to dust

And the rocket's red glare
The bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night
That the fault was all theirs

O remember Hiroshima and get out of the waa-aaay
For they started this fiiiiiiiiiiirst!
We are noooo-ooooot to blaaaaaaaaame!

Was taking a walk in Oakland one day, came into the apartment, sat down and wrote this (plus some other verses) for no particular reason, except that I'd had a sniff of George H.W. Bush at the time. He had that kind of infantile personality. When he finally wound up in the White House, my re-write of "The Star Spangled Banner" turned prophetic. The sick man had a publicity company invent a tale that Iraqi soldiers invaded a premature baby ward in neighboring Kuwait, threw babies all over the floor and stole the baby-saving equipment.

The whole story was a total phony, spieled before Congress and the media by the daughter of some ambassador in with Bush. But so what? The media lies now as much as it ever has, and people without worthwhile lives of their own love fantasies of good versus evil. So Dubya Senior raped Iraq -- probably because his old business partner Hussein started buying weaponry from the Chinese instead of Bush's own weapons concerns, and a few other items. Flags waved everywhere, although the protests of millions of people in the major cities across America never got televised (I checked). Still, "They Started This First" never really caught on. It got on local radio in the San Francisco Bay Area for a little while.

Years before any of that happened, I had an inkling I might do something with this song, so I answered an ad for comedy troupe member wanted and sang it a cappella for my audition. I passed. Their show, which ran successfully for months, opened with it. I wound up in all but one of the skits to packed houses before I quit with something better to do. (The show closed with one of my satires too, which also turned out "prophetic" -- a satire on the "fundamentalist Christian" hysteria which was just getting started at the time.)

Bernie Weiner, who was theater critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, panned the show and singled out "They Started This First" as "appallingly simple-minded."

I thought Bernie was appallingly simple-minded not to notice that the song is supposed to be "appallingly simple-minded." How did Bernie think wars ever started? Complicated people doing complicated things too complicated for simple patriotic cannon fodder to understand?

By the way, how is it these complicated people who understand all the complications never get their butts shot off in the complexities of a war they've started?

Bernie eventually became a fairly noted left-leaning political analyst. He was that when I ran across him while perusing the internet after "9/11," looking for information that might seem a lot more probable than the simple-minded nonsense the newsmedia was feeding the simple-minded about how that particular "attack by freedom-haters" had happened. Two-and-some wars later now, Bernie admitted my simple-minded satire was spot-on after all. He apologized for the bad review. He also edited an independent piece on the child-sex-slavery trade I'd written, now stored on this blog. I think he printed it on his own blog, too.

All this was 18 years after I'd left the comedy troupe. (It was called The Plutonium Players. Don't know whether they're still around. Could be.)

You'd be surprised who is simple-minded, despite displays of intelligence and high articulation. But let me give you a clue. If you're vehemently taking sides in this country and creating imaginary enemies out of people who are pissed off about things that don't affect you personally (and never mind how "compassionate" you think you are), you're really fucking simple-minded. Cut it out, before this becomes your own adipose anthem in the middle of a civil rebellion.