March 20, 2009

Record Review (Sort of)

For the last few days I've been listening to the new MC Lars record, This Gigantic Robot Kills. It's fun, and you can't go wrong with something that takes it's title from a random quote from the great Wesley Willis.

At first I was intensely amused by 35 Laurel Drive, about a drummer with the "messiest house in New Jersey."

I was next impressed by Hey There Ophelia, which makes a mash-up of the story of Hamlet over an interpolation of Screamager by Therapy?, bringing me back to fun and fresh days of alternative rock in the early nineties. How can you resist a description of an Ophelia who "rocks out to Soft Cell?" One of my brother postulants used the lyrics of a famous cover by Soft Cell to describe how he lost his vocation, but that's another story.

In the end I decided that my favorite track is No Logo, which makes a mockery of "bumper sticker activism" over an interpolation of Fugazi's Waiting Room. To hear that particular song took me right back to high school and reminded me of some intense and salutary graces.

The message of No Logo is the same angle I sometimes take when preaching to our own high school students. I tell them that their innate rebelliousness is not a defect, but a gift. They just have to be careful not to sell it out to any of the pre-packaged revolutions and rebellions that have been carefully engineered for their consumption. Instead of selling out to the fashions of revolutionary stickers and t-shirts, they must harness their rebelliousness to militate against the world's culture of death and disregard for human dignity.

A revolution is supposed to be a change that turns everything completely around. But the ideology of political revolution will never change anything except appearances. There will be violence, and power will pass from one party to another, but when the smoke clears and the bodies of all the dead men are underground, the situation will be essentially as it was before: there will be a minority of strong men in power exploiting all the others for their own ends. There will be ther same greed and cruelty and lust and ambition and avarice and hypocrisy as before.

For the revolutions of men change nothing. The only influence that can really upset the injustice and iniquity of men is the power that breathes in the Christian tradition, renewing our participation in the Life that is the Light of men. (Thomas Merton, "Tradition and Revolution" in New Seeds of Contemplation)

Thanks, Lars, for the record. Congratulations on the release.


ben in denver said...

I guess the true revolution is foud not in a logo, but the the Logos.

4narnia said...

hi Fr. C! i've never heard music by Lars, but what you describe sounds fun and interesting. thanks for sharing. happy first day of spring! PEACE! ~tara t~

Brother Charles said...

Tara: Happy spring to you too! (even though it was snowing this morning!)

Ben: Brilliant!

4narnia said...

thanks, Fr. C! yes, i saw the snow this morning. glad it didn't last, though! my socks and shoes are officially away(hopefully)till november! :) PEACE! ~tara t~

J.A. Seeker said...

Nice post. Can't help but comment on something unrelated to your post on this one too. I hope you don't mind. Having spent some time in DC mid 80's to early 90's (while studying philosophy at Catholic U. no less)and seeing Fugazi emerge out of the harDCore/Straight Edge scene I always thought Ian and company were either Buddhists or Quakers! I can't help but wonder how many folks that were in that scene or affected by music from that time have turned to some form of contemplative spirituality in their later years.


Brother Charles said...

My experience agrees. The witness that Fugazi has continued to insist upon inspires me very much.