Sing a song for the irony-challenged.

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

As part of this week’s Countering the Right assignment, I had to sit through this “trailer” for the Family Research Council’s 2008 Values Voter Summit. Before I embedden the vid, let me just note that the featured speakers include Stephen Baldwin, Michele Bachmann, “independent” Lou Dobbs, Gary Bauer, Phyllis Schlafly, Sean Hannity, and – well, you get the idea. They bring the loony, is what I’m sayin’:

First of all: Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!? What are they doing, advertising a monster truck show? Ahem. Anywho.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but – isn’t that Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” playing in the background?

(Word to the wise: listen to this video, don’t watch it. It’s absolute dreck.)

Like, WTF FRC / VV08?

I’m not a big Colplay fan, but I do lurve this particular song. (Maybe because it reminds me of Lost, what with the British accents, fallen Catholics and wanna-be island kings. But that’s neither here nor there.)

And it doesn’t take a music critic to detect its anti-establishment undertones. Just check the lyrics:

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
“Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!”

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can’t explain
Once you go there was never
Never an honest word
And that was when I ruled the world

It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn’t believe what I’d become

Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?

I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can’t explain
I know Saint Peter won’t call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can’t explain
I know Saint Peter won’t call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

Ostensibly, it’s about a corrupt, fallen king whose reign on earth has been so tainted by sin that, upon death, he’s not fit to cross the gates of Heaven. No?

Yes, explains bassist Guy Berryman:

It’s a story about a king who’s lost his kingdom, and all the album’s artwork is based on the idea of revolutionaries and guerrillas. There’s this slightly anti-authoritarian viewpoint that’s crept into some of the lyrics and it’s some of the pay-off between being surrounded by governments on one side, but also we’re human beings with emotions and we’re all going to die and the stupidity of what we have to put up with every day. Hence the album title.

And, while I don’t claim or even care to know much about Coldplay’s politics, singer Chris Martin is married to Gwyneth Paltrow – who, along with her mother Blythe Danner, has campaigned on behalf of Planned Parenthood (in a Mother’s Day fundraising push that threw the anti-choicers into quite the tizzy). So I very much doubt that the guys in Coldplay consider themselves “Values Voters” – or rather, they don’t share the “values” of the evangelical crowd. (Hey, just because I don’t swing right, doesn’t mean I don’t have “values.”)

And yet the Family Research Council, with all their woman-hating, gay-bashing, war-mongering, nation-building, stone-throwing authoritarian spitefulness, chose this song to promote their “Values Votes” Summit. Oh, sweet irony!

I wonder if Coldplay will have the dubious honor of inclusion on the Reich Wing’s next conservative song roundup? (Fortified with unintentional irony, natch!)