The Beatles’ “Revolution”: Republican Anthem?

My wife Barbara knows the lyrics to just about every song in the world. Even songs I’ve liked for years but can’t remember all the lyrics for (and some that I never figured out) that she’s overheard maybe half a dozen times, she knows the lyrics for. It drives her crazy when commercials come on and use a snippet of something that’s more or less antithetical to the intent of the ad, something that’s happened with greater frequency as people our age and younger have become advertising execs with power over national accounts and mined the punk/New Wave era and its descendents in recent years.

It leads to head-scratching moments like Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” — a song about drug addiction — being used to pitch family vacation cruises, or selling trucks with the Von Bondies’ “C’mon C’mon” with its plaintive refrain of “Things were good when we were young.” It’s hard to tell whether the people at the agencies who pick these songs are putting something over on their clients, if they’ve never listened to or thought about the lyrics beyond the chorus, or if they thing the general public isn’t going to make the association since they’ll never hear more than a few words of the song.

One of those surface-skimmers is Mark Noonan at Blogs for Bush, whose brilliant marketing plan is:

I’ve long thought that, just for fun, the GOP should use the Beatles tune Revolution as a campaign song – mostly to annoy ageing hippies who would be outraged by such use, but also because in a very real sense, we are a revolutionary Party in American politics.

As Sven, one of the early commenters on the post notes, Noonan’s managed to completely misunderstand what the Fab Four were saying in the song:

The Beatles’ song is referring to the same nihilist fringe [referring to a portion of his post where he discusses violent revolutionaries -dp], who hope to spark the revolution through violence and destruction. That’s why the song resonated with the pacifist hippies.

Hmmm. Let’s take a look at portions of “Revolution”.

We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know you can count me out

Anyone know who wants to “change the world” through “destruction”?

You say you got a real solution
Well you know
We’d all love to see the plan

Two guesses at who I’m thinking of when I’m thinking of someone who claims to have a “solution” but hasn’t shown their “plan”.

But when you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait

Can anyone say “government funding for faith-based initiatives?”

You say you’ll change the Constitution
Well you know
We all want to change your head

“Change the Constitution”? Defense of Marriage? Ah-nold for President? Democratic or Republican initiatives? Discuss.

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

Pictures of Chairman Mao, pictures of Bush with a halo, every totalitarian regime has its iconography.

It’s gonna be alright.