Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If You Close The Door...

Moe Tucker, drummer for the Velvet Underground and solo musician, was recently interviewed at a Tea Party rally (2:40). Following its worldwide delivery, there was a backlash against Tucker from some of her fans. Based off of a ten second clip, people were saying inane shit like "the dream is dead" and acting as though this indicated some kind of mental lapse on her part. (I mean, what was the dream you people think she embodied? She didn't embody the lyrical content of the VU nor did she want to really take part in their scene.)

I try to reserve any criticism on members of the Tea Party until I know a bit more about their reasoning.* After seeing the original interview, I figured I would wait to hear more from Tucker. Well, The Riverfront Times just published an interview with her following the video release. In it, she discusses her viewpoints and talks about how she came to embrace the Tea Party. She makes some pretty wonderful points, but seems to - sadly - miss the mark on a lot of fundamental issues. Here are a few thoughts I had as I went through it:

"My philosophy was and is all politicians are liars, bums and cheats."

"I'm against a government that will not defend our borders; and on and on and on." If it isn't clear why I disagree, understand that I am not in favor of nations as they often reek havoc on this world and stand in the way of life.

Agree, but with some reservations which I go into after:
"I'm stunned that so many people who call themselves liberal yet are completely intolerant. I thought liberals loved everyone: the poor, the immigrant, the gays, the handicapped, the minorities, dogs, cats, all eye colors, all hair colors! Peace, love, bull! Curious they have no tolerance whatsoever for anyone who doesn't think exactly as they do. You disagree and you're immediately called a fool, a Nazi, a racist. That's pretty f'd up!!I would never judge someone based on their political views. Their honesty, integrity, kindness to others, generosity? Yes. Politics? No!"

The fact that kindness and generosity are in no way present in the defense of national borders. While I agree that the direct actions people take in life are very important, established support of a system which produces an unparalleled deal of harm is a huge issue. Can a person be judged for not stopping that system? No, because, really, how is that to be achieved by a single person? Can a person be judged for endorsing something that renders their values meaningless? Maybe not judged, but they at least shouldn't be delusional about it in thinking that the such contradictory principles can exist in harmony.

And the misguided:
"I started listening to what Obama was promising and started wondering how the hell will this utopian dream land be paid for? For those who actually believe that their taxes won't go up in order to pay for all this insanity: good luck!"

Why it's misguided:
Pretty obvious that Obama isn't gonna make a utopian dream land and she knows that. So why more extensively concerned with the ends being achieved with that money? Instead of being angry at pork-barrel spending, be outraged that your money is going to the devastation of life. Think of it this way: would you rather have your money go towards death or a "donkey museum"? I know what I'd pick!

But really there's no need for people to get so upset about this. To feel as though the image of someone they knew, which has been acquired through a body of work, has been defaced by some horrific impostor. Mo Tucker is who she is whether or not you agree with her.

So, Mo, the answer is still yes.

* My sense of the Tea Party is that they have a healthy distrust of power, but can be fairly misguided. Many seem to limit the definition of power to government figures in favor of spending. Not to mention that their often self-centered concern can easily be seen as the privileged fearing that they might experience disadvantage. (Tucker does point out that she grew up very poor, as I am sure many of Tea Party supporters did. So I am not suggesting that all members of the Tea Party share this trait. It does, however, manifest among many of its figures either overtly or as an undercurrent.)


Ethan said...

The "dream" of The Velvet Underground, for chrissakes, was that there was no dream.

And yeah, I'll still love Moe Tucker tomorrow. I think this recent post by JR is relevant, and not just because of the use of the word "love."

JM said...

There are corporate backers though:

Peter Ward said...

At first I had a certain amount of respect for the Tea Party--that it was a bona fide lesser evil.

At this point--in terms of its public promoters--its become merely and auxiliary to the GOP. Dana Loesch for example merely parrots the well-worn neoliberal cliches about the market bringing the millennium. But of course all of this was predictable.

Anonymous said...

Interesting entry. I agree on points, and pick nits with others.

Given that the "Tea Party" is made up of lots of different people, it's pretty inaccurate to say anything about the "Tea Party" as a conglomerate. FSM knows, though, Jenny/JM will do a yeoman's job of playing the tribalist, partisan, hate-the-other game here.

If you want to know what any individual Tea Party person thinks, and criticize that with precision and reason, that's one thing.

To go around scathing on "the Tea Party" as a monolith, that's the same exact thing as merely hating Evil Rethuglicans. And just as unsophisticated, just as immature, and just as inaccurate.

Mo Tucker is 60-something. People who reach that age have a slightly different viewpoint on priorities than folks in their 20s and 30s.

Border security is a weird issue and I'm not sure why anyone would make a big deal about that other than to notice that porous borders and lax standards on govt handouts means more waste, fiscally speaking. On the other side of that criticism is the question of what we owe people who come to the USA looking for "a better life." Do we owe them something? If so, what?

It's easy to look at border security rants as unhinged bigotry against Mexicans. Sure, there may be some of that at work with Mo Tucker -- or there might not. One would have to know her personally to know the perimeter of whatever prejudices she harbors.

In any case, she's a rock drummer, which suggests her keenest interests and passion are music, and not being the most well-informed person in America. I wouldn't expect her publicly stated views to represent anything but her own self... hardly emblematic of a group, I mean.

Ethan said...

...and especially not emblematic of a group that hasn't existed, except in brief, weird spurts, for almost forty years now. If anything I'd expect her to be more representative of, like, Half Japanese, since her association with them is at least more recent. Not that I would expect that, but if anything...

Charles, just to be clear--in your second, third, and fourth paragraphs, were you responding more to Jenny or to the Baronette? Because I'm not the Baronette, but I'm pretty sure she agrees with you there.

As far as border security goes, I think her main objection to Tucker's statements is her general opposition to "borders" and "nations" as intrinsically inhumane.

But I can stop speaking for her, since she's more than capable of speaking for herself when she gets a chance.

Peter, yeah, it does look like the Tea Party is ending up just being a particularly active wing of the GOP, much as, say, the Communist Party seems to just be a wing of the Dems these days. (Though compared to the TP the commies are just such a joke.) Back in 2008 I had some naive hope that all the changey Obama fanatics would actually pay attention to what he did once he took office and maybe become radicalized once they saw what he really was, and despite the utter demolition of those hopes I have trouble not holding them again for the TPers. I know I'm being naive all over again, but I have to have something to hold on to.

Anonymous said...

Ethan --

Not to The Baronette, but to Jenny/JM... whose pattern of posting suggests childish "nanny nanny boo boo" commentary, rather than intelligent discussion or meaningful argument. Jenny/JM strikes me as Melissa McEwan's alter ego.

thebaronette said...

Thanks everyone for the comments. Sorry I did not respond sooner.

I agree, Peter, that the movement has been largely subsumed - if that's the correct term - into the conservative hegemony. It may be troubling or it may result in nothing. It is so rare for any form of radicalism - being defined as disruption - to actually be integrated into the now-routine mechanisms and expressions of American politics. Of course, those are fucking awful as they stand. And yeah, pretty damn predictable.

Charles - "I wouldn't expect her publicly stated views to represent anything but her own self..." That was exactly my thought.

Aside from that, Ethan ya did a fine stand-in job. Haha.

Jenny - I'll find what you mean soon.

stras said...

If there's anyone people project more of their hopes, fears, and insecurities onto more than politicians, sports players and God, it's rock stars. Moe Tucker isn't voting for my bond initiative? Well then, she has betrayed the Spirit of Rock.

Anonymous said...

Ethan -- yeah, and what would Jad & David Fair say, anyway? And are they related to Liz Phair? These questions and others bear greatly upon whether Mo Tucker should be sullied or supported. I must know, and I must know now. Meanwhile I'm gonna go listen to Janet Beveridge Bean slam some skins with Eleventh Dream Day and see if I can tease some meaning about American politics from the album El Moodio! Isn't Janet just about a generation younger than Mo?

The Baronette -- thanks, I wasn't picking on you, as I said above, but was commenting on the general idea of the iconography related to Mo Tucker and the Tea Party... and how Jenny/JM manages to always distort things for some sort of Pwog Church Lady lecture-ish stance. As to your stance in the main essay, I was only curious as to why you (and it's not just you, others have done this recently) would think specifically about Mo Tucker's politics. I guess that's what I would be curious about. I don't spend any time asking myself whether Allan Holdsworth and I agree on the question of leftist socioeconomic theories' relative worth.

Know what I mean? ;)