Sunday, 21 June 2020

Campaigning. Music. Nostalgia. Feeling the need for a world solution,

Well, Mr Trump may have tried to have a great rally in Tulsa but it wasn’t as successful as he expected by all accounts. It has been suggested that he chose a small stadium as a venue because it would be easier to make it look crowded. In the event, even that didn’t work because the top tiers remained empty, and the planned use of big screens and possibly a presidential sortie to address the overspill crowd were not needed because there was no overspill crowd. Personally I am not at all surprised by this. Surely even Republicans must recognise that gathering in huge numbers in a sports stadium is a good way to put yourself at risk of catching the virus - well, at least some Republicans!

Then on Facebook I came across this:-

“Tom Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down” was used today at Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Trump was in no way authorised to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind.

Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”

It goes on quite a bit more in this vein and ends with the statement that they have issued a cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign. I should think so too.

Of course, to a certain extent all works of art, of any kind, become In a way public property to be interpreted as the public sees fit, but there is a kind of arrogance in appropriating a song for such a public purpose without the permission of those who hold the copyright. But then, Mr Trump does have form for “borrowing” songs and somehow misinterpreting (aka twisting) the message to suit his own purposes.

Music becomes so personal that I almost feel insulted when a piece of music I love is used to promote a cause I disagree with. And sometimes, especially when a piece of music is used for advertising and frequently heard in that way, the damage is semi-permanent. There is a bit of Bizet’s Carmen which has me singing under my breath “The E-e-sso sign means happy motoring.” This is especially so as it was one of the favourite tunes of my high school orchestra, played as we filed out of the school assembly, all of us girls in our green uniforms humming along.

Phil and I have rearranged the furniture in our living room, giving easier access to our collection of vinyl records. Consequently we have been having a good number of trios down memory lane, listening to LPs that have not been played for years. One of these nostalgia-trigger songs is Buffy Sainte Marie’s “Universal Soldier”, featuring the line “He’s all of 31 and he’s only 17”. Those were the days, back when 31 seemed a great age for someone to have reached!

Getting back to serious stuff, I read that Florida is having trouble with increasing numbers of Coronavirus cases because of a possibly too ambitious an early relaxing of lockdown. That’s another place wanting to get its tourist industry up and running again. And yet Mr Trump still jokes in his rally about doing less testing in order to have lower numbers of cases!

Here in the UK we have the ongoing debate about reducing or not the two metre rule for social distancing. To boost the economy reducing the distance would be useful but I am pretty sure I heard the Health Secretary stressing the need to keep us all as safe as possible.

And now we also have an apparent terrorism incident in Reading last night. It’s confusing. News reports last night assured us that this had nothing to do with the Black Lives Matter protests that took place there during the afternoon. And yet news headlines today have been worded in such a way as to suggest a link.

I get the depressing impression at the moment that all the values and ideas of the world are being turned upside down. We have the major health problem of Covid-19. We have the consequent upheaval in the economy and the employment situation. The scientists tell us we have about six months to sort out the environment. And then we have the Black Lives Matter protests, raising the racism and discrimination issue world wide - and this despite Kenan Malik insisting in this article  that we have all become more liberal in our attitudes.

In an ideal world we would be creating a world plan to solve all the problems together. That’s not going to happen, is it?

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone.

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