My quick letter to this organization that calls themselves ‘Keep America Safe‘ who recently said offensive things about two of my favorite rock stars, Trent Reznor and Tom Morello:
To Whom It May Concern:
I can distinctly remember when I heard that ‘March of the Pigs’ was used to torture prisoners at Gitmo. I was appalled to say the least. A few days later, I would see Trent Reznor perform that very song in Sacramento, CA for the first time since that news broke. I always wondered how that felt for him.
Fast forward almost one year, and the issue has come up again. It seems that not only has progress not been made to stop this, but that backpedaling organizations such as ‘Keep America Safe’ are adding insult to injury by calling these musicians’ efforts to stop their art from being used in ways they didn’t intend “pathetic”.
There are so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to begin. So here are some easy to reference bullet points to give you a topline summary of my thoughts on the matter:
* A commercial has to license music to use it. A store has to license music to play it. But a government run facility can use songs without permission to torture prisoners? I’m sure there are some artists out there that would gladly license their music for use in torture.
* Do you know who Tom Morello is? Google him. Pretty much the only thing that separates him from Barack Obama on paper is the guitar thing.
* Why does someone in a metal band not “have a moral authority on national security issues”? Are you telling me that Toby Keith, someone who sings ‘Beer For My Horses’, does? If you do a content analysis of metal lyrics, I’m pretty sure you’ll find some of the most sophisticated themes of any music genre.
* Remember that time you worked really hard making dinner, only to have one of it’s recipients pour ketchup all over it? Pretty insulting, right? Well, there’s really no comparison to having songs these artists created used for torture, but perhaps that’s a good point of reference for you.
* May I ask what you are personally doing to Keep America Safe? These artists have devoted their lives to creating music that make people who choose to listen to it feel good. Perhaps this music has saved some of those people from doing bad things. Creating an organization that is run on fearmongering and finger pointing seems counterproductive to the cause it claims to support.
* This entire debate seem diversionary from the real issue at hand: torture! It’s wrong…..whether it be music or waterboarding; we shouldn’t be doing it. Any person with real human feelings will intuitively understand this.
With that said, I’d like to add my voice to the mix and request a public apology from Keep America Safe, Ms. Cheney, and Ms. Debra Burlingame in particular.
Thanks to the NIN Hotline for spearheading this effort.