Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

Conservative Contributions to “Stand Up and Sing”

with 3 comments

by Weiner

I know we can all find the anti-war songs that we know and love, from the 1960s on down. To spice things up a little, I’ll play provocateur and nominate Toby Keith‘s infamous “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American),” his fiery musical response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. I confess to enjoying country music a great deal, and I think this song is really catchy. But it’s also got hilarious yet inspirational lyrics:

Now this nation that I love is fallin’ under attack.
A mighty sucker-punch came flying in from somewhere in the back.
Soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye,
Man, we lit up your world like the fourth of July.

Yes, America’s foreign policy in the Middle East undoubtedly had some causal connection with the 9/11 attacks. But the correct response is not to kill a janitor and 3000 other innocent people of all races and religions in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and Flight 93. Keith is right to be angry about that. He’s also right to demand some measure of justice.

Oh, justice will be served and the battle will rage:
This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage.
An’ you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.
‘Cos we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.

This verse makes me happy. Maybe that’s because of my own unresolved issues concerning the military and masculinity. Unfortunately, lots of innocent people got boots in their ass, and Bin Laden’s butt is still boot-free, and the war in Afghanistan remains a quagmire, probably worse than the conflict in Iraq.

This leads me to observe that Keith’s contribution is a good deal less controversial than Clint Black‘s more questionable “Iraq and I Roll”. The catchy chorus “I rock, I rack ’em up and I Roll,” celebrating the “high tech G.I. Joe”  is funny if a little sad. The verse “If they don’t show us their weapons, we might have to show them ours,” is a little funny but mostly sad.

I suppose someone should nominate something by the Dixie Chicks in response. I like them too.


Written by David Weinfeld

December 1, 2010 at 18:03

3 Responses

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  1. David Cross has the best ever response to these songs:


    December 1, 2010 at 21:56

  2. It isn’t exactly a protest song, but I sure think it might count as anti-war, so I will nominate “Day After Tomorrow” by Tom Waits.

    The strength of this song as an anti-war song lies in the fact that it doesn’t do the thinking for you.


    December 2, 2010 at 06:13

  3. […] For recent selections in our “Stand up and Sing” contest, which showcase some of the manifold ways politics fruitfully intersects with music, see these thoughtful posts by Luce, Wiz and, Weiner. […]

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