Friday, June 3, 2011

Popping the balloon: Kinky Friedman and Noam Chomsky


Interesting reading at breakfast this morning.  The Australian that venerable mouthpiece of Sri Rubert Murdoch, had two longish articles on a pair of visiting Americans.

Noam Chomsky
The most prominent piece took up most of the front page of the paper’s Friday arts and commentary page. The headline, Ideologue on a peace pedestal, sat atop a big picture of a frail-looking Noam Chomsky posing next to a smiling Venezuelan President Caesar Chavez. The article that followed was sneering in its dismissal and condemnation of the eminent linguist/political critic/activist who is the 2011 recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize, one of Australia’s most prominent international awards. Overall, one was left with the impression that Chomsky (and his credulous radical idiot followers) was not so much a ‘self-hating’ Jew as a crazy, out-of-touch dinosaur from a bygone epoch.
Kinky Friedman

Flip a couple pages further into the paper and there was a second longish interview with another ‘crazy’ American Jew, the country singer, comic, satirist and novelist Kinky Friedman, currently on tour Down Under.

At first blush two people could not be more antithetical than Mr. Kinky ‘smart ass’ Friedman and Dr. Noam ‘smarty pants’ Chomsky. One has made his mark with bawdy, tres proletarian and often adolescent humor. The other has used his scarily sharp intellect to slice up arguments like so much salami.  Kinky’s audience is the beery-eyed, horny, pick-up truck driving Everyman. Noam gets under the skin of Presidents and think tank boffins.

But scratch a little deeper and you’ll discover that both are really focused on bringing about social change by stamping out idiocy and hypocrisy. Both of them are subversives. Kinky Friedman’s strain of country music is tongue in cheek and deliberately parodic. Like all good satirists he is never happier than when he is putting the pin into the overinflated balloon of his listeners world. Like his MIT counterpart Chomsky, his mission is to strip bare and reveal the truth: that music and politics are both equally useful for projecting an artificial reality. Kinky, by the way, has run twice for political office but, for some reason, never made it. 

But that’s getting way too serious.

Here are a few choice quotes from these twin sons of different mothers.

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."  — Noam Chomsky

"If you have the choice between humble and cocky, go with cocky. There's always time to be humble later, once you've been proven horrendously, irrevocably wrong."  — Kinky Friedman

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  — Noam Chomsky

To Bill Clinton who refused his offer of a Cuban cigar because of the US economic embargo on Cuba: “Don’t look at it like we are supporting their agricultural production. Think of it as we’re burning their crops.” – Kinky Friedman

"Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune."  — Noam Chomsky

Why shouldn’t gays be allowed to marry? They have as much right to be miserable as everybody else.” – Kinky Friedman

Here then is some more truth (and subversive fun) from each.



         Track Listing:
        01 Sold Americans
 02 Twinkle
03 Ahab The Arab
04 Dear Abbie
05 Kinky
06 Lady Yesterday
07 Catfish
08 Men's Room
09 Bananas And Cream
10 Ol' Ben Lucas
11 The Ballad Of Ira Hayes
12 Waitret, Please, Waitret
BONUS TRACK
13 They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore

Listen here

Track Listing:
01 America’s Messianic Vision of Democracy
02 Big Business And The General
03 Why Do They Hate Us

Listen here.


2 comments:

Rebecca said...

Brilliant boys, all three of you!

ajnabi said...

Dhanyawad, bahenji.