A Song I Heard Today: Volume 19 – by Rich Karski

Welcome to another edition of Rich Karski’s A SONG I HEARD TODAY: the only online music review column that uses its ad revenue to buy your weird aunt’s vintage erotica on Etsy.

Pretty ticked off this week ladies and gentlemen. I turn my back for one second and The Bastard Ted Pettingell starts taking pot-shots at me on the website that I helped build into a juggernaut while he was busy trying to turn himself into Emo Guy Fieri. WE GET IT TED YOU ARE SAD AND YOU LIKE SMOKING MEAT WHY DON’T YOU GO JOIN A DAMN SORRORITY THAT’S A JOKE ABOUT SUCKING DICKS YOU DON’T HAVE A MONOPOLY ON DICK SUCKING JOKES.

Anywho, Ted fancies himself a bit of a pundit these days. Remarking on “social issues” and engaging in “political discourse” on a dang comedy website like he’s Jon Stewart or Dennis Miller or that guy who draws the cartoons where Barack Obama’s ears are uncomfortably big and it feels incredibly racist but nobody really says anything about it because what if it makes YOU the racist for reading too much into it? Well, Theodore (reminding him that I know what his full name is a sign of dominance) you’re not the only one on this website who knows how to get political. After all, I am a registered voter and have seen the James Garner and Jack Lemmon classic “My Fellow Americans” like four times. I know all about the social issues plaguing America and how to fix them but I will never tell anybody the solutions because I saw the “Entourage” movie last week and now am firmly of the belief that we do not deserve America.

Luckily, I write a music column for this site and music has been used to fight the man for as long as the man has been making dirty people upset. Some of the greatest songs of all time have come as a result of wanting to rally the common folk against injustice and speak truth to power (the rest of the greatest songs of all time are about either fucking or taking care of business.)

I needed to find an artist that really stood out in this regard. Then I remembered the most political, socially upheavaling band of all time. These guys made Bob Dylan look like Bob Barker if Bob Barker didn’t even care if your pets fucked or not. These guys GET IT man. They aren’t going to sit there while THINGS happen, and WRONGS are perpetrated against the MASSES. That’s why this week’s song is “Sleep Now in the Fire” by Rage Against the Machine. It’s time to get our rally on and figure out what we’re supposed to be rallying about this time.

Rage Against the Machine is a name but also a command. You see, the machine is what is bad, and you are supposed to be very angry with it. What kind of machine? I’m assuming it’s some kind of political metaphor or possibly a VCR that kept eating the tapes. Rage Against the Machine kind of sounds like if someone was playing a really cool guitar riff and the guy from their Poli Sci class who sells weed started yelling at them. This band just sounds like freshman year of college, when all the sheltered white kids started finding out that there was all kinds of plight in the world and decided that telling everyone they knew about this plight might be the easiest way to get themselves laid. AND THEY’RE NOT WRONG. Plight can be very arousing as long as it is happening to people you don’t know in a place you will never visit.

When first listening to the song your immediate reaction is “hell yeah this is badass” because the guitars are awesome and there is some yelling to start out but then the yelling turns into rapping and you’re like “hey where did those guitars go” and then they come back and you’re like “hell yeah” all over again but then there’s more rapping and it’s like “okay dude we get it just do the guitars again this is getting tedious.” You don’t really have to listen to the words, but while we’re here we might as well figure out what terrible things in the world are making Zack Dela Rocha (Spanish for Zack of the Roaches I think) so mad.

The world is my expense/The cost of my desire/Jesus blessed me with his future/Now I protect it with fire

Well I don’t see how this would make you angry. Sure, everything is expensive, but if Jesus was like “Hey Zack I’ve got this future here that I need you to look after so can you just burn anybody who tries to fuck with it?” I’d probably be pretty jazzed. Fuck yeah Jesus I’ll burn some motherfuckers for you. Nobody’s getting near this future without getting roasted like a damned pork loin I WOULD DO THAT SHIT FOR FREE.

So raise your fists and march around/Don’t dare take what you need/I’ll jail and bury those committed/And smother the rest in greed

The marching around with your fists in the air makes sense because that’s how you let the man know you’re sick of his shit. The man hates fists, and he hates them the most when they’re in the air. “Get those fists out of the air!” he’ll yell, while shaking his fist in the air and getting mad because you made him do the thing he hates the most. The rest of it is gibberish though. How do you smother someone with greed? Greed isn’t a large woman from the internet’s breasts.

Crawl with me into tomorrow/I’ll drag you to your grave/I’m deep inside your children/They’ll betray you in my name

A man that looks like Zack Dela Rocha should not be able to say “I’m deep inside your children” without going to jail.

Hey! Hey! Sleep now in the fire!


The lie is my expense/The scope of my desire/The party blessed me with its future/Now I protect it with fire

Now he’s getting into it. The “party” he’s talking about isn’t the kind of party you’re thinking of. You’re thinking of the type of party that has beach volleyball and maybe a guy playing the saxophone. The party he’s talking about is a political party. They are similar in that both types of parties make decisions on what women do with their vaginas, but different in that usually the political parties won’t let them do any of the fun vagina stuff. Anyway, he is now using his fire protection powers for evil instead of helping Jesus, which is bad because you’re only supposed to kill for Jesus. Or for autoerotic purposes that psychiatrists will struggle for decades to understand.

I am the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria

Also he is three boats.

The noose and the rapist/The fields overseer/The agents of orange/The priests of Hiroshima

Well, this makes the “deep inside your children” thing WAY WORSE. Also, the fields overseer thing is a reference to slavery or maybe even the Cambodian killing fields, but when you’re trying to create white people outrage you can’t just throw “rapist” next to “guy who watches a field” and expect it not to fall flat. They’ll probably think you’re talking about baseball, and white people love the shit out of baseball. Also Agent Orange was a myth and the Japanese don’t believe in god so I don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about there. He made more sense when he was telling us that he was those boats.

The cost of my desire/Sleep now in the fire

I can see why this would get people riled up. He makes some really good points about how bad things used to exist, and, here’s the kicker… MAYBE THEY STILL DO! Like, what if JESUS, and THE GOVERNMENT, were actually responsible for bad things happening??? What if all of this suffering is because some people have power and others don’t???? MY EYES HAVE BEEN OPENED BY THIS ONE HISTORY BOOK I READ IN 11th GRADE! SOMEBODY GET NOAM CHOMSKY ON THE PHONE!!!

Okay I’m going to give this song a B just on the strength of Tom Morello’s kickass riff, but holy shit politics are fucking stupid. Look, just burn down the government if that’s what you want to do. It would be pretty awesome and then we’d all probably get the day off too which would rule. But don’t try to make yourself sound like a goddamned radical by saying dumb shit like “CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS WAS EVIL AND HE COMMITTED GENOCIDE OPEN YOUR EYES THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON THE SLAUGHTER OF INNOCENTS.” We all know about this country’s disgusting legacy of ethnic cleansing and racism, and we all know that Christoper Columbus was evil, not because of the genocide thing but because he was Italian. So I guess what I’m saying is that maybe we should learn from our mistakes and get rid of all the Italians. Damn, I just gave away my solution for fixing everything.

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