December 27, 2004
ANTI-AMERICANISM doesn’t even impress the hipsters anymore. Just listen to the dismissive treatment of Green Day in the December issue of Q Magazine, which I just noticed:
On the roof of a photographer’s studio in a corner of Hollywood so drab it gives Slugh a good name, the three members of Green Day are discussing whether or not to desecrate the American flag. Singer Billie Joe Armstrong, who is dressed in black shirt and skinny red tie, is cautious but keen, while bassis Mike Dirnt, who is bleached blond and much more aloof, is keener still.
“It means nothing to me,” he sneers. “Let’s burn the f*cking thing.”
Only drummer Tre Cool, who is normally the designated prankster of the three and who comes across like Bart Simpson made flesh, offers the lone cautionary voice. “Isn’t it, like, illegal?”
It is reluctantly agreed that Cool has a point. It’s all very well being punk insurrectionists but there is an album to promote, and nobody wants to face jail time. In the end, a compromise is reached. The matches stay intheir box, and instead Armstrong spraypaints the word IDIOT across the flag in large capital letters, grinning at this apparently considerable fate of derring-do.
But it’s not working with the fans, either, as apparently Green Day’s anti-Bush songs don’t go over as intended. From later in the same article:
The next night, Green Day perform their new album in its entirety at the Henry Fonda Theater in downtown Hollywood to a partisan crowd of heavily tattooed fans who, in truth, care more about some good old-fashioned slam dancing than any political rhetoric. Afterwards, one beery fan happily confesses that the track Boulevard of Broken Dreams brought tears to his eyes. “It’s about a girl, right?” he asks. And 47-year-old maintenance specialist Gary Lansdon hasn’t quite heeded their message either.
“I’m a Democrat myself,” he says, beaming brightly.
So he’ll be voting for Kerry?
“Oh, no,” he says, the smile fading. “No band will tell me what to do. I voted for Bush last time, and I’ll vote for him again. He’s doing a fine job.”
“No band will tell me what to do.” The article was written before the election, but the handwriting was already on the wall.
UPDATE: Steve Sturm has comments, and observes: “And, for what it’s worth, you three idiots, it is NOT illegal to burn the flag. How can you guys even pretend to be intelligent and informed enough to tell other people how to vote when you don’t even know that?”
Well, I guess it just seemed like, you know, it had to be, since it was, like, John Ashkkkroft’s Amerikkka and everything.