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'BANNED' -- A Song Parody to the Tune of REM's 'Stand'

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The other day I’m out running errands. I’m at the grocery store taking the scenic route through aisles I never buy anything from, got the brain in neutral, just walking around and thinking.

Thinking a lot about bans. I’d just been to the nearby used bookseller and checked out their books and swag. As one might expect, they didn’t have the recently banned books but they had some of those banned book mugs — mugs listing books such as Huckleberry Finn, Catcher in the Rye, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. They’ve all been banned by someone somewhere, and someone somewhere is also proudly drinking from a mug bragging about reading them. Chances are, that same person has also recently supported banning the Dr. Seuss Six or some other book the cancel mob came screaming for.

I idly wondered if they’ll eventually make a version of that mug for woke SJWs so they can keep on adding titles of books they’ve successfully gotten banned, along with the banned books they’re still proudly reading. Maybe another one for the people they’ve canceled too.

Then I go to the grocery store and banned books and things are on my mind. I buy a couple of items and as I’m heading out, REM’s old hit “Stand” comes on the store’s music system. This wasn’t some horrid muzak version, it was the real thing. Remember that song? It’s a classic now.

There are a zillion versions of this song now, even a synth-pop and a lullaby. I fell into quite a rabbit hole. But “Stand” was an edgy little Top 40 hit back in the day.

A thought strikes me like a bolt from the blue as I’m carrying sparkling water out to my car: Weird Al could have a comeback hit if he changed the title and lyrics to “Banned” to slam cancel culture, but he wouldn’t do it because it would get him banned. An idea was born. Here’s my work-in-progress lyric. Watch the video, read along. It works. Mostly.

BANNED

(a parody to the tune of “Stand” by REM)

Ban all the books where you live

Ban that book

Ban that old movie too

Wonder why it wasn’t before

Ban all the things from before

Ban ban ban

Hunt down the next banned thing

Weird nobody banned it before

[Verse 1]

If you are confused, check with the woke

No moral compass can help you along

Your feed will no longer let you expound

Zuck’s in control from here on out

[Chorus]

Banned in the state where you live

Now mask up

It’s not about freedom now

Cancel – ban it right now

Ban Dr. Seuss he must go

Now lock down

Look for the next banned thing

Why weren’t you offended before?

[Chorus]

Ban all the things where you live

Now ban more

Don’t think about expression

Huck Finn Shakespeare they all have to go

Ban all the things – live in fear

Ban ban ban

Ban that book right in your hand

Now where have you heard this before?

[Verse 2]

Your feed is censored from here on out

Forget, put down, that book you just found

The woke can’t be pleased, the culture is fallin’

Can’t listen to reason, just airbrush like Stalin

[Chorus]

Ban every book on the shelf

Ban them all

Don’t think about expression

Just ban ban ban it right now

Now ban all the shows everywhere

No more jokes

Push over statues where you live

Ignore what’s happened before

[Verse 3]

Wokes ban all the things, these bans are appalling

It’s woke banning season, and reason is falling

Your feet are shackled your freedom is bound

Your head – gaslight – confusion abounds

[Bridge]

So banned (banned!)

Ban that book

Don’t think about expression

Just cancel everything now

Now ban (ban!)

Ban ban ban

You’re banned right where you live

Wonder why you’ve heard this

So that’s it. The lyric ends abruptly because that’s how the song ends.

“Banned” wouldn’t be difficult to play. Peter Buck’s riffs are mostly E, A, and G with some sharps here and there in straight 4/4 time. The rhythm is a breeze. It might be fun.

One of the great things about being on this team, flying through the ‘verse on this boat, is the camaraderie. I mentioned to Kruiser that I was working on this. He reacted with one word: PERFECT. And then he contributed.

There’s a story in Barry Miles’ Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now about the Beatles’ process when they were working on “Getting Better” for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club. Paul McCartney is writing the piece, singing it while he’s composing it, and when he gets to the cheery line “I have to admit, it’s getting better, a little better all the time,” John Lennon quips “Can’t get no worse!”

McCartney later admitted that line was the kind of thing he’d never come up with on his own but which made the song perfect. He’s right. Sometimes writing works like that. Kruiser tossed me a couple of lines off the cuff that I included because they’re perfect. I’m not saying Kruiser and I are the Lennon and McCartney of blog song parody writing for Townhall or even PJ Media. That’s really for others to say.