On Not Getting Fooled Again

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NME is the latest to base a story on Pete Townshend's July 7 diary posting about Michael Moore. Seems that Moore had wanted to use Won't Get Fooled Again in his latest movie; Townshend (who "had not really been convinced by Bowling for Columbine") said no. Moore's been telling interviewers a self-serving version of the story, to which Townshend replies, "I greatly resent being bullied and slurred by [Moore] in interviews just because he didn?t get what he wanted from me. It seems to me that this aspect of his nature is not unlike that of the powerful and wilful man at the centre of his new documentary."

Townshend also reminds readers that "WGFA is not an unconditionally anti-war song, or a song for or against revolution. It actually questions the heart of democracy: we vote heartily for leaders who we subsequently always seem to find wanting."

As for Moore, "he?ll have to work very, very hard to convince me that a man with a camera is going to change the world more effectively than a man with a guitar."

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  1. “he?ll have to work very, very hard to convince me that a man with a camera is going to change the world more effectively than a man with a guitar.”

    Possibly the stupidest thing he’s ever said

  2. He stole the title – whether or not it’s covered by current copywrite law is a totally seperate issue. Bradbury came up with it, and Moore shanghaied it over his the objections. While it might be legal, this is the most reprehensible thing in the movie. Bradbury rocks.

  3. Pete Townshend deserves a freaking Pulitzer for those comments. Shades of, “Have you no shame, Senator?”

  4. Bradbury stole “Something wicked this way comes”.

    How did he “steal” that title? What other book had it first?

    Now, if you mean that he took the title from a line in one of Shakespeare’s plays, you’re correct. But it’s hard to see how that qualifies as “stealing”, particularly since Bradbury acknowledged the quote.

    There’s also a qualitative difference between quoting a famous play written by a man who’s been dead for centuries, and ripping off the title of a book written by a man who’s still alive, and who doesn’t want you to use that title.

  5. Not only is Townshend in possibly the greatest rock band ever….he pisses of Michael Moore and takes a swipe at democrarcy. Nice.

  6. yeah and he likes child porn!

  7. mmmm p0rn…

  8. Oh, I grok “meet the new boss / same as the old boss”. I just expected Moore would use it — or maybe I just wanted to hear it.

  9. I’m surprised he didn’t use it anyway – it’s not like not having permission stopped him from stealing Ray Bradbury’s famous title. He’s got enough lawyers to protect him.

  10. “I’m surprised he didn’t use it anyway – it’s not like not having permission stopped him from stealing Ray Bradbury’s famous title.”

    You can’t steal a title, because you can’t copyright a title.

    And anyway, Bradbury stole “Something wicked this way comes”.

  11. Using Bradbury’s title is a shady legal area, using someone’s song without permission is pretty clear and he could easily have taken a big hit monetarily at least. Plus having Townshend refuse him gives him another story to promote his “Oh, I’m just a poor filmmaker trying to get the truth out despite being repressed by all these evil powerful people” schtick.

  12. Funny, I was thinking at the time (just before the end credits) that WGFA would be a perfect inclusion, and wondered why it wasn’t. Nows I knows. Maybe on the DVD MM will cue viewers to play it themselves, as Cameron Crowe did with Zep on Almost Famous.

  13. Please, Lisa. That song reflects Pete’s distrust of powerful central government which is the complete opposite of Moore’s politics. It makes one wonder if Moore really knows what he’s on about. My feelings are similar to Moore’s, but my thoughts about the remedies are almost diametrically opposed.

  14. Townshend on Moore: “he?ll have to work very, very hard to convince me that a man with a camera is going to change the world more effectively than a man with a guitar.”

    Amen, brother. Moore would have co-opted WGFA the way that “liberals” co-opted “(classical) liberal” to mean its antithesis. Good for Pete, in standing up to the man with the camera. The latter is part of the problem, while WGFA will always be somewhere near the core of the solution. I am thinking of the “Who’s Next” album art, now. But in my momentary fantasy, the concrete monolith is replaced by the box for the VHS version of “F911.” There’s never a Photoshop around when you need it!

  15. Personally, I think I’ll listen to the song and skip the movie.

  16. I always thought of WGFA as pretty libertarian stuff, not really fitting for MM. Meet the new boss / same as the old boss…that’s often realpolitik. It’s apropos that PT based his decision on “Bowling”.

  17. “There’s also a qualitative difference between quoting a famous play written by a man who’s been dead for centuries, and ripping off the title of a book written by a man who’s still alive, and who doesn’t want you to use that title.”

    Nonsense. In both cases we’re dealing with fragments of canonical works that are referenced in new works for the purpose of homage or satire. Neither is an attempt to ‘steal’, and neither requires permission. (If such were the case, I guarantee you we wouldn’t have many of the great works you claim to defend.)

    Great lines and titles by authors over the last hundred years have been countlessly recycled, twisted, parodied and turned into everyday turns of phrase. Unless that results in someone being denied authorship of their own creation, it falls pretty squarely under “free market of ideas.”

  18. “Using Bradbury’s title is a shady legal area, using someone’s song without permission is pretty clear and he could easily have taken a big hit monetarily at least.”

    Actually, if he had used the song without permission Townshend probably could have had the thing yanked out of the theaters until the song was taken out — this has happened before, for example, a few years back there was an animated biography of Karen Carpenter that Richard Carpenter successfully got shut down because the filmmaker used the Carpenters’ music without obtaining a license for the rights.

  19. I would enjoy hearing further from you about what else we could include at Delaware Law Office — send me an email, if you want. If it’s something that we would have fun doing and might learn from, we’re open to suggestions. Your profile shows that you are working on putting together a blog — I’m looking forward to it.

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