I've never subscribed to the shut-up-and-sing school of thought regarding the political statements of musicians with whose politics (or earnestness) you might disagree. It's a free country, blah blah blah, and sometimes (though just sometimes) political emotion is part of the brew that makes the music compelling. Even with socialist jackholes like Billy Bragg.
But, as regards yesterday's Lincoln Memorial gaguplift-athon, of which Nick Gillespie wrote about below, can we save one word of opprobrium for…the actors? For those of you who didn't watch the HBO telecast, the various predictable musical performers (Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, a very Robert-Blake-in-Lost-Highway-looking Johnny Cougar) were broken up, Oscar-style, with portentious teleprompter speeches from famous actor-types telling us about The Democracy and what the man from Springfield once said about our ever-perfecting union and so on. So, here's the thing, Tom Hanks, and, uh, Jack Black? JACK BLACK??? WHAT THE HELL??? You are actors, remunerated handsomely for the skill of persuasively and artistically reading a line. "Delivering," I think they call it. What you are NOT paid for, and indeed not very talented at, is talking like an earnest, humble, half-stammering fellow patriotic citizen. Deliver the line! British actors understand this. Samuel L. Jackson, alone up there, understood that an actor's voice and enunciation can create special drama of their own, and in fact if Samuel L. Jackson read this blog post out loud it would sound much, much more convincing.
But seriously–Jack Black was talking earnestly about democracy. This Jack Black:
It's going to be a long week.
Also, while certainly inappropriate, and not safe for work, this is the kind of artistic inaugural celebration I prefer: