Morello Rages Against Ryan…So What?

Photo By Mary Altaffer/AP

It seems that forces were aligned to legitimize my claim from last week that the media, and the public at large, are less concerned with real issues, and more focused on some of the most pointless triviality that dominates our lives these days.  Since Friday, much of my Facebook News Feed and my Twitter page was dominated by references to comments made by guitarist Tom Morello.

Morello is the lead guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, a band cited by GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan as one of his favorites.  Apparently, Mr. Morello is not as big of fan of Ryan as Ryan is of RATM.

In a blistering op-ed published Thursday night on Rolling Stone’s website, Tom Morello blasts Mitt Romney’s new VP choice as “the embodiment of the machine our music rages against.”

In painting Ryan as antithetical to progress, Morello compares the Congressman’s appreciation of RATM to Charles Manson’s love for The Beatles and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s liking for Bruce Springsteen.

At the heart of Morello’s distaste for Ryan is “his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent.” He goes on to say Ryan has plenty of “rage,” but claims its “A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment.”

I am not posting this to critique Morello’s political views.  He is entitled to believe what he believes.  My concern here is how much weight people (especially the media) are giving his opinions.  In my humble opinion, Morello is one of the most talented guitarists to grace the music scene in the last 20 years.  He takes sounds and styles that most people would not have considered, and uses them to make interesting and entertaining melodies.  The man can make music using feedback from an amplifier.  Astounding.

Due mainly to Morello’s talent, I was a big RTM fan in high school and into college.  I was also impressed with the way the band chose to intertwine their music and their activism.  That being said, I generally could not care less what the band’s political ideologies are.  I am a music fan for the music itself.  I firmly believe that many of my favorite musicians would probably disagree with my political views.  But that is fine.  I don’t like them because of their political leanings.  I like them because of their talent.

So, does it surprise me that Morello does not like Ryan?  Not at all.  Based on what I know about him, I wouldn’t think he would be a big fan of a fiscal and social conservative.  Do I care?  Not particularly.  What I do care about is the fact that people, including some friends of mine, seem to think that Morello’s indictment of Ryan’s policies is worth their time and attention.  Why?  As a musician, what makes his political viewpoint worthwhile?  I felt the same way when the media went crazy over the comments that Hank Williams Jr. made on Fox News last fall.  The guy is a singer.  Who cares what his political views are?

I am not saying that Morello should not voice his opinion.  He is a public figure who has access to a microphone and a fan base.  Go for it.  Be heard.  That said, I hope people that listen to him do so with a firm grasp on reality.  He may be an amazing guitarist.  He may even be an educated voter/activist.  But it doesn’t mean he is right when he talks about Ryan or his policies.  He is not an economist.  He doesn’t have a PhD in political science.  He is a musician.

I am a lawyer.  When I speak about politics, people should keep in mind that I am not an economist, I am not a political science professor, and I am not a paid political pundit.  I may have lived in DC for a decade and immersed myself in the culture, but it does not mean I am some sort of expert on the issues.  Everything I say should be taken with a grain of salt.  Same goes for Morello.


81 Responses to Morello Rages Against Ryan…So What?

  1. I absolutely agree, focus on the main issues at hand, and not get distracted by someone that you look up to not to say he doesnt have a voice but everyone has a voice, just choose carefully who you listen to, and understand facts.

  2. Absolutely agreed — but at the same time, the sad reality is that more attention is paid to those in the celebrity spotlight just for the mere fact that they are celebrities. So yes, we should take his input with a grain of salt…but give recognition to WHY his input is deemed “important” in the first place: the Kim Kardashian effect. Ugh.

    • Spill Man says:

      I think that you could claim validity for his points based on his record of activism on the issues. I don’t deny that he is generally more well informed on the issues than a majority of celebrities, but being informed doesn’t mean you are right either. I think people should listen to what he has to say if they feel so inclined. I just worry that some people will give his comments too much weight because of his music.

  3. The cult of personality is alive and well, I see.

    Nicely said, sir.

    Morello said:
    (Congressman Ryan is) “clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine. Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics.”

    Hmm. So Ryan has spent his own money, somewhere along the lines, to enjoy the music of RATM, but doesn’t care for their lyrics. Morello calls him ‘clueless’ because of this. If Ryan doesn’t like RATM’s lyrics, it would hardly mean he is clueless about them.

    Tedious, indeed.

    • Spill Man says:

      I don’t necessarily think Morello’s response is tedious. Focusing on the music a politician likes is Tedious, but at least Morello attempts to turn that into a more serious discussion about Ryan’s policies, even if I disagree with some of Morello’s assertions about Ryan.

  4. Bigboomer says:

    I happen to believe in what you said. If I am going to agree with statements made in any forum, I like to make sure I have done my research on the subject and have all the facts. Whether or not I like a particular person or what I think they stand for should not be a factor. I think most people want someone else to do the thinking for them.

  5. Well people that believe in what the band stands for will pay attention to anything Morello has to say, including his comments about politics, mainly Paul Ryan in this particular issue. Hell, I paid attention, and I’m not a diehard RATM fan, but when I hear their music and actually “listen” to their lyrics, I understand where they are coming from, and why they are raging against the “machine”.
    Yes, he is just a musician, but please understand that the music they create and the rage they have against the “machine” embodies what a lot of people believe in. They are a voice, a powerful voice, and they speak out for “the people”, the middle class, the poor, etc. It’s not just the music, it’s they’re lyrics, and what they’re singing/rapping about.
    Sure, we should all take it with a grain of salt, but depending on what someone’s situation is and what they believe it, Morello’s beliefs may hit home for them. That’s just the way it is. 🙂
    BTW, I usually shy away from conversations and/or comments involving politics, but I felt compelled to write a comment. My thoughts and beliefs aside, I enjoyed your post. And I’m going to share this on my FB page if it’s okay with you. 🙂

    • Spill Man says:

      I did not mean to imply that because he is a musician, he should be ignored. I understand that Morello has been active in some of these issues, and that the whole band is built activism and speaking out against injustice. I simply meant that I think some people will buy in to anything he says simply because they like his music.

  6. A politician’s favorite music doesn’t matter. People like what they like, it’s not really a choice.

  7. Prole Center says:

    I agree with you to a certain extent if the point you’re making is that people shouldn’t fawn over celebrities and hang on their every word. I think people should learn to think critically for themselves. I also think the mainstream media in this country is quite ridiculous, especially what passes for the “news.” The media-entertainment complex is meant to dumb down and distract the population.

    I do reject the notion that Tom Morello is “just a musician” and therefore we shouldn’t take him too seriously when he speaks about politics. I think people can (and should) be educated with a holistic approach; they should try to learn a lot about a lot of different things. I’m not anti-intellectual, but I reject the idea that official “experts” always know best – even if they have a doctorate in that subject area. You can become very educated informally as well – maybe more so. Furthermore, let me just say that politics isn’t all that complicated. It’s not like quantum physics or something. Just figure out what your values are. Take a long hard look at the world around you and how it works, then decide how you think it should work and figure out steps to take that might move society in that direction. Explore every single political ideology out there, especially the “forbidden” ones. Look, listen, read lots of books and sit quietly from time to time and just . . . think.

    • jimcolv says:

      You said what I was really thinking. I firmly believe the title of “expert” is grossly overused. Just because someone is considered an expert in a field doesn’t make them the authority. Granted, they may have a vast understanding of a topic but may lack the ability to transform that understanding into a practical sense. I know plenty of “experts” in many fields but since they don’t have certain credentials they aren’t taken seriously. That doesn’t make their knowledge any less credible to me, but that’s just my opinion….

    • Spill Man says:

      Sorry if it came across that way, but I didn’t say he is “just a musician.” That would imply that musicians do not have worthwhile opinions. My question is that, as a musician, I think fans will give too much weight to what he says (as others have called it, its the “cult of personality”). That said, I think Morello is more informed than most, so I can understand people listening to him. Just so long as they are listening because he is informed, and not because he is an amazing guitar player.

  8. jimcolv says:

    This is modern America. People don’t care about facts anymore. It’s more of a popularity contest now a days; entertainment over education. I’ve noticed that some individuals in our country don’t like for their beliefs to be challenged, no matter how much supported evidence may be presented that would make one question their validity. It’s this whole “our way or the highway” or “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality that is prevalent in different segments of this society.

    At any rate, well said sir.

    • Spill Man says:

      Its part of the “hyper-partisan” attitude that is so pervasive in DC. Its begging to get like that in a lot of places. Unfortunate.

    • wildninja says:

      Yes! You’re right. Many in our society are swept up in emotion or celebrity rather than reason and care more about who, politically speaking, is prom king and queen rather than decent people who can make rational arguments for their viewpoints. Those overwhelmed by celebrity often don’t have that rationale; they simply parrot questionable statistics and bigoted urban legends about the lower, middle, and upper class to appear compassionate and involved. As a result, our political process becomes more polarized and more gridocked.

      The art of thinking for oneself seems to be largely lost in our celebrity-smothered society… why use your brain when these allegedly enlightened higher life form famous people can do it for you? That begs the question– does being famous make you better informed, more intelligent, and more trustworthy than others? No, it just makes you more influential.

      It’s a free country; Morelllo can say what he wants. He could have been more diplomatic and shown appreciation for diversity among his fans without compromising his own convictions but that’s his choice. I guess you’re not a real fan unless you disavow the capitalistic societies and paying fans that have allowed these guys so much wealth and success.

  9. Alvin says:

    Honestly, I just found it hilarious because the guitarist for the band he loves pretty much said, “Hey, screw you. You’re the embodiment of everything we dislike.”

    Then I closed the article I found on Reddit and haven’t thought about it since.

  10. Carl Nevels says:

    It would appear that after Mr. Ryan’s pursuit of a NOVELIST as a guiding force in the formation of his opinions and, indeed philosophy, not to speak of the spiritual thrust of that novelist, that anyone is just as entitled to speak on any aspect of the government to which they are a, by virtue of being a citizen, have as much right and gravitas as Mr. Ryan to speak out. Mr. Ryan, though he has some familiar with economics, based upon a “degree,” he clearly does not understand, and it would appear that you do not either, that a citizen of the United States of America, by whatever method he makes the money to support his family or lifestyle is just as qualified, and perhaps even more qualified based upon the democracy of this country. That democracy, evidently means much less to Mr. Ryan and his cohorts in the House and Senate, who have chosen to treat them as serfs and servants, by not recognizing their wishes and seeking to reduce the voice of one group to nothing — women that is — whose voice Mr. Ryan has south to silence in his NEED to codify himself, the 1% he represents and the rest of the old, white men who refuse to recognize the changes within the country toward a place where they become the minority. The fear that they will be treated with the disrespect and abandon of arrogance with which they treat their “employers” — the American Citizen, is hat has led them in this “frenzy” of activity to assure their place in power, aided by the powerfully rich, arrogant billionaires to whom they are “chained.” I was truly offended with this irrefutable arrogance when Mr. Ryan recently brought his mother along to a rally of seniors in a Florida community, so that he could pimp her out as representative of the seniors with no income except Social Security, about which he constant lies, and Medicare, about which he constantly lies — must be the economist in him. His “mom” is no more representative of these seniors as an ant is relevant in size to an elephant. She is a RICH woman, with all due respect, from a family which has through business and inheritances, and marriage in Mr. Ryans case, has an income the general populous of seniors to which he pimped her out, could only dream of such security of income and healthcare options. The real travesty is that Mr. Ryan, along with Mr. Romney HIS VP, attempt to convince people who are even more capable than are they of critical thinking, which they attempt to carve out of the American public education system, the ability to understand through that critical thinking ability and knowledge of economics, sciences, sociology, history and yes, music and literature which give them the ability to recognize immediately this game they are playing, and by the way, I was educated in the Milwaukee Public School system with teachers who were brilliant and dedicated to making citizens of worthwhile standing and ability. Lincoln High School — has many musicians including Al Jarreau and by the way, we were a mixed ethnic group of practically every race and culture who got along very well. And were very happy even though we did not come from the isolated communities of Janesville — so isolated that one of its coddled, misinformed graduates of upper income idiots are still not able to pull the wool over the eyes of a ghetto boy who has education, mother-with and the ability to out think him, let alone kick the ass of the basketball team. I do not now nor have I ever been jealous of the rich, because I have the tools to make my own riches, but I do not now, and never have and never will reduce myself to allowing ANYONE to think for me, based upon their considerations of how much more they are able to debate a question, lies or not. I AM NO FOOL! And the unfortunate thing Mr. Ryan and his cohorts of idiot billionaires have not learned, neither are most of the AMERICANS, and mostly women they think are fools. Get over yourselves and become the “PUBLIC SERVANTS” you claim to be and thank us for allowing you to have a “job” of some substance, or go home and wallow in the uselessness your more than abundant funds bring and try to be satisfied with that while we move along to what God and the forefathers truly believed America represents and is capable of achieving.

    • Alexandra says:

      That’s what we love–someone who is both long-winded AND unintelligible. Rock on, Carl Nevels.

      The blog post was excellent, though, as were many of the comments. Celebrities as economic advisers? As someone shouted to Barbra Streisand as she yammered on and on about something or other in front of an audience that had paid large bills to hear her perform, “Shut up and sing!”

      But yes, in a nation that gets its primary news from Comedy Central and Twitter, maybe a guitarist is the person that a lot of (sigh) voters will turn to for guidance. Sad, pathetic, and grim.

  11. DL says:

    Honestly, I take comments from entertainers as a whole with a bag of salt…

  12. Mike says:

    Do you know Tom Morello? I suggest you watch Bill Moyers interview, It may explain a few things about his reaction to Paul Ryan.

    • Spill Man says:

      I am not surprised by Morello’s response. Even more, I think he has a perfectly valid reason to come out and say as much. What I am worried about is that people who like his music will agree with him just because they like his music. I see a fundamental problem there. Even if you like what his music stands for, it doesn’t mean you have to agree with which candidates he like and dislikes.

  13. madhaus7 says:

    I would agree that it’s alarming when masses get swept up by the opinions of non-experts. I believe this usually stems from the fact most people do not try to educate themselves on the issues so when a charismatic celebrity that these people like speaks out on an issue, the people are more than happy to adopt their ideas as their own because it was easy to adopt their artistic ability. This is obviously not an ideal route for decision making.

  14. John Sheridan says:

    I too agree with omany ther’s comments about Morello’s stance on V.P. candidate, Ryan.

    The truth is Ryan knows more about policies that affect people than Morello, and Morello knows more about how to create guitar vibrations than Ryan.

    The fact that Ryan is “tolerant” of Morello and can enjoy his music, despite being polar opposites in politics, speaks volumes about Ryan’s “tolerance” for diversity.

    Sadly, I see a lot of cruel madness and verbal darts thrown by those on the left who refuse to embrace those who in their hearts and minds prefer “fiscal, conservative politicies” to help us get out of the $ trillions in debt our gov. got America into, and even preserving tradional marriage is considered wholesome by the majority of people. This does not make them bad people. This is a free country.

    On the other hand, I appreciate those who speak up for people who are underprivileged and need a helping hand. Thankfully, America as a whole is the most generous nation in God’s green earth and that is worth celebrating together.

    Personally, I am among those who support “Main Street” and small business over corporations.

    We all have gifts and talents. Wouldn’t it be a BORING WORLD IF ALL OF US WERE MORELLO CLONES? We each contribute someting special!

    John Sheridan
    WA State

  15. mphdavidson says:

    I don’t particularly share Mr. Morello’s political views, but I can appreciate why it’s newsworthy. A person who is willing to dedicate themselves to excellence the way Morello has should be taken seriously when they speak out on a subject. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right, but you can bet they put some serious thought into it, and serious, critical thought should always be worth our attention, if only to keep us honest.

  16. Talaria says:

    I agree that celebrities are given way too much (hot) air time, but I think Morello knows and understands the power of music especially and Paul Ryan does too. Why use music at all in your campaign if you already have a microphone and the media? No doubt, music does have rallying power. If Morello was asked in the first place if his music could be used for political purposes in general and in the Ryan campaign in particular, this backlash would have been avoided. However Morello wasn’t asked about his music being co-opted for a political campaign – and he should just shut up about it? He didn’t ask to be pulled into the political forum. I don’t think it’s fair to criticize him for using the forum to respond.

    • Spill Man says:

      I am not criticizing him for responding (or at least I wasn’t trying to). As I said in my post, he has a microphone and people willing to listen. As such, I think he absolutely should make himself heard. My post was meant for those who are swayed by his statements simply because they like his music. The issue is less about Morello and more about how we, as the audience, react to what he says.

      • Talaria says:

        I agree with you – partially. It is about how we, as the audience, react to what Morello says, but equally so, how we as an audience react to what Ryan says as well because of the use of music. Ryan is neither a musician nor a lyricist yet he’s co-opted Morello’s music to sway an audience. I think we can both agree that the power of music can sway a naive audience whether it be to the message of Ryan or Morello.

        I don’t mean to demonize Ryan by mentioning this – mentioning Hitler in a comparison is so overused and vapid – but it is true that Hitler understood the power of music and architecture to sway the masses (Wagner anyone)?

        But I take your point: people need to put down their iPODs and bring critical thought to the game whether listening to Morello or Ryan or anyone with a microphone – PhD or not.

  17. Bill says:

    “He may be an amazing guitarist. He may even be an educated voter/activist. But it doesn’t mean he is right when he talks about Ryan or his policies. He is not an economist. He doesn’t have a PhD in political science.”

    I can’t tell if you mean to imply that *all* economists and polisci PhDs are “right”, or only that no one who isn’t an economist or a polisci PhD can be “right”. But either position is absurd.

    If neither is what you are trying to say, then why bring them up? Your argument would be better served by the more general point that we should consider a person’s background, education, track record, reputation, intelligence, empathy, experience, common sense, and other factors when deciding whether or not we believe their opinion has weight. Under that broader rubric, your point — that people are dumb if they attend to what Morello writes just because he plays great rock and roll — still stands, yet there would also be room for the possibility that people who listen to him because his words make sense are actually sensible themselves.

    I think one of the assumptions of a working democracy is that, while we shouldn’t blindly accept authority based on fame, it’s even more important that we grant that ordinary citizens — those who aren’t necessarily economists, or polisci PhDs, or even politicians — might be worth listening to, if they know what they are talking about. Morello is smart, he is well educated, and he studies the issues before he opens his mouth. Why would you assume that people only listen to him because of his music?

    • Spill Man says:

      I wasn’t trying to make either of those points. I would concede that by bringing up the economist/PhD, I may have clouded the original purpose of the statement. And while I don’t automatically assume people only listen to him because he is a musician, I recognize (based on experience) that often times people do tend to listen to celebrities simply because they are celebrities. That is what concerns me. I actually had no intention of taking away from what Morello said (even if I disagree with some of his assertions about Ryan), I only meant to caution people from letting another celebrity have too much impact on their own views.

  18. bobosbest says:

    I agree with your blog–who cares what Morello thinks. I am a Democrat, big supporter of our president, but I have an open mind about our political parties. I hope to make my political decisions based on facts and not opinions. Thanks for your blog.

  19. thump says:

    I don’t know about the social part, but Ryan is not a fiscal conservative:

    So if we look at the actual policy proposals, they look like this:

    Spending cuts: $1.7 trillion
    Tax cuts: $4.3 trillion

    This is, then, a plan that would increase the deficit by around $2.6 trillion.

    How, then, does Ryan get to call himself a fiscal hawk? By asserting that he will keep his tax cuts revenue-neutral by broadening the base in ways he refuses to specify, and that he will make further large cuts in spending, in ways he refuses to specify.

    Ryan’s plan is mainly about tax cuts for the very rich and budget cuts for the poor. If you did not know this, then Tom Morello, a musician whose music you say is deeply connected to politics, has taken more time to inform himself than you have, and is eminently entitled to continue using his platform to spread the word.

    • Spill Man says:

      On your first point, I agree that there is argument to be made against labeling Ryan as a conservative or a budget hawk. Generally, these are terms used to describe anyone in Congress that wants to cut spending. These same “budget hawks” point to studies that show tax cuts put money back into the economy, create jobs, and therefore increase revenue. I have taken issue with such an argument before, but I still tend to use the same labels to describe people are they are commonly used. I also happen to think the term “socially conservative” is an oxymoron the way it is publicly used. I guess I could use the phrase “self-proclaimed fiscal conservative.”

      On your second point, I believe that as long as he feels compelled to speak, Morello is entitled to say whatever he wants. I do believe I said in my original post that if he has a venue to speak and an audience to listen, he has every right to make himself heard. I had no intention of intimating that a musician is not entitled to speak his mind.

      • BargainWhine says:

        Hi Spill Man. I’d usually think of a budget hawk as someone who wants to balance spending and revenue, not just cut spending and revenue. If tax cuts stimulated the economy, it should be roaring now, as rates for the wealthy and corporations are at historic lows. But I agree one should be skeptical about how politicians describe themselves, whether as “budget hawk” or as agent of “change we can believe in.”

        On the second point, though, I disagree that one needs to be an economist or have a PhD in political science to have an informed opinion. If Morello has been following events closely for a long time, and presumably talking with a wide range of people as his connections probably allow him to, then he is far more an “expert” than most people. Indeed, in at least the last decade, we have seen a lot of certified experts be totally wrong about some pretty important things.

      • Spill Man says:

        I don’t believe you have be an expert to have an informed opinion. I myself am not an expert, yet post my own opinions on the blog. I never intended this post to be an indictment against Morello for speaking out. He should speak out if he has an audience willing to listen. My only concern is that people need to make sure they are listening to him because he is an informed advocate, and not just because he is a damn good guitar player.

      • BargainWhine says:

        Fair enough. 🙂

  20. artlesspoems says:

    If you think that Mitt Romney is a heartless, dishonest, money-gloved masturbator who will never empathize with the common individual—not because he won’t, but because he can’t—then go to this link, and give me some feedback:

    • Spill Man says:

      Generally, I would prefer if people kept their comments a bit more respectful than “money-gloved masturbator,” but I actually thought your poem in the link was interesting. I did not approve the other comment you offered with the video about Rush. I am not exactly his biggest fan, but the language in the video was something I would prefer to not have posted in my comments (which actually might be hypocritical on my part, since my language is not always 100% free of vulgarity). I realize many people don’t like it when comments are censored, but I will generally approve everything unless its unnecessarily disrespectful or crude. Sorry.

      • artlesspoems says:

        Thank you for taking them both into consideration. And I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to look into the two pieces. Thank you much, Sir.

  21. Norman Cooper says:

    Nice take. I care as much about Morello’s rantings as I do when politicians, like Ryan, try to relate to the younger generation by telling them that they like Rage Against The Machine or some other music act from that generation. For me, it’s disingenuous and doesn’t tell me what’s important…like how he plans to run the country if he and Romney win the election.

    To some of the above comments, what makes one an “expert” and therefore should/shouldn’t weigh in on topics? If you’re well read, feel informed, and have a voice, why shouldn’t you make your opinion heard? Is it because Tom Morello is an artist? Well, if that’s the case, what about a lawyer, a CPA, a plumber, a day care teacher, or the guy who takes your money at the toll station? Are they entitled to voice their opinion or should we just leave it to the guys in the suits, with the slick hair styles, and smooth speech who’ll gladly piss on our necks and tell us it’s raining (I’m referring to both sides of the aisle here)?

    This all reminds of a friend’s experience at a Pearl Jam concert in the late 1990’s. He payed more than $200 for a ticket to listen to Eddie Vedder rant about his political views. “Shut up and play a song!” he screamed.

    • jamieru says:

      Yeah, nothing like trivializing Vedder’s views and putting him into a very small box of being a mere ‘entertainer’. Your friend sounds like a bright guy.

      • Spill Man says:

        Or his friend was upset because he thought he was paying to hear live music instead of a political speech.

      • Norman Cooper says:

        He wasn’t…he paid more than $200 to be entertained by him. I only paid about $14 for the CD. I didn’t need to see him live.

      • jamieru says:

        His ‘friend’ appears to be such a fan of Vedder that he’s never realized that what Vedder does as ‘entertainment’ is closely related to his politics and political grandstanding.

        Besides, everything is politics old boy (the old saying goes, “everything is politics right down to the cost of bread”), there is no mere ‘entertainment’ (besides a culture that just wants to be entertained at all costs and not challenged becomes slovenly and easily contained, but perhaps this is a discussion for another day…).

  22. sheenaeastonwannabe says:

    Great topic.
    For what it is worth, when I buy a movie ticket, album, seat at concert or play or sporting event, in most cases I am not buying it to hear the actor/musician/athlete’s political opinions/religious views, etc. I want to be entertained. End of story. Out of the spotlight, they are entitled to their opinion, as I am mine. If they choose to express their opinions/views in a way I find offensive, I then choose to not see them perform anymore. I think for myself. Unfortunately, our society has devolved into hero and celebrity worship and we have allowed them to sway our opinions way too much. I love RTM but they have no say in the choices I make. As I said, I think for myself.

  23. Since Morello is a Harvard graduate, I would definitely give his opinion some credit. Since Rage Against the Machine have continued in their separate ways, Zach De La Rocha has pursued writing, poetry, and other forms of expression outside of music. I really enjoyed your blog – keep up the good work. I will make sure to visit your page more often.

  24. jamieru says:

    Your entire point here is that we should stay on the actual messages, the ‘meat’ of the politics and what is actually at stake. Kudos I agree, but then, why do you immediately fall into what you claim to despise, mainly a shooting of the messenger at the expense of his message. Morello is saying something here, that has actual factual backing and yet because Morello has said it and is famous, it’s of no real importance to you.

    Rather than railing against the nonsense stories we should just ignore them and dive directly into the debate of the actual topic and hope the precedent we set sets an appropriate example.

    • Spill Man says:

      I did not say the Morello shouldn’t speak his mind. In fact, I said he has every right to be heard. My point is that if people want to listen to him, it should be because he is well informed and intelligent. However, there is a pervasive culture of listening to and agreeing with someone just because of their celebrity. My critique is of the audience, not the messenger. That is not to say everyone will listen and agree because of who he is, but I think we can all agree that there are some people who will.

  25. badtwincam says:

    You make a valid point. The man is intitled to his opinion, as all of us are. What DOES bother me is the fact that many in this country appear to be unable to think on their own without a “celeb” telling them how or what to think (“They won’t like you” if you don’t agree with their views….).

  26. natasiarose says:

    Morello was asked for his opinion and he gave it. It’s interesting bc Ryan and the GOP say that they aren’t the establishment, Ryan tried to show this by choosing this band as his “favorite,” it’s another example of his hypocrisy and that’s why it’s fascinating. It’s not the only issue that has been getting attention, it’s one of many.

  27. Excellent post,this what the American voter needs to know.Romney Ryan are the winning team.11-6-2012 will proves me right.God bless whoever loves America..Jalal Michael

  28. EROSE says:

    Music is constantly used as a tool to advocate politically and to enact social change. This has happened throughout history and across the globe – from South Africa to Russia, and from the U.S. to Iran. Did you know that in Zimbabwe, mbria music and Chimurenga was literally used to organize and implement a revolution that overthrew a neo-colonial regime? Music has the capacity to disseminate ideas in a way that, let’s face it, lawyers and professors lack. Not to mention Ryan’s like of Rage Against the Machine suggests either his blatant hypocrisy or completely ignorance. Of course it’s possible to like the music without supporting the lyrics, but everything about Rage Against the Machine is politicized which makes it hard to disassociate the music from its intended meaning.

  29. Bobby Slick says:

    Tom Morello is awesome, so I think his political views deserve media attention.

    • Spill Man says:

      I agree Morello is awesome. He is definitely in my top five list of the greatest guitar players of all time. And even though we disagree politically on certain things, I applaud his willingness and desire to get involved. I don’t necessarily think his opinion deserves as much attention as it is receiving, but I suppose that is hypocritical considering that I gave it even more attention by posting on the topic.

  30. DaPoet says:

    As both a talented musician and an activist Morello has more credibility than you do as a lawyer which is ZIP!

    • Spill Man says:

      Ouch. I am sorry you feel that way, though I can’t say I blame you. What’s black and brown and looks good on a lawyer? A doberman.

      • J Roycroft says:

        Don’t let DePoet bother you, hell, he gets his panties in a wad when women don’t smile back at him in the grocery store!

      • Spill Man says:

        Hey now, keep it friendly.

      • DaPoet says:

        LOL 🙂 My problems with lawyers is that they are paid to argue one side of an argument for one client and then will argue the exact opposite for their very next client – in other words a lawyer is an individual who talks out of one side of his mouth or the other depending on who’s paying the bill at the moment. Lawyers are amoral and have no actual principles hence IMO no credibility.

        I myself had never heard of Morello until I read about him in an article on the site. That said he does have an audience who will listen to him just as conservatives listen and repeat the soundbites generated by the ignorance mongers of faux news.

      • Spill Man says:

        Well, I certainly can’t speak for all lawyers, but a number of my classmates in law school currently work for non-profit organizations because they are passionate about the particular cause the organization serves. I myself work with local school districts, institutions of higher education, and state educational agencies on issues related to federal grants management. I am always on the same side of things, though I can’t in good conscience say that will always be the case.

        I would like to say that I would only ever work on a position that I could get behind, but I took an oath to represent my clients to the best of my ability without prejudice. Such an oath is only meaningful if I adhere to it in the face of adversity. In the end, I got a law degree because I work in a city filled with lawyers, and everything we do here involves the law in form or another. I can’t claim its the honor or principle of the profession that convinced me to give it a try, but based on my school loans and my salary, it certainly wasn’t the money.

      • DaPoet says:

        LOL Roy you flatter me to no end! 🙂

  31. Prole Center says:

    I don’t know if you will permit me, but here is an educational rant from George Carlin. For those unfamiliar with Morello’s political views, those expressed here by Carlin are probably pretty similar, if not identical

    • Spill Man says:

      While I happen to love Carlin’s stand up, I just told another commenter that I don’t want links to crude content. While Carlin makes valid points, and is funny as always, the language he uses seems to make him fall in that category. I want to be fair, but I also am not comfortable editing other people’s comments, even if it is just to remove a link. That is a slippery slope I don’t want to go down. So from this point on, I will simply delete comments with inappropriate content. However, if anyone would like to view the video Prole Center wanted to post, you go to you tube and search “George Carlin: how does our economic system work.” Sorry about the comment policy, I am not used to this kind of traffic and I am still working out the kinks.

  32. Pingback: Freshly Pressed | Spill Man’s Law

  33. mtinylights says:

    Morello is a pop musician. His job is to say stuff that gets the 13 year old boys all riled up and handing over their cash. I wouldn’t pay him much creedence.

  34. txbridgefarmer says:

    I’m not a typically “political” person. I tend to research the candidates and make decisions based on facts. Unfortunately, a large number of Amercians no longer do this.
    If Morello speaking out against Ryan made people think, “I want to learn more about this guy”, then his statements led to an even greater “effect”. It caused otherwise uninformed individuals to educate themselves. Part of what’s wrong with our country today is the so called laziness that a great deal of Americans have towards politics.
    It’s easier to watch a commercial with half truths and mark a box based on that, rather than see the years of history behind a politicians platform.
    If his statements cause even 100 individuals to research the candidates (any of them) then I believe it was exactly what needed to be said.
    One person said, “focus on the main issues.” perhaps a push from celebrities will cause people to do just that. After all, why is a musicians opinion any less valid than a senators, an authors, a mechanics or any other voter?

  35. Let me just start by saying THE MEDIA IS THE DEVIL! They lie, cheat, misrepresent and control information to put in or out of context as they see fit. They also use peoples celebrity, be it political or otherwise for their own benefit. They don’t care about who said it or what the repercussions might be because they can control that as well if they wish. The more controversy they can create the more money they make so they go out of their way to stir the pot. Next lets please remember this is not a democracy, it’s a republic. People who haven’t been around DC don’t generally understand the broken system. Start by watching the documentary film “Casino Jack, The United States of Money” and then we can discuss how you my lawyer friend can help bring up charges of conspiracy to prevent governmental progress and contempt along with I’m sure an endless list of other formal charges against the most corrupt Congress in the history of the US. We need term limitations on congress. We need to eliminate committees so congressmen actually have to show up on the floor of congress to do their job. Outlaw lobbying and the back door deals that fatten politicians bank accounts. Limit bills to single item agendas and stop clogging up the system with back scratching riders.How do we fix this? For more inside info from DC and a bunch of short stories sure to put a smile on your face please check out Rock and roll will forever outlast the criminal politicians. My kid knows who Led Zeppelin is but doesn’t really know or care about Jimmy Carter or Tom Delay and in my mind that’s just fine!

  36. william wallace says:

    It having very little to do with politics it having much
    to do about use of media /// or at times the misuse
    of media. Politicians having always had the full use
    of mainstream media. With the birth of the internet
    it having opened an door for the common people’s
    in finding their voice as giving a opinion. It may not
    such opinion given right in fact at times it be rather
    rude as of a unjust nature as be Tom against Paul.

    People give vent to feelings /present situation but
    not agaist Paul in particular /but against politics in
    general. People have been let down by politicians
    so badly they paint all politicians the same colour,
    the internet a means venting such disappoinment.

    However one is going to have to make a choice in
    such the coming election & carry on with BARACK
    whom has stripped the people of all rights / where
    even most precious right that to a just trial he has
    removed / removed by a stroke of a pen while the
    nation slept / the media silent to what taking place.

    BARACK’s amongst the worst of presidents taking
    office / having broken every promise having made
    rather than protect the rights of the people he but
    removed the last few rights people having still had.

    The nation needs change it needs BARACK being
    removed from office / his pollicy of dividing people
    is of appalling behaviour it a policy that turning the
    nation upon itself / bringing chaos not compassion
    bringing poverty to millions / dependent on charity.

    Mitt & Paul being a combination that offering hope
    to all the people a hope in uniting the people’s not
    that of division / the hope of employment for many
    Not Abandoned as they have been by BARACK, a
    BARACK whom seeks only personal wealth /power.

  37. wildninja says:

    Spill Man, this was a great conversation starter. It’s also begging for a cameo by another guitar great, Vernon Reid, in Cult of Personality: Nod to The Unapologetic Prophet, above.

  38. Tom says:

    Totally agree with you man! Although if I can make a comment…it definitely seems like Morello’s information is a result of Liberal Media manipulation. People really need to read between the lines and hear all the facts, not just go against an idea because it’s the “cool” thing to do. This election will definitely be important! Thanks for sharing!

  39. zxyqw says:

    I to am a rage and audio slave fan but it never ceases to amaze me how people in the music and movie industry can can do some lame event or donate a little money or paint “the homeless” on their guitar and then think that they are some how mysteriously going to solve the homeless problem or what ever. I personally think they do it because they feel guilty about living the very life style that they claim to detest there by taking the heat off themselves and making themselves the hero and savior of the day. All the while demonizing people like Ryan who probably doesn’t even live the life style Morello does! Hey Tom I hate to break the news to you but when you announce at your concerts that your going to donate the proceeds to to feed the homeless while I admit is admirable, no one really gives a shit they just want to hear you roll into bulls on parade again!

  40. william wallace says:

    The realty for all is that we are one family black / white / it
    makes no differ we are but brothers sisters one big family.

    The purpose of the universe / planet Earth is that it sustain
    the human form /that via heart brain there being a ongoing
    development in understanding / experience of the essence
    of creation / thus the purpose of life being fully understood.

    There be a point where the external material understanding
    reaching its limit // thus one need take the final stage of the
    journey / an final stage that achieved by turning the senses
    inward that via meditation one brings a unfolding of spiritual
    self. Not of ideas /not of beliefs not a heaven or a paradise
    that be beyond the clouds but that of very practical spiritual
    experience /granting clarity that answering one’s questions
    questions each soul in millions of years / longed answered.

    People may say Well Thats Simple ( not so ) the problem
    turning one’s senses inward (seemingly the hardest task)
    the attraction to the material being so very very powerful.
    For humans to survive it had to be / material identity had
    to be powerful as sex had to be potent /as potent it being.

    Yet it be the purpose of it all is that in time via brain heart
    the development of understanding / experience such that
    one would be prepared for the final stage / that of turning
    the senses inward /to experience the essence of creation
    not as the experiece being diluted as one experiences in
    the material realm but experience so very stong in nature
    that in such experience / all ones questions be answered.

    There’s much to explain as there being much that as yet
    can’t be imparted /humanity not ready for such depth of
    knowledge. Individuals at (many stages of development)
    yet many approaching the final stage where it being via
    Via meditation the ultimate goal of creation / understood.

    Throughout the history of humanity there being spiritual
    teachers / amongst all be the “Teacher of Teachers” at
    the present the “Teacher of Teachers” is Prem Rawat..
    having dedicated his life in aid of those whom reaching
    the stage of meditation a guide on such their vital stage
    in learning spiritual experience. One need understand
    one not given anything / one but uncovering that which
    having always been there /the unopened gift of all gifts.

    On ones PC search put ( words of peace ) or ( words
    of peace global ). On site a selection of videos which
    Prem / talks / explaining of meditation / of ones need
    to turn the senses inward of ones need fulfil the final
    stage of ones learning in understanding / experience
    one can prepare for final stage through Prem’s word
    if one prepared in turning unto meditation then Prem
    will give the guidence one need as then one requires.

    PS / I should add the focus of one upon the material
    is strong via meditation ones weaned off material unto
    the spiritual / yet meditation must be practised daily it
    must be constant to begin / thus one need be patient
    and give the hour a day to begin / in time you will not
    need reming yourself to meditate it being as become
    the highlight of your life. At such stage then you must
    balance the material as spiritual /thus you can funtion
    in the material / yet enjoy knowledge of the spiritual…
    such balance betwixt material as spiritual is important.
    One can’t just discard their material identity / balance
    is required /thus one need be respectful to oneself as
    respectful / unto all others at whatever stage in being.

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