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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Meanwhile, in the convention hall

As I type this, the sound system from the GOP convention floor is cranked up all the way, playing Heart's galloping mega-hit from 1977 (my college graduation year, yay!)  — "Barracuda."

All of the GOP delegates are transported with enthusiasm. This is classic rock and roll, but this is not your daddy's Republican Party. They're singing along with the Wilson sisters' harmonies, but kind of vague on the lyrics, except for the end of each verse, when they lip-sync along along: "Bar-ah-COO-dah!"

If you read the actual lyrics though, this clearly is a song to be sung by Barack Obama. He's just realized that he's about to be ambushed from the weeds by the Barracuda, and forced to his knees. Not long ago, he and "the porpoise" (Joe Biden, pre-hair plugs) were just "Selling a song," with "no right, no wrong" — just playing "a whisper game" involving a "name." This is clearly a reference to the "McSame" meme on which they were relying so much. And "sell me, sell you," the porpoise and the singer croon to each other in close harmony. Oh, yeah: It's about Obama and Biden, all right.

But the singer has to dive down deep to save his head, presumably from the Barracuda, which gives both him and the porpoise the blues. Sounds about right: I suspect last night, Obama's head felt like it was ready to explode as those zingers landed. Then they tried to flee by swimming "all that night and all the next" (clearly referring to Wednesday night's speech by Palin and tonight's by McCain) to the "western pools," but the singer recognizes they were "silly fools" to do that — Alaska being our western-most non-island state, with our longest shoreline and pools aplenty.

Finally, unless the "real thing" is a veiled reference to Coca-Cola, I suspect the lines about that, and burning "it" (i.e., their chances) down to the wick, are the singer addressing the porpoise again, rather than the Barracuda. The singer wants the supposedly older and wiser porpoise to "make up something quick" if the porpose's own limited powers of speech and debate can't carry the day in a verbal duel with the Barracuda. In which event, the repeated and final line, "Ooooh, barracuda" becomes understandable as a lament, a warning, sung by ... chum.

And to think just how many times I've listened to this song over the last thirty years without realizing how profound it would become! And the background in this video (from back when the Wilson sisters were both incredibly hot) shows that, yes, it's patriotic!

[Edit: I've deleted the You-Tube video I had originally embedded at this point in this post. Apparently, having now gotten old and cranky and (in Ann's case) fat, the liberal Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, regret having written their prescient song about Sarah Palin and the Obama-Biden ticket back in 1977, and they've proven themselves to be humorless twits, with their knickers (doubtless old-lady polyester ones now) all bunched up in a copyright-enforcement twist (h/t Snapped Shot). In my humble legal opinion, having failed to send take-down notices for any of the dozen or more versions of this song available on You-Tube for many months and maybe longer, they've long since waived their rights to object now. But the irony is that in all probability, Sarah Palin's poplularity is going to be responsible for Heart's current CD/download sales of this old classic song probably doubling or tripling in the near term. Morally and equitably, if not legally, they ought to be sharing revenue with her! As for my references to their lyrics in this post, they are certainly "fair use" for a non-revenue-producing politically oriented website like mine. They stay, because the song is clearly about Palin, Obama, and Biden! — Beldar, Fri Sep 5 @ 11:15am.]

These GOP delegates are not a-skeered anymore about the notion of their Veep nominee debating Joe Biden, or Barack Obama for that matter. No, indeed, they're ready to start the pre-debate tail-gate party. Right now. Bring it, Slow Joe!

Many of us didn't even know how politically comatose we were. This is like being brought back from a long period of drugged unconsciousness, only to find out that while we were asleep, we all won the lottery! Pardon us if we feel a little bit giddy.

Ooooooooh, Sarah-Bara-COO-dah!

[Further update: The RNC says it "paid for and obtained" all necessary licenses. Re-reading the Wilson sisters' notice, it appears they are asserting only a "taste" objection, as in "We don't like Republicans and it makes us feel icky if they use our music." Sorry, sisters, but if that's all you got, you got nothin'. Rock on, Sarah Barracuda! — Beldar, Fri Sep 5 @ 7:00pm.]

Posted by Beldar at 07:24 PM in 2008 Election, McCain, Music/Arts, Obama, Palin, Politics (2008) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Meanwhile, in the convention hall and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» http://soccerdad.baltiblogs.com/archives/2008/09/07/.html from Soccer Dad

Tracked on Sep 7, 2008 6:28:33 AM


(1) arb made the following comment | Sep 4, 2008 8:13:26 PM | Permalink

And in honor of Todd Palin ("We met in high school, and two decades and five children later he's still my guy."), more Heart:

"Cold, late night so long ago
when I was not so strong you know
A pretty man came to me
I never seen eyes so blue
You know, I could not run away it seemed
we'd seen each other in a dream
Seemed like he knew me....he looked right through me....yeah"

(2) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Sep 4, 2008 8:15:39 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: You graduated from college at 20? I'm impressed. No wonder I can barely keep up with your posts these days...

I'm glad you are optimistic and enthused about McC-P. Last night's performance by P gave good grounds for being so. Good thing, because the spread between the Obama-McC contracts at Intrade hasn't budged, still nineteen points. If Soros is manipulating it, it's costing him. Here's hoping...

Let me discuss "executive experience" which has been tossed about a great deal. What is it? It's the notion that being a mayor/governor/CEO is really being a Prez in miniature. There are obvious differences, but also many similarities. Let me focus on one important facet: budget making.

In the ideal world, making a budget is easy: everyone tells you what they want, and you give them a check. Excuse me, Mr. Obama, didn't mean to bump into you. I'm leaving now...Whew, that ideal world always makes me dizzy...In the real world, people have to be disappointed. The word, "No," gets tossed around a lot. This is a big test of an executive, because many times "No" gets said to projects that are worthy all by themselves, but don't work in the overall picture. Easy enough to tell your enemies "No," though even enemies have projects worth doing. The greater test is saying no to allies, and retaining their support. Franklin Roosevelt was a past master at that craft. It's something Joe Biden has never done, and Obama only to the extent he heaved out grants as chair of the Annenberg Challenge. Not surprisingly, the press has fallen asleep in examining this record, or at least mum. Examining the Annenberg record would be instructive. What about Palin's?

About Palin's tenure as mayor, I can tell you nothing except that she was the officer responsible for preparing a budget. But as governor, her record is less impressive than it might be, through no fault of hers. In her tenure, Alaska has been rolling in dough, thanks to the rise in oil prices, and the percentage take Alaska gets. Flush budgets are not the best test for an executive. See e.g. Billyboy, second term, 1997-2001, one of the flushest times in American history. Compare that to the performance at home and abroad. At home: Monica. Abroad: Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein buying up the UN etc etc etc.

So Palin's tenure as gov is not the most severe. But she has gone through it, in conspicuous contrast to The One and Hairplugs. Too, her capacity to say no is not in doubt, as all the broken teeth Frank Murkowski sports show. Can she say no without being a barracuda? We don't know. I wish we did.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(3) Christoph made the following comment | Sep 4, 2008 10:51:40 PM | Permalink

McCain drove that sucker home like Ron Jeremy after a day off!

(4) ThomasD made the following comment | Sep 4, 2008 11:21:33 PM | Permalink

Actually, according to the Wilson sisters, the song is about a sleazy music promoter who told one of them they would be big because of 'her face and your ass.'

So, as an anti-sexism polemic, it kinda works.

(5) JPSobel made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 12:06:22 AM | Permalink

The Wilson sisters have apparently already sent a cease and desist letter to the GOP.

Enlighten us. Why is it that a political campaign cannot use a legally purchased, copyrighted song without permission at a rally? It is a one-n-done playing of the song (as opposed its use in a television campaign commerical which is a recording with its own copyrights.)

If I owed a bar and was playing a CD of Heart through the bar's audio system, would I be committing a similiar violation of copyright laws?

(6) Christoph made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 12:19:59 AM | Permalink

JPSobel, because that license is for private broadcast, not public broadcast.

It was broadcast to tens of thousands of convention attendees and upwards of 30,000,000 TV viewers.

A $19.99 CD doesn't pay for that.

"If I owed a bar and was playing a CD of Heart through the bar's audio system, would I be committing a similiar violation of copyright laws?"

Yes. But by not broadcasting it to millions of people, you'd be less likely to get caught.

(7) Christoph made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 12:28:21 AM | Permalink

Actually, JPSobel, I was right in my first statement, but wrong in my second. You may not need to pay a licensing fee depending on whether you charge admission, how many speakers you have in each room, and how many square feet your business is.

You might find this interesting, not only for your situation, but also for the reasoning why McCain should properly have sought permission, which, by the way, could have been denied.

I'm tempted to blockquote it, but it's such a short and well written article, you should probably just read it.

(8) JPSobel made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 1:51:23 AM | Permalink

Thanks for the information. For the record, I do not own or operate any establishment that would play music for patrons or guests. My inquiries were purely academic.

My interest has been piqued by the recent conflicts between copyrights and the rapidly evolving media. Included among these are: musical artists vs the GOP, the NFL vs. churches, and Prince vs the dancing kid on YouTube.

The legal system will need to spend a few years sorting through these issues. At least it will keep lawyers off the streets

(9) sac made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 9:50:10 AM | Permalink

Actually, I beleive the song was written (at least according to the VH-1 Behind the Scenes documentary about Heart) after a sleazy promoter implied in a comment to Ann that Wilson's were incestual lesbian lovers.

The face and ass comments were made during the 80's in response to the fact that Ann Wilson's weight gain had the potential to jeopardize the bands resurgence.

(10) arb made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 11:07:41 AM | Permalink


(11) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 11:41:04 AM | Permalink

Mr. Koster: 19, actually, but as they say with stocks, "Past success is no guarantee of future performance."

Thomas D and sac and arb: They're entitled to their interpretation, and they own the copyright, but I insist that whether they knew it or not, they were writing about Palin, Obama, and Biden. That's what the Cosmic Spirit of the Universe whispers in my ear, and to hell with them. If they claim anything else, keep in mind that they're just money-grubbing intellectual property right owners (practically fascists!) after the song is released.

(12) arb made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 11:55:34 AM | Permalink

Beldar, when you graduated from college at 19, I was 20, and playing music by Heart, and other money-grubbing intellectual property right owners, on the radio.

And I might have also had a paper route. :-}

(13) Narniaman made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 12:42:39 PM | Permalink

I'm giving away my age here, but. . . . .

About the same thing happened at the Republican convention in 1964. There was some group that sang "Hello Barry" -- a takeoff on the hugely successful broadway musical of the same name starring Carol Channing, "Hello Dolly".

If I recall rightly, they were immediately served with a cease and desist letter. It seemed the "Hello Dolly" crew wanted that song reserved for the renown President Lyndon Baines Johnson, war hero (Silver Star for flying in an airplane in WW II) and television station owner.

And a few weeks later apparently Lyndon was greeted at the Democratic national convention with "Hello Lyndon".

(14) A.W. made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 1:49:45 PM | Permalink

btw, got the best political shirt for my mom on her birthday. It shows "Rosie the Riverter" and says "strong women vote for Palin-McCain." Yep, with Palin first.

I'll let you know how she responds to it.

This is really exciting, because this is a woman who could actually deserve being president, unlike Hildog.

(15) Jim Hu made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 6:08:40 PM | Permalink

The WSJ has an update claiming that the McCain campaign says they got the rights prior to the performance. Haven't seen a second source on this, though.

Also, your update timestamp is a month off - time flies when you're having fun!

(16) seaPea made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 6:37:50 PM | Permalink

So they are OK with Rush using one of their songs but not McCain? I don't think so, sounds more like that some nitwit at the production company did the c-and-d letter.

(17) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 6:55:37 PM | Permalink

Mr. Hu, that's just me having a senior moment on the date; duly fixed. But thanks for that link!

(18) JB made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 8:01:46 PM | Permalink

"So they are OK with Rush using one of their songs but not McCain? I don't think so, sounds more like that some nitwit at the production company did the c-and-d letter."

Rush uses The Pretenders, not Heart.

(19) Mark L made the following comment | Sep 5, 2008 9:32:42 PM | Permalink

Also, Rush got the rights to use "My City Was Gone" before Rush got famous. Hynde really hates the fact that her tune is so closely associated with Limbaugh. If it were possible, would rescind the rights, despite the loss of royalties.

It's possible that the RNC got the rights to use "Barracuda" without the artists realizing it, and this hissy-fit is just that -- a meaningless hissy-fit.

Maybe they should switch to The New Girl In School.

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