You go, dentures!

Some guy on the radio is telling me that he and some unspecified others are not going to sit in silence, they're not going to live in fear. How long is that song going to infest the airwaves? I find it unsettling when the bagpipes kick in and it becomes clear that this is some Anglo-Saxon call to battle, but to battle what? Silence and fear? What does it mean to battle silence and fear? Where? To what end? To whose benefit, aside from filling the trenchcoat pockets of that singer? Do I battle silence whenever I order a beer or phone out for Thai food? Do I battle fear when I steal someone's place in a queue? If that guy's not going to make it clear, I'm just going to fight my battles wherever I can.

I can't even remember when that song came out. It must have appeared somewhere around '89-'91, when pop music really became infected by that messianic strain of power ballad, with Elton John professing his Belief In Love and Michael Jackson using a lot of dry ice to perform his Earth Song. Remember when protest songs protested something specific? When singers took a few syllables out of their verses to drop some choice names or places? I wonder if it's possible to trace the mutation of the pop protest song into the Affirmation Song? If I had to pick a watershed ("Oooh, I think I'll take that nice watershed with the recling chairs and the rotating jets") for the shift from genuine protest to airy encouragement, I'd vote for Band Aid. You know something's wrong when the short answer to "Do They Know It's Christmas" is "Yes, Mr. Geldof und Freunden, European colonial powers not only fractured a number of self-organized African societies into unstable but politically malleably nation-states, they also introduced traditional Christian holidays, so yeah, they know it's Christmas, you condescending gang of fucks". Neal Ascheron mentions in a recent article in the New York Review of Books that we seem to need the horror and degradation of Africa to fuel our ever-diminishing stores of shock and compassion. We don't need to take action; we just need its resonant call. As for the American version of Band Aid, "We Are The World" was probably guilty of pushing Michael Jackson over into the abyss of insanity.

Now Lisa Stansfield is telling me that she's been around the world and she, she, she can't find her baby. Worse, it's a live performance and people are applauding. Who applauds that kind of crap? Why not go out and applaud road pylons or sun-faded For Sale notices on hardware store windows? Why not applaud a snappy tweed skirt and matching blouse? Why not go wild with hooting and cheering for a set of dentures in a ditch?

Right then. I'm off to find some false teeth I can really put my faith in.