Monday, December 29, 2008

Peter, Paul, Mary, and Rush Limbaugh

Democrats Dancing to Rush Limbaugh

In Defense of Barack the Magic Negro
by Michael Dare

Republicans are being raked over the coals for a CD called We Hate the USA, which, like Team America, lampoons liberals with such songs as John Edwards' Poverty Tour, Wright Place, Wrong Pastor, Love Client #9, Ivory and Ebony, The Star Spanglish Banner, and the song that's caused the greatest stir, Barack, the Magic Negro (written by Paul Shanklin). As usual, the entire concept of satire is at stake.

Peter Yarrow, who wrote Puff, the Magic Dragon, the song satirized in Barack, the Magic Negro, says "What might have been wearily accepted as 'the way it was' in the campaign, is now unacceptable. Obama is not a candidate. He is the President-Elect, and this song insults the office of the Presidency, the people who voted for him, as well as those who did not -- and taking a children's song and twisting it in such vulgar, mean-spirited way, is a slur to our entire country and our common agreement to move beyond racism."

Oh really? I can't use a children's song to make fun of the president? A gracious but heartfelt fuck you. I'll use Frère Jacques and Brahms' Lullaby to make fun of the president if I want to, and there's nothing Peter Yarrow, Brahms, or the legal representatives of the Jacques estate can do about it. To rise above mere parody, satire has to be making a point about society in general, which includes absolutely everything, including Puff, the Magic Dragon and Barack Obama. There have been dozens if not hundreds of parodies of Puff, the Magic Dragon over the years, including Buff, the Horny Dragon and Puff, the Magic Tampon. If Puff, the Magic Dragon is good enough to make fun of lesbians and hippies, then why isn't it good enough to make fun of Obama? It's not racist to make fun of the president just because the president is now half-black and they happened to parody a song by Peter, Paul, and Mary. If that were true, nobody could make fun of Obama at all for the next 4-8 years without fear of appearing racist. Fuck that. I sure as hell intend on making fun of Obama, not because he's black, but because he's president.

Nobody seems to have actually listened to the songs which, if sung on South Park or SNL might seem suitably satirical, irreverent, and "commentary" on racism, not racism itself. I withhold judgment on the song Barack the Magic Negro until I hear it. Unlike some people who put down Michael Moore movies without bothering to see them, I like to decide for myself.

Hell if I'm going to contribute to any Republican Committees to get my copy of the official CD, so off I slipped to Pirate Bay looking for the bittorrent. No hits on Barack the Magic Negro.

Okay, the big guns, FrostWire, a new version of LimeWire that works pretty damn well. Up it pops, and what a surprise.

The file is called "Rush Limbaugh Parody- Al Sharpton - 'Barack the Magic Negro'.mp3." Yep, Limbaugh's behind this mess, and far be it from me to defend such a self-righteous scumbag, but the song is worth a listen before any knee-jerk condemnation.

In it, Al Sharpton sings, "The guy from the LA paper said he made guilty whites feel good. They'll vote for him and not for me cause he's not from the hood." Pretty sharp satire, actually. Al calls Obama an "interloper's dream," and it becomes clear this is a satire of AL SHARPTON, not Obama, and totally on the money. If SNL or Bill Maher had impersonated Al Sharpton doing this song, everyone would have laughed their asses off, especially when Al forgets what song he's singing, complains about the lack of buffets, and can't think of anything else bad to say about Obama except "Yo mama is so fat" jokes. Bad taste? You bet. Racist? Gimme a break.

Could all the songs on the CD be like this? I decide to check out one more. I'm so far on the left of the immigration problem, I think we should give California and Texas back to Mexico, so The Star Spanglish Banner looks like it might be up my alley. Off to Frostwire again. I download the file. It's a virus. Damn those Mexicans.

In conclusion, it's only the fact these songs are being distributed by Republicans that has everyone off their rocker. Far be it from me to defend Republicans, but they've got the same satirical rights as anyone else, Al Sharpton deserves it, and nobody should be called racist simply by finding Barack the Magic Negro funny. I'm not and I did.

NEW RULE: If the fact that Obama is black puts black humor off the radar, let the fact that Obama is only half black put black humor only half off the radar.


  1. Being a Tennessean, I dislike a pointedly racial satirical song sent out as a Christmas gift by one of my representatives. It might be a clever piece, but at this time of such overwhelming serious issues facing our country it smacks of stupidity to think anyone but a racist will find it funny. Read the lyrics.

  2. I defend free speech in every way I can. Something has to incite violent action before I will decry it. This doesn't.

    But fuck, oh fuck, that singer is crap. Not the sweet voices of the original saccharine garbage, but just crap. It's like listening to a chainsaw taking your arm off. It's painful.

  3. I'm curious. Did Yarrow actually say such satire should be banned? "Unacceptable" is an "unacceptable" substitute, and not a synonym. If he did: point made. If he didn't, you're point has the consistency of what drops out of the most southward portal of a moose going north.

    As far as the sickly sweetness that one poster, yeah PPM can be that from time to time, especially after "Reunion," but give me that post strained elderly vocal harmonies anytime over some of the more slick vomit drenched in cliched pedal steel Music Row puts out. Talk about something being stupidly sweet and banal. That stuff will give your brain cavities.

  4. I agree, nothing wrong with using a parody of "Puff" to criticize our leaders. I wrote this in 2002 and wish I had means to record it:

    Bush’s Magic Tax Cut
    (Sung to the tune of Puff the Magic Dragon)

    Bush’s Magic Tax Cut lives in DC
    And funnels through our pocketbooks an oil subsidy.
    Texaco and Enron loved that rascal Bush,
    They filled his PACS
    With money sacks
    That came up to his tush!

    Bush’s Magic Tax Cut lives in DC
    And funnels through our pocketbooks an oil subsidy.
    Bush’s Magic Tax Cut lives in DC
    And funnels through our pocketbooks an oil subsidy.

    Together they would travel on a golden-gilded plane.
    Enron kept a lookout for a new Alaskan vein.
    Spotted owls and sea lions accept their darker fate,
    And Greenpeace ships would lower their flags
    When Bush roared out “MANDATE!”


    One gray day it happened, Jimmy Jeffords came no more.
    And Bush’s mighty mandate, it ceased its fearless roar.
    His head was bent in sorrow, his party was in shame.
    Bush no longer liked to play the legislative game.
    Without his Vermont friend, Bush could not dictate.
    But Bush’s Magic Tax Cut passed before it was too late!


  5. Michael:

    Don't miss: "RUSH THE MAGIC LIMBAUGH," my YouTube entry on the subject.

    All best,

  6. Well lets try to remember why Rush was fired from sportscasting at ESPN. RACISM
    This kind of garbage exemplifies the base, crude, and ignorant humor that Rush peddles. Though I recoil from notions of censorship, I am dismayed that so many people that trumpet their pride as "American" buy into this filth.

    Aside from its poor taste, that album attempts to distract us in America from how messed up things really are, and perhaps more pointedly that it was the "Conservative" Rush & friends that have brought us there.