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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Newman abridge-meant...

Randy Newman is one of a kind, and his music often has to be listened to in private. As one online reviewer put it, he is not quite "politically correct," and the latest offering -- a single release entitled "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" -- has proved to be a bit more than many folks can take.

No "bad words" or lewd suggestions -- just outrageous political commentary packaged as down home, street-wise reflections on the current administration. As the opening comments by Newman on the YouTube video version indicate, the premise of the tune is to counter international criticism of the US by comparing our current leadership with the most despicable leaders of Europe's past -- the Caesars, Hitler, Stalin, King Leopold, et al. But the twist comes in the comparison, and the lyrics do the Newman twist that has its desired impacts.

This song is not quite as brilliant as some of his past efforts. To me "Political Science" (another version) captures the gut-level American attitude during the Cold War; and there is no better indictment of Northern hypocrisy in race relations than his "Rednecks"). But still, pretty effective.

What is interesting about the reaction to "Few Words" is that those sites that post song lyrics have done so in "abridged" form (most copying from The New York Times op-ed version). Now abridgment is typically reserved for those instances when a work is too long for the media format -- Reader's Digest abridges long articles and stories, books-on-tape issues abridged readings. But in this case abridgment is a euphemism for censorship -- which makes me wonder why they even bothered.
A special stanza on the Supreme Court seems to be the part missing from the abridgments, which makes one wonder...

For the full lyrics, go here.

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Comments on "Newman abridge-meant..."


Blogger meditations71 said ... (6:20 PM) : 

Got a sharp wit, that Randy Newman. I must've been educated in all the wrong places, though. Considering Newman's "college men from LSU, went in dumb, come out dumb too" in Rednecks and Ned Flanders' (in)famous "Looks like heaven's easier to get into than Arizona State"...!


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