Charlie Don’t Surf: The Clash Protest Imperialism

1986 words - 8 pages

By definition, imperialism is extending a country’s power and influence through diplomacy or military force. That ideology is best exemplified by the Vietnam War because the United States invaded North Vietnam to prevent the dissemination of Communism into South Vietnam, which is ultimately an attempt at exuding power and influence by using military force. The Clash recognized the homogeneity between the American imperialism of the Vietnam war and the forced Westernization of the non-Western world, particularly third world nations; thusly, the band chose the Vietnam War as a backdrop for “Charlie Don’t Surf” because of it’s relevance to American culture at the time. The Clash released the album Sandinista! in 1980; this album is home to the highly overlooked song “Charlie Don’t Surf.” The intent of this paper is to analyze the song “Charlie Don’t Surf” and examine it’s use of historical and cultural components to protest imperialism forced upon third world countries by the United States. This paper will specifically analyze The Clash’s emergence from a tumultuous political climate as well as the decision to title the album Sandinista!. Musical composition and lyrical structure aids in demonstrating the protest of imperialism upon multiple levels and distinguishes the link between the “Charlie Don’t Surf” and a similar scene in the film Apocalypse Now.
Emerging from England’s punk rock scene in 1977, The Clash morphed from traditional punk beginnings into the new wave movement. Described as “a more genuine, radical, proletarian,” sector of the punk genre, it was evident the band was destined to transcend musical boundaries.1 The Clash’s trademark idiosyncrasy is their layering of cultural remarks with historical relevancy throughout their songs. This technique is executed with such perfection, each song is not only musically rich, but lyrically intense. Sandinista! shows no exception. The album “rails against social and political inequities” while still providing evidence the band is just as skillful as they are adaptable2. The infusion of rap, reggae, jazz, rock, folk, and dub within the Sandinista! provides a culturally sophisticated sound. The response to the album in England was mediocre at best because the use of several different styles of music frightened the British. Not only did the album protest against social and political injustice in England, it also declaimed against unfairness in other countries. For this reason, Sandinista! was deemed too globally conscious for it to be a hit in Britain, solidifying the band’s decision to announce they were “anti-ignorance.”3
During the launch of Sandinista! England was in the midst of a “social, cultural, and political counter-revolution” effectively tearing apart British morale.4 With the election of Margaret Thatcher came record breaking layoffs, failing public sector industries, distinguished British companies were nearly bankrupt; this catastrophe was coined as the “deindustrialization of...

Find Another Essay On Charlie Don’t Surf: The Clash Protest Imperialism

Flowers For Algernon Essay

1375 words - 6 pages learns important life lesson throughout his journey. He learns an important lesson from his nurse (Hilda). Before the operation, Hilda tells Charlie about Nemur and Straus tampering with something they should not. Charlie says, "She (Hilda) says mabey I better prey to god to ask him to forgive what they done to me…And now Im skared. Mabey I shoudnt of let them oparate on my branes like she said if its agenst god. I don’t want to make god angrey

Charlie Gordon in Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keye

734 words - 3 pages Gordon” (Keyes, 23), this is being said to the new employee when he makes a delivery error. This statement reveals that Gimpy is inconsiderate because he is making fun of a delayed human being who considers gimpy his best friend. As he realizes that they weren't his friends, so ends their friendship. The first book Charlie reads after his surgery (Robinson Crusoe) foreshadows a clash that he will encounter with his friendship. Charlie interprets the

Treatment of Charlie after his Operation in Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon

1779 words - 7 pages . Charlie sudden intelligence makes it so that he can look down on them. Frank expands on this: “You come pushing in here with your ideas and suggestions and make the rest of us all look like a bunch of dopes. But I’ll tell you something. To me you’re still a moron. Maybe I don’t understand some of them big words or the names of the books, but I’m as good as you are – better even” (Keyes 106). Although Charlie had never claimed to be better than

Dead Poet Society Write UP

1662 words - 7 pages .” “You’re right Charlie... er Nwanda... you don’t still go by that do you?” Todd chuckled, remember the time when Charlie made them all call him Nwanda. “I don’t,” Charlie laughed, “But if you want to call me that, then it’s fine with me.” The three all chuckled at the fond memory, then went to a bar in downtown London to share a drink or two. “So, Knox, fill us in on the last seventeen years!” Todd told his old friend. “Well, let’s see


952 words - 4 pages not understand why the experiment must be kept a secret but as the novel progresses Charlie realizes the experiment was not conducted properly and ends up failing. “I don’t reely understand why I got to keep it a seecrit. Burt says its in case theirs a faleure Prof neumur don’t want everybody to laff espeshully the pepul from the Welberg foundashun who gave him the money for the project”(Keys 20). Charlie believes the only thing Nemur is worried

Charlie: A prisoner of the Cave

1205 words - 5 pages ; they are an exaggerated version of the actual person or self. What they see is a false image, but they believe it is true because it is what they have always seen. Likewise, Charlie can only see a false, untrue image; thus, he cannot comprehend their deeper meaning. Charlie writes in his journal before the surgery, “He really pulled a Charlie Gordon that time. I don’t know why they say it but they always laff and I laff too” (Keyes 23). Because

Rain Main

1022 words - 4 pages extensive routine which he follows daily from the times of television shows he watches, to bed times, to food he eats, to the exact arrangement of his room. Anything interfering with this exact routine makes Raymond extremely nervous. He also has trouble making decisions with the repeated line “I don’t know.” Though Charlie first thinks Raymond to be stupid, retarded, and a complete idiot, he later finds Raymond to be an utter genius with numbers

charlie chaplin

943 words - 4 pages American citizen. Moreover, due to the false rumors that Chaplin was a communist or communist sympathizer, as well as an organized protest by various unions resulting in theaters refusing to show his films. Charlie took a vacation to England, wanting to show his new wife and children his native country. Upon leaving the territorial waters of the United States of America, Charlie Chaplin received a cable, informing him that the State Department

The Struggles of High School in the Book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

798 words - 4 pages of the book the secret about Aunt Helen is revealed. With Charlie going through so much his freshman year he make the realization that “you don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from here.” “We except the love we think we deserve.” This quote is significant because it is absolutely true. Most people settle and don’t think that they deserve as much love as they actually do. People need to realize that

Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower

1505 words - 6 pages breakup with Craig, Charlie responds by repeating the above quote. Sam immediately reacts by saying: Charlie, don’t you get it? I can’t feel that. It’s sweet and everything, but it’s like you’re not even there sometimes. It’s great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn’t need a shoulder. What if they need the arms? You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that

Big Lights Big City

2120 words - 9 pages enjoy this time of year?” asked Elizabeth. “Never. I hate Christmas so much it makes me sick.” said Charlie. “Well why? Christmas is the time to be with your family and enjoy life.” “I have no one to celebrate with. I am only child and my parents are always working. They don’t come home until late Christmas Eve night. I am always alone.” “Don’t you have any family to celebrate with?” Charlie shook his head. He put his head down and didn’t say

Similar Essays

What It Is Like To Be A Wallflower

987 words - 4 pages A wallflower is someone who prefers to be on the outside of the crowd; someone who hears, sees, and understands things that nobody else does. Stephen Chbosky writes a powerful and intriguing novel showing that “… even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.” (Chbosky 211). The Perks of Being a Wallflower, published in1999

Charlie's Love Affair Essay

1125 words - 5 pages state of mind. Charlie knows he will lose Alice Kinnian; the love of his life. Charlie realizes that Fay has been nothing, but meaningless sex. As to Alice, she has been there for Charlie emotionally, physically and even financially. Charlie opposes to losing Alice, but he knows that he has to let go, “just leave me alone. I’m not myself. I’m falling apart, and I don’t want you here” (Keyes 300). Charlie is forced to go to the Warren State Home

Opening One's Heart In Daniel Keye´S Novel: Flower´S For Algernon

641 words - 3 pages in problem-solving abilities led Charlie to discover the “Algernon-Gordon Effect”. The “Algernon-Gordon Effect” is a term used to describe the vanishing of intelligence and returning to one’s original state (Keyes). After the “Algernon-Gordon Effect” had taken its full toll on Charlie, Charlie reflects on the intelligent period of his life by saying, “He looks different and walks different but I don’t think it’s me because it’s like I see him

Rainman Essay

991 words - 4 pages the first place but why if he used to care and look after him? This is a real turning point in the film because the brother’s love shows from now on. Charlie starts to care for Ra more now and is not interested in the money anymore he just wants to be with his brother. Charlie teaches Ray how to dance and while doing this he gets to touch Ray very softly, this is a very special moment in their relationships, as people with autism don’t let