The Story Remains The Same Essay

2178 words - 9 pages

The Story Remains The SameAre you believing the morning papers? War is coming back in style! There's generals here, advisors there, and Russians nibbling everywhere, the chessboard's filling up with red, we make more profits when we blow off their heads! Economy is looking bad let's start another war! When ya get drafted! Fan the fires of racist hatred we want total war! When ya get drafted! Drooling fingers panic buttons, playing with missiles like they're toys, there's easy money, easy jobs especially when you build the bombs that blow big cities off the map just guess who profits when we build 'em back up! (Biafra When ya get Drafted)This lyric from the Dead Kennedys song "When ya get Drafted" is an example of what this groundbreaking punk band stands for politically. The band's aggressive music and powerful lyrics shows them to be more than "The Foul Mouthed Yobs," punk rockers used to be described as (Miller 330). "When ya get Drafted" is merely one example of the political messages that fill not only their music, but every aspect of their public persona. Dead Kennedys are the most significant politically charged punk rock band due to the bands use of sarcasm and cynicism, their employment of shock as a method of persuasion, and lead singer Jello Biafra's politically active career.Dead Kennedys effectively use humor and cynicism as a method of persuasion in their music. They mock and laugh at those in power in order to appeal to their predominantly youth audiences. It has been proven that "Ironic wisecracks will enhance persuasion by serving as a distraction from counterarguments" (Lyttle). In the case of politics, this effect is extremely important because a "distraction from counterarguments" is essential (Lyttle). For example, the song "Kill the Poor" employs humor in both its title, and its lyrics:The sun beams down on a brand new day, no more welfare tax to pay, unsightly slums gone up in flashing light, jobless millions whisked away, at last we have more room to play, all systems go to kill the poor tonight. Gonna kill kill kill kill kill. Kill the poor, Kill kill kill kill kill kill the poor, Kill kill kill kill kill kill the poor tonight. (Biafra Kill the Poor)Dead Kennedys do not want the listener of the song to go outside and start bombing poor people; they do, however, want whoever just listened their music to "challenge the government," and start thinking about who would bomb the slums of a city (Peligro). Their use of the "perfect mix of hilarious yuppie-baiting lyrics and evil-sounding music" in this song, and in all of their songs, is a staple of their music.One can also find an incredible amount of cynical humor in their album covers and other artistic endeavors. One of their most controversial pieces was a poster they had made for an album called In God We Trust Inc. Contemporary political artist Winston Smith designed the poster (Smith). The piece had a background of gray and white checkers, and at the top it had the title:...

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