Boom Goes London, and Boom Par-ee

June 3, 2017
Posted by Jay Livingston

Ben and Jerry’s response to Trump and the Paris Accords is dripping with irony (irony in the literary sense that they mean the opposite of what they are actually saying).


Here’s reason #3.



The irony (the other kind of irony) is that many Americans agree. Here’s how I put it back in 2009 after I’d seen Randy Newman at Carnegie Hall (the full post is here):
“Political Science,” written at least 35 years ago, still sounds like the voice of American foreign policy based on American exceptionalism – a belief in our inherent goodness and innocence, a disregard for the decent opinions of other countries, and a readiness to use violence on those who disagree.

    No one likes us. I don't know why
    We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
    But all around, even our old friends put us down
    Let's drop the big one and see what happens

    We give them money-but are they grateful?

    No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
    They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
    We'll drop the big one and pulverize them.

It’s a more closely reasoned version of John McCain’s “Bomb, bomb Iran.”

Here’s the full version from a 2011 London concert.


(You can hear t he original recording by a much younger sounding Newman on “Sail Away” (1972), his third album (here).

Here we have the US, well-intentioned but misunderstood, and if all those other countries refuse to understand and refuse to do what we want, well, whatever happens, they’ve got it coming.  (“They all hate us anyhow, so let’s drop the big one now.”) It’s possible that this view of the relation between the US and the rest of the world has lost some of its strength since Newman wrote this song. (Most Americans were born after this song was written.) The song seemed out of date in the Obama years. Still, the persona Newman adopted for this song nearly a half century ago sounds much like our current Commander-in-Chief, the person we selected to be in charge of US foreign policy.*

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* Before the 2012 presidential election, Newman released “I’m Dreaming.” It was four years premature. Here’s the last stanza. (Listen to Newman sing it here.)

I’m dreaming of a white President
‘Cause things have never been this bad
So he won’t run the hundred in ten seconds flat
So he won’t have a pretty jump shot
Or be an Olympic acrobat
So he won’t know much about global warming
Is that really where you’re at?
He won’t be the brightest, perhaps
But he’ll be the whitest
And I’ll vote for that

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