Over the weekend, hip-hot artist Jasiri X posted this image on his twitter feed. It’s taken from the front page of the New York Daily News’ website. Note the screaming headline and the sympathetic caption: “Accused killer Dylann Roof had one chance at a stable family life — and his abusive dad ruined it for…
Okay, technically it’s not the Clash; it’s Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros doing a great cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come,” from the soundtrack to the 1972 film of the same name. Nonetheless, I thought it would be appropriate for all those newly minted civil libertarians on the right who just found out that the Black Guy In Chief is listening in on their telephone conversations (only, he’s not):
Well the officers are trying to keep me down
Trying to drive me underground
And they think that they have got the battle won
I say forgive them Lord, they know not what they’ve done
And I keep on fighting for the things I want
Though I know that when you’re dead you can’t
But I’d rather be a free man in my grave
Than living as a puppet or a slave
There may be a blog post in the offing relative to data mining and electronic eavesdropping, but in the meantime Joe will make everything better.
As an aside, and I’ve mentioned this probably too many times on my own blog, but the soundtrack to The Harder They Come is, hands down, the best movie soundtrack ever recorded. More than that, for white kids in the suburbs in the 1970s, it was our introduction to reggae. That was one of those records – and, yeah, they were records back then – that we played till the grooves wore out.
But if you want a tie-in to the actual Clash, it so happens that the band alludes to The Harder They Come in “The Guns Of Brixton,” the first song featuring bassist Paul Simonon on lead vocals:
You see, he feels like Ivan
Born under the Brixton sun
His game is called survivin’
At the end of the harder they come …
It also happens to be the only song I know of where Paul plays guitar and Joe plays bass. So, there you go. More than you bargained for on a Friday afternoon.
Now do as you’re told, and …
Turn. It. Up.