Deconstructing Dear Mr. President...

Anyone who knows me knows how much I like having actual conversations in blogland. I haven't done that here, really.

I thought I'd step up and try it out to see what happens.

Enigma4ever, you wrote a touching post that was framed as a letter to georgie from a mama on mainstreet where you attempted to pose some questions to he who shall remain powerful yet utterly brainless.

I like the open letter format, it makes things more personal, which is as it should be. We're not fighting primarily for ideals, are we? I mean, we're fighting for our lives. So it's personal.

I saw that you included a pink song. She's got quite the voice, that one. So butch. I really appreciate her.

Sadly, I do not like this particular song. :)

I brought a post I wrote when I heard the song over from my blog. Have a look when you can. Comments from any group members welcomed, of course.

Expand the post +/-

Now you know I like her just fine. I've got one of her songs in my sidebar that works for me quite nicely. :)

Papi told me about this song and I started listening to it, swaying to it, being seduced by it, getting tingles about it. I told Papi that I felt manipulated by the song. I told him that the song had a purpose and that it was going to be a big hit. I said that I had to think about what I was feeling and ask myself a bunch of questions.

For instance...Why? Why would a pop songstress be moving me in this way? What is it about this song, seemingly such a direct challenge to the village idiot, that managed to engage my emotions? If this song is such a punch to the gut of things that are going so horribly wrong for so many people, how did it get on the air when we all know that the music industry is completely corporate and driven by image, dollars and a fundamental belief in the amerikkkan way?

the amerikkkan way...

Is this really a defiant anthem of the people? Or did this song make it to the airwaves because it actually fulfills pop music criteria to a "T"?

And if so, how?

Let look at the lyrics. I found them online. My comments are in red.

"Dear Mr. President"
(She is courteous. She gives him his respect as the top dog in the governmental hierarchy. The song isn't called "Dear Fucken Village Idiot, Who let you rule?"'s not called "Dear Fucken Sociopath betta Watch Your Back, Asshole" By referring to him respectfully, she automatically garners the respect of all the people who automatically respect whichever man occupies the oval office of insanity. ka-CHING!)
(feat. Indigo Girls...if you wanna know what I have to say about this, scroll down almost to the end of this post)

Dear Mr. President,
(She is very plaintive, almost innocent, infantilized, like a little girl talking to a big ole grown man. Facist time? Wimmin infantilized, forced to overtly occupy roles of submission. Many of them/us understanding this as correct. ka-CHING!)
Come take a walk with me.
(She's friendly. She's not saying, "If you leave your house you betta watch for me" Woman as gentle and diplomatic. ka-CHING!)
Let's pretend we're just two people and
(She invites him to occupy space with her as a fellow human being. She doesn't say "There's no defense for the crimes you've committed, bastard" Since so many, even those on the left actually believe that human decency and principle will stop him eventually....ka-CHING!)
You're not better than me.
(She gently reminds him that she, too is worthy of respect so that she can establish a link between them. She doesn't say "You're not worth my spit." Again, the soft sell, a gentle, not obnoxious reminder...ka-CHING!)
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly.
(indirect communication. She's not saying "You're a fucking nasty ass liar who should have been aborted." She's once more courteously inviting him to do something she seems to want to believe he's capable of: Speaking honestly. Honesty. Such a hallmark of human goodness. Something simultaneously upheld as a basic example of good character...while the whole society is predicated on daily acts of completely dishonesty. So, she's appealing to those in the society who need to believe that someone like the president might, like any of us other people trained to lie, be able to tell the truth. I hear the harps. ka-CHING!)
What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?
(What do any of us feel when we see all "the homeless" (they're just "the homeless", like "the untouchables") on the street? She tries to give him responsibility for so many people being forced to live without permanent homes, when, in actuality, any of us who have housing, who walk by them on the street, need to check ourselves as we're all implicated. So, she allows all of us, infantilized and unable to take responsibility for unearned privileges to give the responsiblity to the big Daddy. Familiar and safe terrain. It's HIS fault that there are homeless people on the street. It's not our fault for not rioting in the streets. ka-CHING!)
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?
(She's not saying "The God we both believe is calling ahead to make reservations at a really, really crummy roach motel in a hiroshima-esque part of hell for yuh, bucky boy" Amerikkka, that great christian land, led by a good and wise christian despot. The christians, especially the liberal or progressive christians will like this line a lot. ka-CHING!)
What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
(She's not saying "The mirror cracks when your evil self looks in it" Again, assuming that the village idiot's value system actually forces him to feel remorse about the carnage his administration is wreaking. When in all likelihood he feels proud at the green he's raking in. ka-CHING!)
Are you proud?
(Again with the assumption that he feels anything bad about what he's done. Of course if this wasn't one of the basic assumptions of the song...that he can be made to feel remorse...there wouldn't really be a sappy slow jam...there'd be something more like this which was definitely not a friendly, plaintive pop song. ka-CHING!)
How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
(She doesn't say "I'm so fucken pissed I could spit in your face right now!" Now, that wouldn't be nice. There are some lines the majority understand you just don't cross. She hasn't crossed any of them yet. ka-CHING!)
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
(Unh...otay. This one's so fucken obviously an empty button pusher. But I'll keep going. She's not saying "The mothers all hate you, you fuckhead. You fucken killed their fucken sons. And the ones that ain't dead have come back not right in the head." noPE. Most, if polled, will probably agree that they prefer the classic image of the helplessly crying, empty eyed mother who has lost her beautiful son - a trained killer and mindless minion - to an image of a bloody mouthed mother driven mad with grief and rage who has just torn the neck of the president out with her bare teeth. That's just not attractive. So, those wimmin get medicated and we write songs about the others who know how to wail productively. The song is still right on track. ka-CHING!)
How do you walk with your head held high?
(Well, dunh! If he doesn't walk with his head held high, he'll miss the photo ops at the next white house press feeding frenzy. For giving people cause to believe that he might ever hang his head low over the thought of what he's done...ka-CHING!)
Can you even look me in the eye
(Girlfriend, he lives in a fucking big azz ole white house full of people who serve him and only him, who he never has to look at or say good morning to if he doesn't want to. He's well on the way to having the whole planet by the ballz. I don't think he's worried about holding your gaze. But, the masses like to think he actually plays by the same rules that govern us and hold us in check. So, this line is also a money maker. ka-CHING!)
And tell me why?
(This must be rhetorical. Cuz he explains why he's fucking everyone and doesn't believe he's fucking up, on national and international television every mofo night. For inviting listeners to believe that he might not fully understand that he's fucking people over and that if someone could just get close enough to let him know, things would be different...ka-CHING!)
Dear Mr. President,
(please scroll back up to my comments about the title and the song's first line, if you will. But for repeating the honorific? ka-CHING!)
Were you a lonely boy?
(He was raised in an affluent, patriarchal, right wing, christian, political family where his father ruled the country and lead it to war. He was probably a very lonely and angry little boy. Most people, if they sit down and think about it will realize this. But again, when asked as a rhetorical question that just makes you wonder, it makes for a sweet sounding, sad little line that pushes the buttons of all our various inner children. ka-CHING!)

Are you a lonely boy?
(Okay, Condi lives in his backyard. He's got his daughters who aren't allowed to go out at night to booze it up and party. His wife is probably on some souped up version of valium (but, I'll get to that later) all this to say...unh...he's got an extended sleep over party happening at his house for as long as he wants it. I don't think he's worried about being lonely? Although, take it from a woman who does habitually refer to men as little men, calling him a boy sort of gently cuts him down to a more manageable size...which probably goes over well withe the more liberal or progressive radical feminists. They probably really like this line. My earnest little feminist inner girl child likes it, too. ka-CHING!)
Are you a lonely boy?
(is there an echo in here? just in case any of the slow people who have been miseducated/undereducated due to the policies of many, many, many consecutive amerikkkan government administrations over decades, missed this button pusher...ka-CHING!)
How can you say
No child is left behind?
(She doesn't say "You're killing the children of the poor and if they make it through to adulthood, you're seducing them with money, education and job prospects if they'll join the military, where they can be killed pursuing your agendas overseas." Nah. She just asks a sound byte rhetorical question. He's a politician. They'll say anything, to get elected. Like popsters, if they know that talking about caring about the well being of people's kids is like money in the bank. ka-CHING! )
We're not dumb and we're not blind.
(Unh...did you read my post with the link to that man writing about consensus trance? Cuz we're completely fucken dumb and blind because otherwise we wouldn't keep earnestly doing the voting ritual dance and electing new affluent, untrustworthy assholes every four years, now would we? For melodically pretending that we see what exactly is happening more clearly than we do when all we really see is a web of lies designed to hide an agenda that has nothing to do with us in plain sight? ka-CHING!)
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell.

(noPE. He paved the way to more control of people he knows are pissed as hell and not particularly inclined to suppress it. But a song that says "Your jails are detention centers for all sorts of dissidents, Your jails are rape factories, Your jails force mamas to give birth in chains, You, your mama, your papa, your wifey, your daughters and Condi should spend a nighty, night, nighty in one of your fucken jails"? Nah, that wouldn't make any money. That wouldn't even make it onto the airwaves. So, it's all toned down until it's palatable mush that any valiumized listener, regardless of their political leanings, will be able to tolerate. ka-CHING!)
What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?
(What kind of a father? What kind of father? His daughters are not allowed to go out and get drunk because people were taking pictures of them behaving like rich girls gone wild and he was embarassed and grounded them for the rest of their lives. But I don't think they mind much cuz I saw one of them being interviewed on television recently and she said that it hurt her the way that people talk about her "dad" I don't think his daughters are feeling any pain...that can't be medicated by white house psychiatry staff. (Did you ever see that fucked up episode of masters of science fiction where the president blows up the whole world including his own family and then, to stop himself from dealing with the emotional consequences of his own actions, completely wipes the memory of everything from his own brain? Sweet.) ka-CHING!)
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
(Okay, I'm getting tired of deconstructing trite button pushing stuff that denies the reality of power, domination and oppression...which is the kind of trite button pushing stuff most people who listen to sappy pop music really get off on. But, unh...ka-CHING among queer folks who really just want to be accepted by their parents because they wouldn't have chosen to be born "this way"...ka-CHING among those in the closet, ka-CHING among those who regret having come out of the closet cuz their fathers won't talk to them, ka-CHING among gay republicans whose fathers are also party members, ka-CHING among gay democrats whose fathers are progressives and pretend that they don't mind talking to them, ka-CHING among those of any orientation who would kill for a validating glance from their fathers, ka-CHING among those who would like to pretend they don't want to strangle their fathers :)ka-CHING! ka-CHING! ka-CHING!)
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
(Like I already SAID, she's probably on valium or perhaps on crystal meth. Controlled, nice, smiling, patriarchal, sexually conservative, christian, heterosexual woman creatively imbued with the ability to sway the decisions and actions of a really awful man...from behind the scenes? Yeah, right. But it makes for good pop song writing, so...ka-CHING!)
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.
(Okay. Let me break this down. He is one son of a wealthy, patriarchal, christian, right wing family in politics. Theres a tradition that allows space for young men of powerful and influential families to "sow their wild oats" no harm, no foul in their youth. It really doesn't matter as long as when their fathers say JUMP, they immediately settle down and get on with extending the family line and carrying on with the family business. Both of which georgie has done with great skill. The whiskey and cocaine? They were purchased with family money. The price for the party? He is presently willingly making the rest of us pay. Top marks for this song being able to obscure that fact and reposition bushie as a fun loving party boy turned misguided dad who just needs to get back on track. Marks for the party girl trying to behave as if she has something in common with the kind of party boy bushie must have been. Marks for trying to remind him of probably quite a few nights rolling in what he would have understood as rolling in the gutters while slumming it among those he knew he would eventually rule. But, everyday people like to think of him a being just like the rest of us, I guess...strung out on some sort of chemical, mind altering substance that we use to distract us from the oppressively crushing realities of our daily lives as planned out by folks like the people in his family. Sweet...ka-CHING!)
How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye?

Let me tell you 'bout hard work
(Okay, here's where I seque into a bit of video critique. It's hard to have Pink's white famous, well coiffed (I really like some of her hairstyles), well made up (think she uses MAC?), well dressed (I used to own a one piece lace body suit like the one in her U+Ur hand video) girl self singing "bout hard work", romanticizing and thereby erasing the capitalist oppression of people who are only considered low level amerikkkan citizens even though it's their cheap labour that forms the foundation of that country's dominance, while images of the poor, the black while the images of people who are being crushed, flash on my computer screen. I know it's supposed to mean something. But, these people are just being utilized as icons in a pop song. Utilized to tug at their own heart strings and at the heart strings of people who have been raised to understand themselves as better...which will no doubt translate into at least some of them feeling represented or seen...which will no doubt translate into ka-CHING!)
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
(Don't think he knows? For inviting the listener to pretend that maybe he doesn't or that he might somehow see the inhumanity of it...ka-CHING!)
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
(Aw FUCK! This is just getting tiresome. I know that pop is a stringing together of wordings designed to manipulate surface seeming and feeling. But shit! Why isn't she saying "I hope that you're standing before a war crimes tribunal before the week is out"? I know the liberals would like us to concentrate on the humanity of all involved without looking at power, domination and oppression...which incidentally really helps us to understand humanity in a really macro dynamics of hierarchy sort of way. But this is just some more light and easy listening! People will love it! ka-CHING!)
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
(That reality predates the war, predates Bush. But I know that many would like to absolve all of us by pinning all the ills of oppressive society on him when, in reality amerikkka was rotted well before he came, he's just airing the embarrassing "family" dirty laundry in a really bloody and public way. For trying to make this seem all about him and his administration, as if to say, things will be better and people won't have to sleep in or on cardboard boxes...ka-CHING!)
Let me tell you 'bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing 'bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Dear Mr. President,
You'd never take a walk with me.
(Well, that's truthful...he wouldn't...before his bodyguards frisked her and did an anal cavity search, anyways. But this line isn't about that. She just wants to get closer to him so she can talk to get him to listen to reason. Everyone understands that this makes sense. So...ka-CHING!)
Would you?
(again with that childlike, cutesy, of course a young white woman, so like his daughters, would have his ear, plaintive song smithing...ka-CHING!)
Oh, and I know that the favourite songstresses of so many feminists - -the indigo girls, are involved in this anti-war effort. Have to admit I don't know them. But if they wrote's clear that they offer the pop songstress a whole heaping dose of feminist cred...on top of what she already garnered for her song "stupid girls" which I haven't listened too, but which I'm sure helps to educate high school students about the power of feminism...101. All this to say...the additional cred she gets from singing with beloved still fairly youthful white feminist folksters will move mad units in kewl twenty something feminist circles. Upset? Shoot me. :)
So, moving on...
Lets just say...
This song functions on much the same level as the children's shows I watch with Stinkapee do...reinforcing oppressive norms and perpetuating dearly held beliefs and ideas about dominance in a manner seductive enough to entrance those who are most susceptible to this kind of drivel.
The melodic. acoustic, sweetness, traditional terrain of the patriarchal female who must never overtly dissent, is the vehicle...
The flag waving, the erasure of any understanding of an agenda larger than bushie and utter absence of any critique of oppression, the perpetuation of romanticized images of the american people, who are actually silently warring and jostling peoples constantly pitted against each other by all government administrations in order to better manipulate them and keep power consolidated in the hands of a few, undermines the concept of this being anything but a button pushing pop song.

This is a pop song designed to give all of us a little tearful release during breaks, and lunch hours. This is carefully constructed conversational subject matter allowing for controlled release lasting about as long as the duration of the song after which everyone will wipe their tears and, if necessary, unclench their teeth, suck back some more denial and leave things exactly as they are...


This song is gonna rake in some serious dough.

Of course I'm gonna have people who understand themselves to be the only ones who understand what a bonafide tender, sensitive, nurturing, hopeful, loving emotion looks like, getting their panties in a hitch over me hacking this song to teeny, tiny bits.

Of course it will probably escape them that some/many of the expressions we understand to well from deep withing us when we hear a song...even the ones in my sidebar, actually originated or at least were crafted and edited with hefty input from stodgy white old or young white men in board rooms somewhere.

Of course it will probably escape them that we have been completely divorced from our feelings by careful training within our families of origin, reinforced by most of us having been educated in, or having encountered people in power who we were encouraged to trust who were educated in the public school system, reinforced by church for many and general ideas about courtesy, humanity, niceness, relationship and family which encourage us to disavow or deconstruct (for the pomo academics) any feelings that threaten to deluge us or that seem too furious or terrifying.

And so, knowing that questioning my ability to feel rather than questioning how this song might invite us to feel only a certain range of emotions, is a good defense against all the questions I've posed, I'll say again:

This song is gonna blow up and get really popular and make so much fucking money.

Are ALL the procedes going to go to finance the Iraqi resistance or, if that's to scandalous and dangerous are the procedes going to be used to build affordable homes for "the homeless"?

It's a perfect interactive tool where the range of acceptable emotions expected to be expressed by the average listener have already been carefully charted. This will not be a city burning song. This will not be a cop fighting song. This will not be a flag burning song.

Because no one wants to get into trouble, no one wants to get tear gassed, no one wants to be kicked in the head by a horse, no one wants to be shot in the head by a secret policeman, no one wants to end up being among the first to occupy the new dissident detention centers, no one wants to rage, no one wants to be seen as not nice, no one wants to be rude. little inner child, the same one who cries heartbrokenly when she listens to Tracey Chapman, really likes the song. We're gonna go play it now....

It'll be a really good teaching tool for Stinkapee and the Shmolian. She's five. He's a toddler who barely speaks english.


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