Tuesday, 4 May 2010

How Much Do You Suck?

Around about the mid-point of this decade just passed, the Jeevas, (the band formerly known as Kula Shaker), put out their second album, entitled Cowboys and Indians. On it, there’s an unlikely single called ‘How Much Do You Suck?’, a protest song about the Iraq war. It’s frankly lyrically retarded, but over time I’ve come to appreciate it more and more.

At the time of the war, two million odd-people marched in London against the proposed invasion, and Tony Blair allegedly justified himself in private by commenting that 58 million people were not marching. In the context of this level of callousness and mistreatment of the electorate there really wasn’t an alternative but going straight to your Rage Against the Machine and getting fucking angry.

By the time I write this, however, it’s less of a bitter taste in the mouth. “Sometimes ‘I told you so’ isn’t enough” said Will Smith in I, Robot (a film I watched last night, as it happens), and that’s how I feel about the war now. We’ve fucked up the public finances, undermined the UN, ruined our credibility in Europe, looked like the retarded hunchback to the caricature Frankenstein (America, and N.B. I have read Frankenstein, and know there’s no hunchback. C’mon, artistic licence… anyway) and sent a lot of young men to their deaths. It’s no longer a case for anger (though perhaps it should be), but rather for sadness. We’re in an election where all parties are talking about the public debt, and yet only one- the Liberal Democrats- is talking about disarmament on any substantial level. It’s only very recently that the bulk of our forces finally left Iraq and there are still weekly carbombings and massacres. No wonder people have switched off after so long.

So anyway, the Jeevas. The point is that in as childish a refrain as “how much do you suck/do you suck/do you suck/to lose a popularity contest with Saddam Hussein/yeah, how much do you have to suck/to lose a popularity contest to Saddam Hussein” the conflict is finally dealt with by a musician in terms fitting for just what a fuck-up it was. Even a five-year old could have told you that there were no WMDs and that (my pet hate) there was no link between Al-Qaeda and Iraq until Saddam was removed. The whole war was a bunch of lies, the people that prosecuted it should be tried for war crimes, and it’s just sad (if inevitable) that nobody was able to stop the whole sorry mess from happening.

How much do you have to suck
To lose a popularity contest to Saddam Hussein
You’d have to be a sleaze
An oil-drilling fiend
How much do you suck?
Saddam Hussein, Saddam Hussein
Everybody knows that the man was insane
How much do you suck
How much do you have to suck
To lose a popularity contest to Saddam Hussein
Well nothing much has changed
There’s just some different names
Freedom for our people
They’re saying it again
But freedom always comes from the barrel of a gun
How much does it suck, does it suck?

Sometimes the simplest way is the best.

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