Macworld 2008 is here this week, and, true to form, Steve Jobs’ Tuesday keynote presentation included some pretty neat product announcements. Randy Newman’s accompanying song-form political rant, however, should in a sane world be an embarrassment to Apple. Seems like this should be getting a lot more critical attention.
I found Newman’s performance pretty offensive, but watch the whole thing and judge for yourself. Apparently the song — titled “A Few Words In Defense of Our Country” with no small measure of irony — is an existing element of Randy Newman’s repertoire, which makes it seem implausible that SJ didn’t know what was coming. The song is on the iTunes Store, and several videos of Newman’s performance are now up on YouTube, including this one with helpful subtitles added. (You can also find Newman’s performance in the streaming Macworld Keynote video, if you fast-forward to 1 hr. 18 mins.)
On reflection, I’m not entirely sure what to make of his muddled message. The favorable comparison of our present leadership to historic figures such as Hitler and Stalin, if meant as a compliment, has surely got to be about the most backhanded compliment I’ve ever heard. With defenders like Newman, who needs enemies?
Oh, and apparently it’s PC now to publicly use terms like “tight-assed Italians” (as long as you’re referring to conservative justices on the Supreme Court)? Geez.
For good measure, he even capped it off with a little “I usually root against corporations” talk, and rehashed for us once again the familiar tired accusations of “Empire!”. (I’m willing to bet he hasn’t had the good fortune of reading Bill Whittle’s brilliant 2002 piece on the topic.)
“The end of an empire is messy at best,
and this empire is ended like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave and the home of the free
Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.”
Yes, goodbye Randy. And next time, if you really want to help us out, please, just stop helping.
Update 1/17: Well put at Angry Zen Master:
There are apparently two Randy Newmans. The Randy Newman we all know writes little ditties for PIXAR flicks and television shows and from the lyrical content of those themes, you might suspect that he’s a big sweetie. Then there’s the Randy Newman who showed up at Macworld 2008’s keynote address. That Randy Newman is quite insane.
I guess that’s one Randy Newman for each of John Kerry’s two Americas?