In Visual Rhetoric we watched some excerpts from the Bullet in a Bible DVD (youTube it). My reaction is this:
It’s great that Green Day and other politically conscience icons are summoning youth to think about politics and “challenge authority,” but there are other dynamics that deserve consideration.
For instance, what are they really telling our youth? I asked a sixteen year old friend of mine what he thought Green Day was trying to convey in their song American Idiot. He said “that the president sucks.” “And voting?” I asked. His response was, “yeah, maybe. I won’t vote for a republican.”
What is the result of an increased number of voters listening only to the green media? Are they being persuaded? When younger generations do vote, my only hope is that the idea Billie Joe is guiding people towards will spur them to think for themselves; not just vote for the other guy, or girl, because this one doesn’t meet their approval.
Dr. Ruszkiewicz pointed out similarities to Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will, a propaganda film of the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg, Germany. Same theatrics, different message: instead of influencing citizens to follow their fÃ¼hrer to death, American Idiot is telling our nation’s youth to hate their president and rebel. Yes, in the seventy years since Hitler our world has changed considerably. What hasn’t changed is society’s desire to be united; and the use of media and ethos to facilitate that.
We are “controlled by the media,” right? That’s what Green Day says, but aren’t they a part of the media? Recently, Brandon Flowers, the lead singer of the The Killers, critiqued Green Day saying their new political message is nothing more than a stunt and “displays ‘calculated Anti-Americanism,'” according to Rolling Stone.
I admit it was a bit sad seeing all those UK fans cheering and going on about how America sucks. If it was a business strategy, appealing to their fan bases in other countries by speaking out against America, it worked. As shown by these Chart positions for American Idiot: #61 (U.S.), #3 (UK), #1 (CAN), #7 (AUS), #28 (GER).