Outspoken former Dead Kennedys frontman, Jello Biafra, made a none-too-rare spoken word performance at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco last night. And while I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, I certainly wasn't hoping for a 4-hour political lecture. But that's what I got.
Now. This isn't to say Biafra's ideas were unapproachably weird or even radical. No, his main points rightly noted that both Bush administrations have exhibited intense ineptitude; that George W. Bush often misspeaks and sounds funny when he does; that the US should leave Iraq; and that junk mail sucks. I'm fine with these. But as he continued verbally shitting on every obviously bad topic/person he could think of -- Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Falwell, Barack Obama, PG&E, MySpace, NBC, Disney, laziness, Morrissey, television, "McMedia News," Dick Cheney, Newsweek, Time, John McCain, e-mailing, the Patriot Act, free speech zones, Oprah Winfrey, Business Week, Texas, and Hillary Clinton (who Biafra implored to "resign [and] die") -- an unsettling lack of clarity took hold. Like an unfocused lecture or a very long sermon, it was difficult to understand what exactly he was encouraging. But in the end, it became clear. Where a Christian preacher might've beseeched his or her audience to believe in Christ or stop sinning, Biafra's answers were equally simple:
1) Don't join the military. Don't let anyone you know join the military.
2) Get louder. The United States should "say we're sorry" and get out of Iraq now (Biafra illustrated this point by asking the crowd to chant "Fuck George W. Bush" six times, which they did, as he waved his fists in the air, grinning.)
5) Torture is not okay. And, finally,
6) Let free speech reign: keep the internet neutral.
Fair enough. But is that worth paying $12 to hear? Are these really new ideas? Tell us what you think. What makes Biafra's political ideas remarkable? Is it anything beyond who he was, and what he did with DK? ASD wants to know. --Matt Stroud