Music Diary Songs of Note: The Theme Song of Current Political Discourse and Internet Discussions

Last night I was watching former Tea Party-backed Republican candidate Christine O’Donnell walk out on the Piers Morgan CNN interview show, and later was reading a series of discussions on an internet game forum in which the two same individuals take opposing views to one another in each thread – and opposing views to themselves from thread to thread, uniting only to trash someone else in a third thread … which required them to compromise their own views from before.

The cantankerous political discourse of the last two decades, characterized here as ‘The Politics of No’ can be easily summed up by listening to Groucho’s theme from Horse Feathers!

I don’t know what they have to say
It makes no difference anyway
Whatever it is, I’m against it!
No matter what it is
Or who commenced it
I’m against it!

Your proposition may be good
But let’s have one thing understood
Whatever it is, I’m against it!
And even when you’ve changed it
Or condensed it
I’m against it!

I’m opposed to it
On general principles
I’m opposed to it!
(He’s opposed to it)
(In fact, he says he’s opposed to it!)

For months before my son was born
I used to yell from night to morn
“Whatever it is, I’m against it!”
And I’ve kept yelling
Since I first commenced it
“I’m against it!”

Now I’m sure that some read my introduction about Christine O’Donnell and assumed a certain political slant, but that is definitely not my intent – Clinton won the White House through ‘The Politics of No’ (though George Bush saying that whether jobs came from silicon chips or potato chips was irrelevant didn’t help him), then the Republicans won back Congress in 94 with ‘The Politics of No’, ditto for the Democrats in 2006 and now the Republicans in 2010.

It is a truly bipartisan sentiment that if you make a principled stance against something … no one can hold you to anything! It would be ridiculous … if it hadn’t been shown to work again, and again, and again. My point on Ms. O’Donnell is that she might as well have been acting out a scene from Catch-22 – she wanted to talk about her new book, when asked specific questions she would reply ‘you’ll have to read the book’, and when asked if the answer WAS in the book she would say that she was here to talk about her new book. And so on.

Now the internet is famous for ‘trolls’ – spending a few minutes looking at YouTube comments is a great way to lose your faith in humanity. Discussion forums, blog comments, and pretty much anywhere people can add their comments are rife with hate-filled diatribes.

But sadly, as I mention, it has trickled down to general discussion. I have sat in meetings where one person would come each week to practice ‘The Politics of No’ – they never offered anything fresh or any ideas of their own, simply shot down others. That was, of course, until the meeting format changed to previewing the content and requiring data-based refutations … then the opposing person suddenly had a ‘scheduling conflict’.

The great thing about The Marx Brothers is that 80 years ago they were doing observational comedy even if there was no such thing back then – everything they did was very much based in every day life, just blown up to be absurd.

So Groucho’s theme ‘I’m Against It’ is no longer just a hilarious comedy bit … it is a way of life.


About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!