Flat White

Corey Bernardi: songs in the key of strife

19 January 2018

8:29 PM

19 January 2018

8:29 PM

Musicians get quite touchy about their music. It is their baby after all, and who wants their baby touched by a filthy right-wing hand?

Heart sends a cease-and-desist letter after Sarah Palin used their song “Barracuda” during the 2008 GOP Convention. And Tom Morello Rage Against The Machine tells Paul Ryan how much he dislikes him and his politics after Ryan lists RATM as one of his favourite bands. And in Australia:

Conservative Senator Cory Bernardi has dismissed calls from Australian artists to be removed from his party’s Australia Day playlist as “outrageous”.

The Australian Conservatives leader has faced backlash from Australian artists after including them on his AC 100 Spotify playlist, promoted on his party’s social channels.

Upon finding out his hit To the moon and back had been included in the playlist, Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes tweeted that he wanted off the list and said Senator Bernardi did “not have permission” to use his music.

The Hilltop Hoods had a more direct message for Senator Bernardi, tweeting: “Go f*** yourself Cory Bernardi.”

After telling Hayes to “get over yourself” in a tweet, the outspoken Senator hit back in a radio interview on Thursday morning and denied he was using the songs for political gain.

“They’re not appropriated for my political purposes at all,” he told ABC’s Radio National. “So all of a sudden, I’m not allowed to create a playlist on a music streaming service to which I subscribe, because I might be politicising it. This is nonsensical.”

Cory is right – he’s not “using” Savage Garden’s second single, nor is he “using” any of the other 99 songs he listed on his playlist as options for his fans to vote their ranking of great Aussie tunes to celebrate Australia Day. And no one in their right mind would think that the presence amongst the Top 100 represents any sort of tacit or otherwise endorsement of Bernardi by any of the performers concerned.

To the contrary – an overwhelming majority of musicians being on the political left, the opposite is very likely true. Logan’s most famous son, Darren Hayes, will not lose any fans or royalties because some right-wingers might like his song (prediction: “To The Moon And Back” won’t even make the top 10, unless someone, either on the right or on the left, organises a major trolling operation).

“To the Moon…” will not become musically misappropriated by unexpectedly becoming a new skinhead anthem, like some Oz version of “Horst Wessel Song”. Everyone take a deep breath.

For most normal people this all seems like a bizarro controversy over nothing, and most people would be right. At the risk of being self-referential, if I discovered that Darren Hayes or Tom Morello, or for that matter Richard Di Natale or Bernie Sanders were fans of my novel “Night Trains”, I would be happy that my work has touched another person, not raging about how dirty such “endorsement” makes me feel.

And so this is yet another example of the famous dictum in action: the right thinks that the left is wrong, the left thinks that the right is evil.

It’s pretty difficult to have more civility and sensibility in our public sphere unless we can overcome these sort of a petty demonology.

Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk where this piece also appears.

Illustration: YouTube.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Show comments