Is Paul Ryan “the Machine”?

| August 17 2012
Hannah Thoreson

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello is mad.  Well, presumably he’s always mad, but right now he is mad at Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan.  Apparently, Paul Ryan is “the Machine”.  And we don’t just mean in the gym, although he’s known to be a big fan of the P90X workout.

You see, the thing is, Paul Ryan doesn’t agree with the band’s politics.  Tom Morello would appear to desire an audience consisting solely of people with whom he agrees.  He took to the pages of the extremely-relevant Rolling Stone Magazine to explain the problem with Paul Ryan listening to his music:

Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.  …

Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.

But should Paul Ryan have to agree with Rage’s politics to be able to enjoy their music?  It’s a question the left seems to be asking of many products right now, even including seemingly apolitical items like chicken sandwiches.

It’s a sign of maturity that Paul Ryan can listen to Rage Against the Machine because they are talented musicians without feeling the need to agree with them on unrelated political issues like immigration, Medicare reform, or the environment.  Truly good music transcends the circumstances from which it arose.  How many people listening to Bob Marley really understand what motivated him?  Probably not very many, but the quality of the music without the message is high enough that he can reach an extremely broad audience. If Chris Christie can listen to “The Boss,” Paul Ryan can listen to Rage Against the Machine.

Likewise, Tom Morello should be proud that somebody like Rep. Paul Ryan can be a fan of Rage Against the Machine’s work.  Not very many Americans are interested in Occupying anything or in confiscating the means of productions for a worker’s revolution, but everybody likes good music.  In a society more divided and polarized than ever, it should be seen as a positive sign that a conservative Republican can enjoy the music of an extremely left-wing music act.

Paul Ryan is simply saying that Republicans have to “Take the Power Back.”

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