By MARC MCDONALD
Welcome to another edition of Progressive Music Classics.
The mighty post-punk band, The Gang of Four, emerged from Leeds in the late 1970s. Their debut album, Entertainment! was a ferocious blast of raw anger and musical energy.
The band's bass player Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham formed a phenomenal rhythm section, laying down a Parliament-fueled funk groove, over which Andy Gill sliced and diced his guitar to create lethal shards of sound. On top of this combustible mix, the band sang about topics that ranged from Marxist theory to capitalist marketing to consumerism. In short, the band created a perfect soundtrack for a cold, heartless era in which multinational corporations took over the world.
Today, of course, things are much worse than they were 30 years ago. Three decades of eroding workers' rights and union-busting have impoverished many millions of workers around the world. And today's Top One Percent owns a much bigger share of national wealth than they did 30 years ago.
We could really use bands like The Gang of Four today. But instead, we get dogshit like Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.
Although Entertainment! was The Gang of Four's high-water mark, the band continued to make powerful music for years to come. Indeed, the band remains a going concern to this day (the excellent album, Content was released last year).
Solid Gold, The Gang of Four's highly anticipated followup to Entertainment! was released in 1981 and including the classic track, "Outside the Trains Don't Run on Time" (featured in the above video). A scorching track with a driving groove, this is a song that comes to mind every time I think of a misogynist bigot like Rush Limbaugh.
A lyric that particularly comes to mind is, "He wants his wife to run--and fetch."
It perfectly sums up the attitude of sexist bigots like Limbaugh, who want to put women "back in their place." Limbaugh has been railing against "uppity" African-Americans for years and now, with his "slut" comments, he taking aim at women, as well.
Clearly, people like Limbaugh feel threatened by a world in which the traditional power structure of Rich White Males is threatened by "others," including minorities and women. It's a scary new world for dinosaurs like Limbaugh and his followers. It's clearly a world in which, in their view: Outside the Trains Don't Run on Time.
Of course, the irony is that, for all of Limbaugh's fears and paranoia, the old Rich White Male power structure is still very much in place. And it's not going away any time soon.
Of course, Limbaugh's deluded listeners don't know that. And so, in drinking the Limbaugh Kool-Aid, they continue to direct their anger and fury at the wrong targets. Instead of blaming soulless, greedy multinational corporations like Halliburton (and their stooges in Congress) for their misery, the Limbaugh crowd take out their anger on African-Americans, women, immigrants, gays, and other scapegoats.
It's a win-win situation for Limbaugh and the rest of the fascists on talk radio. Not only does Limbaugh achieve his mission of distracting his deluded base from ever correctly identifying the cause of their woes, he also gets paid handsomely for his efforts.
Meanwhile, multinational corporations get to rape and pillage the world at their pleasure and they, along with the crooks on Wall Street, get to loot the U.S. Treasury and pocket hundreds of billions in corporate welfare.