I missed the whole Green Day thing in grade school, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover "American Idiot" — the band's new record — is pretty good. I was also surprised after reading Mike Uhrich's Sept. 28 Viewpoint "Green Day called 'unpatriotic'" denouncing the album's self-title single. Apparently, liking the album makes me an unpatriotic freedom-hater.
Before rushing into any hasty judgments, Uhrich, perhaps actually listening to the new Green Day record would help clarify the band's supposed self-hating, defeatist attitude towards their country.
The album is a rock opera in which several figures play roles throughout, the central figure being the American Idiot. If you read the title track's lyrics or listen to the album in its entirety, it's pretty clear the American Idiot is Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day's lead singer.
The opening line "I don't want to be an American idiot" isn't depicting Americans as idiots — it's referring to others deeming Armstrong one. Green Day's biggest political beef here isn't based in policy but rather on people like Ulrich, who equate questioning of such policy with idiocy and hatred. They may question in an inflammatory fashion, but — in case Uhrich hasn't noticed — being inflammatory is one of the only ways to be heard nowadays.
With regard to the band's statement about the media, Green Day's message targets the media's perpetuation of fear. While many associate this opinion with the left — namely Michael Moore — Green Day isn't pushing a leftist political screed. The aforesaid American Idiot is merely reacting to the bombardment of images he sees on television. If anyone takes issue with this point, here's a question: Did you feel slightly overwhelmed watching 9/11 unfold on live national television?
Before Uhrich denounces those who've never burned a flag as flag-burners, before he expresses revulsion towards a music video and before he hands down judgments, perhaps he should think about reenrolling in a high-school English class to help him master concepts like lyricism and irony.
One of the great political problems in this country is the inability of some to consider others' differing views. Instead of listening to the points people make and evaluating them at face value, pundits and amateurs alike dismiss contrary views and their carriers as idiotic, hate-filled and evil — which is the central theme of "American Idiot."
This problem transcends political ideologies. The Uhrichs, Bill O'Reillys and 527 ad campaigns of the world cannot understand one simple idea: Someone who disagrees with you isn't a misinformed, radical ideologue bent on destroying America. They just disagree. Pure and simple.
As for the song's inclusion on the "Madden NFL 2005" video game, maybe Uhrich should boldly confront manufactures about "unwholesome" games like "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" that promote gun violence, misogyny, murder and drug abuse — you know, actual problems — before grinding a petty political axe with them. Besides, everyone knows John Madden's been a closet commie since he coached the Raiders.
Carritt is a senior English major.