Do you realize... Mary Fallin has a right not to like that song?

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"Me, I just say look, it's a little minority of some small-minded religious wackos who think they can tell people what kind of T-shirts and what kind of music they can listen to, and the smart, rational, reasonable people of Oklahoma are never going to buy into that." -- Wayne Coyne, April 29, 2009

So yesterday, September 26, 2010, on Twitter, Wayne Coyne, evidently part of some small-minded, wacky, religious minority, told Mary Fallin, frontrunner in the race for Oklahoma governor, what kind of music she should listen to -- namely, his:

Elected official Congress woman @Maryfallin does not like The Flaming Lips or our song"Do you Realize??" http://yfrog.com/jvzwzuj
2:28 PM Sep 26th via Twitter for iPhone

Please tell @maryfallin she should listen again .. We come in peace. http://yfrog.com/mvn0gij
2:47 PM Sep 26th via Twitter for iPhone

Note that Mr. Coyne did not link the story in which Fallin committed the allegedly outrageous dis of his song. He linked photos of himself.

Someone whom I follow retweeted Coyne's comments. I retweeted "Please tell @maryfallin she should listen again...." with the comment: "How needy is this?"

What terrible slam did Congresswoman Fallin inflict on the Oklahoma's "official" state "rock" song? It was in a Q&A, back in July just before the primary, for Oklahoma City satire blog The Lost Ogle:

11. What do you think of "Do You Realize??" being Oklahoma's official rock song?

I'm more of a country music gal. It wasn't my first choice.

A pretty mild expression of personal preferences, probably an opinion shared by most of Fallin's prospective constituents, and surely the sort of thing a tolerant, broad-minded artiste like Mr. Coyne should respect, n'est-ce pas?

Instead, he urged his Twitter followers to proselytize Fallin, to convert her to a fan of the Flaming Lips and his song. His followers rose (sunk, more truthfully) to the occasion:

hhhancock @Maryfallin what's wrong with you ?

renatayb Tasteless Bitch .. "@waynecoyne: Elected official Congress woman @Maryfallin does not like The Flaming Lips or our song"Do you Realize??"

chadosko Ef that. Ef her! RT @waynecoyne: Elected official Congress woman @Maryfallin doesn't like The Flaming Lips or our song"Do you Realize??" #fb

cumbriandrunk You have 15000 more friends than her! @waynecoyne: Elected official Congress woman @Maryfallin does not like The Flaming Lips.

shonuffsteve @waynecoyne @maryfallin hey Mary - free your mind and your a[--] will follow !!! Hey Wayne comin back to Belfast soon???

This may be the prize-winner:

ghostkga @waynecoyne how can @maryfallin not like you? she needs to expirence free love and peace! and maybe a joint.

The Flaming Lips seem to have quite the cult following. From concert videos and articles I've seen, it seems to be more about the spectacle of the event and a kind of cult of personality around Coyne rather than the music itself. Someone has described their musical style as psychedelic, which I take to mean "the kind of music that sounds interesting to those who have ingested psychedelic drugs" or perhaps to someone like the "Double Rainbow" guy.

A couple of years ago I was in the library returning books and saw their album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, on the return shelf, so I checked it out to see what all the fuss was about. "Do You Realize??" is one of the tracks on the album. I gave it a chance, listened to it twice all the way through, but just couldn't get into it. Here I thought that David Gates and Bread were the apotheosis of Oklahoma-based, wimpy, whiny, lethargic pop music, but Wayne Coyne makes David Gates sound like Jerry Lee Lewis by comparison. "Do You Realize??" makes a play for profundity, but it's just banal, condescending lyrics set against a vapid musical backdrop.

It's my belief that a rock 'n' roll song, particularly one worthy of designation as a state rock song, ought to have a beat -- as in "it's got a back beat, you can't lose it, any old time you choose it." If we have to have a state rock song, something by Wanda Jackson, a pioneer of rock 'n' roll, would have been a better choice. ("Let's Have a Party" would have been a great pick, but I also like Charles G. Hill's meteorologically-inspired suggestion of a recently-rediscovered Wanda Jackson track, "Funnel of Love.")

(One of the candidates for first-ever rock record -- "Rag Mop" -- was recorded at the KVOO studios in Tulsa in 1949.)

Whether you like the Flaming Lips or not, surely you'd agree that we should all have the right to like the Flaming Lips or not. No one should be browbeaten to conform to one notion of musical taste. (Unless -- was that Hammer and Sickle t-shirt more than a bit of hipster irony?)

OH, BY THE WAY: Do you realize Mary Fallin has a 26-point lead in the governor's race?

UPDATE 2010/09/27: I managed to offend a couple of folks after I tweeted a link to this piece. I was away from Twitter most of the day, but a friend gave me a heads-up via DM. Photographer Jeremy Charles complained that I failed to include the context of the Wayne Coyne quote at the top of this page:

jeremycharles @BatesLine you call yourself a journalist? You completely left out the context of @waynecoyne's first quote in your blog post.

I did link to the article from which the quote came -- an AP story about Coyne's complaint about Oklahoma legislators who voted against adopting his song as the official state rock song. I assumed readers would recall that, but perhaps it would have been well to spell that out.

The context actually makes Coyne look worse. The legislators who voted against making "Do You Realize??" the state song didn't tell anyone they couldn't or shouldn't listen to the song. The legislators simply said they didn't want to give the song or the band an official state endorsement. On the other hand, Coyne did tell someone -- Mary Fallin -- what kind of music she should listen to -- his.

Someone else (who has since deleted her tweets pertaining to the matter) helpfully pointed out that the song was selected by POPULAR VOTE (caps hers) and asked (paraphrasing) if I had a problem with that. I pointed out in reply that the daily paper's editorial page regularly skewers politicians elected by popular vote -- surely that's OK?

De gustibus non est disputandum: So said the ancient Romans. If you enjoy the music of the Flaming Lips, I would not seek to deprive you of that appreciation. I would simply ask that, in return, you allow folks like me and Mary Fallin at peace in our non-appreciation of the band.

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3 Comments

Alan Bates said:

I have to admit that I'm proud of the Flaming Lips and their success but I find their music to be kind of strange. Do You Realize is not all that bad (not all that good either). I don't get most of the rest of the music.

I'm not a fan of Mary Fallin but she has a right to like or not like music as she pleases.

mark said:

Michael -

I'm right there with you on the Flaming Lips' music. I pride myself on enjoying and supporting a wide range of performers and styles, but I've never been able to appreciate the Lips. It should have been Wanda Jackson.

Did you ever consider that Michael Ivins' hammer & sickle t-shirt may just have been a tribute to Oklahoma's agrarian Christian socialist heritage? If you haven't already, you really should read Prof. Jim Bissett's book, "Agrarian Socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson & Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside 1904-1920". It's a fascinating read, and was the 2000 winner of the Oklahoma Historical Society's Book Award.

As for Fallin, I wouldn't get cocky in late September vs. a populist grandmother-type. If your lobbyist-loving candidate beats Ms. Askins by 26 I'll buy you a ticket to the Rev. Horton Heat show at the Cains. That'll get you some "back-beat"!

You just gave me a great incentive to get out and campaign, Mark!

That book does sound interesting. I'm not aware of the hammer and sickle being used as a symbol by the agrarian socialists in Oklahoma. (For a time -- before the Russian Revolution -- the Socialist Party was the second most popular party in parts of Oklahoma.) I've seen posters with a hand grasping an upraised torch as a symbol of early 20th c. American socialism.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 27, 2010 11:31 PM.

58 years later, Hank Williams returns to Cain's, October 17, 2010 was the previous entry in this blog.

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