Tuesday, January 12, 2016

David Bowie's Footsie With Fascism

David Bowie passed away after a battle with cancer. The normal tributes and boring "OMG I can't belieeeeve Bowie is dead" tweets went out en masse. He had cancer and was quiet about it, so it is surprising but he was 69 years old. He was a talented musician with a career of reinvention. A testament to his work is in the words of my younger cousin who was born well after his biggest releases but loved Bowie. Bowie also existed in an era that we cannot go back to due to the PC police and SJW era.

Did you ever read about David Bowie's flirtation with fascism? It is right there in his La Wik entry. Bowie later blamed it on drugs, but if you look at some other singers of the era, they shouted and stated some rather radical nationalist, fascist or racist things onstage or in print. Straight from the Playboy interview:

PLAYBOY: You’ve often said that you believe very strongly in fascism. Yet you also claim you’ll one day run for Prime Minister of England. More media manipulation? 
BOWIE: Christ, everything is a media manipulation. I’d love to enter politics. I will one day. I’d adore to be Prime Minister. And, yes, I believe very strongly in fascism. The only way we can speed up the sort of liberalism that’s hanging foul in the air at the moment is to speed up the progress of a right-wing, totally dictatorial tyranny and get it over as fast as possible. People have always responded with greater efficiency under a regimental leadership. A liberal wastes time saying, “Well, now, what ideas have you got?” Show them what to do, for God’s sake. If you don’t, nothing will get done. I can’t stand people just hanging about. Television is the most successful fascist, needless to say. Rock stars are fascists, too. Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars. 
PLAYBOY: How so? 
BOWIE: Think about it. Look at some of his films and see how he moved. I think he was quite as good as Jagger. It’s astounding. And, boy, when he hit that stage, he worked an audience. Good God! He was no politician. He was a media artist himself. He used politics and theatrics and created this thing that governed and controlled the show for those 12 years. The world will never see his like. He staged a country.
Really, I would like to be Prime Minister, but I think I’d have to set up my own country first. I don’t want to be Prime Minister of the old country. I’d have to create the state that I wish to live in first. I dream of one day buying companies and television stations, owning and controlling them.

Now isn't this rich. One other quote from the Wiki entry, "You've got to have an extreme right front come up and sweep everything off its feet and tidy everything up."You can find the full text of the Playboy interview with Cameron Crowe. Wasn't I just writing that Playboy sometimes published gems with their interviews? Bowie was always playing with the line of performer, product, art and whatnot. How much of this was him performing, and how much was Bowie legitimately considering the nature of fame and even political systems. This is only a couple of years the British "Winter of Discontent" era. This is the same national mood that inspired Alan Moore's V For Vendetta comic.

Bowie had another quote about Hitler being one of the first pop stars. Curious about all of this was these statements and this era of Bowie was when he was also the first white performer asked to perform on "Soul Train". He is not wrong in the cult of personality that was built around Hitler. This is what Bowie was getting at with his statements. It was a softer PC environment then compared to now, but it was a statement with any positive kind of connotation towards fascism, therefore it must be dealt with.

Later in life, Bowie would cover that period as drug induced crazy talk. His words did not destroy his career. This is an indictment of the modern entertainment and music scene. Mel Gibson is on the outside looking in, and as I will write this coming Sunday, music is in the midst of a SJW clean up of individual opinions. One of rock's last innovators and artists died. He is not just a last member of the peak era of rock but of another era when performers had a little bit of personality... and the progs were not out with knives the moment thoughtcrime was expressed.


Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Well said. One of my favourites. Huge influence. He was not alone in right-wing associations. Eric Clapton also flirted with Far Right politics at the time. The swastika was a popular image in the punk movement.

Son of Brock Landers said...

LBF - Yes, and my Sunday essay at Social matter will contrast that with the current music scene and what is happening with SJWs and the PC police.

peterike said...

The only way we can speed up the sort of liberalism that’s hanging foul in the air at the moment is to speed up the progress of a right-wing, totally dictatorial tyranny and get it over as fast as possible.

Isn't this just saying that the fastest route to Progressive Leftism is to have it imposed by a right-wing tyranny? In other words, this is a rhetorical game, not a statement in support of Fascism. In any case, the Left understands quite nicely how to impose what they want, and the speed at which they get it is constantly accelerating. So who needs Fascism anyway?

As for Bowie, never thought much of him as an artist. He was a singles artist, for the most part. Can you name a song on "Heroes" other than "Heroes"? It's because the rest of them are mostly terrible. He had a knack for the one big song surrounded by a lot of mediocrity. This is pretty common. You saw the same thing with Elton John, with ELO, even with The Doors if you ask me. I bet if you think of your favorite Bowie songs, every one is a "hit" song. This is not the case with really strong bands.

Anyway, nothing against the guy really, other than his mating with a black woman. I just don't think he was a terribly good singer or songwriter, and his various "acts" were just ways to obscure that fact.

Meanwhile, the Facebook moaning and groaning is really irritating. Yes, the guy died. Yes, you noticed. Ain't that grand.

Alexandros HoMegas said...

Stay out of the Goybook.

Anonymous said...

"music is in the midst of a SJW clean up of individual opinions."

The vocalist of the Eagles of death metal band is a self-confessed Neocon and did shows in Rotshchildstan, will they suffer?

sykes.1 said...

Well, he's in good company regarding fascims: Woodrow Wilson, George Bernard Shaw, the Duke of Windsor, FDR, Hillary Clinton, Obama...

Toddy Cat said...

The visual appeal of fascism can't be discounted for a guy like Bowie. Say what you will, mid-Century fascism produced some of the most arresting visual set-pieces in history; Leni Riefenstahl's films, Hugo Boss's SS uniforms, Speer's "Cathedral of Ice" at the Nurenberg rally, and on and on, Mussolini's March on Rome, and on and on. Not for nothing was Hitler an artist, and Mussolini a journalist. Say what you will, fascism had style. Nothing the Commies, or for that matter the democracies had could compare. For a guy as flamboyantly visual as Bowie, that had to count for something.

Of course, the fact that Bowie himself looked like he had just stepped off of a Nazi recruiting poster may have played a role as well...


Suburban_elk said...

So Bowie tried to dismiss that Playboy interview as drug-induced rambling? Absurd. He sounds lucid as can be. The manner of speech and the syntax in the quoted selection is very elegant. I don’t know enough about British patterns to say whether that is an imitation of the high class stuff, or what.

I heard that Bowie’s background was very middle class, and that he found that background to be something to run away from. His description of it was Eerily Similar to what someone from America might have said about the suburbs - the endless conformity and dullness.

Bowie was part of the effete hipster set scene, whatever they would have been called back in those days. They weren’t called hipsters then. But that scene was the more ‘sensitive’ and friendly to delicately framed non-football players with pretty faces and blond hair. Bowie looking like a recruit for the Hitler Youth, in the link above, is a good point.

If the topic is an analysis of political trends as expressed by popular icons such as Bowie - then the first paragraph in the comment from peterike, might be a starting point. Bowie is not saying he supports fascism except as a way to get done the liberal agenda. But of course back then the liberal agenda would not have been the same as it is now. Back then it was probably understood to be something closer to a welfare state for its citizens, and not the diversity festival that it has morphed into.

Bowie’s hits are really good and they are not diminished one bit if they are surrounded by forgettable medium-sized period pieces. The way that albums had to be put out, they required ten songs, and if they had one or two good ones, they came up with filler for the rest.