Debunking the “50 greatest conservative songs,” part 15 – My Songs, My Choice

Inspired by the excellent posts by grif and Zack, I have decided to post my two cents' on some of the songs that John J. Miller has deemed "pro-life."

8. "Bodies" - The Sex Pistols

NRO Take: Violent and vulgar, but also a searing anti-abortion anthem by the quintessential punk band: "It's not an animal / It's an abortion."

DL Take: Yes, "Bodies" is at times violent and vulgar, but to call this an"anti-abortion anthem" is like calling Ann Coulter "hot": not only completely wrong, but a statement worthy of psychiatric evaluation. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist another opportunity to insult Ann the Man.)

Had Miller bothered to listen to the entire song, he would have discovered that "Bodies" is far more ambiguous than the spaeanistic pro-life paen he believes it to be. John Rotten takes on various personas in the song and criticizes those who condemn the woman (based on a real-life fan with mental issues) for having the abortion as well as the horrible conditions under which she has it. He is decrying the general lack of concern not only for unwanted children, but also for women who are forced to have abortions under illegal, unsafe conditions.

Perhaps it's the ambiguity of the lyrics that have prevented this "anti-abortion anthem" from being blasted full-volume at Right to Life marches and protests. Then again, I imagine that most pro-life supporters would balk at singing "Fuck this and fuck that fuck it all and fuck the fucking brat!"

23. "Brick" - Ben Folds Five

NRO Take: Written from the perspective of a man who takes his young girlfriend to an abortion clinic, this song describes the emotional scars of "reproductive freedom": "Now she's feeling more alone / Than she ever has before. . . . As weeks went by / It showed that she was not fine."

Hey Miller--what's with the quotes around the phrase "reproductive freedom"? Ben Folds doesn't use that phrase anywhere in the song, so whom are you quoting? Or are you a big Brittney Spears fan and enjoy using air quotes every two seconds?

What Miller doesn't mention above is that "Brick" is based on an experience in Ben Folds' life. He also doesn't mention that Folds did not "want to write this song from any kind of political standpoint, or make a statement."

So let's examine Miller's logic here at calling "Brick" a conservative song. The protagonist gets his girlfriend pregnant, shows support for her when she decides to get a (legal) abortion and is there with her when she tells her parents. Is this an indictment of "reproductive freedom" as Miller sees it, or the realistic depiction of a young couple who decide to use a safe and legal (for now) means of terminating a pregnancy neither one of them is ready for? As in the case of "Bodies," there is good reason that this song is not on the Right to Life playlist.

30. "You Can't Be Too Strong" - Graham Parker

NRO Take: Although it's not explicitly pro-life, this tune describes the horror of abortion with bracing honesty: "Did they tear it out with talons of steel, and give you a shot so that you wouldn't feel?"

At least Miller gets one thing right: this song is NOT "explicitly pro-life." At the same time, this song is not the aural equivalent of the fetus dolls pro-lifers hand out at parades. What's interesting about Miller embracing this song is that it is sung entirely from the male perspective--the woman in question never responds to Parker's question above. Actually, the entire song is about one man's reaction to abortion, from relief ("It's just a mistake I won't have to face") to macho bragging ("Well I ain't gonna cry I'm gonna rejoice") to ambivalence ("Don't give it a chance, it's lucky in a way"). Like Ben Folds, Parker is not singing from a political standpoint, but an emotional one.

41. "The Icicle Melts" - The Cranberries

NRO Take: A pro-life tune sung by Irish warbler Dolores O'Riordan: "I don't know what's happening to people today / When a child, he was taken away . . . Cause nine months is too long."

Although lead singer Dolores O'Riordan has made pro-life statements, this song is not one of them. In fact, the song is about James Bulger, the child who was abducted and killed by two ten-year olds in Liverpool in 1993.

Note to Miller: before you call songs "pro-life", I would recommend using a little tool called Google to back up your statements.

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