As Madison Rising proves, when it comes to performance, good attitude is everything

Madison RisingI’ve been a fan of Madison Rising, a patriotic rock band, for a long time.  I don’t necessarily like all their music, because they’re pretty heavy on classic rock guitar playing, but I really like their attitude.  The band takes its solid rock chops and applies it to patriotism.  Unlike most musical groups that pretty much reflexively “harsh on” American because it’s what all the cool kids are doing, this band uses its hard rock chops to celebrate America and her many virtues.

As it happens, I love Madison Rising’s rock guitar version of the Star Spangled Banner.  This is quite an admission for me, because I tend to like my songs performed straight, without howls and yowls.  If you were going to predict my musical tastes, you’d usually guess right if you said I would prefer Bing Crosby singing our anthem over some tortured rock band version.  Nevertheless, I’ll repeat:  I love the Madison Rising Star Spangled Banner.

If you’re wondering why I’ve step out of my musical comfort zone with this one, here’s the answer:  Madison Rising’s rendition is a fresh take on our nation’s anthem, performed with enormous energy, and a great deal of love.  This is not a robotic repeat of an old song:

When I listen to Madison Rising’s version of the Star Spangled Banner, I’m reminded of Runrig’s version of Loch Lomond, Scotland’s unofficial anthem. As does Madison Rising, Runrig rocks up a traditional song (indeed, one written around the same time as the Star Spangled Banner), but the group does it with love and passion. Scottish fans are enthusiastic about the group’s version:

My point about both of these groups is that their unorthodox renditions of old favorites are done with reverence and respect.  They are intended to build up, not to tear down.  Contrast that with Roseanne Barr’s justifiably infamous rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, which saw her adding crotch-clutching to melody-mangling.  Likewise, a lot of non-homophobic patriots took umbrage when Lady Gaga turned the Star Spangled Banner into a gay-themed anthem.  It was disrespectful, not because she brought her own spirit and style to the song, but because she was quite obviously denigrating the song and America as they currently exist.

I’m waffling on along these lines because at NASCAR’s opening this past weekend, both fans and racers disliked Madison Rising’s version of the Star Spangled Banner, considering its rock energy “disgraceful” and “disrespectful.” I wish I could reach out to the NASCAR crowd and let them know that there’s nothing insulting or disrespectful about Madison Rising. Whether or not you like their version, they sing it as respectful homage to a nation they love. If they can help resurrect some basic patriotism into disaffected young people who read Howard Zinn and like heavy metal and hard rock, more power to them.

Madison Rising’s “Star Spangled Banner” *UPDATED*

I’m quite the traditionalist when it comes to renditions of the Star Spangled Banner, but I really, really like the passion behind Madison Rising’s version.  They’re looking to reach 5,000,000 hits this July 4th, so please watch it and, if you like it, spread the love:

By the way, you can contrast this heartfelt version, with its deep and abiding respect for America, with Lady Gaga’s gay-themed version.

UPDATE:  One more thing to add here is that Madison Rising is a conservative band, dedicated to using the gospel of rock to sell conservative beliefs and American patriotism.  I like that in a rock band.

A debate about young people’s behavior at CPAC highlights our culture’s inability to distinguish between things that are sexy and things that are vulgar. *UPDATED*

I’ve got sex on the mind today.  (How’s that for a great opening sentence?)  It actually has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with a confluence of posts and statements that came my way within the last couple of days.

It all started when Erick Erickson put up a post about the way in which the young men at CPAC were lining up to buy condoms.  (This distinguishes them from the lost, morally empty young women at Shippensburg University, who line up at vending machines to buy morning after pills.)  Erick believes that you cannot simultaneously stand for conservativism and act like a teenager under Progressive indoctrination:

We can be thankful that CPAC is not like the communications war room at Media Matters. But it should be much more than that. The young men and women who go to CPAC are often present or future leaders on their college campuses and within the conservative movement. They go to CPAC and are often on near equal terms at CPAC with people much older than themselves. Unfortunately, too many treat CPAC like spring break.

More than a few of the twenty and thirty somethings who go to CPAC seem to treat it like an extension of their college days doing their best to hook up before passing out. It’s not the majority to be sure, but it is a noticeable minority.

My friend Melissa Clouthier followed up on this by noting that the young men were aided and abetted in behaving badly by the young women, who were dressed more appropriately for nightclubbing than for political networking:

Second, have women so internalized feminist dogma that they see themselves in only two ways? Butch, men-lite wannabes or 3rd wave sluts who empower themselves by screwing every available horndog man?

Neither path is a way to self-love and respect, mind you. Both tracks will inhibit future success.

Women, if you’re at a conference where you’re learning to be a future politician or wish to succeed in the business of politics, dress the part. No, you don’t have to be in a business suit with pearls. However, modesty is a minimum.

Unsurprisingly, both Melissa’s and Erick’s posts generated a great deal of heat.  (I find David Swindle’s take the most interesting, insofar as he points out that an organization that tolerates street-corner women and rutting men is still barring GOProud.)

In my mind, all of these posts tied in with something I wrote the other day regarding Hollywood’s willingness to embrace Chris Brown (to the point of awarding him a Grammy), despite his admitting to having beaten his girlfriend, Rihanna, so badly that he ended up with a felony assault conviction.  Although I’m disgusted by the entertainment world’s stand, I’m not surprised.  In Hollywood, people are commodities, and none more so than women.  The adage that sex sells turned into a slight variation called “nothing but sex.”

Because everything that’s continuously thrust in ones face becomes boring after a while, and because Progressives as always anxious to break down traditional norms, in the last 40 years, “sexy” has been overwhelmed by “vulgar.”  For my purposes, these are the appropriate definitions for that latter term:

1. characterized by ignorance of or lack of good breeding or taste: vulgar ostentation.
2. indecent; obscene; lewd: a vulgar work; a vulgar gesture.
3. crude; coarse; unrefined: a vulgar peasant.

Vulgar is not sexy.  It focuses on the basest parts of the sexual appetite.  Before the sexual revolution, American women used to sell a little sex and a lot of mystery.  By doing so, they engaged men’s higher brain, not just their lower one.  And also by doing so, they reminded men that women were whole people, not just anonymous genitalia.  If a man wanted to unveil the mystery, he had to court the whole women.  Saying “Wanna f**k?” would get him nothing more than a well-deserved slap on the face.  Nowadays, that same question gets the guy some transient pleasure, and gets the girl a place in line at the Shippensburg vending machine.

Believe it or not, I’m not trying to make any moral points here, although I think that this is a pretty sad morality we’ve handed our young people, both men and women.  We’ve got women who don’t respect themselves, and men who don’t respect women.  Ultimately, a thinking, moral man is going to think less of himself too for using these pathetic creatures.  (Okay, so I am making a moral point, but I won’t beat it to death.)

What I really want to say here can be summed up in a single picture showing that, when it comes to “sexy” (not “sex,” but “sexy”), a minute of Rita Hayworth is a whole lot more attractive than an hour of Lady Gaga:

I mentioned at the start of this post that I was influenced, not only by things I’ve read, but also by something I’ve heard.  I’m very happy to say that this statement was a spontaneous utterance from my 9th grader.  “Mom,” she said, “I like the way I dress.  I wear attractive clothes, but I never show my belly the way the other girls do.  That’s just so vulgar.”

Bless her heart, my very wholesome young lady isn’t thinking yet in terms of sex.  Instead, in a refreshingly age appropriate way, she’s thinking about what’s attractive and what’s not. She’s figured out, just by observing her peers, that when you have a 15 year old with a muffin-top parading around in Uggs, shorty-shorts, a cropped shirt, and low decolletage, it’s neither attractive nor sexy.  It’s just vulgar.

Our young women think they’re marketing themselves in the best possible way, but that’s not the case.  They’ve been tricked into selling a big-box, below-the-waste product, rather than promoting the whole, wonderful boutique package that they are.

And wasn’t it our mothers who always told us nice girls, “Why should men buy the cow when they can get the milk for free?”  Today, too many young women (including the women at CPAC) have stopped making graceful mooing sounds and are just shaking their udders.

 UPDATE:  This post isn’t even five minutes old, and I’m already updating it.  Some email comments have led me to believe that readers think I’m piling onto the CPAC attendees with this post.  I wasn’t actually intending to do that, although the posts about CPAC certainly provided the starting point.

I’m just mad at a culture that trades charm and beauty for raw sex.  Sex has its place, but in social interactions, especially amongst young people, charm and beauty are the ones that I believe provide the greatest benefit for all participants in the dance of the sexes.  What goes on behind closed doors — as long as it involves consenting adults — is none of my business.

Apropos young people, I’ll just throw one thing in here that seems relevant to the discussion:  I’ve been commenting for years about the peculiar fact that, if you go to any high school campus, you’ll see a peculiar clothing divide.  In past generations, pretty much throughout history, teenagers’ clothing had a similar “look” to it, whether polished or scruffy, innocent or sophisticated.  Now though, the girls look like street corner hookers, with massive of amounts of revealed flesh and heavy make-up.  The boys, however, look like toddlers:  their hats are on backwards, their clothes are over-sized, and their shoes are untied.  This is as true today as it was ten years ago when I first noticed this trend.

I think this clothing chasm is very, very strange, and I honestly don’t know what to make of it.  All I know is that I want my daughter to look fresh and wholesome (so far, so good on that score) and that, when my son is older, I want him to bring home fresh and wholesome girls.

UPDATE II:  On right on cue in terms of my comments about boys’ infantile dressing, read the first item in today’s Best of the Web, about men felling behind women in various economic/educational measures.

Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” as you’ve never heard it before

I honestly do not think I’ve ever seen a better cover of a Lady Gaga song.  Even if you’re not a Lady Gaga fan — indeed, especially if you’re not a Lady Gaga fan — you’ll enjoy this:

If the video embed doesn’t show, watch it here.

In case you’re wondering, it’s apparently a spoof of the song.  A YouTube commenter translated the lyrics as follows:

Dear son, you are so buy at work that you don’t visit us as often. You even sounds so busy when we are on the phone. We your parents have to find ways to entertain ourselves. Guess what, turn on your TV tonight and see us GaGa. If you like it, give us a standing ovation so we don’t get too nervous. If you love it, join us and sing with us. Now let your grandma (GaGa) show you something.