Sunday, November 27, 2005

Respectable Street

The thing that really infuriates me about the Conservative Republicans with which I’ve had the misfortune of being spoken to condescendingly under the guise of political discussion is their sanctimonious claims of moral superiority. Their pedantic tone and righteous indignation (with an accusatory undercurrent that implies guilt among any who dare disagree!) leveled at the real and imagined infractions by members of the Democratic party coupled with the insistence that members of the Republican party are pure of heart, possessing a deep respect for Christian values and immune to any sort of political hanky-panky. Finding myself in the midst of such a discussion I’m always at odds with two possible explanations: "This person is either a really good liar or he is as dumb as jar of Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise." I end up saying things like, “Issues of character and values have little meaning to me in American politics, and Republicans are no less corrupt than the Democrats.” Doesn’t matter. They continue down the same path, certain that they are right.

In light of the bubbling DeLay / Abramoff / Scanlon scandal, I’m now ready to concede that the two parties are not equally corrupt. Indeed, if you were the type of person who would like to abuse political power for your own personal gain, you’d have to be an idiot to join the Democratic Party. How much did they say the Clinton’s profited from the Whitewater land deal? $70,000?

Sadly, there will be no epiphany on their part. No phone calls or e-mails from old friends and acquaintances telling us that we were right, admitting to their own stupidity or greed. They will find some excuse, some way to blame someone else, but it doesn’t matter. At least we will be rid of that evil selfish bastard DeLay. You know, the guy that claimed he wanted America to abide by Biblical Law…

Respectable Street
By Andy Partridge
From XTC’s “Black Sea”

It's in the order of their hedgerows
it's in the way their curtains open and close
it's in the look they give you down their nose
all part of decency's jigsaw I suppose

Heard the neighbour slam his car door
don't he realise this is respectable street
What d'you think he bought that car for
'cos he realise this is respectable street

Now they talk about abortion
in cosmopolitan proportions to their daughters
as they speak of contraception
And immaculate receptions on their portable
Sony entertainment centres.

Now she speaks about diseases
and which sex position pleases best her old man
Avon lady fills the creases
when she manages to squeeze in past the caravans
that never move from their front gardens.

It's in the order of their hedgerows
it's in the way their curtains open and close
it's in the look they give you down their nose
all part of decency's jigsaw I suppose

[I LOVE this bit!]

Sunday church and they look fetching
Saturday night saw him retching over our fence

bang the wall for me to turn down
I can see them with their stern frown
as they dispense the kind of look that says
they're perfect.

© 1980 Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd.


Anonymous The Heretik said...

The Hellman's Mayo may or may not appreciate the comparison.

11:40 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

There's an early 70's song from when I was really small called "Sunday Morning People" by a Supremes-Knockoff called "Honey Cone" that always comes to mind whenever I hear "Respectable Street" that deal with similar themes of hypocritical relgion. It knocked my socks off as a 5 year old to hear someone vocalising everything I was thinking about church.

Been looking for it for years but I doubt it's as good as I remember. It was something about "practicing what you preach".

"Respectable Street" has one of the best riffs ever written, and it's fitting it's on the same album as another one. (Towers Of London).

3:39 AM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Ya gotta love Black Sea. It the XTC album that marked my discovery of the group. It's an 11 on a scale of 1-to-10.

Al, you're right that the conservatives have been claiming the moral highground all along, even as they are clearly taking the low road.

I found it distressing that, after the loss in the 2004 election, some Democrats called for more emphasis on "moral values." What a crock. That's just letting the Republicans frame the debate.

We need to turn away from that nebulous discussion and get people on board with concrete talk about wages, jobs, etc.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Employee of the Month said...

There is a jaw-dropping moment on their Live @ the BBC release where I swear Andy's head must surely be set to explode as he begins the last verse.

2:34 PM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

If it weren't for "Love at First Sight," Black Sea would be The Perfect Album.

Kevin, actually I think it's important for the Democrats to talk about moral values. Remember, wages, jobs, etc., are all part of an overall set of moral values that emphasize fairness, equity, etc. We need to show people that the Republicans don't -- and have never -- walked the talk when it comes to following Jesus' teachings.

ixkjht (Greek for "Jesus Democrat")

4:14 PM  
Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

Must be a gift to be that arrogant, with no doubts about the righteousness of fucking your neighbor.

9:29 PM  

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