Consciousness Raising as a Social Tool

There is a really cool and well crafted indie/alternative rock news site that features a nice twist as they donate any money raised to human rights organizations Amnesty International, Doctors without Borders, UNICEF and Witness. The site is called Rockbites and it features rock and human rights news. Now, I think that this is great since I have been a member of Amnesty International since the early eighties but the question always comes up, should rock and roll and politics mix? (not that I consider the fight for human rights “politics” with a capital P, it just got me thinking about the big picture is all) Looking back on the history of rock and roll you probably think that this is a stupid question as the answer appears to be self evident but what if you don’t agree with the politics of your favourite rock and roller? In between Bono campaigning for third world debt relief and Ted Nugent going on about the rights of hunters, I think most rational people (!) would agree that there is a place for everybody’s opinion as long as the music doesn’t suffer. After all, we as fans can take the message to heart and learn more, or ignore it and just enjoy the music as is. But what if you don’t agree with the message? Do you pull off a boycott a la Dixie Chicks? Do you ignore them and treat it as if nothing happened? This issue doesn’t seem to bother most people since either (a) they agree with the issue already or (b) they don’t give a shit about all politics anyway, but listening to Gene Simmons spout off about liberals and the war in Iraq makes me (who actually likes Kiss) wonder. But I shouldn’t really be too worried. Last I heard freedom of expression still existed in most of the western world (although that is certainly debatable) so if it bothers me or you that much, we don’t listen. It’s as easy as that. Plenty of Phish in the sea. Move on to Sammy Hagar or somebody else who doesn’t give a rats ass about politics. Unless it involves tequila. Then we’ve got problems.
By the way, the title of this post is a direct lift from that former great band The Pursuit of Happiness. Thank you Moe Berg!