Monday, November 22, 2004

"Rock Music, They Were Not Able to Stop Across the Borders."


From reading Beacon No. 8, readers might have gotten the idea—from all my putting-down of MTV—that I don't value rock music's role in projecting American values abroad.

Far from spending my nights listening to the Cleveland Philharmonic, I value rock and roll's contribution to spreading subversive ideas like free speech and individualism. To prove it I refer you to the following story, which aired this past Saturday on National Public Radio:

Tommy Ramone, Rocking the Hungarian Embassy

Give it a listen. It's a 4:47-long bit about Tommy Ramone, a.k.a. Thomas Erdelyi of Budapest, the only surviving member of the original Ramones and a refugee from the Soviet crackdown in Hungary in 1956. Tommy talks about being a kid in Hungary and seeing a propaganda film putting down rock as degenerate. He thought, That sounds kind of cool, and eventually joined up with the Ramones in New York.

In the NPR piece Ramone joins the Hungarian ambassador, Andras Simonyi, in a punk-rock jam at the Hungarian Embassy in D.C. While Tommy was helping create punk in New York, Simonyi was playing in Hungary in really underground rock bands. Today he's one of the top diplomats for a country that's gone out of its way as a U.S. ally—and he says he's a big fan of soft power:

"Rock music, they were not able to stop across the borders."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Music does move mountians. Witness the singing revolution in Estonia. Valcav Havel dug his jazz peeps in Prague, and Back in the USSR was huge in the former Soviet Union even though it never made the charts.

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