Back to School Offer

Get 20% of Your First Order amount back in Reward Credits!

Get 20% of Your First Orderback in Rewards

All papers examples
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

Rage Against the Machine, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1511

Essay

Cornell West, Rage Against the Machine, & Market Culture

In Cornell West’s article “The Moral Obligations of Living in a Democratic Society,” He sees the dominance of “market values” in our culture and a decline in “systems of nurturing and caring.”He begins talking about race relations, but then targets what he identifies as a larger problem in which people with either social or economic power dehumanize groups of people by treating them like a mass or a category, instead of unique individuals. West argues that 80% of the U.S. population is currently in this category. Many of his themes about the contrasts between corporate interests and the interests of the people are correct.  Rage Against the Machine also talks about these differences in many of their songs. Corporations want to expand and increase their power by exploiting people, and people want to live their lives and love each other and care for each other without being exploited. These are the two main differences between corporations and people; but as West finds out in the U.S. Democratic society, corporations are treated like people, and have the same rights. I feel both Cornell West and Rage Against the Machine inspire rebellion against market culture.

The urgency for people to have a clear understanding of how Democracy really works in societies becomes very important when their freedoms are being taken away. West notes this when he says, “this is why it becomes vital to talk about prevailing forms of oligarchy and plutocracy, and to some degree “pigmentocracy,” in America (West, 2001).” He argues that this is currently one of the worst times in the history of this nation for the state of Democracy. He says this is due to severe economic decline. This is a bold statement, but he has the statistics to support his claim. West says, “One percent of the population owns 48 percent of the total net financial wealth. The top 10 percent owns 86 percent of the wealth, while the top 20 percent owns 94 percent of the wealth. Meanwhile, 80 percent of the population is experiencing stagnating and declining wages (West, 2001).” All of this West claims leads to ‘cultural decay and political lethargy.’ The notion here is that if individuals are numb to being politically active that Democracy doesn’t really exist; in this case, the actual ruling government is an oligarchy.

West confronts the concept of elitist market culture and how it corrupts Democracy head-on. While Western society is built on the idea of free market capitalism, he argues that market culture is creating an environment where the line between the haves and the have-nots in America is expanding. The obvious advantage of market culture within a democratic society is that if the society is truly a Democracy then all individuals have a fare and equal chance at becoming successful and wealth is an option for anyone. West believes that Democracy implies individuals are all equal through voter’s rights and protected by the Constitution, but the in reality this is not true. One disadvantage of market culture that he notes is that, the state of the economy has made it a very difficult for the middle and lower class to feel as though they play a part in Democracy. West suggests that the middle class is virtually disappearing. He says, “No democracy can survive with a middle class so insecure that it is willing to accept any authoritarian option in order to provide some sense of normalcy and security in their lives. It also opens the door for significant segments of that middle class to scapegoat those who are most vulnerable.” West ironically holds the position that all Americans are equal in the eyes of Democracy. He shares this view with the majority of American who believes in freedoms posed by the Constitution, but also recognizes that in many ways this dream has been exploited by the economic elite.

Why I Chose Rage Against the Machine “Testify”

The selection of Rage Against the Machine as a band is a very significant choice because in many ways they are essentially a hip hop rock band. They were ranked the 10 greatest rock and roll band of all time, and yet even at the peak of their popularity they maintained a counter culture reputation, anti-pop, by being the only band right after the 9-11 terrorist attacks whose entire catalog of music was outlawed against radio play by the Federal government. The specific chosen video and song, “Testify,” visually and lyrically expresses West’s opposition to elitist forms of control supported by market values. There is a sincere feeling of tensions and urgency that West implies in his piece, and Rage Against the Machine has that same type of urgency. The title of the group represents rage against the establishment or systems of control that manipulate and influence society. “Testify” is one of their most memorable songs and also a song in which they challenge market culture directly. Similar to West’s article, the song is a powerful call to action. The opening line, “The movie ran through me, the glamour subdued me” plays on how Hollywood and commercial media sedate citizens into being complacent and inactive. This is a core example of what West identifies as “power, pleasure, and property.” This is also similar to West’s argument that Democracy can’t survive within a society of people who are unwilling to question authority and participate in the political process. The song goes on to demonstrate more examples of the human relations ship between power pleasure and property with the lines Mister anchor assure me that Baghdad is burning / Your voice, it is so soothing that cunning mantra of killing / I need you my witness to dress this up so bloodless / To numb me and purge me now of thoughts of blaming you.” Here the band expresses that the singer is carrying out an elitist agenda of war and now needs the elitist mogul and media to blind him to the fact that he is doing wrong, otherwise the singer will blame those in power. This touches on a section in his article, when West argues that it is very dangerous for the middle class in American to be so deprived of economic stability that they are willing to take any “authoritarian option” for a sense of normalcy. West says this leads people to be vulnerable to do whatever the media tells them. Since the media is supported by market values it promotes market values.

Reaction

Here are the most important lyrics to the Song “Testify” by Range Against the Machine.

Yes, the car is our wheelchair,

On the corner the jury’s sleepless

We found your weakness and it’s right outside your door
Now testify, now testify

Your temple, it calms me so I can carry on

My slaving sweating the skin right off my bones

On a bed of fire I’m choking on the smoke that fills my home
The wrecking ball is rushing, witness your blushing

The pipeline is gushing while here we lie in tombs

While on the corner the jury’s sleepless

We found your weakness and it’s right outside your door
Now testify, now testify

Mass graves for the pump and the price is set

And the price is set

(Rage Against the Machine, Testify)

In sum, I agree and support line for line almost all of the comparisons that can be made between Cornell West and the selected song by Rage against the Machine. Most of these lines deal with Democracy, and government, oligarchies and the corruption of the political system. One major theme is the concept of time as it relates to power and influence over society. Cornell West’s position is that the elites have maintained control over society by keeping market values in the mind of the public. Testify supports this argument with the line, “Yes, the car is our wheelchair/

On the corner the jury’s sleepless/ We found your weakness and it’s right outside your door/ Now testify, now testify (Rage Against the Machine, Testify).” The line ‘the car is our wheelchair,’ means that the car, a heavily marketable product is a crutch. In one way this refers to America’s dependency on foreign oil, but it also refers to the shiny luring way cars put people in debt and make them think they need to buy one for status. When the song says, “We found your weakness and it’s right outside your door, now testify,” they are taking the place of the government talking to the citizen saying we have your drug, or your marketable addiction, or the secret need you try to hide, so pledge your allegiance to our system of control. “Testify” is the perfect song to play in collaboration with West’s article because it takes the same level of fear that West implies all citizens should have for the current state of the U.S. and it makes the listener feel as though they are currently in the middle of a battle for control over their mind between truth and marketing values.

Work Cited

West, C. (2001) “The Moral Obligations of Living in a Democratic Society.” The Good Citizen Rage Against the Machine Testify http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JSBhI_0at0

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Multinational vs Multicultural, Essay Example

The main difference between a multinational and a multicultural organization is that a multinational operates in several countries while a multicultural has individuals from diverse [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 378

Essay

Prevent terrorist strikes on American soil, Essay Example

Goal, Objectives, and Strategies The Department’s goal is to protect the homeland by thwarting terrorist threats and implementing emergency plans. These are the Department’s top [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 412

Essay

Science and Technology and Nation-Building, Essay Example

Science plays a pivotal role in technology. The combination of science and technology (S&T) results in the development of new knowledge used to improve human [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 768

Essay

Plato’s Portrayal of Socrates and the Historical Socrates, Essay Example

Socrates, the Athenian philosopher, changed how philosophers thought about the world. However, modern audiences believe that Socrates did not write any of his ideas down [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1285

Essay

Ambiguity, Essay Example

The New Task I am Proposing My proposal is a promotion at work. I am a Business Development Associate at Universal New York, NY. My [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 278

Essay

Narratives That Shape Our World, Essay Example

The context and the values in the text Othello by William Shakespeare have shaped me in perspective through the main character Othello. I perceive life [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1574

Essay

Multinational vs Multicultural, Essay Example

The main difference between a multinational and a multicultural organization is that a multinational operates in several countries while a multicultural has individuals from diverse [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 378

Essay

Prevent terrorist strikes on American soil, Essay Example

Goal, Objectives, and Strategies The Department’s goal is to protect the homeland by thwarting terrorist threats and implementing emergency plans. These are the Department’s top [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 412

Essay

Science and Technology and Nation-Building, Essay Example

Science plays a pivotal role in technology. The combination of science and technology (S&T) results in the development of new knowledge used to improve human [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 768

Essay

Plato’s Portrayal of Socrates and the Historical Socrates, Essay Example

Socrates, the Athenian philosopher, changed how philosophers thought about the world. However, modern audiences believe that Socrates did not write any of his ideas down [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1285

Essay

Ambiguity, Essay Example

The New Task I am Proposing My proposal is a promotion at work. I am a Business Development Associate at Universal New York, NY. My [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 278

Essay

Narratives That Shape Our World, Essay Example

The context and the values in the text Othello by William Shakespeare have shaped me in perspective through the main character Othello. I perceive life [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1574

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!