Burning Man Makes Further Inroads on Mainstream Consciousness

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Bob Wiseman’s New Album Includes a Call for Change, Burner-Style

by Whatsblem the Pro

Bob Wiseman is a Canadian musician and filmmaker who is sometimes referred to as “the Canadian Tom Waits.” Don’t ask me why, and don’t ask him why either; neither of us thinks he sounds anything like the Pride of Pomona. Maybe it’s the genre-jumping eclecticism?

Wiseman himself discounts the comparisons with Waits. He has his own thing going on. . . and as a founding member of major-label artists BLUE RODEO with five albums under his belt with the band and thirteen solo albums on the Atlantic Records and Warner Music labels, Wiseman has paid his dues and made his mark.

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Wiseman’s latest solo effort, GIULIETTA MASINA AT THE OSCARS CRYING, was released four days ago to critical acclaim both in Canada and here in the States. Musically, the album is all over the map, bopping around between slow piano ballads, folk-rock, and quirky, nervier numbers. . . and as is Wiseman’s habit, the lyrics are marked by the unambiguous political content that sometimes irritates his record company handlers; his second solo album, 1988’s BOB WISEMAN SINGS WRENCH TUTTLE, contained a song called Rock and Tree whose potentially libelous lyrics so alarmed Warner Music that they destroyed the first thousand copies pressed. On this new album, the song Robert Dzienkanski at the Vancouver Airport leaves no room for doubt: the song is written in plain language, and taken from the true story of a Polish immigrant who was tasered to death by the RCMP in 2007.

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Most interesting of all is the fact that Wiseman’s new album also contains a song entitled The Reform Party at Burning Man:

They passed a law last week scientists cannot speak

Gag order they want every tape-recorder

They want to control the blues restrict access to news

Shamelessly they grin there will be no facts without spin

They’re tough on crime that’s right

They own a patent on that sound-bite

Their grand plan unveiled: build more jails

They want to control the blues restrict access to news

Shamelessly they grin there will be no facts without spin

It is in vogue to spin in the era we are in

But once upon a time people had a dime

Nobody would think it was a crime when a poor person dared

To ask you to share because life is unfair

But the era we are in it is in vogue to spin

Put the truth in a box and do not let it talk

And expand the wars and the military bets

And limit the questions the media gets

How many lies can you bake in this pie

And pretend that you are friends with the little big guy

It is a mystery book the way you look

knight to queens rook

They are ok with foul play every little G20 cop got paid

But what’s especially perverse is that this all feels rehearsed

They want to control the blues restrict access to news

Shamelessly they grin there will be no facts without spin

We didn’t vote so

You could make a joke out

Of people that are broke

Interesting that while the title explicitly mentions our annual festival, Wiseman apparently feels no need to make any explanation to people who might ask “what’s Burning Man?” Has TTITD penetrated the public consciousness to the point that the question is now rare, and even a little silly?

It wasn’t long ago that Burning Man was a fairly obscure thing; even now, many who have heard about it have some strange and terribly inaccurate ideas about what we do out there on the playa, mostly mixed up with visions of filthy Rainbow Gathering hippies wallowing in mud and exchanging drugs and social diseases. Bob Wiseman’s casual name-dropping of the Man with no accompanying explanation tells us that this might be changing; Wiseman wants to send Canada’s staunchest Conservatives to Burning Man for a political makeover, and he assumes that his audience gets it.

They’re onto us. Maybe someone should talk to Larry about changing the name of the event to something unpronounceable.

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3 comments on “Burning Man Makes Further Inroads on Mainstream Consciousness

  1. Pingback: Man living proof writing happens without cerbral cortex. | Bob Wiseman

  2. hello whatsblem the pro.
    i think you require help understanding. it is a joke to call that song – the reform party at burning man. notice the lyrics are about horrible things which have recently happened in canada. the party in charge are the conservatives but they are members of a previous party that lacked credibility called the reform party. calling the song the reform party at burning man does two things. it suggests the people in control are in fact members of the old reform party (who would rather be called conservative because it is a softer gentler brand to utilize with voters) and it suggests they are currently at burning man. why? because they are deconstructing reality because they are radically altering how things are. the idea of using words in this way has more in common with joni mitchell writing “they paved paradise put up a larking lot” or randy newman singing “short people got no reason to live” or dylan singing “they’ll stone you when you are trying to be so good”. it is not about saying the government should go to burning man.

    http://bobwiseman.bandcamp.com/

    Like

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