Thursday, November 24, 2005

Def Leppard on Jimmy Kimmel

1970's heavy metal band Def Leppard is performing on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show on ABC. The song, requested by one of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing in Iraq via a Thanksgiving Day video link-up, was a familiar one: "Rock of Ages"

The lyrics take a rather different meaning through the lens of history, though:
We got something to say: it's better to burn out than to fade away. We're gonna start a fire. ... Rock this place to the ground, burn it up, let's go for broke, watch the night go up in smoke. ... Pyromania ... I don't care if it takes all night, let's set this town alight. ... Rocka Vages ... We got the power, we got the glory, just say you need us, and if you need us, say yeah!
It makes some sense that this song would appeal to a young Marine, because he has the power and wants the glory. He has answered his nation's call without quibbling about whether the people are behind their President on this mission. The problem is the traditional jarhead attitude, which our dear President tries to pretend he can match. (Not only did the President weasel out of military service, he feels that he's less of a man for doing so. It's all right, George; you are less of a man — not because you weaseled out, but because of the way you did it.) That attitude serves us well in a pre-9/11 sort of conflict, but not so well in today's Iraq. We don't need troops to take out identifiable targets so much as we need troops who can take the rôles of peacekeeper and nation-builder.

The irony also reflects back upon the band, though, because there can be no question in anyone's mind that Def Leppard is preferring in real life to fade away rather than burn out. Good for them! Burning out is highly overrated.