Raging for the Machine, Against Ryan

Rage Against the Machine's corporate headquarters.

Members of the “Rage Against the Machine” rock group recently gathered easy press accolades by bashing one of their fans.

When Paul Ryan’s appreciation for their music was made public, a member of the group said Ryan is “the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.”

It always strikes me as odd when wealthy, older artists like Rage Against the Machine actually believe the corporate marketing package their record companies have created for them and enriched them with for decades.

To review: Rage Against the Machine’s albums were released by Sony Music Entertainment’s “Epic” Label. Sony Music is the second-largest recorded music company in the world. The controlling Sony corporation is a multinational corporation bigger than Procter & Gamble — bigger than Microsoft.

The group also supports another big corporate interest: abortion. They are all for it.  Women who feel pressured to abort their children often feel rage against the machine that makes their situation feel hopeless. The band is fine with the abortion machine, though.

The group also dislikes Republicans. They headlined a show that coincided with the 2008 Republican National Convention, for which they dressed like Guantanamo prisoners. In fact, they are so against the situation in Guantanamo they are going to repeat the stunt in opposition to Obama’s policies at the Democratic convention… oh, wait, no they’re not. Theirs was a partisan rage, not really a rage against the machine.

The band’s guitarist, Tom Morello, wrote this for Rolling Stone:

“Don’t mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta ‘rage’ in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions.”

This is a very revealing statement. First, it shows that “rage” doesn’t really mean “rage” to these guys. After all, Ryan is not really “enraged” by any of those things. He just has a different opinion about how to serve them.

Second, it reveals Rage Against the Machine’s politics to be … well, the machine’s politics. They must have listened well in public school and they must nod a lot when they listen to NPR, because they have imbibed the dominant political positions that have held sway in most American institutions during their lifetimes.

They don’t Rage Against the Machine. They are Raging for the Machine. And the machine has made them the privileged elite. But the amoral, market-driven Machine that pays them to shout obscenities is one that Catholics should very much be against.



  • Hector

    To Joe and others this isn’t really slanted but seen from a Catholic’s perspective. It doesn’t take a basic internet search to find out what RATM stands for. These guys are up there with Sean Penn when it comes to celebrities pushing leftist and socialist causes. Any faithful Catholic who is serious about practicing their faith shouldn’t support their music let alone listen to it.

    I’ve listened to Rage’s music when I was younger and understood the anarchist and socialist messages in their music. I kept listening to it out of ignorance and musically they are a good band. From a Catholic perspective, it would not be prudent to listen to them for several reasons among the many profanities like Tom said.

    On another note, I’m surprised Paul Ryan said something like he likes their music during an election cycle. This is just fodder for left leaning supporters to gleefully chew-up and spit out. He either is oblivious to what they stand for, or his PR person wasn’t on the ball to tell him to just not saying anything at all about this.

    Finally this shows the crassness of some artists like RATM to berate a fan. They could have simply said we don’t agree with his political and world view, but we thank him for being a fan of our music. That would have showed class and same face for all but I digress…. They are right up there with other artists with those ungrateful comments like Lauryn Hill who back in the 90s when she said she doesn’t want white people to buy here music. That ignorant and racist comment alone made me not support anything she sells or promotes.

  • whistling in the dark

    So, if they are upset that Ryan buys their music, send his money back.

  • Joe

    riiiggggttt. If Catholic Vote is so “informed”, how about going after Hank Williams Jr for his messages about “Obama is a Muslim who hates America.”

    First of all – I remember when RATM was a small band who struck a cord with youth who hated watching the Reagan and Bush Administrations send young people to Gulf War I. Success is a byproduct (and a detour), but the fact you think they’re corporate puppets shows how little the author knows about their music.

    Second, this could have been a minor story, which got bigger by bloggers who make it into an issue. I like RATM’s music, but to me it’s outdated. The fact that CatholicVote has a position on this trivial statement makes it that much more interesting. I really forgot about them until reading this.

    Last, listen to their music, rather than complain that they have a political point of view. Typical slanted media will attack the messenger but never address the message.

  • MLsouth

    This is total hyperbole and exaggerations against Ryan. Protecting women and innocent life from the murder of abortion is not exactly a rage. Helping the poor work themselves out of poverty is not a rage. The again, they are Hollywood, and this was in the Rolling Stones. Are we really going to take them seriously?



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