Hey, Everybody, Let’s Make Fun Of Public Image Limited!

Last week I saw something nostalgic at the library: some DVDs of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  I checked a couple out and watched one (The Atomic Brain!) with my nine year old son.  He loved it.  The show was more corny than I remembered, but actually even funnier.  I suspect that a lot of us enjoyed MST3K 10,15,20 years ago, and didn’t have kids then, or kids who were old enough to appreciate snarkiness.  Now…I suggest that you consider this as a Family Home Evening activity.  What better way to bond with the fam than by watching a guy stranded on a space station in the future, forced to watch bad old movies, which he and his robot friends mercilessly ridicule in a feeble attempt to stave off insanity?

In a fortuitous convergence of events, yesterday I heard Public Image Limited’s 1986 ditty “Rise” on the radio.  Curious, I looked up its video on YouTube.  Good grief, was it awful.  Exactly the kind of faux-earnest, quirky-punk, weird-concept garbage that we all thought was so profound in the 80’s.  In the video, Johnny Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols), endeavors to raise our awareness of the seriousness of South African apartheid.  He does this by bouncing around, flailing his arms, and glaring sternly at the camera.  This video begs to be mocked.   

Here are two ideas: one part of the song’s refrain has Lydon chanting, “I could be black, I could be white.”  Really?  Hmm, we appear to have a mystery.  Let’s try to figure this puzzle out.  Skin so pale it’s practically transparent?  Check.  Bright orange hair?  Check.  Yup, I think it’s safe to say this guy’s white.  Case closed.  Next.

Another repeated element of the song–its only genuinely good part, really–is the chorus: “May the road rise with you.”  Perhaps when we hear this we can sing, “May the Force be with you.”  Catchy, no?



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