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When Music and Politics Collide.

[click here to watch video]

A reader emailed me this video of Fall Out Boy’s song “I’m Like a Lawyer With the Way I’m Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)” that was filmed in Northern Uganda and was intended to address the horrific and debilitating civil war that’s been robbing the country of its citizens lives and well-being for nearly 20 years.

In this time more than 30,000 children have been abducted from their homes and forced to be soldiers and sex slaves. Nearly 25,000 have become what is referred to as “night commuters”, leaving their homes at night to escape the possibility of being taken from their families and sleeping in bus stations, behind local stores and even on the streets. These kids make up 80% of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) soldiers.

In addition to this, the HIV infection rate rages due almost directly to the tensions between the LRA and the Ugandan government. The region’s healthcare system has all but collapsed due to the civil war, flight of healthcare workers and general neglect. Without the means to spread prevention awareness, the region has doubled Uganda’s national HIV average.

Now, I wouldn’t imagine anyone expects Fall Out Boy to be the voices or faces of a pressing political issue. I wouldn’t imagine that one single person would expect these dopes to contribute much to the international arena of discourse and debate. All of these people are correct.

Before I even started watching the video I was thinking, ‘I hope they gave these people some food and clean water.” Shooting a bleeping music video in Uganda is generally disgusting. Flaunting your privileged existence where spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ENTERTAINMENT when these people are fighting for their rights and their lives should humiliate Americans.

I wanted to make sure these guys didn’t donate a trillion dollars before I ripped them, but I found no such thing. Instead I found an interview where Pete Wentz, the bassist and songwriter, states:

Originally when we came here, we had a plan. [The video] was going to be shot documentary-style. We were gonna shoot it as Fall Out Boy coming here and interacting,” bassist Pete Wentz said on the video’s set. “But we decided that this treatment seemed a lot more dangerous and compelling. I mean, have you ever seen a love story between Ugandan people — especially with a rock band — on ‘TRL’? [source]

Ouch. The song has nothing to do with anything, let alone the Ugandan civil war. And you can reference the lyrics to verify that. I doubt I need to break this down. These guys think it’s okay to write a TREATMENT about a very real and very grave situation to be “dangerous and compelling” for the TRL audience?

I wonder how the director felt about instructing the Ugandans. I can only imagine. “Okay, now…pretend your village is being ravaged and attacked. Perfect. These guys are professionals!”

At least they put some rinky dink copy at the end to tie it all together. Oh, and they let the kids jump around at the end before they packed everything up and hopped in their plane. And left them there.

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About Etta Strange

Writer, obsessive audiophile, secret bedroom DJ, local daydreamer with more books than shelf space. I'm stockpiling for the inevitable drought. Let's collaborate.

4 responses to “When Music and Politics Collide.

  1. Y4J ⋅

    Since when did Fall Out Boy have the JOB to save whatever is happening over there? They didn’t have to do ANYTHING.. THey did this video to show what is going on and for people to possibly help out.. The song if ANYTHING, was used for people to PAY ATTENTION.. NOT the other way around.. They didn’t make this video for people to pay attention to the song.. They used the song for people to pay attention to what’s happening..

    Pete and FOB have been part of this for a long time..

    You need to realize not EVERYONE in the music buisness is out to get everyone’s money.

  2. eardrums ⋅

    Do you agree or disagree that the money used to produce and create this video including airfare for the band and additional crew members would have possibly been better spent creating a campaign or even being directly donated the cause itself?

  3. KK ⋅

    Fall Out Boy and Pete have been very strong supporters of Invisble Children for a very long time and care very strongly about it. They went there, stayed in Uganda for a while and saw how the people lived.

    This band is different. They dont say they care about some cause and dont do anything for the cause at all. They help and all their fans are helping out for Invisble Children, too.

    Research more before you post something like this.

  4. eardrums ⋅

    I’m glad they went and looked at the poor people to see how they live. Noble.

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