Green Day's Anti-Recruitment Video:
Anyone who's been paying attention to popular rock music over the last couple of years knows that Green Day's 2004 American Idiot album is one of the most kickass pieces of mainstream protest music to emerge from the era of Bush. From its title song, with its slamming sarcasm of "Well maybe I'm the faggot America/ I'm not a part of a redneck agenda," to singer Billie Joe Armstrong announcing, "Zieg Heil to the president gasman/ Bombs away is your punishment/ Pulverize the Eiffel towers/ Who criticize your government" in "Holiday," the effect of the music is to describe a nation gone mad and its effect on the individual young male. (And Armstrong's got his native California's back, too, on the b-side (well, what we used to call "b-side") song, "Governator.")

Now, in the video for the seemingly straightforward power ballad "Wake Me Up When September Ends," Green Day makes an answer to every Army-of-One bullshit ad. The video begins with a sappy teen love story, complete with the music low and the dialogue audible, until we see the weeping teenage girl going up to the teenage boy, begging to know if what she heard is true. The boy explodes that she doesn't understand, and then we see what they're talking about, with the boy going off in a bus, having his head shaved, being trained by the military, and sent to an urban battlefield that is presumably Iraq.

There, guitars peaking in the background, we watch as the boy's patrol comes under fire from an unseen enemy, with explosions and bullets all around them. As he watches his fellow soldiers being hit, we see the boy, scared, confused, hidden in one of the bombed out buildings. The thing is that it's filmed as if it is one of those Army or Marine ads, except it looks fucking scary. And then it ends with the teenage girl back at home, sitting on bleachers. We don't know if the boy lives or dies (perhaps there's a sequel in the offing?), but we know that the innocence of the early part has been compromised, and that there's no way that girl and that boy can ever connect again.

Simple. A bit sappy. And as effective as a mallet to the head. Or that bleeding heart grenade on the cover of the album itself.

We have entered the hottest part of the summer. Between this, a song on the Rolling Stones' new album, and Cindy Sheehan's vigil at Crawford, Texas, we've also entered a season of discontent and resistance. At last.

(Note: Rude Pundit tired. Rehearsing for Rude Pundit show. Opens tomorrow. See the show site for news.)