U2's love of Patti Smith & Rock N Roll Nigger - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-16-2005, 07:14 PM   #1
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U2's love of Patti Smith & Rock N Roll Nigger

Anyone else find it interesting how much U2 seems to respect Patti Smith. She is clearly one of their role models.

They have covered her "Dancing Barefoot" on record and sung bits of People Have The Power and Rock N Roll Nigger during the latest tour...

And she is opening for them in New York (how strange must that be, having your idol open for YOU)...

anyway, i found this and thought it was of interest regarding an interperetation of her song Rock N Roll Nigger...

"Smith remained torn between her allegiance to the heroic figures of the male rebel tradition and her desire to unleash a female wildness that obliterates figuration altogether. Nowhere is this more apparent than on 'Rock 'n' Roll Nigger' (Easter). The nigger here is a woman (the title obviously inspired by Yoko Ono's 'Woman is the Nigger of the World'). 'Rock 'n' Roll Nigger' is Smith announcing that female rebellion is the new frontier. In some latent fashion, the song is saying: if hipsters have always wanted to be White Negroes, and woman is the nigger of the world, then why can't female rebellion be the model for all future rebels?

But in a rambling rant halfway through the song, Smith namechecks male innovators (Hendrix, Jesus, Jackson Pollock) as 'niggers,' as though she's casted around for female archetypes of rebellion and come up empty-handed. The sleevenotes declare that 'any man who extends beyond the classic form is a nigger.' This resembles the arguments of theorists like Hélène Cixous, who claim that male avant-gardists like Joyce and Mallarmé were somehow engaged in écriture féminine; they were able to rupture the strictures of patriarchal thought and syntax because they had special access to the 'dark continent' of femininity. Certainly, these poètes maudit and their rock 'n' roll descendants (Morrison, Iggy, Tom Verlaine) were Smith's models. Apart from the black sheep that is 'Rock 'n' Roll Nigger''s original focus (Smith herself), Woman appears in this song only in the form of the 'the infinite sea."

Pretty interesting stuff. I can't think of any newer artist working today challenging societal issues like this.

Where is all the music with POWER???
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Old 11-17-2005, 12:46 PM   #2
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Old 11-17-2005, 12:47 PM   #3
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Where is all the music with POWER???
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