Gil Scott-Heron
Language: English

Singolo poi compreso nell’album “Reflections”


Un violento attacco all’America di Ronald Reagan, il cowboy col cappello ed il cavallo bianchi subentrato a John Wayne, quello che arrivava sempre sparacchiando sui cattivi e salvando tutti i buoni all’ultimo momento… Un paese nostalgico, incapace di guardare al presente e al futuro, scivolato tragicamente in uno squallido film di serie B…

Well, the first thing I want to say is: mandate my ass!

Because it seems as though we've been convinced that 26% of the registered voters, not even 26% of the American people, but 26% of the registered voters form a mandate or a landslide. 21% voted for Skippy [1] and 3, 4% voted for somebody else who might have been running.

But, oh yeah, I remember. In this year that we have now declared the year from Sho-gun to Rea-gun [2], I remember what I said about Reagan, I meant it. Acted like an actor. Hollyweird [3]. Acted like a liberal. Acted like General Franco when he acted like governor of California, then he acted like a Republican. Then he acted like somebody was going to vote for him for president. And now we act like 26% of the registered voters is actually a mandate. We're all actors in this I suppose.

What has happened is that in the last 20 years, America has changed from a producer to a consumer. And all consumers know that when the producer names the tune, the consumer has got to dance. That's the way it is. We used to be a producer - very inflexible at that, and now we are consumers and, finding it difficult to understand. Natural resources and minerals will change your world. The Arabs used to be in the 3rd World. They have bought the 2nd World and put a firm down payment on the 1st one. Controlling your resources we'll control your world. This country has been surprised by the way the world looks now. They don't know if they want to be Matt Dillon or Bob Dylan. They don't know if they want to be diplomats or continue the same policy - of nuclear nightmare diplomacy. John Foster Dulles [4] ain't nothing but the name of an airport now.

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia. They want to go back as far as they can - even if it's only as far as last week. Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards. And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment. The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse - or the man who always came to save America at the last moment - someone always came to save America at the last moment - especially in "B" movies. And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne. But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at like a "B" movie.

Come with us back to those inglorious days when heroes weren't zeros. Before fair was square. When the cavalry came straight away and all-American men were like Hemingway to the days of the wondrous "B" movie. The producer underwritten by all the millionaires necessary will be Casper "The Defensive" Weinberger [5] - no more animated choice is available. The director will be Attila the Haig [6], running around frantically declaring himself in control and in charge. The ultimate realization of the inmates taking over at the asylum. The screenplay will be adapted from the book called "Voodoo Economics" by George "Papa Doc" Bush [7]. Music by the "Village People" the very military "Macho Man":

"Macho, macho man!"
"He likes to be … well, you get the point"
"Huuut! Your left! Your left! Your left, right, left, right, left, right!"

A theme song for saber-rallying and selling wars door-to-door. Remember, we're looking for the closest thing we can find to John Wayne. Clichés abound like kangaroos - courtesy of some spaced out Marlin Perkins [8], a Reagan contemporary. Clichés like, "itchy trigger finger" [9] and "tall in the saddle" [10] and "riding off or on into the sunset." [11] Clichés like, "Get off of my planet by sundown!" [12] More so than clichés like, "he died with his boots on." [13] Marine tough the man is. Bogart tough the man is. Cagney tough the man is. Hollywood tough the man is. Cheap steak tough. And Bonzo's substantial [14]. The ultimate in synthetic selling: A Madison Avenue masterpiece - a miracle - a cotton-candy politician. Presto! Macho!

"Macho, macho man!"

Put your orders in America. And quick as Kodak your leaders duplicate with the accent being on the dupes - cause all of a sudden we have fallen prey to selective amnesia - remembering what we want to remember and forgetting what we choose to forget. All of a sudden, the man who called for a blood bath on our college campuses is supposed to be Dudley "God-damn" Do-Right [15]?

"You go give them liberals hell, Ronnie!" That was the mandate to the new Captain Bligh [16] on the new ship of fools. It was doubtlessly based on his chameleon performance of the past: as a Liberal Democrat. As the head of the Studio Actor's Guild, when other celluloid saviors were cringing in terror from McCarthy, Ron stood tall. It goes all the way back from Hollywood to hillbilly. From Liberal to libelous, from "Bonzo" to Birch idol, born again. Civil rights, women's rights, gay rights: …it's all wrong. Call in the cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild. God damn it, first one wants freedom, then the whole damn world wants freedom.

Nostalgia, that's what we want: the good ol' days, when we gave'em hell. When the buck stopped somewhere and you could still buy something with it. To a time when movies were in black and white, and so was everything else. Even if we go back to the campaign trail, before six-gun Ron shot off his face and developed hoof-in-mouth. Before the free press went down before full-court press, and were reluctant to review the menu because they knew the only thing available was... Crow [16].

Lon Chaney [17], our man of a thousand faces: no match for Ron. Doug Henning [18] does the make-up; special effects from Grecian Formula 16 and Crazy Glue [19]; transportation furnished by the David Rockefeller of Remote Control Company [20]. Their slogan is, "Why wait for 1984? You can panic now... and avoid the rush."

So much for the good news.

As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation. And here's a look at the closing numbers: racism's up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot. The House claims all ties. Jobs are down, money is scarce, and common sense is at an all-time low on heavy trading [21]. Movies were looking better than ever, and now no one is looking, because we're starring in a "B" movie. And we would rather had... John Wayne. We would rather had… John Wayne.

"You don't need to be in no hurry.
You ain't never really got to worry.
And you don't need to check on how you feel.
Just keep repeating that none of this is real.
And if you're sensing, that something's wrong,
Well just remember, that it won't be too long
Before the director cuts the scene. yea."

"This ain't really your life,
Ain't really your life,
Ain't really ain't nothing but a movie."

"This ain't really your life,
Ain't really your life,
Ain't really ain't nothing but a movie."

"This ain't really your life,
Ain't really your life,
Ain't really ain't nothing but a movie."…
Alcune note:

[1] Skippy: non ho capito a cosa o a chi si riferisca. Skippy è il nome di una celebre marca americana di burro d’arachidi, è il nome del canguretto protagonista della serie TV “Skippy the Bush Kangaroo”, è il soprannome che Reagan stesso diede a suo figlio Ron…

[2] Gioco di parole a partire da “shōgun”, termine giapponese con cui venivano chiamati (fino all’800) i comandanti militari in capo.

[3] Hollyweird: gioco di parole tra Hollywood e “weird”, strano, bizzarro, ma anche sfigato, mediocre.

[4] John Foster Dulles (1888-1959), segretario di Stato con Eisenhower e uno dei responsabili della Guerra Fredda, del primo coinvolgimento americano in Indocina, della guerra di Corea, del golpe in Iran…

[5] Caspar Willard "Cap" Weinberger (1917-2006), vari incarichi con Nixon e poi ministro della Difesa proprio con Reagan (e dopo uomo d’affari in Bechtel Corporation e Forbes), un grosso militarista, fautore delle cosiddette “Star Wars”, coinvolto nell’affare Iran-Contras…

[6] Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr (1924-2010), grosso papavero dell’esercito, brevemente segretario di Stato con Reagan, feroce avversario del Weinberger di cui sopra. Haig è noto anche per essere stato il comnadante in capo delle forze della NATO e per aver dato un grosso contributo all’escalation militare USA e alla guerra sporca in Salvador e Nicaragua.

[7] George "Papa Doc" Bush (1924-), presidente USA per due mandati. Sappiamo tutti bene quello che ha fatto, dall’invasione di Panama, alla prima guerra del Golfo alla guerra in Somalia (per citare solo alcune delle sue opere). Qui Scott-Heron lo equipara a “Papa Doc” Duvalier, il feroce dittatore di Haiti cui successe l’altrettanto sanguinario figlio soprannominato Baby Doc. Bush e Duvalier: due dinastie a confronto.

[8] Richard Marlin Perkins (1905 –1986) era un zoologo diventato una star TV nel programma “Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom”, in onda dal 1963 al 1985. Si faceva spesso ritrarre nell’atto di accudire o allattare un piccolo di canguro.

[9] Da 9 a 13: tutti cliché del vero uomo, del vero duro, quello dalla pistola facile, risoluto ed impavido (“Tall In The Saddle”, titolo di un film con John Wayne), quello della scena finale dei western classici, dove l’eroe cavalca nella luce del tramonto, quello ultimativo (“fuori dalle palle all’alba, oppure…”), quello che quando gli capita di morire, lo fa con gli stivali infilati…

[14] Bonzo: uno dei soprannomi dati a Ronald Reagan, per via del film “Bedtime for Bonzo” (1951) in cui lui era solo il coprotagonista, mentre l’interprete principale era uno scimpanzè.

[15] Dudley "God-damn" Do-Right: nome di un personaggio dei cartoons (1961-1971), una giubba rossa canadese nella serie The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

[16] “reluctant to review the menu because they knew the only thing available was... Crow”: ???

[17] Lon Chaney: si tratta di Creighton Tull Chaney, figlio dell’attore dell’epoca del muto Lon Chaney. Lon Chaney Jr. (1906-1973) interpretò molti film horror nelle parti dell’Uomo Lupo, della Mummia, di Frankenstein ecc.

[18] Douglas James Henning (1947-2007), mago illusionista canadese.

[19] Grecian Formula 16 and Crazy Glue: il primo è un famigerato colorante per capelli, bandito da molti paesi perché contenente acetato di piombo. Il secondo è uno dei tanti nomi commerciali di un potente composto adesivo derivato dall'acido cianoacrilico, l’Attak o la Loctite, per intenderci.

[20] David Rockefeller (1915-), l’ormai quasi centenario patriarca della famosa famiglia di banchieri, magnati e “filantropi” americani.

[21] Uno sguardo di sintesi sull’America di Reagan, ridotta per l’appunto ad un brutto film di serie B, che al confronto quelli con John Wayne erano capolavori (e qualcuno in effetti non è per nulla male)

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2014/4/14 - 15:23

Main Page

Please report any error in lyrics or commentaries to

Note for non-Italian users: Sorry, though the interface of this website is translated into English, most commentaries and biographies are in Italian and/or in other languages like French, German, Spanish, Russian etc.

hosted by