The List

 

Clear Channel Communications sent their member radio stations
a long list of objectionable artists and CDs
While the country was despairing, there’d be no excuse for airing
any music more subversive, more extreme than Kenny G’s

There’d be no more Don Maclean, no more Kansas, no more Queen,
no more radicals like Cher or Billy Joel,
in the wake of 9/11, you can’t hear “Stairway to Heaven”
— see how tragedy unites us all around a common goal

And scanning down the list of names their DJs hadn’t spun
— Steve Miller, Smashing Pumpkins, Talking Heads —
because if they play “Imagine,” then the terrorists have won!
We grabbed the phone and called them up and said:

Why aren’t WE on the list?
Are we doing something wrong?
After all we’ve done for you, can’t you censor just one song?
Who the hell is REM? Like we can’t compete with them!
Out of all the lists in history, that’s the one we should be on!
Are we so status quo? Are you calling us a liar?
You think we’re just not as radical as “Light My Fire?”
You say our stuff is blander than Neil Diamond — that is slander!
We demand to be banned,
or we’re warning you, we’ll turn into a U2 cover band,
’til you put us on that list, where we belong!

Then one day Joseph Lieberman — remember Joseph Lieberman?
the Democrats once ran him for Vice President, and won —
and to show how hard he works for those Vice-Presidential perks,
he teamed up with Lynn Cheney, and a new list was begun.

Over 100 professors were listed as transgressors
for disparaging the President’s new war
It was time for schools to snitch on the leftists in their midst,
and that’s exactly what this patriotic list was for.

Joe burbled with intrigue, as he crashed the Ivy League
with intent to start a new McCarthy scare
But imagine his amazement, when pounding down the pavement
were professors waving posters which declared:

Why aren’t WE on the list?
Have you seen our resumes?
What did we ever do to incur you people’s praise?
We can prove that we’re seditious!
Won’t you even act suspicious?
We’ve worked for those positions on your privileged lexicon!
Once you’ve scanned our major works,
once you’ve glanced at our credentials,
we feel certain you’ll concur that our censure is essential.
We aren’t every dissenters — we’re dissenters holding tenure!
You people have some nerve!
An ad-hominem attack ’d be the least that we deserve
Come on, put us on that list, where we belong!

Ask any therapist for a practical prognosis,
she’ll tell you making lists can be a symptom of psychosis,
and it’s becoming clear, too clear to be dismissed,
that there’s somebody this year who’s got a thing for making lists.

There’s a list of evil men, there’s list of evil nations,
there’s list of suspect profiles and suspicious organizations,
there’s list of strange new laws, there’s list of detainees,
it’s a list a thousand long which we’re all not allowed to see,

but if it’s anything at all like their last illustrious list,
that oughta give us some idea of whom this one consists,
’cause if you wrote the Bill of Rights, which we’re hoping still exists,
you’d fit their definition of “suspicious terrorist,”

and for the people who resist and the people who assist,
there’s mystery tribunal in a military mist
it’s a twisted justice system which can always add more twists
when it gets to feeling listless as its mill runs out of grist

and nobody has to be a vicious pessimist
to perceive that there’s a question here that everybody’s missed
it’s the question that persists, through every day of this, namely:
Why aren’t we on the list?