This should surprise exactly no one.

This should surprise exactly no one.

Politics, as the saying goes, ain’t beanbag. But, as this week’s election proves, when you treat politics as sport/entertainment, you should not be surprised when the most entertaining candidate wins.

In that regard, this past campaign season was also a stark reminder of the primacy of emotion in our persuasive communications, and of both bluntness and frequency. Through his campaign, Mr. Trump pushed “Crooked Hillary” until it de facto became her name. This label went largely unchallenged. In comparison, Ms. Clinton once mentioned a “basket of deplorables,” which made her sound like a smug jerk and was resoundingly abhorred, most vociferously by her own supporters.

Speaking of emotion: It’s interesting to see where people’s feelings go after such a contentious event. Personally, I find that if I’m quiet enough, my subconscious mind usually knows the next thing I need.

And apparently what I needed this week was to listen to Warren Zevon.

Most people know Zevon for his hit “Werewolves of London.” It’s sharp social commentary disguised as a novelty song, and that’s totally Zevon’s style: try “Lawyers, Guns and Money” or “Detox Mansion” or “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” if you want more.

 

But it wasn’t his only style. Zevon also wrote gorgeous, sad love songs (“The Heartache,” “Accidentally Like a Martyr”). And he wrote a lot of songs about working people slugging it out another day, living with disappointment and fear and somehow getting through. Usually, things didn’t go well. As he wrote in “Desperados Under the Eaves”:

And if California slides into the ocean
As the mystics and statistics say it will,
I predict this motel will be standing
Until I pay my bill.

 

Zevon also knew that sometimes what it takes to get through the crap is a little music. And right here is where my subconscious told me to go: to “Mohammed’s Radio,” in which you and I are being knocked around and hassled all day—but a pirate radio station makes us want to rock and roll all night long.

 

This turns out to be what I needed this week—the song and the message. Less chatter, more music. Don’t confuse politics with beanbag. Treat it seriously.

And sing more. Good thing Tonic Ball is next Friday night. See you there?

P.S.: A friend of mine, let’s call her Amy, doesn’t like Warren Zevon. Whatever. Not going to fight about it. Here’s the Linda Ronstadt version of “Mohammed’s Radio.”