Sarah Palin II: Bachmann Boogaloo

A sequel, almost by definition, must accomplish two fundamentally conflicting tasks: It must be like the original, but it must simultaneously differentiate itself from the original. Generally, that second task is accomplished through the prodigious addition of extra. Extra explosions. Extra deception. Extra hilarious poop jokes. Whatever the original had, just add extra.

In America, a place where we like things to be shiny and new but not too new because new things are scary, we love sequels — after all, America itself is basically the sequel to Europe. Hence, presumably, our collective adoration of Michele Bachmann, who is the sequel to Sarah Palin: Where Palin loved the Jesus, Bachmann loves the Jesus extra. Where Palin hated the gays, Bachmann hates the gays extra. Consider: Bachmann hates the gays so much, she once proposed a law banning gay marriage in her home state of Minnesota, where gay marriage was already banned (the sequel ban). That was before she was caught hiding, for reasons even she may not comprehend, in the bushes at a gay-rights rally — so, again, she's crazy like Sarah Palin, but extra. At any rate, because Bachmann is not even a politician so much as the sequel of another politician, let us say that she is the quintessentially American politician.

However American she may be, though, Tom Petty would rather she not use his "American Girl" at campaign rallies. After one such offense on the perversely early campaign trail in Iowa last week, Petty shot off a cease-and-desist letter, protesting, as musicians often do, that he in no way endorses her politically.

Now, there's some complicated legality to this issue. Though it's been going on since the days when Ronald Reagan got taken to task for using (and radically misinterpreting) Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA," the question of whether or not politicians are allowed to appropriate songs for campaign rallies has not actually ever made it to court. Generally, the artist fires off a cease-and-desist, and that's it.

In Bachmann's case, that may not be enough. The day after Petty asked her to stop, Bachmann went ahead and played thirty seconds of "American Girl" at another rally, transitioning from there into "Walking on Sunshine," by Katrina and the Waves, who then also issued a cease-and-desist. (Good luck with that, Katrina and the Waves. Also, good luck with your career or whatever.)

In the meantime, with his polite request trollishly defied and not much legal footing to stand on, it would seem that Petty has only one avenue of recourse: obviously, write a sequel to "American Girl," one so feverishly and excessively American that it could literally fight wars and disenfranchise minorities, one so extra that, like a Michael Bay flick, to witness it would simultaneously fill you with fighting spirit and crushing ennui. Indeed: If there is one man capable of writing a song so American it could cause temporary blindness and uncontrollable diarrhea, that man is Tom Petty.

Bachmann, of course, would have no choice but to pick it up — and like the ominous object from the sequel to the original movie about the ominous object, it would prove her demise. Extra demise.

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Wade Sears
Wade Sears

why was this article printed? do a little research about your subject ( is this article a political one? is about sequels? is it about copyright infringement? )

you demonstrate you bias by insulting the easy targets and not knowing much about the subject where this article was published (music).tom petty and katrina and the waves do have legal standing; see jackson browne vs. john mccain in 2008. the mccain campaign ended up owing money to browne because of copyright infringement.

but the larger issue is how often people misinterpret the lyrics of songs - 'born in the usa' is about the loss of the american dream, not a jingoistic feel good song about being american. 'american girl' is about a party girl wanting to get laid, which i guess is a feel good song about being american.

a more appropriate song for bachmann would be grand funk railroad's 'American Woman'; but since they are a canadian band, she could use lenny kravitz cover. this would actually be closer to this articles premise that bachmann is a sequel - i think more like a cover version, same schtick different person.


Spot on, Jef! Once the release of Petty's VERY American Nutjob hits the airwaves, the teabaggers wll undoubtedly pick it up as their anthem, and will show all the bible-clenching "Americans" how truly patriotic they are.


Lacking direction and sense. Your "facts" about Palin and Bachmann are not facts. You really should do your research before forming an opinion on a politician! They have the power to dramatically affect change and you choose to believe lies. Shame on you.

Jerry Campbell
Jerry Campbell

First of all Palin does not hate Gays, so we will get rid of that little lie.Still looking for something worthwhile in your article Jef.... I was trying to think of an article you could read that will give you some insight but since this topic has nothing to do with Denver, CO then why did you write it?

Well here's something:

By the way your article ( if political ) is listed under Music.You might want to fix that.

Oh and if your an up and coming opinion writer that's looking for a challenge there is a movie in your area that you can review called, "The Undefeated" ( Rated NR ) showing at the Highlands Ranch AMC 24 theater on July 15, 2011.


American Woman was by The Guess Who (also Canadian)

Jef Otte
Jef Otte

Haha, you know what I think is funny about "The Undefeated," Jerry? She was defeated.

Jef Otte
Jef Otte

Thanks, guest, for observing one obvious way in which Wade is wrong here. Wade, you're also wrong about McCain v Browne -- that suit was filed over unauthorized use of "Running on Empty" in a campaign ad, meaning it's unauthorized use in media. Playing a song over the loudspeaker at a campaign rally and putting it in a political commercial are two different things, and for the former, there is no real legal precedent. Look it up, dude.

And yeah, I get it about the lyric misinterpretation. That was pretty much exactly my point.

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