Tuesday, February 28

Forgotten Rock Liberals

This column about "South Park Conservatives" in Australia, linked by Drew, includes the following vignette to explain "Labor's critical failing" to recruit younger voters over the last decade:
During the 2004 election, some within Labor expressed the deluded hope that recruiting rock star Peter Garrett to stand as a Labor MP would appeal to young people, but Labor's Nicola Roxon disagreed. "We have to remember he was a hero when we were younger, so we think he has youth appeal, and it's true, to some extent, he does, but if you asked a 19-year-old, they might not even know who Midnight Oil was. He recently came to speak at a function for me, and he was fabulous, but the people who wanted to come were 40 and 50-year-old men. He gave a very passionate and interesting speech, and people were really engaged, so that really is our key. We've got a perfectly good message, if people listen to it."
Oh, man, Midnight Oil! What a blast from the past. In college the eco-punk rockers from Down Under were one of my favorite bands. In the banner year of 1990, a hit MTV video for "Blue Sky Mine" got me researching asbestosis in West Aussie immigrant miners, their agitprop concert outside of the Exxon building impressed, and I even wrangled my way out of a final exam to see their Philly show. BSM was an excellent album, the middle release of three great discs, but their more recent material didn't win me over. The band broke up in 2002, and it sounds like Australian youth has moved on as well.