03 December 2008

I Fought the Law

Internet access troubles (rural New Hampshire, snow) kept me away for a while, and I missed the 30th anniversary of the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk on November 27. I first learned of this moment in history during my undergraduate years in the mid-90s, all thanks to the Dead Kennedys song "I Fought the Law (and I Won!)".

What, I wondered then, did "Twinkies are the best friend I’ve ever had" mean? Who was Jello Biafra singing about in the line "I blew George & Harvey’s brains out with my six-gun"? I loved the song because my father had a 45 of one of the earlier versions that I listened to a bunch, so the changes in the DK version thrilled me, even though I had no idea what the song was about (this was in the days before the internet and quick Googling). At the same time, I was trying to educate myself on gay history, and when I read about the assassinations and the supposed "Twinkie defense", I suddenly realized what the song was about.

And so, belatedly, for the 30th anniversary of a terrible day, here's a live video of Dead Kennedys performing the song in Los Angeles in 1984:

(If you want to hear the original studio version of the song, which is somewhat more comprehensible, it's available here.)

3 comments:

  1. But of course Dan White LOST a year after this footage.

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  2. I learned of it from Jello also but it wasn't the song it was on one of his spoken word albums. It was the cut where he talked about running for mayor I think (but I would have to go look).

    God I haven't listened to those things in ages.

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  3. Speaking of Internet troubles...the BAF website appears to have been down for awhile. Also with what looked like out-of-date submission guidelines when it was up...

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