Why Is A Klezmer Mu­si­cian’s Song Banned In Bri­tain?

Forward Magazine - - Culture - — TALYA ZAX

Jake Painter, trum­pet player, doesn’t look like much of a rab­ble-rouser. But the ge­nial Bri­tish mu­si­cian’s band Cap­tain SKA has man­aged to write Bri­tain’s most pop­u­lar song — and get it banned from a large por­tion of the coun­try’s ra­dio sta­tions.

What’s the is­sue? “Liar, Liar” is a catchy, fu­ri­ous take­down of the UK Prime Min­is­ter, Theresa May. In its po­lit­i­cal ex­plic­it­ness, it dif­fers from Painter’s work with Bri­tish klezmer out­fit The Mat­zoh Boys. Open­ing with sta­tis­tics about the num­ber of chil­dren cur­rently liv­ing in poverty in the U.K., cur­rently 3.7 mil­lion, the song pro­ceeds to lam­bast May for mak­ing cuts to a host of Bri­tish in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing schools and the Na­tional Health Ser­vice.

“She’s a liar, liar,” runs the cho­rus. “She’s a liar, liar. You can’t trust her, no, no, no, no.”

In a pet­tier move, Cap­tain SKA’s mu­sic video for the song fea­tures a se­quence of un­flat­ter­ing clips of May, as well as some other con­ser­va­tive politi­cians, some of which are re­peated in slow mo­tion. May’s po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions — and pos­si­bly, de­cep­tions — are fair game, but whether or not she oc­ca­sion­ally looks silly doesn’t have much to do with them. Also un­com­fort­able, at least for this au­thor, is the way in which the song’s de­mo­niza­tion of May

echoes a host of crit­i­cisms lobbed at Hil­lary Clin­ton dur­ing her 2016 run for Pres­i­dent of the United States. It’s all well and good to call politi­cians out for their flaws; May, af­ter all, has made her share of abrupt, sur­pris­ing po­lit­i­cal re­ver­sals. But we should hav­ing un­trust­wor­thi­ness be­come a catch-all crit­i­cism for fe­male politi­cians.

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