Sympathy for the Devil

When we read recently about some Americans’ evil and insane wish for another 9-11, or their crazy conspiracy theories to make Bush the enemy rather than naming the real enemy, we couldn’t help thinking about Sympathy for the Devil, the 1968 Rolling Stones song by 25 year-old Mick Jagger that led off Beggars’ Banquet, the album released by that group ten days after the Beatles’ White Album.

Sympathy for the Devil was a very unusual song for the sixties, even for the late sixties. Its dark, literate phrases and samba beat are unique in the music of that decade. As such, it became the subject of a film by Jean-Luc Godard, and provoked middle-brow literary inquiry: was the source of the tune Beaudelaire or Mikhail Bulgakov, for example? We don’t know about any of that, but Jagger sure had the denial of evil that is the hallmark of our time pegged cold. It’s hard for us not to think of our friend Ahmadinejad in the title role, and the Left and the UN as those blinkered by their exquisite self-regard and haughty disapproval of the tasteless and crass creatures of the Right:

Please allow me to introduce myself
Im a man of wealth and taste
Ive been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith…
I rode a tank
Held a generals rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
I shouted out
Who killed the Kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me
Let me please introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game, mm yeah
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, mm yeah
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, mm yeah
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, mm mean it, get down
Oh yeah, get on down
Oh yeah
Oh yeah
Tell me baby, what’s my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, what’s my name
I tell you one time, you’re to blame
Oh, right
What’s my name
Tell me, baby, what’s my name
Tell me, sweetie, what’s my name

The UN and EU treat Iran with politesse, no doubt; their fake warnings of possible sanctions at a time uncertain are part of a charade or kabuki dance. And almost none on the Left dare recognize the evil in front of them, for fear that it would shatter their fantasy world.

“Hope you guess my name…what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game” — many of us know the name and the nature of the game. Will our countrymen and fellow Westeners figure it out before it is too late?

UPDATE

Of course we approve of the Christopher Hitchens reaction to the fatuous and self-blinkered.

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