By Matthew Stella
Propagandhi plays Ritual on August 12th with RVIVR and War on Women. In the lead-up to the show, longtime fan Matthew Stella will reflect on how the band has impacted his life by reviewing a different Propagandhi song every day until August 12th.
Song: “This Might Be Satire”
Album: How to Clean Everything
First Listen: 1998
The lyrics to “This Might Be Satire” from Propagandhi’s debut album How to Clean Everything are so stupid that the liner notes don’t have them printed. Under “This Might Be Satire” it simply reads, “lyrics to stupid to print.”
“This Might be Satire” is the perfect song for an unexpecting teenager to get into. It starts with a really catchy riff, the lyrics are light, poppy and of course stupid. “I wanna chew my bubble gum, with you. And I wanna walk you home from school. And I wanna carry your books to every class. And I wanna fuck you up the ass.”
You can clearly see why a 14-year-old boy would find this hilarious and play it over and over again. But there is something deceptive about the stupidity of this song. “This Might Be Satire” is a woe-is-me tale of a whiny boy who does everything he can to win a girl’s heart. His intentions are less honourable than the tone of the song suggests. The chorus finds him crying out, “why won’t you hold my hand?” over and over again. He feels that he has done his part, put in his effort, and as such deserves the girl’s affection in the form of sex (anal or otherwise), winning her heart is but a means to the ultimate end (pun intended?).
If you’ve been on the Internet at any point since about 2012 then you’ve probably read at least one article addressing male privilege and the way it plays out in day to day life. Though this debate is far from over – and there are far too many incidents of men carrying out their expectation of sex in exchange for simply being “nice” to extreme conclusions – the fact that there is even a public debate about male privilege is a testament to people who have been calling dudes out on their shit for decades.
The lyrics and messages on How to Clean Everything are slightly more straightforward than on Less Talk, More Rock or on any subsequent Propagandhi album. When they sing “Fuck religion,” or “I can burn your fuckin’ flag wherever I damn well please,” you pretty much know where they stand. But this song’s message, to me, finds the band at their most subversive. They appeal to the horny teenager with what appears to be overt stupidity and, in the end, teach him to treat people with dignity and respect, and that sex isn’t something that men are entitled to just for being “nice.” Fortunately it didn’t take a university degree to figure this one out.