Updated: The good news is that the song “Do You Realize” by The Flaming Lips is no longer the “Official State Rock Song Of Oklahoma.”
We here at Tulsa Today would love to take credit for this, though we’re not certain we can. Still, we will tell ourselves that we may have had just a bit to do with it.
The State Historical Society sponsored the selection process, where songs were nominated en masse and winnowed down by a committee of People Who Should Know About Such Things. Then there was a period of on-line voting where the peasants could voice their opinions. There were glitches along the way. There was dissent in the committee and there was probably ballot-stuffing, though we are not alleging corruption.
Of course, the flaw of democracy is the idea that the majority is always right. Statistically, the majority will be right about half the time. With something as subjective as artistic value, statistics are useless.
Allow me to pontificate a smidgen. I have been playing Rock And Roll in Oklahoma for almost 50 years. Most of us ply our trade in smoky bars and never get any brass rings. Gene Bavinger said “There’s commercial art and fine art. You just follow your heart and hope you succeed.” You can’t compare Van Gogh with Andy Warhol or Bach with Madonna.
When I first asked around the musical community about The Flaming Lips, the general consensus was unflattering. They were tone-deaf punks who committed outrage for the sake of attention. They follow the worst hippie credo, “If it feels good, do it.” Of all the nominees for the State Rock Song, they were the least representative of Oklahoma values. They are pandering, posing Pied Pipers. Their vacuous fan base gulps down their cheesy affirmations, as exemplified in the nominated song.
Fans responded to our protest with insults and too much capitalization. Had it been snail-mail, they probably would have been in crayon on spittle-soaked paper bags.
We did not want to lambaste them without justification, so we pored through interviews and all of their lyrics looking for some redeeming social value. We found plenty of pseudo-psychedelic gibberish, reams of profanity and plenty of what most would consider outright blasphemy. It is without question that the majority of Oklahomans would find them repugnant. For example: The Lips promote the idea that any kind of religious faith is the same as believing there are little green men living today on Mars. Maybe you agree, but most Oklahomans hold more respect for faith.
Due to a modicum of commercial success, they have been able to ingratiate themselves to some portions of musical academia. They have along the way learned a few things about music, but little of philosophy or morality.
We did send links to our series on The Lips Flap to various powers that be. You can search the site and find them, but we don’t really ever want to even think about these fools again and don’t want to give them any additional notice that they don’t deserve. They have had more than enough of that.
What we do know is that the song was made official by Gubernatorial Decree by former-Gov. Brad Henry, therefore impermanent and not renewed when leadership changed.
Thank you Governor Fallin!
What comes next, we do not know. But having no Official State Rock Song is preferable to what we had.