Political Pathology: A commentary through the lens of Tenacious D

Political Pathology: A commentary through the lens of Tenacious D

Neil Winchell

September 14th, 2016

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The average person is not very likely to mention politics in the same breath as Jack Black let alone his comedy rock band Tenacious D with Kyle Gass. I dare to cross that line though. The last song on Tenacious D‘s self titled debut showcases a deep understanding of what drives and destroys governments. Aptly named “City Hall” the song starts off by clearly pointing the finger at politicians.

“All you people up there, in City Hall. You’re fucking it up for the people that’s in the streets. This is a song for the people in the streets not the people city hall.”

Proceeding this Jack Black describes inciting a riot to overturn the government run from city hall. Although successful Jack Black reveals he and Kyle did not actually participate in the riots, taking a jab at political leaders who prefer to talk about change rather than be the change.

“And then after the smoke has cleared and the rubble has been swept away me and KG will peek out our heads. We’ve been watching the riots on a monitor twenty floors below sea level from a bunker. We did it Rage Kage we beat the bastards of city hall!”

Not a deep enough statement for you? Be at ease for we are only a minute and a half into this nine minute song. With the City Hall government usurped something must take its place because it is in human nature to look for leadership in others, who better to do so than Jack Black and Kyle Gass?

“But now what will we do? We must rebuild. But who will lead us in the rebuilding process? Man, it’s got to be someone with the know-how and the elbow grease to lead us to a new land. No, not me and KG, we don’t have the cognitive capacity to lead… Alright, we’ll do it! We’ll lead as Two Kings, We’ll lead as Two Kings.”

Now that Jack Black is in full control, the commentary truly begins.

“The first decree is to legalize marijuana. The tyranny and the bullshit’s gone on too long. You old fuckin’ shrivs who blocked it’s legalization, you’re banished from the land! The second decree: no more pollution, no more car exhaust, or ocean dumpage. From now on, we will travel in tubes! Get the scientists working on the tube technology, immediately. Chop, chop, let’s go. Third decree: no more… rich people and poor people. From now on, we will all be the same… ummm, I dunno, I gotta think about that…”

In these three decrees Jack Black is commenting on the way leaders go about policy change. In almost all of these decrees he shows off a brash leader who makes bold statements promising supporters near impossible or unreasonable goals. Taking the first decree as an example, legalizing marijuana in the United States would be a difficult task to undertake to say the least because it ultimately needs a change in the mind set of those with the power to affect its legalization, or as Jack Black would have it, take them out of that process altogether. The second decree has only an increased difficulty level. The amount of pollution in our world and the amount we continue to add to it is monumental, any real change on this front could only come from a complete paradigm shift in the way we consume goods in the first world not just an unlikely tube based transportation system. The third decree is perhaps the most telling of them all. This is quite clearly to me Jack Black speaking of communism in the most comedic way he possibly can. Communism in its most positive form is social equality, no rich, no poor, no way to exploit others for personal gain. Even as great as that sounds, the nasty side of human nature reigns in the category of social equality, we humans are a greedy species who have a bred in disposition to never feel satisfied with “enough.”Being the intelligent person I believe Jack Black to be he dives deeper into this repulsive side of human nature in the next section.

“Is he gone? Alright, emergency meeting of Parliament. All right Parliament, I know this is fucked up, but Rage, he can’t be King anymore. Dudes, he’s encroaching on my decrees! Seriously, let’s make him ‘Duke,’ a kick ass ‘Duke.’ Or ‘leader formerly known as King,’ but– uh-oh he’s comin’ back…”

In no time at all another plot aimed at changing the government system is brewing in the two king’s utopia.

“[JB:] A toast…

[KG:] A toast…

[JB:] Long live the ‘D.’

[KG:] Long live the ‘D.’

[JB:] Long live me. I’m sorry, I poisoned your wine.

[KG:] What?

[JB:] For the good of the land.

[KG:] You p– I poisoned yours… huh heh, as well.

[JB/KG:] Noooooooooo!!!!!”

An ideal world has ended in a sip of wine poisoned with human greed just as so many have before. Is that how it has to be? I don’t believe so. It is my belief that governments fail because the greed of a few dominate over those deemed powerless and the powerless forget the one power they do have, liberty. I must assume Jack Black has a similar feeling from one of the his closing lines of “City Hall”

“People inside me are askin’ me to smoke up City Hall, ‘Cause no one here is talkin’.”

I hope this commentary underscored the more serious side of Tenacious D for those interested in finding it.


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