U.S. News reported a while back that a parody of "Tub-thumping," with lyrics endorsing a war against Iraq, was making the rounds of the Pentagon as an e-mailed sound file. It's since spread beyond the military, as such things tend to do. The 73-second file, under the name "Saddambombing," can be found at http://members.aol.com/BusySygnal; it doesn't seem to have shown up anywhere offline yet, aside from the Australian youth radio network JJJ. For a net-meme, it's beautifully produced, with nearly dead-on scansion and soundalike voices, though the British accent on the rapped whiskey-drink bit ("Now if he does attack/We're gonna drop a stack/Of missiles on Iraq/And get him off our back/And if he won't let us look for all his nerve gas/The U.S. Army is gonna kick him in the ass") is incongruous for U.S.A. jingoism.

It's curious that a song by Chumbawamba, once an insular group of peaceniks, should become a hawk anthem. Detournabout is fair play, though. Back in the early '90s, Chumba made a never-officially- released album, Jesus H. Christ, built mostly on sampled and appropriated hits--"All Right Now," "Money Money Money,"--and they still incorporate fragments of familiar tunes into their own. (The bit of "Danny Boy" in "Tubthumping" becomes "We should destroy...that Iraqi boy" in "Saddambombing.") The trade-off they've made for becoming pop culture is opening themselves up to this kind of grand-scale rewriting--providing a launching pad for ideals in opposition to the ones they no longer articulate. Do the people singing, "Let's hunt him down and shoot him in the head/And bomb Iraq into the ground," even know they're singing taps for the peace punk dream?

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