#922: 1972, Randy Newman, Political Science

by Jackie_South on August 17, 2014

For our final song in our antiwar themed week here at Songs to Learn and Sing, we turn to the Cold War.

With an intervening quarter century since the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is sometimes difficult to recall that my generation’s teenage years were under a mushroom-cloud shaped shadow of the distinct possibility of nuclear war. In George East’s recollection it was even more than that: a belief that nuclear war was more likely than not in our lifetime. The Cold War may not have directly sent men into battle (unless of course you view Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Chile and Afghanistan as integral parts of it) but its forty-four years did more than any other to shape world views in that period.

My own take on it at the time was that it was the West, and the USA in particular, that was likely to make the first nuclear strike, given that the USSR was far superior in conventional army power. Under Reagan (and Nixon before), the USA was the far more belligerent in its language of the two superpowers of the era.

In Political Science, Randy Newman satirises that Nixon-era sabre-rattling and pigheaded ignorance.

If you believe that Americans have no sense of irony, Political Science pretty much knocks that on its head. On first hearing, you start thinking “does he really believe that?” until the joke, dryly delivered deadpan, becomes apparent.

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