Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 22:31 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 22:31 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Beds are burning


Sam Roggeveen


6 October 2009 09:30

Nick Goodwin writes about the newly released remix of Midnight Oil's Beds are Burning:

Sam, I love your defence of Oils purity, may they never grow old. But I think you are missing the point.

The 'Beds are Burning' video is not aimed at you, nor most of the analyst community, neither was the 'Yes, we can' campaign. It is aimed at a general wide audience to generate public support for action at one of the most difficult and least understood international negotiations. The message needs to be in language that is easy to access, delivered by people that are real influencers, ie mostly pop stars.

Sure it's a simplification of a complex issue but the more people can access it, the more likely governments will feel the pressure to deliver at Copenhagen.

I understand the motive, but I question the execution. I suspect that, just as with Obama's 'Yes we can' video, the genre and aesthetics of the Beds are Burning remix are more likely to rally a young, hip urban activist base already convinced about climate change.  

But what really annoyed me about the clip (and what I suspect will undermine the aim of the exercise) was the self-satisfied preening of the celebrities involved, and the implication that these people know what's good for the rest of us. Is Nick really arguing that Fergie, Simon Le Bon and the singer from The Scorpions (?!!) are going to convince people to give a stuff about climate change? Isn't that a little insulting?

One last thing: my 'defence of Oils purity' was a deliberately limited one — even the original Beds are Burning is a pretty weak song, I reckon. Nothing like their best.