"A Land of Make Believe that Don’t Believe in Me": Dissent by Incongruity in Green Day’s "Jesus of Suburbia"
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks there were increased demands in America for patriotism. This attitude of hyper-patriotism, in accordance with the Bush Administration’s appropriation of the American civil religion, precluded many discursive possibilities for dissent. Yet there were some who still utilized the available outlets of public discourse to dissent from Bush Administration policies. Green Day’s 2004 song, “Jesus of Suburbia,” is just such an exemplary dissent discourse. What follows is divided into four sections. First, I analyze the ideological circumstances which preceded the release of “Jesus of Suburbia.” Second, I reflect on the respective conceptual insights of Ivie’s humanizing dissent and Burke’s perspective by incongruity; ultimately, I suggest their programs be joined into an individual construct: dissent by incongruity. Third, I examine how “Jesus of Suburbia” employed dissent by incongruity to critique imperialistic policies. Finally, I argue Green Day’s use of dissent by incongruity reorients the direction of dissent discourse.
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