Tom Morello Brings Occupy to Guthrie Tribute, Trashes KenCen

Tom Morello Brings Occupy to Guthrie Tribute, Trashes KenCen

The Kennedy Center threw a 100th birthday party for folk icon Woody Guthrie last night, and an Occupy Wall Street apologist marked the occasion by dropping F-bombs on the crowd.

The event featured a litany of progressive singers paying tribute to Guthrie, including John Mellencamp, Ry Cooder and Rage Against the Machine frontman Tom Morello.

The audience heard plenty of far-left talking points, including one song paying homage to Trayvon Martin and a performer warning ticket holders they could be targeted for simply attending the event.

Morello ended up hijacking the show’s finale in a way even a mainstream media outlet found distasteful. Time Magazine tried to sugarcoat Morello’s actions all the same.

Despite a few production hiccups, the tribute had reached its climax. Which makes it all the more confusing that in the final minutes, the singing paused for a spoken interlude, and the microphone was handed to Morello. Perhaps, given that his Occupy ties were lauded by Nora Guthrie, he was meant to represent the next generation of social-justice pioneers. As Mellencamp, Elliott and Collins stood around him, Morello asked for the house lights to go up and started pointing at specific people in the audience who were still sitting and pointedly telling them to get up. While dropping F-bombs, he instructed the crowd to sing the next chorus with him and then start jumping–as if they were, say, in a mosh pit at a Rage Against the Machine concert. The very senior attendees tried to do as they were told. But the result was awkward, certainly squandering momentum and making the next generation seem rather self-involved.

PJ Media’s Ron Radosh didn’t pull punches with his take on the finale.

When it came to the expected finale of the performers and audience singing “This Land is Your Land,” Morello interrupted the singing, walking in front of all the others and began a lecture, hectoring the audience to build a revolutionary populist movement. He of course used his now well-worn shtick he used at the anti-Scott Walker rally the night before the Wisconsin Governor’s victory. Repeating the same words — as if they were spontaneous and new and not what he has done at every OWS event — he ranted that you “motherf…ers have to get out there and become serious, and defeat the fascists.” He then said he has to be excused for the vulgarity, but the populist revolution can’t afford to be PG-13, because the goal is that serious.

PBS was on hand to tape the concert for a future fundraising effort.

The Kennedy Center is a gorgeous arts venue, home to some of the greatest performances and talents in recent memory. It’s a warm, inviting space that serves up both premium shows as well as free fare for those who want to experience live entertainment but can’t afford the ticket price.

Having Morello introduce his coarse, Occupy-style rhetoric to the hall is an insult both to the late guest of honor as well as those folks who work behind the scenes to maintain the Center’s excellence.