Thursday, September 27, 2012

More on Propaganda's "Precious Puritans"

The other day, I posted about Propaganda's new album, Excellent, and the song "Precious Puritans."

Owen Strachan has posted his thoughts, coming down to basically saying that Propaganda was too harsh in the song, and that this could lead to distrust of the Puritans.
There is a danger here. Specifically, I wonder if Propaganda isn’t inclining us to distrust the Puritans. He states his case against them so forcefully, and without any historical nuance, that I wonder if listeners will be inclined to dislike and even hate them. 
Steve McCoy has responded with some really good thoughts.
In the context of the song, the Puritans are not the point. They are one group, who is very beloved among many in my tribe, including me, which makes them an excellent vehicle for an artist to use to illustrate a larger point. And to miss the forest for the trees is either to misunderstand the artist or to be exactly the person the artist hopes to speak to, one who makes the Puritans too precious. Again, Prop isn't doing "demolition" of the Puritans, but of us all. And that means we are all unquotable, yet all quotable because of Christ. 
So does the song tell us not to read the Puritans, even accidentally? Not at all! In fact, it should help those who have made too much of the Puritans to read them better, and quote them more wisely. Though the history of the Puritans isn't new to me concerning slavery, this song has made me think of how to quote them better to those with skin unlike mine, with a history and heritage unlike mine. Why wouldn't we want that? 
If you come away from "Precious Puritans" with an "I'm never reading them!" view, you missed the whole point by thinking you are better than them. That point is rejected in the song.
I would probably side more with McCoy. Those were basically my thoughts from hearing the song, before reading Joe Thorn's blog posts explaining the song. I took the song to be more about Propaganda than anything else.

It's a very interesting and helpful discussion, though.

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