Watch This If You Dare: Rise Against – “Make It Stop (September’s Children)”

“Bang bang from the closet walls, the schoolhouse halls, the shotgun’s loaded…”

Jesus fucking Christ. Honest to god, I did not expect any video to make me as downright pissed off and disgusted in the artist behind it as I was back a few months ago, when Pink  released her abhorrent video for Fuckin’ Perfect. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy. But here comes one that may have just aggravated me just a little bit further, on account of it hitting a little closer to home. I am talking about Chicago band Rise Against, an act I have followed and supported since the release of their third album, Siren Song for the Counter Culture, back in 2004. They have an impressive live show, and in my opinion made one of the most important videos of the 2000s in their 2006 clip, Ready to Fall. This, however, is something that I just cannot believe they have done.

Rise Against have cashed in on the deaths of GLBT youth. Yeah, I fucking said it and I’ll say it again: this band has been out of touch with their political roots ever since Bush got out of office – not that the two are connected, just using it as a time marker – and I feel that their later political works within their music are forced and contrived. This, from May’s Endgame, is a perfect example of it. In light of an epidemic of GLBT youth suicide within the U.S., and the It Gets Better project that arose in the light of it, Rise Against have tacked on their shameless “me-too”-ism to the issue with absolutely no connection to it whatsoever. A big, shiny pop-rock tune with a fucking children’s choir does absolutely nothing to help the cause, but a big shiny fucking video to go with it as well does even less.

In this video, three kids get bullied in the most generic, sub-Nelson Muntz way possible. Fucking KEEP-AWAY? Who does that anymore? The three kids then all go off and position themselves in the most cliched suicide spots possible – one goes to shoot herself, the other to hang himself, the other to jump off a bridge. Could this be any more of a scripted Hollywood melodrama? Rise Against have taken a real, serious and important political issue and turned it into a fucking soap opera. You know what really pisses me off, though? When Tim McIlrath sits in the middle of an empty classroom and rattles off the names of the teens. That is just downright pathetic to me, especially considering McIlrath couldn’t look more like a bored celebrity spokesperson if he tried.

The whole thing is meant to come across as “look how deep and meaningful we are. We truly care about this social issue.” What it does come across as, however, is the band skimming a newspaper, writing a song in 15 minutes, Googling the names of the kids and smacking a stadium rock chorus on top. Add in the glossy “life is hard” video and they’re really no fucking better than Pink at the end of the day. If anything, they’re worse.

I’d like to point out that I am a GLBT youth. This song and video are supposed to speak to me and send me an important message. So, Rise Against, exactly why do I not feel a fucking thing except anger when I watch this video? You know what makes the It Gets Better project so great? It’s videos of non-celebrities, strangers, everyday workers who are sharing their stories and continuing to recieve love and support within their GLBT communities. Why would I choose to listen to some rockstar millionaire try and preach down at me with this bullshit when I could listen to someone intelligent like Dan Savage or Councilman Joel Burns? REAL GLBT people with REAL, beautiful stories? As far as I’m concerned, Rise Against’s politics in the here and now don’t last beyond a website link and a newspaper headline.

You really want to show you care about gay suicide? Don’t make a fucking million-dollar video. Write to Congress if you’re in the States. Make a donation. Make a video (an amateur one, mind) or write about your own experiences with GLBT bullying. Don’t just put on a serious face and sit in an empty classroom pretending that you care. That’s the worst fucking thing you could do. It proves nothing. SAYING that something should be done and actually DOING something are completely different things.

Fuck you, Rise Against. Fuck you in the face.


4 responses

  1. Maybe the characters and themes are a bit typical for what they are, but they probably chose the cliche because cliches are a cliche for a reason, and because it would then appeal and support a broader audience than if they only focused on one specific example that might not rlate to as many people.

    Rise Against are known for their support of causes and charities, and the reasons you gave for the song sucking are quiet weak, when really something about the song or video just struck a chord that you dont like so you have decided to disregard the entire thing. Im not defending the song, because its just the average Rise Against ‘stand up for what you believe’ story, delivered with a different cover.

    Imagine your 13 again and havnt heard much Rise Against before if any, and your a struggling GLBT youth and you hear that song and it connects with you and gives you some hope. I believe that is really what they are going for, and that it will connect with a lot of kids. Just because it didnt connect with you, doesnt make it shit. Just because it seems a bit cliche, doesnt mean its crap. You have to remember they are signed to a MAJOR LABEL, so some aspects of the band will be cliche and crappy, but at least they still stand up for what they believe in, which a lot of bands sign away with their record contract.

    Also, how do you know that they dont really care about the cause and arnt doing anything else about it? Pretty sure you dont follow them around everyday, watch their every move and listen to every thought and conversation any member has. Most people would consider an international act writing a song and shooting a video solely dedicated to one cause to be a pretty damn good way of raising awareness about the issue( I had never heard of ‘It Gets Better’ before, so it worked on me) and just because you dont like the method, doesnt mean its a bad one and isnt achieving anything, especially since that video has had over 1.6 million views, pretty sure ANY charity in the world would be quiet pleased with that result.

    1. Tim McIlrath? Is that you?

      – Y,WGAV!

      1. The fact that you consider that an effective rebuttal would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. Yeah, I know I’m years too late, and I was originally going to let this whole thing go without comment, but that was just so lame and mean-spirited and dismissive of his entire point without actually, y’know, countering or rebutting it in any meaningful fashion that I had to say something.

  2. No, its your mum. Stop jacking off in front of the mirror again.

    I did agree with the comment about Endgame. They’ve done better

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