On July 18th, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump strode onstage at the Republican National Convention to the accompaniment of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” A representative of the band swiftly claimed the use was unauthorized — a statement refuted by the Trump campaign.
The henna-haired egoist’s using the 1978 anthem as the soundtrack to a conception of himself as Michael Dudikoff in Iron Eagle should surprise no one: For more than 30 years “We Are the Champions” has played as background noise at every third-rate minor league stadium. But certain realities should have been obvious to the Mad Tweeter:
1. “We Are the Champions” Is by a Band Named Queen… and Lead Singer Freddie Mercury Was a Queen.
The parts don’t match. Spending a chunk of their careers eluding the suspicion that they were closet fascists with bad teeth, Queen wrote tub-thumpers for kids who wanted the flash of glam but for whom Roxy Music were too esoteric. Mercury presented himself as an obviously gay man who liked to sing along with the straight blokes in the car. He wrote songs for him and for his mates, for other boys who felt different but not above the fraternity of men, the sexual frisson included and welcome. Would that the political party that Trump recently joined be so generous in its attitudes towards homosexuality.
2. Queen Supported Bike-Riding Instead of the Automotive Industry
Having regained control of the House in 2010 after four years, the GOP turned its choppers to what it saw as redundant spending items in the budget — and what better example of pork than bike paths? The yearning manner in which Freddie Mercury sang the hook in “Bicycle Race” might have explained why they became objects of conservative ire: If these things turned guys into such sissies — turned them British — then it was time to uncap the red pen.
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3. Queen Don’t Hate Women
“Fat bottomed girls, you make the rockin’ world go ’round” is not a sentiment with which Donald Trump, noted enthusiast of fat-shaming women, would agree with.
4. Queen Encourages Questioning Authority’s Power
The 1982 Chic-drenched “Back Chat,” a post-disco number written by John Deacon (check out that clipped rhythm guitar), boasts a narrator driven nuts by unnamed forces twisting every word he says and criticizing all he sees — “a battle to the end.” On one level, sure, a minor masterpiece of coke-fueled paranoia unfolding on the dance floor. But it’s also a peek into the diseased mind of a political party that sees no gains, short term or long term, that it thinks its enemies won’t criticize. In 1982, the Democrats and Republicans fought over Social Security and the welfare state. In 2016, they’re fighting over Social Security and the welfare state.
5. Queen’s Ballad Was an Anti-Apartheid Anthem
The Reagan administration’s policy of allowing the P.W. Botha regime to continue apartheid because of South Africa’s anti-communist sympathies was repugnant. Years later, the world listened as “I Want It All,” a power ballad with terrifying multi-tracked Freddies, became an anthem in 1989 for enemies of the modern world’s most execrable system of separate-but-unequal. Don’t credit the boys, though: In 1985, Queen played Sun City, apparently because they heard they were popular in Bophuthatswana.