About a week ago, DDHQ posted a picture of John Taylor where he proudly displayed his “I Voted” sticker along with the #votelikeyourlifedependsonit. As you all can imagine, social media exploded with reaction to both the photo and to the hashtag, as many took his mask wearing and hashtag to be indicative of which presidential candidate he supported. I question many of the comments and commenters, but one comment that I have seen over and over again both in reaction to this photo and to other similar photos in recent years is how Duran has never been political and how those fans hope that they wouldn’t be now. So is that true? Has Duran never political before?
In thinking about that question, I will present a few pieces of evidence to say that they have been political.
First Piece of Evidence: Obama Supporter
Clearly, John Taylor had a favorite presidential candidate in 2008. (By the way, he was not a citizen then but did become one in order to vote by the 2016 election.) Okay, so that was one time that he had an obvious preference and that was one guy, one band member. Anything more recent? Anything that features the band, as a whole?
Second Piece of Evidence: Edge of America/Immigration
What about this video that was released right before the 2018 election and has a pro-immigration message or, a “you cannot really stop immigration” message.
Third Piece of Evidence: Songs/Lyrics
If those two examples weren’t enough, there are a number of songs that I could list as political in nature. What about a song like Too Much Information that tackled the Persian Gulf War media coverage of the early 1990s? What about Drowning Man, which was also featured on the Wedding Album? That song literally talks about Uncle Sam, a nickname to describe the U.S. What about God? That song is about President Reagan and the Iran-Contra Affair of the 1980s. Heck, even a song like Point of No Return, is political in discussing moves after the 9/11 terrorist attack. I could go on and on.
No, Duran Duran is not often thought of as a political band. They are not like U2 or countless others who are known for their political stances. Part of that, of course, is the assumption that people have about Duran being a party band and they are that. However, bands can be more than one thing. After all, can’t we all be more than one thing? I will use myself as an example. I’m a Duranie. I’m also a teacher. I’m also a political organizer. Isn’t it logical then that the same can be true for our favorite band?
So, why is it that people don’t see this? Is it because they just see the images that have presented for decades like them on the boat in Rio? Is it because they are, generally, way more subtle about politics than a band like U2? Could it be that some people don’t want to see it or that it is so infrequent that people can dismiss my examples and more? I don’t have an answer but I suspect that many of the people wishing that Duran would not say or do anything political are those who are more likely to disagree with their political stances.
On top of that, I do see the comment that celebrities should not be political at all, that their job is just to entertain. To me, that argument is unfair. Celebrities are people, too. They have the right to their opinions like any of us do, especially if they are someone like John who lives here and is a citizen. Yes, some might say that their opinion is often based on not knowing a lot (which is an assumption, at best), but that is a LOT of the general population, too. If we are really going to go down that road, I could argue that only people like me with a backgrounds in history and political science should participate in the democratic process, but that is the opposite of democracy. I don’t believe that. I believe that all voices should be heard.
So, on that note, I cheer John Taylor voting and I love that DDHQ shared the picture. I’m also okay that Duran is political, at times, and in their own way. Yes, perhaps, I can say that because we seem to be on the same side, politically. If you don’t cheer it, that’s okay. I would just be honest that you don’t want that reminder that you might not be on the same side. I know if it would be hard for me, if I was on the other side.