Tom Morello Embarrasses Himself

In an op-ed piece published by Rolling Stone Magazine, guitarist Tom Morello - famous for scraping an allen wrench against the strings of his guitar and calling it music - rages against the Paul Ryan machine. Apparently, Paul Ryan has said that he likes Rage Against the Machine's music. Gasp.

Morello writes:
But Rage's music affects people in different ways. Some tune out what the band stands for and concentrate on the moshing and throwing elbows in the pit. For others, Rage has changed their minds and their lives. Many activists around the world, including organizers of the global occupy movement, were radicalized by Rage Against the Machine and work tirelessly for a more humane and just planet. Perhaps Paul Ryan was moshing when he should have been listening.
Apparently, the guitarist for a socialist rap/rock band is only glad he has a sub-set of fans. Morello could do without any of his fans who happen to disagree with his politics. But this is where Morello's opinion really takes off. Professing, I suppose, to speak for the so-called 99%, he continues:
You see, the super rich must rationalize having more than they could ever spend while millions of children in the U.S. go to bed hungry every night. So, when they look themselves in the mirror, they convince themselves that "Those people are undeserving. They're . . . lesser."
Well, Mr. Morello, the irony is not lost on me. This message of class warfare is particularly, well, rich coming from a wealthy millionaire rock star writing an op-ed piece because he has convinced himself that "the super rich" are . . . lesser.

However, as a man who spent the better part of the 1990s ridiculing other guitarists for playing fast guitar solos, then subsequently making millions in the 2000s by playing fast guitar solos, Tom Morello is no stranger to hypocrisy, pretentiousness, and obliviousness-of-self.

It's one thing to have strong political leanings, or even to make them the focal point of an artist's work. It's quite another to drive away fans who don't share one's beliefs. Unfortunately, all we have learned from this escapade is that Paul Ryan has crumby taste in music, in addition to crumby taste in political ideas; and that Tom Morello is as preposterous as ever.

UPDATE 8/18/2012: Judging by the number of blog hits I'm getting for search strings like "Tom Morello hypocrite," I'm not the only one to have been rubbed the wrong way by this.


  1. Wonderful piece! Yes, you are right, I found you by Googling about this incident with Paul Ryan and Tom Morello. Thanks for your well-articulated opinion.

    - Steph Nelson

  2. Tom Morello's net worth is between $30-35 million, so redistribute THAT wealth FIRST, hypocrites.