Tom Petty is not amused that the factually challenged Michele Bachmann used his song "American Girl" to kick off her campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, and I don't blame him. Not only did Bachmann, a conservative, fail to ask Petty, a liberal, for permission to use his song, it's blatantly obvious that she never even listened to the tune before, or at least never paid attention to the words. If she had taken a minute or two to glance over the lyrics, I highly doubt she would have found it a fitting theme song for a presidential hopeful.
Let's break it down. The first line in the song is "She was an American girl/raised on promises." Raised on promises? Empty promises? I'm thinking along the lines of "If you're good, Daddy's going to buy you your very own pony" or "Of course you'll be voted Homecoming Queen" or "Sure you can grow up to be the first female president!"
So, essentially Michele Bachmann is telling us here that she's all about empty promises? Makes sense if you consider the next part of the song:
"She couldn't help thinkin'/that there was a little more to life somewhere else/After all it was a great big world/with lots of places to run to."
Hmm, this American Girl sounds rather dissatisfied with her homeland, doesn't she? Is that what you're trying to tell us, Michele? That you're going to make us a string of empty promises and then just run away?
The next stanza, which talks about the American Girl standing on a balcony over a highway in the cold, is responsible for the urban legend surrounding the song, which is that it's really about a young woman committing suicide. Petty never confirmed this, but really, Michele? Either she seriously didn't listen to the song at all or she's so dense that she believes it's a simple musical portrait of a happy, patriotic gal. But who could be that dense? Maybe somebody who mixed up John Wayne and John Wayne Ga -- oh, never mind. I guess she is that dense.
Do you think Tom Petty had a right to be angry about Bachmann using "American Girl"?
Image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr