Roger Waters in Tampa, Florida, 2017

Credit: Tracy May

Roger Waters put on an astonishing show in Tampa. That should be the only headline. But from the headlines about recent shows, you’d think people had been storming out in droves. That’s a result of hack writers obsessed with click-bait, who keep dinging the “controversy” and “politics” angles in the hopes of getting people to read their tripe. The major point that most people miss about the “controversial” Trump stuff is that (in Tampa, at least) there has been an overwhelming roar of approval from the audience when it happened. You could tell there were some boos in Tampa, but they were largely drowned out. The Right-Wing propaganda which has pushed the narrative of people storming out of Waters’ shows has proven to be overblown b.s. (like most every other talking point the Right seeds). My point being; if there has to be an “us and them”, there are clearly more of “us” than “them”.

There are some songs which ding Donald Trump pretty hard. I’m sure they ruffle feathers. In Tampa, my conservative brother-in-law fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat during those segments. But those were only one small segment of the show. If people left because of them, they weren’t missed, and they didn’t make a dent in a sold-out crowd of around 14,000 people. I thought it was demonstrative of the non-issue when, during a lull, a lady in the row behind us made a big production of dramatically working down the longest way of her row (she could have easily gone the other way and only inconvenienced two or three people), stating loudly for all to hear, “I didn’t come to watch this liberal bullshit”. When she got to the end of the row, the guy on the end told her, “You should write a letter of protest. Want to borrow a crayon?” Everyone within earshot laughed. Here’s the point; one offended snowflake stormed out, and a dozen or so people laughed at her.

It’s no coincidence that stories are suddenly popping up in Google News about people storming out of Roger Waters shows (despite overwhelming evidence that those reports are overblown). They’re just more examples of conservatives getting the vapors over someone they don’t like, trying to shape reality to their delusion that the majority of Americans are just like them. The reality of all the people who jump up and down in the comments on Roger Waters articles and posts is that you see a lot of the same names on every comment thread. They’re called “seeders”, people. They’re paid trolls. The idea is that if someone is perceived to be loudly complaining about “libruls”, people who feel the same way are more likely to be emboldened to speak up. That’s why they do it. But in actuality, there’s no “there” there. These reports are not based in reality. Yes, people have walked out. But it’s not the mass exodus you’d expect from the breathless reporting.

As for the controversial content on Roger Waters’ shows, in the end the general rule is “don’t bring nothin’, won’t be nothin'”. The reason the Right-Wing propaganda machine is so upset about Roger Waters is that he’s fighting back. Like all bullies, the Right doesn’t like return fire. Remember how, in “A Christmas Story”, Ralphie finally gets tired of the bully Farkus’ shite, and beats the hell out of him? Remember how Farkus cried “like a little girl”? Yeah. That’s what’s going on here. Bullies hate it when people fight back, because their weakness is revealed. That’s why so many people are expressing fake outrage over Roger Waters’ anti-Trump narrative. That’s why Ted Nugent can literally suggest putting an automatic weapon into Barack Obama’s mouth and pulling the trigger, and be hailed as an American Patriot by the Right, yet their lacy underwear gets in tight knots when Roger Waters displays unflattering imagery of their orange leader (they especially dislike the part where Waters displays Trump’s own words).

At this point, if you go to a Roger Waters show and get all offended, it’s as absurd as going to Toys ‘R’ Us and being offended to find toys there. “Dogs (Three Different Ones)”, the song which goes after Donald Trump the hardest, is 40 years old. It was critical of conservative politicians of its time (which is largely the reason it is so easily adaptable to contemporary politics). You can’t say you haven’t been warned, people. This has been going on for decades. Have you ever actually read the lyrics to all those Pink Floyd songs you claim to love so much? If warm fuzzies are all you want, there’s no shortage of them in popular music. When it comes to this music, however, it seems pretty clear that if you want your pudding, you’ll go to a David Gilmour show. If you want your meat, you’ll go see Roger Waters.

Yeah. I’m tired of hearing about this fake narrative. As with every other Right-Wing narrative, reports of people walking out of Roger Waters shows has been breathlessly overblown. Waters has always been un-apologetically political his entire career. If you don’t get that by now, you deserve to have your delicate sensibilities disrupted. You’re just not paying attention.

All I can suggest is that you should write a letter of protest. There are plenty of people who’ll let you borrow a crayon if you need one.