The Good Fight Goes Bad: A Song for the "Good" War in Afghanistan

If the troops in Afghanistan were given the proper resources to actually hunt down the terrorists we are there to get, the war in Iraq would be even less popular. Our song this week is about how the last vestiges of support for the Iraq war are dependent on stalls in the forgotten “good” war. Enjoy.

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The Good Fight Goes Bad

A row of mountain caves on page A34
Just before the classifieds, the older brother of the wars
Plods along towards disarray with distraction unsurpassed
All diverted to the west, overshadowed and understaffed
If this all went up to plan, they’d catch that fish they’d like to fry
The rationale behind that mess out in the desert would quickly die
So they’ll run this out on low, ’cause when a product’s doing well
And it’s flying off the shelves, the competition’s hard to sell

To a throng of the fastest forgetters
As the central front moves away from the center
The planes come and go but the dead just get deader
When the good fight goes bad, it makes the bad one look better

In the backs of morning minds, on the footnotes of the page
They all languish in the shadows of the other’s failing grade
Because the one that came before is now an afterthought
There’s no such thing as a good war, but if there was I’ve fast forgot
I’m not distrustful all the time but I’m afraid that’s where I’m at
The squeaky wheel it gets the grease, not when the other tire’s flat
The forgotten 20,000, a battalion undiscussed
Scribbled on a postcard home, “Hey, remember us?”

Out on display for the fastest forgetters
As the central front moves away from the center
A sad paradox that you can quote to the letter
When the good fight goes bad, it makes the bad one look better

In the face of one unparalleled disaster
Modest failure’s easy to ignore
It’s hard to bring this up in conversation
No one mentions either one anymore
And if a helicopter crashes in the forest, and no one can report
Does it still make a noise? I don’t know fore sure

On display for the fastest forgetters
As the central front moves away from the center
The planes come and go but the dead just get deader
When the good fight goes bad, it makes the bad one look better


Bill and Hillary, Kurt and Courtney

I like Hillary Clinton more than most of my peers and if I thought she had a snowball’s chance in hell of beating John McCain I might’ve voted for her a few Tuesdays back, and I’m grateful that I’m enough of a sucker to let polling data keep me from having to make a difficult decision.

Despite my not voting for her, I spend about forty-five minutes a day on the phone with someone defending her, and a couple weeks ago I realized that I have been having this very same conversation for years, but only recently about Hillary. I’ve been making the same reluctant argument in favor of Courtney Love since I was about 15, and the opposition has been saying the same thing back, and with good reason – they’re kind of the same person.

Hillary and Courtney are both:

-Blamed (inaccurately) for their husband’s worst behavior – Hillary for Bill’s failed initiatives in his presidency and his infidelity, Courtney for Kurt’s drug problem, rift with Dave Grohl, and suicide.

-Two of the most talented people in their field, and probably not quite as talented as their husbands.

-Dogged by allegations that they would be nowhere without their husband’s success, which is total nonsense on both counts.

-Robbed of credit for their own strengths/accomplishments – people who say “it’ll be fine since Bill will be back in the White House” and “Kurt probably was writing those songs anyway” are saying the same thing about the shadow male player.

-The most controversial woman in politics and the most controversial woman in rock and roll, despite having not created anything particularly controversial. Hole’s three albums are absolutely fantastic, but in the age of the riot grrl movement of the 1990s were no more controversial than a universal health care plan similar to ones that plenty of nations had already.

-Hated by many on an irrational and emotional level. There is no cow more sacred to the Democratic party than Bill Clinton’s presidency, and no cow more sacred (post-Beatles) in rock and roll than Nirvana, and all of their talents are lost compared to whatever role people imagine them to have played in their husbands’ downfalls.

-They both have only-daughters with slightly left of center, but not incredibly silly names that happen to be the names of famous hotels.

Once their husbands’ most powerful days were behind them (Kurt shot himself in the head, Bill’s second term ended with him shooting himself in the foot over and over again between Monica, the Marc Rich pardon, on and on and on), Hillary and Courtney have continued to hold hands on their own rollercoasters. They surprised surprised their detractors with a strong senate term and 1998’s Celebrity Skin, both effective works that will be remembered as great, if close-to-the-vest points in their career that did a lot to prove their talents – if they are not overshadowed by their follow-ups.

Love’s next album, her first without Hole titled America’s Sweetheart was an overproduced disaster of an album unparalleled by nothing in history, until a month ago when Hillary’s campaign caught up with it, and unless the album that Courtney has been working on since then comes out in the next two weeks is the next Sgt. Pepper, I’m inclined to believe that Hillary has a tough road ahead of her.

Having come of age in the 1990s, I possess a jerky nostalgia for the days of grunge and the dot-com boom, and hope that the women of the two most important couples of the decade are not frozen in history in their current frames: Hillary at the tail end of a mess of a campaign and Courtney in a mess of a drug problem and a crappy album. Behind the recent missteps and the remarkably similar emotional hatred that the two of them are party to are good and respectable records that stand up on their own and are worth looking at and listening to. Hillary ’08 and that gig where Love got dragged off the stage opening for Jane’s Addiction are tough rebounds to make – we’ll see.

Download and Donate

Download and Donate:

Brand new! Get the Marginography! All 20 songs and lyric sheet pdf in one big zip file. Suggested donation of $10 but if you want to just take it, then take it. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD “MARGINOGRAPHY”.

All the songs are available individually for download! I am offering these for quasi-sale on The Honor System. Here’s how it works (my thanks to Juliana Hatfield, NOT Radiohead, for this idea):

You can download, share, whatever you like. I have a little paypal donate button and ask that if you can, please contribute so I can keep doing these songs – I don’t have a studio setup so I spend $200/week at an inexpensive studio to do these so every little bit helps! If you can’t afford to pay anything, don’t worry about it – I just want people to be able to have the songs. If you have more cash than you know what to do with and have gotten a lot out of these songs then please help out. iTunes charges 99 cents a song, I think that 50 cents a download is a good and fair suggestion.


1. Standing In The Driveway Holding Cardboard In The Rain

2. Even When It Ends It Won’t Be Over

3. No Kisses, No Cameras

4. Dana, Dana

5. The Experts

6. Weeknights At Six

7. Banner Year

8. When The Markets Do Their Thing

9. The Only Way Out Is The Exit

10. Lectures For The Dying

11. When The Dog Who Keeps On Eating Things Throws Up

12. How the CIA Stole Xmas

13. The Business of Disregard

14. I Like You More The Day Before

15. Black and White and Red All Over

16. Here Come The Incidents

17. The Lucky Ones

18. The Flute of False Choices

19. Museum of Mistakes

20. Two Peninsulas

In many browsers, just clicking the links will open the files in a media player. To download, right-click or control-click the links and select “save link as” or “save target as”. Thanks so much! Please donate if you can.

Two Peninsulas – A song about Hillary’s Florida/Michigan power grab

(Graphic by Darkblack)

We are back and on schedule! Last week’s song went up on Sunday because I was sick and couldn’t sing it until Saturday but we are now back on schedule. I am going to try to make Tuesday the new posting day because that way I can start tracking on the weekend and not have to do it after work.

This week’s song is about the Hillary Clinton campaign’s attempt to get the Michigan and Florida delegates seated at the convention, even though they’re not supposed to count.

For those of you just tuning in, here is the rundown. Florida and Michigan kept moving their primaries up and up and were stripped of their delegates. In other words, the Democratic party said “We’re punishing you so your primary votes don’t count.” This is fundamentally screwed up, I’ll give you that. However, all the candidates pledged not to campaign there, and Obama didn’t even bother to get his name on the ballot in Michigan. All the voters knew that their choice for the Democratic nominee didn’t actually count and that their vote was a mere demonstration. Hillary won both (duh) and is now claiming that it should count.

Have you ever played poker with someone for play money and if they beat you they ask you for a hundred bucks? If you have, I’m sorry that you hang out with such scumbags.

And that’s just what the Clinton campaign is doing. I have been a huge defender of Hillary throughout the years, but this is indefensible.

With that, we bring you Two Peninsulas. (Get it? Florida is a peninsula and Michigan has the upper peninsula? I’m a geography nerd.) Enjoy – and please sign the petition that begs her not go through with this power grab.

Note: I would like to mention that after last week’s song which was a big multi-layered thing with lots of guitars and background vocals, I wanted to strip it down this week. This song has just drums, one bass, one guitar and one vocal (and a crazy ending) in homage to great bands like The Buzzcocks and The Jam who did so much with so little.

Two Peninsulas

Two peninsulas pointing off an island
sticking out like two sore thumbs
One agreement to play within the playbook
throw it out when the game’s been won
When I was younger, a saying i remember
“work hard and play by the rules”
And though I’ve always been one of your defenders
These accusations might all hold true

So let’s play cards just for fun and plastic chips
If you bust me will you try to get my money in your grips
And I’d really hate to think that this was the plan all along
and I know you know it’s wrong
Two peninsulas we’re cut right off the island
don’t you try to sew them on

Start the efforts to certify the phantoms
Under the guise of counting everyone
Any victory without a competition
Counts for less than Barry Bonds’ home runs
And to you, i know it’s surely not a problem
To have an asterisk next to your name
And though you’ve been the victim of some dirty tricksters
It’s no excuse to be one just the same

So let’s play ball in an exhibition match
If I rout you can I try to get it added to my stats
Drive a rusty stake into questionable ground
Looking for a workaround
Two peninsulas were cut from the equation
don’t you try to make them count

‘Cause we’ve grown, old and tired
Of the willful disregard for the rules
So it’s high time I object
To ambition left unchecked
You’ve got so much more than my respect to lose

Museum of Mistakes

I will expand on this blog tomorrow most likely but I want to write something since the song is up. This is a song about how as more evidence gets out about how many prisoners at Guantanamo were just turned in by tribal mercenaries capitalizing on the U.S. tax dollars being thrown at them to turn in people we could say were the “worst of the worst”, the pressure to close Guantanamo will mount and it will one day become a museum where we all stare and whisper about how we did such a thing.

Also, just want to say that this is my favorite Max and the Marginalized song yet and features great performances by Jon and Dave. Give it up for them =)


Museum of Mistakes

Somewhere down the line when the fevers quiet down
When I’m twice as old, as old as I am now
We’ll step out off the dock and sail the guilty seas
A hundred miles south of the comfort of the keys
Plexiglass displays of the dead, reenactments of the scene
Of hoods devoid of heads and jumpsuits tangerine

And the means, as of my understand were never really up for debate
Cast aside, as we shook all our decency off for security’s sake
And besides, once you get started it’s a real tough habit to break
Heads will drop and voices will shake
at the Museum of Mistakes

We’ll walk from cell to cell, shieded from the sun
Like the tour Alcatraz, with shame instead of fun
Perhaps a list of names will be etched into a wall
Of those who got caught up in the mercenary’s call

And it’s fine to play out all hands the same no matter how high the stakes
It’s a grind to mount a defense in the face of these charges opaque
In a shrine filled with buckets of water and hours left standing awake
There’s only so much amends you can make
In the Museum of Mistakes

There’s a line between credible threats and just being in the wrong time and place
And in time these roped off exhibits will elicit our collective distaste
And remind that once you get started it’s a real tough habit to break
Heads will drop and voices will shake
at the Museum of Mistakes

All the songs we’ve done so far

So I just started doing the blog over here as opposed to just on MySpace because I’m trying to gradually move this band out of Murdochland, and I’m also aware that people who aren’t teenagers aren’t that into MySpace. Thus, I’m putting all of our songs here as well. This player has all the songs that were from before this week. This band was born 20 weeks ago and we’ve made a song a week since then (one of them is just a Youtube song response to the State of the Union – the rest are all full band.)

We’ve tried to capture something that was happening that week or at least around that time in each song – for all the lyrics and explanations behind each song click here for the big PDF.

Here are the songs (for “The Flute of False Choices”, see the blog below.) All new songs will have their own posts. There are 17 songs in this player, if you put the mouse over it others magically appear.

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There are download links at

The Justice Project

I’m going to be doing some MySpace/Facebook ops for The Justice Project starting this week. They are a fine organization that does things like address the problem of wrongful conviction of people on and off death row, make sure veterans receive the care they deserve when they get home, and to ensure fairness and accuracy in our criminal justice system. Please have a look at their page and support them.

Working on a song about Gitmo…

Today we started “Museum of Mistakes”. This will be the best Max and the Marginalized song, I guarantee it.

The Flute of False Choices: A Song for the Democratic Primaries

Cross-posted at Huffington Post

This is a song I wrote about how after inking my ballot for Obama on Tuesday, I wasn’t filled with a Lisa Simpson-esque sense of civic pride, but a Lisa Simpson-esque sense of annoyed cynicism, for he really is the less progressive candidate of the two, and if you don’t realize that you haven’t looked at the health care plans. I held my nose and voted for him because I think that he can beat McCain, and if not for that I wouldn’t have, and it’s too bad that a vague and empty movement around change, something that both candidates will bring plenty of, has trumped his less progressive policies.

My friend Elijah, a 43-year old professional banjo player who is covered in tattoos and was raised by two lesbain doctors, puts it best (he’s a Clinton supporter): “I’m a professional banjo player who was raised by two lesbain doctors. I’m not part of the status quo, I’m just not. And when he says in New Hampshire that the status quo doesn’t back down easily and lumps me in with that, it’s ridiculous and condescending.” He’s totally right.

Equally repellent is the Clintons’ attempt to characterize those who believe in what the power of a newer face can do domestically and internationally as some kind of fairy tale and if only we knew better.

Thank heavens Edwards forced all their hands on real policy positions or else we’d be voting on symbolism alone. Enjoy the song.

If you are reading this on Facebook or in an RSS Reader, the player will not show up. Go to to open the song.

The Flute of False Choices

They got in the mailbox
They called me at home and knocked on my door
Tuesday came by
and went like all the boring others before
It didn’t feel like a choice much at all
Between a future I can’t forsee and I past I don’t quite recall

Not at all, my hands are tied
Between the weak and the bold or the new and the old or
the darkness and the light
The flute of false choices is playing our song tonight

I went to the highway
Where fitted sheets hung down toward my car
I took out my contacts
To accentuate the differences better perceived from afar
And having some faith it don’t make me a fool
And just because I’ve got an eye on the numbers
That don’t mean I subscribe to a dead set of rules, yes it’s true

My hands are tied
After seven long years of shoving shit down our ears
about our safety and our rights
The flute of false choices is playing our song tonight

They’re shouting from the hilltops calling out all megaphones
Shooting at the blank spots and hitting each one head on
‘Cause when that train rolled to town, somehow I missed it
I’m on that list but I’m not enlisted
Maybe I should just stay home

‘Cause in spite of what’s implied
It doesn’t come down to a head in the ground or a finger in the sky
Right in between my old age and my teens I’d like to make up my mind
Free from snot attitudes and these vague platitudes
To a tune trite and contrived
The flute of false choices is playing our song tonight