Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death
1987 | Punk
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“I'm the new folk hero of the Ku Klux Klan. -- My cop friend thinks it's fun. -- You can get away with murder if you got a badge. -- I fought the law and I won. -- I fought the law and I won."
- Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death was the last Dead Kennedys album that Biafra approved the production of, which also led to it being the last album released through Alternative Tentacles.
- The album which was released in 1987 was certified gold by both BPI and the RIAA in December 2007.
- I fought the law is a re-visioning of the popular song written by Sonny Curtis of the Crickets around the Murder of Harvey Milk.
THE HOT TAKES
An inversion of the classic version of the song! You, too, can fight the law and win. All you need to do is "change it from the inside!" I mean, join the elite class of humans who are above the law...the cops. Go from a nobody to an instant idol of you community by donning the sacred law-defeating garments of law enforcers.
This song is based on the old Bobby Fuller song where he fights the law, but the law wins. This song is written from the perspective of Dan White, another politician, who killed San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, and the first openly gay politician elected in California, Harvey Milk. This song makes reference to the ridiculous trial where White’s defense claimed that he ate too much junk food, or what’s come to be known as the twinkie defense. White got off of the first degree murder charge, but was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. He got seven years, but was released in five. I’m not gonna Monday morning quarterback all of the ins and outs, but I will say the police and others backed White and it’s referenced in this song when it says, “I fought the law and the law and I won.” This is where many on “the left” are not wrong. There has often been much injustice carried out through the institutionalized bias against marginalized groups that is a problem of State courts. If there is to be law, it should be applied equally no matter what group a person identifies with, but American history of jurisprudence is full of examples where the law is applied in very different ways depending on the person being tried.
Oh what a fun song extolling the awfulness of the boys in blue. It's like printing your own lottery ticket, The best way to ensure victory against the state is to become a part of it. Rape, murder, theft you name it. There's a way to get your jollies off no matter what terrible proclivities you have. Simply get a police badge and absolve yourself of all responsibility. It doesn't hurt that this song is a re-visioning of a rock & roll classic either.It might as well be a nursery rhyme it's so catchy.