Drive-In Saturday:
Let's See SCOTUSBlog Post This One!
Alas, I am Undone

Mellow Out or You Will Pay


Primary Election Day 2010 in California brings with it only one certainty: the official return of Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown Jr. to big-time California politics as the Democratic nominee for, and early favorite in the race to become, California's next Governor.

Jerry Brown's return comes 27 years after he last served as Governor, from 1975 to 1983.  Term limits on state officers had not be instituted when he last Governed, so they pose no impediment to his return. 

When Brown last occupied the Governor's office, he famously refused to occupy the recently constructed and reasonably palatial Governor's Mansion in Sacramento, preferring a modest apartment and (so it was said) a futon on the floor.  He dated singer Linda Ronstadt.  He used the National Guard and launched helicopters to spray the citizenry with pesticide from on high in his battle against the Medfly.  He earned the "intractable sobriquet" of Governor Moonbeam from columnist Mike Royko, and a reputation for flakiness fanned by recurrent jokes in Doonesbury.  

When Brown later ran credibly but unsuccessfully for President, Doonesbury featured a week of strips -- pulled by most California papers -- alleging his receipt of favors from noted organized crime figures.  Also implicated was Brown's chief of staff, Gray Davis, who would himself go on to become Governor only to be recalled by voters and replaced with the now-departing Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In 1979, in the heady rush of California Punk, Jerry Brown inspired Bay Area band the Dead Kennedys and frontman Jello Biafra* to pen "California Über Alles", a screed linking cheerful NewAgery with National Socialism, all of it via the Governor.  For a flavor of the thing, here are the first two largely incoherent verses:

I am Governor Jerry Brown
My aura smiles and never frowns
Soon I will be president…
Carter power will soon go away
I will be Führer one day
I will command all of you
Your kids will meditate in school
    California Uber Alles
    Uber Alles California
Zen fascists will control you
100% natural
You will jog for the master race
And always wear the happy face
Close your eyes, can’t happen here
Big Bro’ on white horse is near
The hippies won’t come back you say
Mellow out or you will pay

alifornia Uber Alles
    Uber Alles California

Unrelated to Jerry Brown's return, but perfectly timed for it nonetheless, video artist Kota Ezawa, whose specialty is using low end animation software to super-simplify existing film footage, has combined "California Über Alles" with the Beatles' premier appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, to give us "Beatles Über California".  It's just the thing to get Californians marching straight to the ballot box: 


*  Given that the secessionist nation of Biafra has not existed for some 40 years, and that few now recall the civil war, blockades and resulting famine that made that sad place so notable at the time, I am left to wonder: does anyone still consider Jello Biafra's chosen moniker scandalous?

Illustration:  The official portrait of Governor Jerry Brown (version 1.0), by Don Bachardy, via the California State Capitol Museum.

More Kota Ezawa -- John & Yoko!  O.J. Simpson!  Susan Sontag! -- is viewable via UBUWeb.



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