I thought it was kind of odd when I heard that Brian Chippendale started a "Noise For Obama" website. I suppose that having gone to a liberal arts school in the Pacific Northwest, where the music community is fairly notoriously politically engaged, made me take certain people's political positions for granted. Now I live in Baltimore, am somewhat engaged in an arts/music scene, and haven't heard anyone talk about politics the whole time I've been here, despite sort of freaking out about the economy and being willing to talk to people about it.
But I just learned that the majority of these people- self-proclaimed "artists" are actually very much unengaged. Waiting until 2012 and the apocalypse. Not voting in the interim. Engaged enough in conspiracy theories to think that things could happen to make Baltimore devolve into race riots due to issues related to Obama's candidacy, like election defrauding. I'm sure all of these people admire Brian Chippendale a ton though. But I guess you don't actually learn things when you go to art school.
I went to a liberal arts college, where, in addition to having liberal politics taken for granted and having arguments about Palestine shoved down my throat, I also studied American history and economics for a year. By the standards of Olympia, I'm borderline apolitical, inasmuch as I didn't attend protests. But I still knew the issues enough to be engaged with them enough to talk about them, to write satire or freak out.
The streets of Baltimore are flooded with pro-Obama sentiment. Some random dude asked me who I was voting for outside on my front sidewalk. Maryland will surely go towards Obama. But a lot of the reasoning behind this seems largely to do with identity politics. To learn that, outside of that group, the people that you would think of as being smart and forward-thinking are just all about apocalyptic thinking (WHICH I AM COMPLETELY GUILTY OF AND INTERESTED IN) to the exclusion of moderation seems way more problematic than the Olympia activists who were interested in anarchist thinking who didn't vote because of it. Because I never respected or interacted with the latter group.
So, anyway, Noise For Obama. If you click past the portrait of Obama drawn by Chippendale, you'll find artist statements, and Chippendale's is as cogent as you would expect from a dude engaged enough in the world to actually make affecting work.
I don't know how politically engaged Marnie Stern is, although I linked to the Kill Rock Stars blog as well, and her album came out today, a little less than a month before election day, and I will buy it tomorrow.