Song Analysis of "Testify", by Rage Against the Machine

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Example of Conflict Theory in “Testify”, by Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine’s single "Testify", the first song from their 1999 album 'The Battle of Los Angeles", is a commentary on the American public’s blindness or numbness to global issues such as war, politics, capitalism, wealth, and power through the filtering of information by the mass news media. As it relates to Sociology, “Testify” deals mainly with Marxist Conflict Theory, and also incorporates many of the topics we have learned about in class throughout the semester.

A major issue dealt with in "Testify" is the filtering of the news media for mass consumption and the misrepresentation of world events by the media to keep the audience happy and content through ignorance. They (the public) are numbed to the facts that there are real power struggles and wars in the world, the real reason these struggles exist, and who is to blame because they are so narcotized at the information being filtered and broadcasted to them “The movie ran through me / The glamour subdued me / The tabloid untied me/ I’m empty please fill me / Mr. Anchor assure me / That Baghdad is burning / Your voice it is so soothing / That cunning mantra of killing / I need you, my witness / To dress this up so bloodless / To numb me and purge me now / Of thoughts of blaming you…With precision you feed me / My witness I’m hungry / Your temple it calms me / So I can carry on”. (Lines 1-12 and 27-30)

The song is saying that this filtration of the news helps politicians or other figures in positions of power to acquire more wealth, and the primary example discussed in the song of how they do this is through war, specifically to control the supply of oil, at the expense of those who die to fight the wars: “Yes the car is our wheelchair / My witness your coughing / Oily Silence mocks the legless boys / Who travel now In coffins…My slaving sweating the skin right off my bones / On a bed of fire I’m choking on the...
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