Why is a 70 year old song suddenly hitting the top of the British music charts? Because Margaret Thatcher has died.
In an incredible display of grassroots solidarity, Brits have been buying the MP3 single of Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead from the 1939 Wizard of Oz soundtrack to mark the passing of the former Prime Minister. While some seem to only know Thatcher as a strong female leader, many in the UK are painfully aware of the way she supported apartheid in South Africa, the regime of Pinochet in Chile, and the way her domestic policies crushed the poor and the working class. Margaret Thatcher was a strong female leader - unfortunately she was also a horrible, terrible person.
As of this writing, Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead has hit number 9 on the British iTunes charts, number 2 on Amazon downloads and is number 54 on the top 100 used by Radio 1 to count down the hits. The song would probably be even higher but there was some confusion over which version to purchase - folks initially thought the Judy Garland version from the movie was too short to qualify for the charts, so many bought an Ella Fitzgerald version.
There will be some - even here, I'm sorry to say - who will think this is wrong, that we should never speak ill of the dead. That's a foolish stance to take when it comes to powerful public figures who are being criticized for their policy, not their personal life. Margaret Thatcher was a terrible world leader, and that is what people are remembering. By ignoring the truth of her time in power, we allow her supporters to whitewash her. As pointed out in this excellent Guardian piece, that is EXACTLY how we ended up with Saint Ronald Reagan in the United States.
This is one of the more humorous and strange examples of internet activism. Gaming the system like this is liberating, and presents exactly the sort of democratic process people like Margaret Thatcher inherently hated.
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