SOAD's Serj Tankian: 'Most People in America Don't Read!'

"Without an educated, literate democracy, you can have a George Bush as your leader," the singer adds.

Ultimate Guitar

System of a Down singer Serj Tankian recently touched on the matter of US social issues, stressing the need to have an educated society in order for democracy to actually work.

Asked by 3news on whether he finds it refreshing how New Zealand's issues are "a bit smaller," Serj gave a positive answer.

"The semi-neutrality of the country is definitely very progressive outlook," he noted. "Many nations can benefit from that kind of perspective. And kiwis are quite wise politically, in terms of international politics, because they read.

"Most people in America don't read! And the education system is great. I think it's not just enough to have a democracy, it's important to have an educated democracy, because without an educated, literate democracy, you can have a George Bush as your leader. And that can be maybe as dangerous as having Assad as your leader in some cases! [laughter]," the vocalist concluded.

Focusing on latest musical efforts, Tankian explained how he hardly expects to get universally acclaimed due to the eclectic nature of his projects. "I would bet that rock critics wouldn't love a symphony record, I would bet classical critics are not going to love someone coming from the rock world and doing a symphony record," he kicked off.

"I would bet that jazz purists writers, in fact I know jazz purist writers, are not into my 'Jazz-Is-Christ' record. But hey, that's okay! Because I am making the music that is coming to me from the universe, and I am presenting it the best way I can. And I am putting a spin on it that is uniquely what I do. And as long as my fans and people who are following me like it, I'm happy with it and thankful for it," Serj concluded.

Trending stories

196 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Big fan of Serj and think he's one of the most progressive and open minded musicians going, but all he ever seems to do is rant about politics, and as much as i like his music i bet im not alone in thinking every once in awhile "oh please just shut the **** up about your political opinions!"
    For me a band spouting on about their anti-capitalist leanings while playing guitars sponsored by Budweiser will always take the cake. Take the stage, Rage Against the Machine!
    I don't understand how you can say that you like Serj, or bands like System of A Down or Rage Against the Machine, and then in the same sentence assert that they need to keep their political opinions to themselves. All of Serj's music has been riddled with political overtones, from the moment he started making rock music. It's part of the driving force behind his music. Did you just listen to songs like BOOM, Deer Dance, and Prison Song and find that they had catchy tunes? Ever bother to check the context?
    Because of out the context of a song, their political opinions make them sound like asshats. Ex: See the above article.
    Yeah, "everyone should read more" is such an asshat opinion.
    "Most people in America don't read!" pretty much is.
    I don't know what I prefer... either musicians ranting about it or writing songs which incorporate their message... At least, with ranting, you don't need/want to listen to it over again (dont get me wrong, some songs about politics, etc. are good though: MIW-Devil's Night, Rise Against music, etc.). Let them - the musician's - talk about what's wrong, it'll be forgotten soon by the majority of people who heard about it
    As a real fan of SOAD, I would be ****ing disappointed if they moved away from the social and political commentary.
    This somehow became a double post. All those who want to downvote, please feel free to downvote this message =)
    I wouldn't put education as a sheer factor for the merits of democracy. Ignorance and the fact that people come to fully rely on a corrupt government for everything is the reason democracy won’t work.
    That's why Serj Tankian is building a center for Kids who can't read good and wanna do other stuff good too.
    I served 28 years in the U.S. Navy from 1977 - 2005 and am now retired. We are slowly losing our rights because of the idiots known as Congress who have pretty much shit on our Constitution in order to line their pockets with money that they get from the 1%. Our education system is a ****ing joke . I've seen kids who have graduated from High school within the last 10 years who don't even have a clue as to what the 1st amendment even is. We are slowly becoming a society of lazy idiots thanks to reality television, I-Pods, Cell Phones, and the Internet. Relying too much on these devices is not a good thing IMO. Don't get me wrong, the internet can be useful but to sit in front of a damn computer 10-12 hours a day, is not healthy. In the immortal words of the late Walt Kelly " We Have Faced The Enemy and He Is Us ! "
    System of a Down is quite a political band. Surprised their singer talks about politics? Quit complaining!! I mean, of course I'd rather hear optimistic comments on the band's future but the site found this news worthy. Deal with it.
    Yeah, I don't get why people get so upset when a musician talks politics. It's not like "politics" is a specialized subject... the term applies to just about anything having to with how the world that we live in works. Enough bands write songs about love, sex, vague anger... I can't see why musicians get so much sh*t for thinking and writing about subjects a bit deeper than that. Don't like it? There are plenty of dumb rock/pop/hip hop musicians making dumb music... just go... ANYWHERE.
    Not only that, EVERYONE should talk about politics. That's another problem we have. Everyone has, for some reason, decided that politics is a sensitive subject. We should be able to discuss the fate of our country openly.
    Everyone gets taught in school that government and big business is good and cool. Economy and politics should be left for economists and politicians to see. They don't teach anywhere that people should be involved.
    Meh. Dave Mustaine conspiracies are more entertaining than Serj's smart rant.
    I'm genuinely surprised how many people had the presence of mind to down vote a post with the word psuedo-intellectual in it most Americans probably dont know what either part of that word means
    I bet that dude doesn't know how to use it either. Just because I can say pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovalcaniconiosis doesn't make me smarter than you.
    Breaking it down, Pneumo is lungs or air, ultramicroscopic is easy= very tiny, , silico like glass. Are we talking a lung disorder from breathing volcanic ash? That's what that word means. Now to the person who said reading doesn't make you smarter..i never saw this word before. But from reading I have seen these parts of words. READ!
    is that even a word? if so please tell me what that means....
    It's a word that was, essentially, invented to be the longest word in the dictionary. He spelt it wrong (should have an 'o' rather than the first 'a' in the '...valcanic...' part. Google is your friend *ahem8
    Agree to the most, but USA obviously don't have "a great school system". It's nothing but a great indoctrination system.
    We are not a democracy. We are a Republic... :rolleyes: My guess is, he feels Obama is a frigging hero. Bush violating the Constitution is bad. Obama violating the Constitution isn't an issue because he agrees with it. Amiright? "because without an educated, literate Republic , you can have an Obama as your leader. And that can be maybe as dangerous as having Assad as your leader in some cases! [laughter]," the vocalist concluded." I fixed that quote to reflect reality Serj. Now just be happy you make money from the illiterate fools you think they are and stfu about it.
    The US is both a democracy and a republic (as opposed being both a democracy and a constitutional monarchy like Canada or Australia). You obviously have little idea what those terms mean. Looks like you need to read more books also.
    No...the US is NOT a democracy. A true democracy is where every citizen votes on every law/issue/etc. Because the US founding fathers were smart enough to realize how damn inefficient that would be, they wrote the Constitution so that we elect representatives instead.
    You're an idiot.
    Can't back your statements up with facts? Back them up with insults.
    If you think he is correct there is nothing I can say to make you look any less idiotic. We are a Republic. That is an absolute fact. You can argue your opinion all you want, but opinion matters not in this instance.
    I didn't say he was right. I'm saying resorting to insults rather than explaining why you are right and he is wrong is the low road, and is yet another thing we don't need in this country.
    Why am I an idiot? Of course the US is a republic, but the US is also a democracy. The two aren't mutually exclusive. Saying the US is a republic but not a democracy makes as much sense as me saying "a banana isn't yellow, it's a fruit".
    People seem to have abandoned the notion that the Constitution means what it says.
    You didn't even read his post did you? He said the two aren't mutually exclusive.
    I read it. He is wrong. Anyone that thinks like him and is an American needs to do some research. Most non Americans don't know any better and I can't change that. I'm guessing most in disagreement with me are not American or are relying on some BS they were wrongfully taught. If something is said often enough, no matter how incorrect, people will think of it as fact. The United States is not a democracy. It's not both. It is only a Republic.
    Article IV, Section 4 of the US Constitution states; The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government , and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence. The Constitution must be nonsensical to you I guess....
    Yeah, that means the USA is a republic. Where does it say it's not a democracy?
    The Constitution was specific for a reason. This is something you might want to actually try and learn and that needs to be on you. I don't have the patients to debate people that insist they know that which they do not. No offense to you. It has become common to think we are a democracy, but it is not the case. It was never intended. The lack of specifically stating so, is not how the Constitution works. It doesn't specify what we are not.
    Also, the US is closer to a plutocracy than a democracy.
    So if we're closer to a plutocracy, then reading has nothing to do with strengthening democracy. Your argument is invalid.
    No, having informed citizens who actually read and educate themselves is pivotal in returning the US back to being a more democratic country instead of it being increasingly controlled by the rich.
    "Return to a more democratic nation"? Have you even taken two seconds to educate yourself? Seriously, do you even Google? t's really easy.