Inside America's Sweetest Propaganda Machine

This tale of what it was like traveling with Up With People, the feel-good traveling music performance that was funded by Halliburton and Exxon, among others, to export the American style of consuming and clean livin’, is pretty amazing:

“Let me tell you, Up With People has a pretty squeaky clean image, but behind the scenes it can get a bit freaky; on the bus, backstage, up in the catwalk in some high school auditorium, cougar host mom’s basement, older host brother’s dorm room, layover in Amsterdam…….. It’s not like we were Led Zeppelin throwing tellies out windows and hiding fish, but it wasn’t like a super bowl halftime show all the time. It was a group of hard working and extremely horny young adults…. I’ll always remember arriving at one host family’s house in former Eastern Germany. I wanted to take a short nap but about 20 minutes later I hear Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ starting up. My CD had been sticking out of the pocket of my backpack after I had opened it to take something out. So I get up and go to the room where the music was coming and my host mom was listening with her eyes closed. She explained that this music was forbidden back when she was younger and she remembered that friends would get smuggled copies of Westmusik. One of them was Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.” They would get together and listen to the music and hope not to get caught. That was the first time she had heard it after the wall came down.”