Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Evolution of Song Truth

Have you ever noticed that some songs are only a bit true when first written and released?

But then the song seems to grow into mega-truth as "time keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin' into the future"?

What is really happening is that the song was more prescient than the songwriter knew at the time?

At least in the sense that events in the changing world afterward seem to conform to the words of the song?

At least more so than it would have seemed to the songwriter at the time the song was written?

For example, recall an old but not so old song that says:
I get the news I need on the weather report.
I can gather all the news I need on the weather report.


Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where,
And we don't know where.

Here I am..........

Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where,
And we don't know where.
(Only Living Boy In New York, Simon & Garfunkel). Anyone watching the weather channel knows killer floods are happening everywhere in the world.

At the same time there are fire epidemics, recently in California, Russia, and Australia, but now those places are flooding.

Some observers call it global weirding, as scientists tell us this is only the tiny beginning, and as people fight the reality with the global weirding of denial.

You can easily get all the news you need to know about the direction the world is taking itself (by polluting the once healthy weather cycles) by getting that news "on the weather report".

Another song rings true concerning the evolution from left to right:
A poor little baby child is born

In the ghetto
... he'll grow to be an angry young man some day
Do we simply turn our heads
And look the other way
... his hunger burns
... Then one night in desperation
... Face down on the street with a gun in his hand
... young man dies
... Another little baby child is born
In the ghetto
(In the ghetto, Elvis). The song was originally called "The Vicious Circle", indicating that the author saw something evolving and replicating itself.

We can look around and see people of all colors and creeds beginning these last few years to experience the phenomenon (think foreclosure, job loss, bankruptcy, homelessness).

In fact, the congress is thinking of modifying the bankruptcy code to allow states to file for bankruptcy, even as financial experts begin to expect a flood of municipality bankruptcies (Chap. 9) in the USA.

This brings to mind a Dylan song:
Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
(Like a Rolling Stone, Dylan). Our "doll" MOMCOM will become a bum with the desperation of the young child in the ghetto, to eventually die face down like the power mad empires that went before.

Finally, think about the lyric in another Dylan tune that rings true to those who can envision what is coming, and what would happen to their children if they were to engender children:
You’ve thrown the worst fear

That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins
(Masters of War, Dylan). Knowledge brings people to the brink of reality forcing us to believe the science or believe the amygdala, then act accordingly.

Song truth keeps on ringing in our ears as floods damage a nuclear power plant in the USA like what a tsunami has already done to Fukushima in Japan.

The next post in this series is here.


  1. The idea behind state bankruptcies is to allow states to "refudiate" pension obligations and labor agreements, which are otherwise contractual and technically default proof. It's not hard to read the tea leaves here. If it means screwing over the citizenry so that the bond holders get paid, rest assured, it's gonna happen sooner or later. See California, where austerity measures and tax cuts are embraced, for a preview of things to come.

    Of course bankrupt governments and open defaults on obligations open the pandora's box of legitimacy; as in, why am I remitting taxes to and obeying the laws of an entity which is insolvent? And if contractual obligations to the little people mean so little, why should the little people respect their contractual obligations to those who matter? In other words, don't be surprised to see the first signs of anarchy once the debt "refudiation" ( I love that word!) party starts, as promises to pay are a cornerstone of our little capitalist drama. And no, bonds are not promises to pay in the same sense that contractual obligations are, as default risk is always priced in up front, albeit not necessarily accurately.

  2. Over at Institute for Government & Sustainable Development they talk about a disastrous 16 degree increase in global temperatures, based upon that happening once before.

    I don't know how wise it is to compare anthropogenic causes with non-anthropogenic causes, because it generates "what-is-the-use" as well as "nature is doing it, not civilization" types of ideology.

    It conflates many things.

  3. disaffected,

    There is an interesting post at George Washington Blog which speaks of defaults in terms of discussing many of the symptoms that are already here.

  4. Randy,

    Yes, from all I've been reading, massive state and local defaults are pretty much "baked in" at this point. These will likely be the first steps toward a mostly privatized national "government," for lack of a better term. The Repubes have dreamed of these days for decades, and it appears they are about to get there wish during the twenty-teens. No more safety nets, no more public services. Just "free markets" everywhere dictating according to the ironclad laws of supply and demand. Shangri-la at long last!

  5. disaffected,

    Yeah, the "W Shangri-la" that everyone seems to have forgotten if the last election is any indicator.

    It will be a huge sucking sound properly described as a "torrent up" river, handsomely eradicating the "trickle down" era where 2% became filthy rich as they impoverished their fellow countrymen.

    Evidently that was not enough to satiate the lust and greed.

    When the "torrent up" river finishes replacing the "trickle down" mist, only slaves and slave-masters will remain.

    That won't be enough either, so then we may see the entry of the era of torture and other gleeful abuse.

    You know, The Virgin MOMCOM holy "off with their heads" stuff.

  6. That won't be enough either, so then we may see the entry of the era of torture and other gleeful abuse.
    You know, The Virgin MOMCOM holy "off with their heads" stuff.

    Yep. Lot's of speculation on the web already about how long it'll take drone technology to become widespread in domestic law enforcement. It'll probably be introduced in the drug and immigration enforcement circles first - with all the same collateral damage issues that we see now overseas - then gradually make it's way into everyday law enforcement where it will soon become ubiquitous.

    First they came for the radicals, but I wasn't radical so I didn't complain. Then they came for old and infirm, but I was't either, so I didn't complain...

  7. Dredd,

    Back to the original premise of this post; I don't know of any current American mainstream songwriters who are addressing the sort of issues that were most certainly mainstream in the 60's. That said, I can barely stand to listen to that which is considered mainstream these days.

    Even so, it's probably fair to say that today's youth and/or mainstream music culture doesn't "feel" the same issues that we of the 50s/60s/70s generations did. Whether they are correct or not we can only speculate at this point (and I'm with you in suspecting that they are indeed NOT), but I'm also quite sure that this is a "generational moment," much like post-Vietnam, where generational decisions are made for better or worse, and most of us are mere spectators.

  8. Dredd,

    Global warming and/or weirding is an issue whose time - amazingly - has yet to come. Don't expect real political action for several years yet, and even then, only based on expected short term profits. Somewhere after 2020 Global Warming will be "officially" recognized as a global "problem," at which time the appropriate austerity measures will be prescribed.

  9. disaffected,

    "Global warming and/or weirding is an issue whose time - amazingly - has yet to come

    Depends on who you talk to, those with telescope eyes or those with coke bottle bottom thick glasses who can't see their hand in front of their faces.

    Many people saw this coming a long time ago, Ronald

    Reagan, who was 100 years old yesterday, formed the Environmental Protection Agency when he was still "alive".

    The dead among us in MOMCOM's womb never get it anyway.

  10. disaffected,

    "Even so, it's probably fair to say that today's youth and/or mainstream music culture doesn't "feel" the same issues that we of the 50s/60s/70s generations did.

    MOMCOM media learned that they need to control "mainstream" or "pop" music.

    It is now one of their "brands". (GE Serves The Pentagon On TV Near Yoo).

    One song written a decade beyond your list of decades has the lyric:

    "But power and greed and corruptible seed
    Seem to be all that there is

    That seems to fit this week's posts quite well. I came across the mention of those Dylan lyrics in the book about him just released, written by the noted American Historian Sean Wilentz.

    See American Freak Show where I discuss one of MOMCOM's pop music / "news" generating engines.

    Your point about the degeneration of critical thought in colleges has been proven true by a study Randy mentioned in Wednesday's comments (McClatchy Newspaper).

    I saw a documentary about Kent State, the site of the first Tiananmen Square.

    The McStudents there were clueless about their fellow students being shot down by soldiers for exercising their 1st Amendment rights. Their brains have been washed of inconvenient truth.

    They suffer from today's McEducation.

    MOMCOM owns "education" exactly as Noam Chomsky says.