Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Call Me a Cynic

Go ahead. I can take it.

I was reading Samurai Frog's Hobo Trashcan post "We Are the Fail" yesterday, and frankly it inspired me. If you don't want the ear-maggot of the song in your head, you might want to stop reading. I have had it all morning, and it is days like this I wish my car radio still worked.

So, it is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the original We Are the World, and how timely it is that a country full of African descendants are dying. No, wait. The world is full of African descendants who are dying. Hell, the people the original song was meant to help are still dying. So, why are we being punished again with this dreadful song? It is our self-congratulatory, mass-social-masturbating mindset. The "We" is us, or rather, U.S., and don't you forget it.

I am a Gen-X'er. I don't mind the term. I despise the '60s, particularly when confronted with Dennis Hopper types who pretend it was about freedom, and not about getting high and scamming on naïve hippie girls. The "movement" the Baby-Boomers talk about started not for equality, social-justice, or to end Vietnam, it was because they wanted to go to college in jeans and stinking of pattchuli. Those other things came after young, white America got their dress code problems sorted out. But the thing I hate most is the idea that pop music can change the world.

I love pop music, by the way. I love rap, rock, and classic country. Music does not typically change my attitudes. It will occasionally make me think of things in a different light, but primarily music like Bob Dylan's or John Lennon's does not start society in a direction, it records that direction for posterity. It is our modern world's catalog of spirituals, something we can dust off to inspire people, or remind them of the "why" of an event. "We Are the World" was not the only song of its type. There was "Do They Know It's Christmas" with a cast of lesser known British stars along with Duran Duran and The Police. Not sure what effect this one had, except that those people are still starving too. Well, when they are not too busy dying of AIDS.

I am against this sort of thing, mostly because they are so ineffectual. It is arrogant of us to think that a 99¢ download, or whatever it cost, is going to put that much money into helping people. Also, the song is so full of arrogance. "We are the world. We are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day, so lets start giving." Obviously the starving people are not the ones expected to give, it is us. The "We" in the song.

If you want to help Haiti, give some money to a real charity, please, and lets stop this sanctimonious bullshit before its fiftieth anniversary.


Bubbashelby said...

I can't argue with any of that.

P.S. You are a cynic ;)

Darius Whiteplume said...

If there is one positive point I can make, it is that Madonna apparently was not part of the original, and had a stellar career afterwards (the rest of the cast seemed to drift into oblivion). It does not appear that Lady Gaga was in the new one, so, fingers crossed. Good bye Lil' Wayne, hello 20+ more years of Lady Gaga! :-D

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