Wednesday, September 9, 2009

July 2007

essay piece originally published in July 2007:

A vain attempt to silence the voice of a generation....

So as I sit here late on a Monday evening (or early on a Tuesday morning, however you want to look at it) I'm left with quite a few thoughts on the current state of things in this world that we inhabit. A couple of things that I've witnessed in the last few days have given me quite a few things to ponder and I figured I'd open things up for discussion by posting my thoughts here. And just what were these things you ask? Well both are sort of Music related (you're all shocked I know...) and both had messages and ideas and will prove to be points of interest and conversation starters for those inclined to discuss these things on more than a superficial level.

The first was the Live Earth broadcast that was aired all day Saturday, via the web and a few cable channels. the idea behind this series of artist performances over a 24 hour period to raise awareness of the climate crisis and ask for individuals' support on a personal level to make small changes that can help improve the state of our planet I think is noble and needed. We need to be made aware, even painfully, that remaining on our current path is going to destroy or in the very least reduce our quality of living and do irrevocable damage to the Earth. I'm reminded of a passage in the book of Genesis that states we as people have been made stewards of the planet and everything in it; and I have to say, from the looks of it we've done a really lousy job taking care of what has been entrusted to us. I think each and every person needs to take stock of their own personal lives and the way we currently live and determine what small things we can do to make things a little better for our environment. No one person is perfect or can do everything exactly right, but we can all make a few small changes and they do add up. Having said this, and also enjoyed several of the performances (AFI did a cover of Ziggy Stardust during their set, look for it on youtube or the Live Earth replays..awesome performance), I also echo the sentiment that here we are promoting Energy Conservation by hosting concerts on all 7 continents and using enough power to light several small cities which can seem just a bit hypocritical. With the number of viewers and attendees numbering in the billions, the fact that the number of people pledging to make a difference wasn't even coming in at a million seems slightly dsappointing as well, and only time will tell what kind of impact this event truly had on the larger population.

The second was a documentary film by Don Letts called Punk Attitude. This was something I saw initially on TV while I was in Mexico and I was intrigued so I found it for rent and got the entire thing to watch. I'm still digesting everything I absorbed while watching this but I have to say that I really enjoyed it and was moved by some things that I had kind of let lie dormant within me as I've grown more into adulthood. That word "Punk" brings different things to mind depending on the person, some of which are valid expressions of a musical period, an attitude, a philosophy, a style; while others are a thinly veiled attempt to assimilate the youth into preprogrammed little stereotypes, simply a poseur. I'm not going to argue who or what is more "Punk" if it's this or that era of rock history....see the documentary if you want more was fantastic. What is it about those ideals voiced in this Punk thing that still draws me in? Well teen angst doesn't exactly work for me anymore seeing as how my teens are now more than a decade gone. But it's more than just teen angst, and teenagers certainly aren't the only group with angst as Trent Reznor so succinctly points out in his musical outings in NIN. The thing about Punk is that it's not just about a music style with loud guitars, fast drums and snotty vocals. It is an attitude, an Idea a way of looking at life, and I really think that every generation has had punk in some form or another and will continue to do so, or at least I hope so. the first generation that comes up and doesn't challenge what came before them will be a truly dead generation. And therein lies the beauty of these ideals. We should challenge everything. People need to realize that there is a difference between Questioning Authority and Disrespecting your leaders. We should question things, we have a voice and a say and we need to stand up and use it. The ability to do so is what makes this country great and anyone that would deny you that right is not someone who deserves to be respected. There is such a thing as a necessary Rebellion, and I think everyone has a little bit of a rebel within themselves that they need to let loose every now and again. This country was founded on Revolution and Rebellion and I think we need to be reminded sometimes of the potential for change that lies within us.

Where am I going with all this....maybe I'm just thinking out loud...maybe I don't have an exact direction....I'm just starting the conversation. You have a voice, use it. Don't let anyone tell you that what you have to say isn't important or needed. We may not always agree with each other but we all have the right to speak and that's just one more thing that I love about living in America. Diversity is a beautiful thing which leaves me with the impression that if we were all supposed to be exactly alike then we would just pop out as little carbon copies and there would never be any reason to change.

Now it's your turn, keep the conversation going. Do you agree and share a similar sentiment? let me know, share your own experience. Think I'm full of crap? Tell me why, what in your experience leads you to that conclusion?

I look forward to the dialogue....see you where the sidewalk ends....

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