Thoughts Blowin' in the Paris Wind...

I've been putting off writing this post for a few days, but it's been working itself out inside of me and it's Monday night, so here goes.

Aurel and I watched a documentary about Bob Dylan last week that he'd taped off tv a year ago. Bob Dylan was one of those names to me, a famous person whose songs I sort of knew, whose face I could sort of conjure up in my head, whose concerts Emilie and my old roomate Priscilla like to attend. About halfway through the documentary, the film focused on the civil rights movement and showed Dylan playing his guitar in front of thousands and thousands of people who marched on Washington in 1963. I've seen these photos before, but for some reason I was completely blown away this time by the thought of so many Americans gathering to stand up for something:

I've visited Washington a bunch of times and trust me that this is a shitload of people. When I was a senior in college, I attended an anti-war protest here (again with Priscilla) and while there were a lot of people calling Bush a liar and showing support for the cause, it didn't look anything like this. I can't believe that my parents lived through a time when Americans were so motivated towards change, so intent on making themselves heard. Watching the documentary, I became so sad because I don't know why this isn't happening anymore. Is it because my generation doesn't have opinions? Are we listening to our I-Pods and not each other? And how do I respond to future generations when they ask what I did while George W. and crew were succeeding in their agendas again and again?

I have the fortunate ability to have 1-on-1 conversations with French business people aged 30-50 on a weekly basis and I asked several of them what they thought. A lot of them nodded and agreed, offering the French youth as another example of such ambivalence. This did little to comfort me; what is going ON with people in their 20s?

It seems somehow appropriate that this post is going out on Election Day Eve. From this side of the world, it sounds like change could be coming for the U.S., but I am almost too gun-shy to believe it (enter Dick Cheney hunting joke here). Change, if it is coming, won't be coming this time from acoustic guitars and metaphors, but rather from a country weary of lies and war. The 60s are over and the Pussycat Dolls are probably not the country's best hope for inspiring political change. I'm all for the latest Ludacris and JT songs, but I think we can all agree that they aren't forward-thinking in the same way. The question thus presents itself: do folk singers still exist? And if so (for the sake of my generation), could we get them to sell their songs on I-tunes?


Emilie said...

How I wish I'd been 20 in the sixties... Although not everything was going right (far from it), at least there was great music that was entertaining and made you think at the same time... now it's (almost) all dumbed-down crap. Plus Bob Dylan was kinda cute when he was young!

Fingers crossed for tomorrow's elections!

Anonymous said...

i'm with Emilie ... fingers crossed for tomorrow's elections !

and triple shame on me for forgetting to sign up for my absentee ballot. shame shame shame. Electoral participation is the FOUNDATION of representative democracy and i *forgot* to sign up to participate ?! i don't deserve to be called an American democracy scholar.

You make a good point - people today have become so used to "the good life" that no one seems able to stand up and disagree anymore. Disagreement used to be a foundation of democracy (as it led to debate and discussion) and now people who disagree (*cough cough* the french *cough cough*) are called cowards or, gasp!, unpatriotic. shame on those who are too judgmental to accept that different opinions are a POSITIVE thing ...


Jen said...

hahaha... emilie, if there was ever a blog post that you'd respond to asap, this was it. :)

Anonymous said...

Download How Come by Ray Lamontagne.