David Bowie, and why music no longer influences culture

The problem when old rockers die, and the last two that hit me the hardest were Bowie and Lou Reed,  is that it brings up a ton of feelings in someone, say 57 years old.  Here’s the thing:  there are hundreds, nay thousands of bar acts that count as quality even rebellious rock and roll out there right now, but NONE will have the impact of Bowie or Reed, and NONE who question authority or promulgate an alternative lifestyle hit with the IMPACT on our culture the music once had.

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This has occurred, as all glorious creative times (1950 to 1980, give or take) yield to the new dark age that came upon us in 1980, or just before, and the squelching of truly alarming and monumental creativity has slowly but surely gotten worse.  As electronics, propaganda via ALL MEDIA, and “conservative values” whitewash all fields of a cultural realm (maybe not classical music…)  we are left living in the past (Jedthro Tull) and yearn for more Michael Moores or at least more Ernest Hemingways, and if their contemporary equivalents are out there (where, or who is the NEXT Kurt Vonnegut even?) there’s a good chance they’ve been left unpublished, unheard, unseen due to things like Sony buying Columbia records.  Conservative Japanese guys took the label that brought us Dylan, Springsteen, Simon and Garfunkel and a LOT of other acts that questioned authority and BAM squelched any new ones from hitting it being (by not being signed).

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Throw in a pinch of MTV and a heavy dose of an ass-lick or two (see American Idol or even the Voice) and again,music no longer has the influence to help end a war(Vietnam ended due to an entire generation being inspired by countless anti-war  protest songs).

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Now that Billy Bragg has slowed his US touring schedule and bands like Rage Against the Machine are bundled and tied, name me who is going to replace the cultural icons known as the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young or a long string of others.

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Here I can go to Cat’s Cradle and 25 other venues to catch a huge sampling of the up and coming bands. Probably 20% have the chops and even the philosophy to challenge my theory that the days of a culture influenced by creative people has died. But can you name me one of these bands? Have you seen them live?  Did you download their stuff?

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Worse yet, other than Kathy Acker and few others, which writers are busting full blast against the wars? OK Chris Hedges (the Pulitzer Prize winner fired from the New York Times) has it going on at http://www.truthout.com. Journalists who persist in investigative reporting are often fired.

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Hell, the movies and tv are a lost cause, and basically (look at all the cop shows on CBS alone!) feed such malicious propaganda (lies) that it makes me want to puke. TV? Who has time for that shit. And I say that in the face of a TON of new great shows…still it doesn’t outweigh the pro war, pro “tough on crime” poop. We’re being transferred into a country where the police are militarized, meaning someone somewhere believes more direct attacks (um police killing unarmed people is a problem that equals the racism behind it) on suspects is A-OK.

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Sprinkle in the icing: The Patriot Act ended Habeas Corpus, the legal belief that people MUST be told WHY they are being arrested, at the time of arrest. This has been in western law since 1215. Yes 1215, when King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta. Before I go off hard on how impossible it is to defend yourself if the cops or anyone else doesn’t tell you why you’re being arrested… wow King George the Bush got this crap passed, and the Supreme Court didn’t bat an eyelash (though it’s extremely unconstitutional) and the Constitutional expert,Barack Obama,also never once brought up overturning this foul law and Patriot Act 2, another insult. Had their been an effective watchdog ANYWHERE, this stuff might not have happened. Rise up young voices; or be squelched forever.

 

To Be Human

is to fall in love over and over,
to never give up on any of them,
to cry for the inhumanity, and try to
overcome all that surrounds us by creating
a closeness with those in proximity, both
geographical and philosophical. It is to
carry those loves in our heart, flooding our
minds no matter how gone they are. And
to put others’ needs first, understand their
flaws, work on our own so we can be
better helpers. It is to take it all in and
follow our dreams no matter how preposterous;
to pull apart another brown paper bag and
to write it all out, no matter how choppy.
So take my hand and make it all better
before I repeat the painful parts until
I can no longer act. To struggle past
obstructions and obligations, self-imposed and
expected; to wallow in joy, build strength and
change what we can for the better. To give.

 

 

 

Barry, Chapter One, Part XXII

 

“I don’t know, but it’s more fun with boys and girls than just girls, isn’t it,” I begged.

“It changes the conversation entirely,” Melissa quipped.

“But it doesn’t have to,” I said, thinking a mile-a-minute.

“But we were talking about boys,” Lisa said.

“So keep talking about boys.  I know about boys,” I said, knowing they would never be brave enough to bring up sex anyway.  Among the boys there was a culture of mutually accepted lies that ranged from tepid to kinky via imagination…but how could you fool a tent full of girls?

“Then why is it that all boys want from girls is to have sex?” Sue asked.

I know I turned red all over, but I also know this was a defining moment in my chances to date or never date Lisa.

“I think it depends on the boy.  Some guys really love their girlfriends, and not just for the sex either.”

“Oh?” Sue said.  “I think they say they are in love just to get sex.”

“Yeah maybe, but then what? The girls have sex and later find out whether the guy is really in love or not? Or the girl can say ‘No, let’s wait’ to test the guy, risking he may run off. I mean I have no idea what girls think, but people end up sleeping together, even if there are different reasons why.  As long as no one gets pregnant, I figure sex is fun for boys and girls.”  Ah, I was in full swing now.  Those early days of proselytizing “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex, But were Afraid To Ask,” off the balcony of my room paid off, and I didn’t have to lie!  Yet, at the time…:

(I so wanted this to be my final statement on the subject.)

Lisa: “But you said you had sex with Jeanne, but it wasn’t true!”

Me: “My God I’m the bad guy. I already apologized to Jeanne.”

Melissa: “That’s not the point, the point is, why are boys so hung up on sex?”

Me:  “And girls aren’t hot to trot?  What were you talking about before we showed up?”

Melissa:  “I was talking about Todd, not sex, or sex with Todd, but just Todd, you sex maniac.”

Me:  “So who do you like Sue?”

Sue: “Well I can’t decide.  I think one of them will ask me out soon.”

Me: “How can you be so sure?

Sue: “I have my ways?”

Me: “See, it’s these ‘ways’ you talk about , this is what boys like me are interested in.

Melissa: “The girls way is to get into the guy’s eyesight in as many different situations as possible.”

Lisa: “Well, it’s the way you present yourself to a guy.  It’s not just repetition, because a first impression can seal the deal.”

Me: “How many times has a seductive approach worked for you, or any of us though?”

Sue: “Boys are too shy, and you coujld walk up to them and hit them over the head with the frying pan of love, and they’d still miss it.”

The girls laughed.

Me: “But what is the goal? Dating?  Marriage? A Fling? Someone to hang out with? To go steady? I mean it’s confusing.  I think guys are less confusing, and take life as it comes.”

 

 

 

 

art music poetry #39

Opus 2050, Dolmens #8, 2015, Joan's Garage

Opus 2050, Dolmens #8, 2015, Joan’s Garage

The art in Art Music Poetry #19, to #50 represents the debut show at Golden Belt

in Durham NC.  That will be June 19, 2015.  Email for more information.

dougstuber@gmail.com.

KV, Jr.

The world’s a lesser place today,
my friend Kurt has passed away.
He wrote of one-foot pubic hairs,
monkey house, foma, atomic glares.
Each time a deer comes through our yard
I see one fenced in Kurt’s canard.
One May at Hobart’s graduation
he told parents, in his estimation
they had wasted their hard-earned dough
by allowing their spoiled children to go
to a school more like a holding tank
where beavers opened and drunkards drank.
He did not expect to be invited back,
but the cap-robed kids had laugh attacks.
With Kurt and Molly Ivins gone,
who’s left to light up things gone wrong?
Who will publish, who will read
the next attack on corporate greed?
Who will stand, sing and holler
about the way they spend tax dollars?
Bokononism lights a fire in sand,
foot to foot, hand in hand,
after Ice-Nine depletes the earth
of all its water, little mirth,
except to sit and masturbate,
everyone dead from one mistake.
The marines were tired of getting wet,
Time to re-read Vonnegut.