‘When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby talk, when in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture death is a clear possibility. – Neil Postman
I’ve always found it hard to see an older person and imagine them as being young. It can be shocking to look back at photographs of your grandparents as fresh, smooth-faced teenagers and young adults and correlate those images with the lined, ‘lived-in’ face of the people we know now.
We are currently witnessing what the press is hailing as the ‘rise of the Millenial’. Often trumped as the idealistic, naïve, ‘glued to a screen’ generation they do appear to be a generation that are riddled with contradictions. We’ve seen this displayed most markedly in the recent protests against Trump, where screaming contorted faces hold aloft banners and placards proclaiming ‘Love Trumps Hate’ while at the same time shouting out ‘Kill Trump!’
They proclaim their support for ‘free speech’ but turn on any one quicker than an Adder that simply dares to disagree with their narrow point of view and their arguments though littered with catchy buzzwords and soundbites often seem to carry no real meat or substance. And this is why such arguments put forward by the self-styled SJW’s (Social Justice Warriors) are so easily dismantled and ruthlessly destroyed by the upcoming voices of what has been styled the ‘Alt-Right’.
There is obviously creativity and flair within the ranks of the Millenials and of course they have youth on their side. Instead of endlessly marching, wailing, crying and seeking shelter in ‘safe spaces’ why don’t a group of you (put aside your Miley, Beyonce, GaGa trash for a moment) and open your ears and minds to the likes of Dylan, The Staple Singers, Marvin Gaye, Edwin Starr…listen to Tracy Chapman’s ‘Talkin’ ‘bout a Revolution’ right through to Public Enemy’s ‘Fight the Power’. Listen to their voices, the intricate clever words of their songs and, more importantly, their call for change. That music managed to change far more minds than smashing up shop fronts and intimidating people ever will. Why don’t those of a more musical ilk try and emulate this rich greatness from our very recent past? Why not channel anger into something more long lasting than a witty hashtag?
It’s time for a wind of change to blow through the current crop of ‘stars’ and ‘celebrities’ – a gust of hurricane force to clear the decks for the emergence of a new Bob Marley, Nina Simone or Stevie Wonder. A chance for something wonderfully new and fresh to break through and blossom but for this to happen true talent has to be recognised once again. It has to be about so much more than botox-enhanced looks or standing up on stage in next to nothing. This vacuous self-serving rubbish (that is now deemed music) has to be consigned to the dustbin where it belongs. Then, maybe the Millenials (and their stars) will be taken seriously and the changes to society that they say they so desperately want to see, just might happen.
I’ll leave you with a video of Stevie Wonder (yes, he was this young once) singing the spine tingling ‘Heaven Help Us All’.