2012 January 29 Sunday
OWS: Like The Summer Of Love Without Great Music

A friend called up and she was ranting at me about all the places that "Occupy" people are occupying in the United States and Britain. Not sure why I should care what they are doing in Oakland. But sometimes a friend needs a rant audience. So I listen. They are camping out at St. Paul's Cathedral in London she says. My reaction: At least it gets the ministers an audience in a country where few still go to church. The occupiers ought to be let in to the pews on the condition that CoE ministers get to preach to them anytime they feel the desire. Besides, church occupancy frees up park space for people who want to stroll around parks. What's not to like?

This friend is older and among her claims to fame: Her and a girlfriend were hitchhiking in the late 60s in SF and Jimi Hendrix pulled up, asked them where they were going, and Jimi took them there. How cool is that?

So then she says "Occupy is like The Summer Of Love 2 without great music". A one sentence distillation from a girl who once got a ride from Jimi Hendrix. We got lasting good music out of the rapid succession of new movements and causes. Or the music inspired people to change. Songs like the Chambers Brothers "Time Has Come Today" ("now the time has come, there's no place left to run") have no current counterparts. Rock and roll has seriously run out of gas.

The funny thing about this decay: All the generations realize it. A guy in his mid 20s was lamenting to me the other day that after the 90s music just became lame. I was just looking at 60s songs on YouTube and on The Byrds Eight Miles High page a commenter says:

We live in a world where most peoples' parents are cooler than their kids.

My generation sucks. All kids my age care about is cars and money and haircuts and all that square stuff.

The gas was running out already in the 1990s. You can buy a best of album from some 1990s band and not get a consistent quality of songs to rival, say, the Rolling Stones albums Exile On Mainstreet or Let It Bleed. I like some Black Crowes songs for example, But their best of collection pales next to Let It Bleed or one of the better Pink Floyd albums.

I rate the whole Occupy movement as unimportant just because it can't inspire great music.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2012 January 29 12:34 PM  Culture Compared


Comments
Lurker said at January 29, 2012 1:18 PM:

O/T

At the risk of spamming can I remind all British citizens to sign this e-petition: No to 70 million.

At 100,000 signatures the government is supposed to allow a debate on the matter in parliament, its well past that now but the bigger the numbers the louder the message. I realise its a very mild anti-immigration measure, not nearly enough and of course 'they' don't want to do anything, but thats the beauty of the petition, its so mild that no one could object to signing it.

ASPIRANT said at January 29, 2012 2:36 PM:

Hearing from my parents, music was really important. Listening to the Beatles was a form of shared identity for almost everyone their age.

Now we're very splintered into a lot of different subcultures, who seem mostly concerned with showing the other one up; preps disdain goths who disdain hipsters who claim not to be hipsters and disdain themselves. Stuff white people like. It's like crackers are so fed up with not having a unique identity they have to manufacture one.

We don't listen to music all that much anyway. We have more reasons for disliking bands and the people who listen to them than we have stuff we do like. It's all about climbing the status pyramid.

This makes me wonder... In the previous generations, how did kids assert their status? Who would a teenager take as his chosen enemy, someone they thought was just uncool? Did people tend to get along better back then? Did not everybody listen to the Beatles?

I don't have a really clear picture of this.

ASPIRANTchuck said at January 29, 2012 2:44 PM:

Also, there are some good new bands out there. They're harder to find, I guess because they're not marketed aggressively. Find some songs by Sigur Ros - they're an Icelandic band. Hoppipolla, Glosoli, and Festival are some good examples. These songs are amazingly good, IMO up there with anything from the golden age of "white people music." Some of Cold Play's songs are pretty good too, Viva la Vida and The Scientist. (I don't tend to think of songs by album, as you can tell- I've never bought a physical CD. I've always bought songs piecemeal where I bought them at all). Another band, Radiohead gets almost universal praise.

Randall Parker said at January 29, 2012 7:38 PM:

Aspirant,

No point in thinking at the CD album level of granularity when few bands are capable of creating full albums worth of good music.

Songs: I really need a song list rather than a band list.

Another approach: One of the online radio services (Rhapsody? Pandora?) does a lot of work to try to identify which musical preferences are linked. One could listen to them and build up a list of pieces one likes and then get them in one's Google Android, Amazon Cloud, or iPhone collection.

Certainly technology has enabled fragmentation. We had 3 TV networks, radio stations, and record stores. A record store couldn't be that varied in what they offered as compared to online music. There were no narrowly aimed TV shows. Stuff had to appeal to a broad audience because there were only broad audience channels for reaching the masses.

Also, ethnic diversity due to immigration has increased fragmentation. Also, out-sourcing has basically severed the relationship between the managers and engineers of a company and the workers. The workers in the factories are now in other countries.

What people were like back then: I think, yes, society was less fragmented. There was a much larger overlap between white and black music. Black musicians tried to appeal to white audiences and white bands were obviously influenced by black artists. Also, there was more hope that the races would become much less equal. In spite of the fact we now live in an era of enforced orthodoxy of liberal secular faith the mass belief in a convergence of the races toward economic equality and shared culture has been lost.

Technology also undermined the market for mass appeal cultural products by making copying so easy. We no longer have big record companies trying to develop talent for the mass market.


A.Prole said at January 30, 2012 1:19 AM:

Computers (all the skinny teenage boys are busy at home playing online games and stroking off to porn), truly horrible but all pervasive American shit such as hip-hop (been around for 30 yeras polluting the atmosphere, why can't it just die like every other teen fad), sugary, saccharine R n B with manufactured warbling female divas moaning about men all conspired to kill pop music.
Pop music has died and it's not coming back.
Face up to it.

This isn't 1972, this 2012.Things have changed.

PJ Ray said at January 30, 2012 11:27 AM:

So what's wrong with porn?

I mean, as long as it is carried out by people that are over 18 and out of their own free will.

ziel said at January 30, 2012 7:24 PM:

Speaking of the Summer of Love, on this site (WFMU in Northern NJ) you can hear ten second snippets from each song in the top 100 of each year of the 60's - so you can click on 1967 to hear that year's top 100 - it's a pretty impressive collection of pop music, IMO. Some of the other years aren't too shabby, either. Four out of the top 5 songs of 1964 are "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You", "Pretty Woman", and "I Get Around". Are we supposed to remember the top songs of any song this decade in 45 years?

In said at January 31, 2012 6:15 PM:

PJ Ray
Porn is hyper-stimuli it rots the brain. Don't dissipate your energy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caiLlxkTt8E

Watch at 3:40 of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVwmknc6BIw&feature=related"

paulkael said at January 31, 2012 8:48 PM:

Jimi Hendrix picked up only the friend. She didn't even have her dog with her. She was pretty much speechless as was Jimi. All she could say way "It's my birthday". He reached in his pocket and pulled out two big joints. Whe she got home she told her friends what had happened. They told her she was nuts...probably hallucinating. Then the smoked one of the joints. All was revealed. The difference between this friend and most 20 somethings of today is that she and her friends had left home. They even lived in towns other than that in which they were born. Most had been to a foreign country. They loved to read. Music had to be good...we were a tough audience.

PJ Ray said at February 3, 2012 11:07 AM:

@ In said:

I saw the videos you recommended; however I see no reason for you to consider me a Hinduist or Buddhist as you seem to be. Well I'm not. I therefore do not believe in "chakras" (just as I don't believe in ghosts, angels, demons, gods, astrology, inmortal men) or any other kind of metaphysical idea.

Now, you say that "Porn is hyper-stimuli it rots the brain. Don't dissipate your energy". So I sould have to ask how you figure that "hyper-stimuli" rots the brain. I would also have to ask if in order not to "dissipate" our energy we should also -besides watching porn- avoid copulating or exercising or working.

I think that you dislike porn, which is fine with me, but I don't think you really have an objective reason. Just pious considerations.

On the other hand, relaxation or liberalization of pornography and prostitution laws has proven to decrease the number of sexual crimes in many countries like Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and others. Betcha didn't know that, did you?

In said at February 4, 2012 10:04 AM:

PJ Ray
That video was of a Sikh of which I am not one nor did I assume you are. I merely liked his analogy at the point specified. You are missing the point.

I assure you I avoid porn for objective reasons, I understand how it affects me. My contention is that there are lots of chemicals associated with mating (on multiple levels) that build up and affect one's motivations and other personal capacities. By constantly dissipating them with porn you lose out on their potency. I base this on experience, tradition and common sense more than "scientific" evidence (not that there isn't any). If you want a more scientistic perspective on this check out this site: http://yourbrainonporn.com/

You don't need to take mine or anyone else's word for it. Take a few weeks and try avoiding it, see how it affects you. I'm not saying that porn is bad for society, only that it is bad for men trying to achieve their goals. I would expect porn to reduce violence. If you view porn, you do so at your own risk.

Copulating, exercising and working are natural uses of energy - staring at dozens of vaginas in the span of a few minutes is not.


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