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Protest music for today--who's doing it?


zabe60

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I've been watching the coverage of the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations in New York on the internet (since the regular media don't seem to be giving it much attention). Being a product of the 60's I lived at a time when musicians wrote protest songs about the issues of the era--racial equality, Vietnam...

 

Considering the political/economic situation today, who's writing songs reflecting the anger and frustration so many folks are feeling? Performers have the ability to inform and influence many people, but I'm not aware of many bands/songwriters who are takin' it to the streets--maybe some of the rappers, and reggae bands--but who's doing it for the good old USA, now that she needs some help?

 

Maybe I'm just out of touch?

 

Z

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I'm not sure why, but that just doesn't seem to be in the sphere of youth today. From 2003-2011 I taught at a high school where kids wrote original songs 5-6 times every year, and there just wasn't hardly any of that even when we assigned it. I'm 33, and when I was in high school in the 90s, there seemed to be lots more idealism/protest feelings than there are now (though not as much as the 60s).

 

Personally, I think it's because:

 

1) The powers-that-be (governments, corporations, the general rich/powerful "in crowd") have mastered the art of "boiling the frog."

2) There's a huge backlash societally against simple sincerity. Irony and disdain are the armor and shields that everyone seems to have up nowadays.

3) Narcissism is on the rise. It seems to me that top 40 lyrics have more self-righteous indignation and whining about not "getting everything I want, RIGHT NOW" than ever before.

 

There's also something tickling my brain about the sad irony of how it seems the Baby Boomers as a group thought they would revolutionize society and make Earth a utopia when they were young, only to grow up and become just as bad or worse than the society they were rebelling against. I'm not sure - I wasn't there, and generalizations like that paint a lot of good people in a bad way - but in broad strokes, that's the picture I see when trying to understand the history.

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I've been watching the coverage of the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations in New York on the internet (since the regular media don't seem to be giving it much attention). Being a product of the 60's I lived at a time when musicians wrote protest songs about the issues of the era--racial equality, Vietnam...


Considering the political/economic situation today, who's writing songs reflecting the anger and frustration so many folks are feeling? Performers have the ability to inform and influence many people, but I'm not aware of many bands/songwriters who are takin' it to the streets--maybe some of the rappers, and reggae bands--but who's doing it for the good old USA, now that she needs some help?


Maybe I'm just out of touch?


Z

 

 

In the 60's as I was growing up there was a HUGE unifying force.....the Veitnam War and perhaps more importantly, the draft. It really was something people could unite over.

 

What the hell is "Occupy Wall Street" and why would anyone waste their time over it?

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What the hell is "Occupy Wall Street" and why would anyone waste their time over it?

 

 

The purpose of Occupy Wall Street is simple: gather as diverse a group of demonstrators as possible to make a peaceful statement about government corruption and the privileging of big business and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans in policy making.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tracey-e-vitchers/occupyingnot-riotingwall-_b_980003.html

 

And while not exactly a new artist, Ry Cooder has a new album out focused on protest songs about the current financial crisis.

 

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/08/29/pm-ry-cooder-on-the-protest-songs-of-today/

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All the protest is compartmentalized and divided into so many factions that there isn't really unified movement the way there used to be. There just isn't a huge audience to really get behind protest music anymore. Just an abundance of small small groups that aren't overly interested in each other.

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Considering the political/economic situation today, who's writing songs reflecting the anger and frustration so many folks are feeling?

 

 

Death metal/screamo/etc bands. Kids these days are into non-verbal communication. Given the situation that four decades of extensive verbal communication has created, they might be on to something.

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The purpose of Occupy Wall Street is simple: gather as
diverse a group of demonstrators
as possible to make a peaceful statement about government corruption and the privileging of big business and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans in policy making.

 

Oh, so it's about diversity.:lol:

 

I'm sorry, I just can't help it.......I'm getting too old......or it just doesn't relate to my reality.

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All the protest is compartmentalized and divided into so many factions that there isn't really unified movement the way there used to be. There just isn't a huge audience to really get behind protest music anymore. Just an abundance of small small groups that aren't overly interested in each other.

 

 

At the risk of making this a completely political thread, I think the unifying item is the stripping of our freedoms.

 

I personally believe that you can't regulate, or legislate good behavior... if someone wants to do evil, no mater what the consequence, they will do just that. For example:

 

9/11... now we have all new security protocols in place, and everyone who travels, is inconvenienced and risks getting themselves, or their families, getting strip searched simply by going on vacation. Will any of this stop someone from hatching a devious plan? No, but it requires law abiding citizens to be treated like criminals, and makes me just want to go away to where I can drive.

 

There are countless examples of this, and no matter what legislation is put in place, the next Enron is out there ready to destroy every employee's life, if necessary, to make their $$. And every good company has to abide by the rules, that ultimately, protect nobody.

 

just my .02.

 

You may now berate me.

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At the risk of making this a completely political thread, I think the unifying item is the stripping of our freedoms.


I personally believe that you can't regulate, or legislate good behavior... if someone wants to do evil, no mater what the consequence, they will do just that. For example:


9/11... now we have all new security protocols in place, and everyone who travels, is inconvenienced and risks getting themselves, or their families, getting strip searched simply by going on vacation. Will any of this stop someone from hatching a devious plan? No, but it requires law abiding citizens to be treated like criminals, and makes me just want to go away to where I can drive.


There are countless examples of this, and no matter what legislation is put in place, the next Enron is out there ready to destroy every employee's life, if necessary, to make their $$. And every good company has to abide by the rules, that ultimately, protect nobody.


just my .02.


You may now berate me.

 

 

I'm with you. Every bad thing that happens is an excuse to grow government larger and 1/2 the time government is the reason bad things happen.

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9/11... now we have all new security protocols in place, and everyone who travels, is inconvenienced and risks getting themselves, or their families, getting strip searched simply by going on vacation. Will any of this stop someone from hatching a devious plan? No, but it requires law abiding citizens to be treated like criminals, and makes me just want to go away to where I can drive.

 

 

I'll take it a step further (and relate it to the Occupy Wall Street protests).... for all the stripping of our freedoms and trillions spent on hightened security and wars conducted in the name of "preventive measures", we're no more safe than we were on Sept 10th 2001. Something equally destructive could easily take place on our soil tomorrow. BUT there are a select group of corporations and individuals that are MUCH MUCH richer as a result of all that money spent. All those trillions in government debt we hear so much about these days? That money didn't just evaporate. It went into SOMEBODY'S pocket. But not mine. And probably not yours. And probably nobody either of us even KNOW. (Although I maybe played for a couple of their weddings....)

 

That's the REAL tragedy of this financial crisis. And the people in charge have cleverly distracted us from even paying attention to it because they've made sure we're too busy arguing over whether Bought-And-Paid-For-Idiot A or Bought-And-Paid-For-Idiot B should be the next President who will do absolutely nothing about it.

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Back to the OP and my two cents:

 

Might it just be that, for the most part, the need for political protest songs is far less than it was 40-50 years ago. I mean back then, the only sources of news information of any kind was the corporate news outlets: CBS, NBC, ABC and the news papers. And for the most part, these outlets all reported basically the same things and generally, stayed the course in terms of maintaining the establishment view. Therefore musicians, along with other artists and activists, we necessary to present the "counter-culture" aka protest view of things.

 

Today, we are so inundated with every possible view of what's going on via the internet as well as the 4 trillion different "news" stations that the need for musicians to add their two cents to issues is generally redundant. What will a protest song add that hasn't been said by a dozen different like-minded outlets.

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I'll take it a step further (and relate it to the Occupy Wall Street protests).... for all the stripping of our freedoms and trillions spent on hightened security and wars conducted in the name of "preventive measures", we're no more safe than we were on Sept 10th 2001. Something equally destructive could easily take place on our soil tomorrow. BUT there are a select group of corporations and individuals that are MUCH MUCH richer as a result of all that money spent. All those trillions in government debt we hear so much about these days? That money didn't just evaporate. It went into SOMEBODY'S pocket. But not mine. And probably not yours. And probably nobody either of us even KNOW. (Although I maybe played for a couple of their weddings....)


That's the REAL tragedy of this financial crisis. And the people in charge have cleverly distracted us from even paying attention to it because they've made sure we're too busy arguing over whether Bought-And-Paid-For-Idiot A or Bought-And-Paid-For-Idiot B should be the
next
President who will do absolutely nothing about it.

 

 

I really have to ask you something. Do you not believe the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda group?

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Back to the OP and my two cents:


Might it just be that, for the most part, the need for political protest songs is far less than it was 40-50 years ago. I mean back then, the only sources of news information of any kind was the corporate news outlets: CBS, NBC, ABC and the news papers. And for the most part, these outlets all reported basically the same things and generally, stayed the course in terms of maintaining the establishment view. Therefore musicians, along with other artists and activists, we necessary to present the "counter-culture" aka protest view of things.


Today, we are so inundated with every possible view of what's going on via the internet as well as the 4 trillion different "news" stations that the need for musicians to add their two cents to issues is generally redundant. What will a protest song add that hasn't been said by a dozen different like-minded outlets.

 

 

I think you're on to something here. Our culture is so "narrow-casted" that not only are all the possible views already presented before the musicians can get to it, but there's no single "counter-culture" view for people to coalesce around. Back in the 60s we had, like you said, the establishment view put out by the small handful of TV/radio networks, and beyond that their was the far-right view who didn't have any media to speak of in those days, and the far-left view who had the ear of the young people so their message got out their via music and alternative press like Rolling Stone and the Village Voice.

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I really have to ask you something. Do you
not
believe the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda group?

 

 

I do. But what does that have to do with the fact that I believe A) we're no safer from these nutballs (or others who may follow in their wake) than we were 10 years ago and B) the trillions wasted in the name of "making us safer" was little more than a ruse to put taxpayer money into the pockets of those "hired" by the government to build the bombs and the security measures?

 

Here's the sad truth: bin Laden conducted those attacks precisely because he KNEW we'd respond in the manner that we did: we'd spend trillions to use giant bombs in order to swat at flies. His goal was not to defeat us militarily, but to bankrupt us by luring us into a massive military expenditure on war we could never win. He did it once to the Soviet Union, so why wouldn't it work a 2nd time with the USA?

 

Yeah...he's dead now and that's great. But don't you think he went down believing he was, after 10 years, still on the right track?

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Back to the OP and my two cents:


Might it just be that, for the most part, the need for political protest songs is far less than it was 40-50 years ago. I mean back then, the only sources of news information of any kind was the corporate news outlets: CBS, NBC, ABC and the news papers. And for the most part, these outlets all reported basically the same things and generally, stayed the course in terms of maintaining the establishment view. Therefore musicians, along with other artists and activists, we necessary to present the "counter-culture" aka protest view of things.


Today, we are so inundated with every possible view of what's going on via the internet as well as the 4 trillion different "news" stations that the need for musicians to add their two cents to issues is generally redundant. What will a protest song add that hasn't been said by a dozen different like-minded outlets.

 

 

Definitely some merit to your final thought but it's also obvious you didn't grow up in the period. One of the things that made the era so much different than times before is that the Vietnam War was brought home to everyone with a TV every night by the "big 3". Every night at 6:00pm the choppers were blazing, bullets flying and bloody bodies being dragged out of the jungle during the nightly news reports. I dunno but if the gov'ment had had their choice, this is probably not what they would have preferred most people to see.

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All the protest is compartmentalized and divided into so many factions that there isn't really unified movement the way there used to be. There just isn't a huge audience to really get behind protest music anymore. Just an abundance of small small groups that aren't overly interested in each other.

 

 

 

^^^^

THIS

 

Just like the music business itself, really. -

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Definitely some merit to your final thought but it's also obvious you didn't grow up in the period. One of the things that made the era so much different than times before is that the Vietnam War was brought home to everyone with a TV every night by the "big 3". Every night at 6:00pm the choppers were blazing, bullets flying and bloody bodies being dragged out of the jungle during the nightly news reports. I dunno but if the gov'ment had had their choice, this is probably not what they would have preferred most people to see.

 

 

And now, you can have this if you want, but with the variety of media, you can avoid seeing what war actually is and what's really happening in the world just by changing to sports channels or celebrity news programs or any other specialized media of your choosing. I think someone else touched on this already.

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And now, you can have this if you want, but with the variety of media, you can avoid seeing what war actually is and what's really happening in the world just by changing to sports channels or celebrity news programs or any other specialized media of your choosing. I think someone else touched on this already.

 

 

That and, as was already mentioned, there's no draft. So the wars are not something most people have any sort of direct connection to. A few citizens--mostly poor--do the fighting while the most even the biggest "Support The Troops!" types can muster up is to attach a Yellow Ribbon sticker to the back of their Hummer. Ask them to actually sacrifice anything personally to the war effort--be it blood or treasure---and you'll be met with accusations of being unpatriotic.

 

Plus, we've been fighting wars continually in one-form-or-another for so long now that we've got an entire generation who knows of nothing else. "Bring the boys home" simply means "send them to another theater". Nobody comes home anymore. War has become too big of a business to let slide into inaction. There must be an enemy SOMEWHERE.

 

Dwight D. Eisenhower had it right:

 

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

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Here's the sad truth: bin Laden conducted those attacks precisely because he KNEW we'd respond in the manner that we did: we'd spend trillions to use giant bombs in order to swat at flies. His goal was not to defeat us militarily, but to bankrupt us by luring us into a massive military expenditure on war we could never win. He did it once to the Soviet Union, so why wouldn't it work a 2nd time with the USA?


Yeah...he's dead now and that's great. But don't you think he went down believing he was, after 10 years, still on the right track?

 

 

On the right track really matters to a dead person I'm sure. Uh yeah, he (and many like him) are dead but we're still here, nice job Bin Laden!

 

Yeah I do agree, however, that there are many similar nutballs out there. I suppose we should curl up into a little shell and let them have at us?

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So bombing the hell out of Afganistan, destroying the hotbed of terrorist camps there, occupying and eventually killing Bin Laden and many of his top people had no effect?? But I suppose if you believe that's true then the second part of your statement makes sense....to you.




On the right track really matters to a dead person I'm sure. Uh yeah, he (and many like him) are dead but we're still here, nice job Bin Laden!


Yeah I do agree, however, that there are many similar nutballs out there. I suppose we should curl up into a little shell and let them have at us?

 

 

This thread about protest music is definitely not on the right track.

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So bombing the hell out of Afganistan, destroying the hotbed of terrorist camps there, occupying and eventually killing Bin Laden and many of his top people had no effect?? But I suppose if you believe that's true then the second part of your statement makes sense....to you.

 

 

I believe we could have gotten the same result--in terms of safety to our citizens on our shores--- by spending much, much less. "Had no effect"? Of course it had an effect. An effect worth trillions of dollars and thousands of lives to achieve? No, I don't believe we got our money and bloodshed's worth. Not even close.

 

It isn't all-or-nothing, is it? Isn't there a cost/benefit analysis that should be done before we commit troops and treasure? Wouldn't that be the action of a RESPONSIBLE government?

 

 

On the right track really matters to a dead person I'm sure.

 

To idealists willing to die for their cause...of course it does. To suggest otherwise sullies the memories of the countless warriors who have given up their lives believing in OUR causes as well.

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