Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sex, drugs and Geritol

So a reader sent over a link to this article from The American Spectator.  Before I go on, let me say like Joan Jett, I love Rock n' Roll. It was the soundtrack of my youth.  I have always had a rather eclectic taste in music.  From Rock to Classical to Big Band to Easy Listening to Jazz to everything but Country (and depending on the song, sometimes that), I enjoy music.  I might have had talent enough to pursue music, but I was too stupid and thick headed as a child to get the fact that I had something going for me when my piano teachers and music teachers said I had something going for me.  A lesson I try desperately to teach my boys.

Anyway, music.  I enjoy rock.  In my day, MTV had just hit the airwaves when I was a freshman in high school.  Van Halen was my favorite contemporary group at the time, and I always liked the Beatles.  But I liked it all: from Beethoven to Barry Manilow, from Andy Williams to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, I took in all that was out there.  Because of this, I was never blind to the sever limitations of rock music.  Comparing Mozart's Symphony no 40 or Bach's Brandenburg Concertos to the best that rock music had produced, such as the Who's Tommy, or Stairway to Heaven, or Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, showed that there were extreme limits.

Those limits were already in place before rock.  The popular music that predated rock, that the rock generation would unwittingly make fun of, was the basic framework upon which rock music was founded.  The music of Jo Stafford, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby was the same format: short, simple, to the point.  Though the lyrics, at times, hinted at a more realistic appraisal of life's up and downs and struggles than rock's usual 'if I can just get the girl and get laid, the universe if A-OK.'  If anything can be appreciated, it's the observation that the best contributors to the rock genre tended to avoid the simplistic, silly, and superficial values and wax whimsical or at least attempt to say something about life outside the bedroom.

Still, most of rock is just that: ridiculously shallow, hedonistic values with no meaning, purpose, or resolution that bear resemblance to the real world experience of humanity any more than Indiana Jones' exploits bear a resemblance to a day in the life of real archaeologists  Now, those authors of ludicrous values are penning their autobiographies and telling us all what it was really all about. The takeaway quote from the article:
"A bunch of people who got rich paying lip service to a set of disingenuous values are now getting even richer writing about how they were indeed mostly just paying lip service to those values, all the while earning adulatory reviews from our increasingly obsequious Baby Boomer media." 
I love it.  I loved the music, but it wasn't until I was older that I realized the utter hypocrisy and lie that was behind the rock culture   It wasn't until then I realized that, due to insurance constraints, that giant bottle of Jack Daniels really had ice tea.  It wasn't until I was older that it dawned on me that these rebels running about flipping the bird to societal norms were guided by guys in suits sitting in a board room.  It wasn't until much later that I realized those guys on stage were willing parts of the giant hypocrisy, laughing all the way to the bank with their limos, mansions, bank accounts and accountants.

I remember back in the late 1980s when Paul McCartney had his tour supporting the album Flowers in the Attic.  During an interview, McCartney said that he and Lennon were basically in it for the money.  GASP!  Oh, the shock.  On entertainment shows and publications everywhere, the shock, the disappointment,  the indignation!  Imagine no possessions!  Well, McCartney was just being what most of the rock generation has been anything but: Honest.  The wave of aging, gray haired rockers penning their bios will begin to show the careful reader just how much of a lie, and a ludicrous one at that, it all really was.  Then we can begin running the numbers and seeing just how many millions of lives were ruined as young people sadly believed the lie was true and attempted to live the lie.  If Satan is indeed the father of lies, perhaps those old fundamentalists screaming about rock music being of the devil were actually on to something.

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