Unintentionally Prophetic

by Jake Block

Crown Of Creation

(Jefferson Airplane)
“You are the crown of creation.
You are the crown of creation,
And you’ve got no place to go.

Soon you’ll attain the stability you strive for,
In the only way that it’s granted;
In a place among the fossils of our time.

In loyalty to their kind
They cannot tolerate our minds.
In loyalty to our kind
We cannot tolerate their obstruction!

Life is change.
How it differs from the rocks.
I’ve seen their ways too often for my liking.
New worlds to gain.
My life is to survive and be alive
for you.”

— Crown of Creation (Paul Kantner)
 
There are times when profound statements come from throwaway lines and/or lyrics in songs, lines in books and plays.  They can often be seen as lasting microscopic views and analyses of our time that portend change for the future.  They can just as often be softly prophetic, unthreatening in a threat filled world.  They can sometimes slap you in the face and bring you out of that state of ennui that mere living for survival can inflict upon us all.  They can sometimes span the generations, and be as valid today as they were 40 to 50 years ago, and probably will be just as valid 40 to 50 years from now.
 
Monster
(Steppenwolf)
 
“The cities have turned into jungles

And corruption is stranglin’ the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can’t understand
We don’t know how to mind our own business
‘Cause the whole world’s got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who’s the winner we can’t pay the cost

‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into the noose
And it just sits there watchin’”

— Monster (John Kay and Jerry Edmonton)
 
“Damn Hippies… weird fucking music.”  Critics abound, and even at the height of popularity, lyrics that can be seen in hindsight and much more than art for art’s sake and a commentary of current events at the time they were written, were often discarded as of little value.  “Crown of Creation (like the other Airplane albums) has its high points, but it certainly also has its disappointing low points.” (Rolling Stone)  And for Steppenwolf’s Monster, “Their arrangements have become sloppy and crude, as the early-Zappa lyrics continually clash with the music (my thought:  Which was exactly the point!), and Allmusic’s analysis that “these lumbering hard rock tunes were not an effective means to address important political topics, politically or musically.”
 
For What It’s Worth
(Buffalo Springfield)
 
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
 
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
 
There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
 
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
 
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
 
It’s s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
 
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
 
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
— For What It’s Worth (Stephen Stills)
 
The songs of protest and the songs or rebellion are the most prominent of the societal autopsies that can be conducted years and decades after the fact, enlightening new generations with the ruminations of the old.  While protest songs have always been part of the political scene, they hit their stride in the 1960s and 1970s with the Vietnam war, mainly do to the confluence of media.  Music and television complimented one another, as the Vietnam war was beamed to every household in almost real time, to the everyday backdrop of protests and demonstrations to the compelling sounds of popular bands in ever growing venues, from free concerts in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, to the massive congregative event called Woodstock.  But the music was strong and purposely targeted, like propaganda in times of war always is.  This time however, the the propaganda of protest was more slickly packaged and professionally promoted than the propaganda of war.
 
As an aside, there are social analysts that cite a lower level of dissent and disapproval of the current wars from Iraq to Afghanistan to the dearth of quality music deriding them.  Indeed, in most of today’s society the “thank you for your service” movement, backed by more patriotic, if often lyrically xenophobic, tends to lull people into a false patriotism for those enterprises, in an attempt to make people relate to those who are on the front line.  The truth is that there is very little in common with the “military class” in today’s society, but the injection of patriotic “feel good music” helps assuage societal guilt by sending military to do the jobs that most of the society cannot and will not do over and over again.  If that would seem to be a reason to protest in and of itself 5 decades ago, it’s not today, apparently.  But as Music critic Dan Deluca wrote, “Music — or at least new music — does not play the same uniting, galvanizing role in the culture that it once did, for all kinds of reasons.  A lot of it has to do with fragmentation and proliferation of content.”
 
Prior to music’s mass marketed and targeted money-making protest machine, people had to rely on the written word or movies in theaters (HBO, Showtime, Netflicks, et al were only pipe dreams in the minds of crackpot “futurists.”)  Today, people don’t READ.  They skim Wikipedia or some of the homework-lite sites on the Internet.  No reading for content in any way, shape or form, it’s the modern day equivalent of Cliff’s Notes for the masses, but hardly mental stimulation of an in depth analysis on the written page or a projective prophet’s evocative word picture to stir the imagination and cause the mind to react, as the poetry of W.B. Yeats, from 1919.
 
The Second Coming
William Butler Yeats
 
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
 
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
 
I’m sure that you can identify lyrics and scripts from the past that seem as if they were written yesterday and apply perfectly to the world’s situations today.  Long ago, the philosopher Georges Santayana warned us that “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”  This might be, for we’ve always been told that history repeats itself.  I personally think that it’s more likely to be as Mark Twain once said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
 
Sometimes in the night, the words of Bob Rylett’s song fill my head as I begin to drift off to sleep.
 
These Days They Move Apocalyptically
by Bob Rylett
 
Upend me and suspend my disbelief
Pretend I never took you for the thief
These days they move apocalyptically
And never say you haven’t been forewarned.
 
We watched three towers falling from the sky
Don’t wait for the media to tell you why
They’ll sell you drugs and sex behind the lie
And never say you haven’t been forewarned.
 
We watched the rose in the claws of a crow
He shot at the bird but he wouldn’t let go
Don’t know the name, but the face I know
He shot, and the bird as he flew though the air
Whistling a song like he hadn’t a care.
So now you’ll pray and not just say the verse
Give us relief at least remove the curse
For those asleep you only make it worse
And never say that you haven’t bee forewarned.
 
So, upend me and suspend my disbelief
Pretend I never took you for the thief
These days they move apocalyptically
But never say you haven’t been forewarned.
 
I do feel that “These days, they move apocalyptically,” and there are those who can read the signs and often intuit the direction that the fates would take us.  In the long run, we make the choices that will be read as history and perhaps point the way for others who, if wise enough… or lucky enough… might avoid the pitfalls that we seem to be so unwilling or unlucky to avoid!
The Orders of The Sect of the Horned God

The Order of Pan
The Order of Cernunnos
The Order of Prometheus
The Order of Dionysis
The Order of Shiva

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