micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Monday, October 21, 2002
Rock music isn't very political these days, writes Dorian Lynskey in Friday's Guardian. (Thanks to Cursor for the link.)
Lynskey only looks at mainstream music but I believe the general point is true that there isn't a whole of music of any genre that reflects the current times in style or topicality. Then again maybe I'm just listening to the wrong music.)
Earlier this year Jeff Chang wrote about this in "Is Protest Music Dead?" as did I in "Response to Jeff Chang's 'Is Protest Music Dead?'" Chang, who did send me a thoughtful response via email, writes far more eloquently than me but I do believe my entry makes some good points about what the American public has been told is its responsibility in the "war on terror" and about what impact musicians could have the public's mood:
Perhaps it is necessary to try to imagine what musicians of any stripe could do to create opposition to the war. Let’s say a bunch of punk rockers and underground rappers read your piece and decide to speak out against the war. Would that make a difference? Let’s say that the likes of Alan Jackson, Jay Z, Paul McCartney and System of a Down come out against the war and start playing anti-war concerts. They would probably drag in a few converts but my guess is they would see their popularity plummet and be laughed at out of touch “artists.” The first question would asked be of them would be what do they the U.S. should do to fight terrorism Since no anti-war intellectual has an answer to this question palatable to the public, I find it hard to imagine these performers would.Although not exactly the same, many Hollywood stars have criticized the drive for war against Iraq and if what assumes that the critical reaction to these actors is similar to what musicians would receive, and I believe it is, then it is clear that musicians wouldn't have much impact on the public's support, or lack of support, for attacking Iraq.
In the February 1999 issue of Rock & Rap Confidential Dave Marsh wrote a piece about how musicians are expected to carry too much of the weight of political movements these days. His observations are on the money, although what really stands out to me is not something that Marsh says but rather something that he implies; Musicians will begin to be a force for change when there is a larger movement for change that does not involve musicians.