Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Nurse the Hate: A Fine Gigondas and Thoughts on 1968

When I was a teenager, I was fascinated by the late 1960s.  Like everyone I knew, I had gotten into Zeppelin and then fell into a mission of discovery about all bands from the late 60s that “rocked”.  There is nothing like being 15 and being certain you are the first one to discover bands like the Rolling Stones put out albums from the late 60s that were somehow filled with songs that were not hits but incredibly great.  “Hold on?  Beggar’s Banquet has this on it too?”  One point leads to another.  This Hendrix fella seems important.  Wait…  He played at Woodstock?  Who else played there?  Wow.  A lot of those bands seem cool too.  Next thing you know you own Jefferson Airplane’s “Surrealistic Pillow” and are reading about San Francisco in the Summer of Love.  Then someone mentions this obscure band, you probably won’t like them, they’re heavy…  A bunch of radicals from Detroit that scared the shit out of everyone, The MC5.

I was hooked.  I read all about the MC5, the White Panther Party, the insane chaos of the counter culture protest movement, Hunter S Thompson, Abbie Hoffman, Malcom X, and on and on.  The late 60s was a time of great change, a time where any stray cinder could light the whole thing on fire, where one side of society had no grasp of the other side and vice versa.  Rumors flew around about radical groups planning to bomb government buildings.  Petty infighting between splinter groups.  Government informants, dope dealers, idealists and opportunists swirled around a confusing center of the Vietnam War but all had their own agendas.  Everything was important.  Everything was absurd.  The world was changing and only a fool couldn’t see it.  What a time to be alive and I missed it!

So now we find ourselves in our version of 1968.  Protest marches turn violent while old white men in suits point fingers at “outside agitators” to protect their economic interests.  The new Boogieman is “Antifa”!  The initial killing of George Floyd is just an excuse at this point.  The idealists create the marches.  The fringe elements jump on to stir up the shit for their own evil agendas of anarchy, destruction or triggering a race war.  The third layer are the opportunists, some protest tourists eager for Instagram moments to create social media cred, and others looking for a chance to knock out a window for a free TV.  They all get lumped together as “protesters” by the reporters for the Viewers that struggle to understand what is going on behind their various screens shielding them from real experiences.  Everyone is convinced they are right.  Everyone is wrong.  It’s all chaos.

It seems obvious now that a population that were in isolation for three months, a quarter of them losing their jobs, economic uncertainty, a pandemic with swirling moving facts, and a total lack of leadership wouldn’t need much to set it off.  Topping it off is a divisive national leadership that has been focused on an “US’ versus THEM” narrative.  The battle lines have been drawn.  These are the conditions for what historians refer to as “really bad shit happening”.  If 1968 has taught us anything, I’d keep your head on a swivel during the next heatwave.

One thing we didn’t have in 1968 was social media.  As the rhetoric has heated up, a genuine ugliness has crept up.  People with some views that a few years ago would have been labeled as perhaps “fringe” or more likely “racist” have nestled into comforting bubbles that allow these ideas to become at best “normalized” and at worst “patriotic”.  People I have worked with, gone to school with, and known as smiling faced acquaintances have allowed their previously guarded views of “those people” to flow freely as they now don’t have to worry about being “politically correct”.  We have discovered the enemy in America.  The enemy is us. 

I don’t know how things will shake out this summer.  My gut tells me it is going to be bad.  Very bad.  History repeats itself, but the wrapping paper changes.  We are in 1968 with a healthy sprinkling of 1936 in for flavor.  Our phones are the most powerful educational tool known to civilization.  Yet no one reads.  No one is looking at the bright light of the oncoming locomotive.  It’s cat videos, pornography and limp dicked protests like turning your Instagram screen black.  If I am you, I start to listen to some MC5.  Dope, guns and fucking in the streets.  It’s the Summer of 2020.  It’s the Summer of 1968.  Surf’s up.        


At June 8, 2020 at 8:28:00 PM EDT , Blogger trainwreck said...

Um, what is a Gigondas?

At June 8, 2020 at 8:30:00 PM EDT , Blogger trainwreck said...

An Italian female with large breasts?


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