right-thinking individuals

A quick couple things before I post up the latest set of lyrics.

My laptop may be dead. It might be the power cord, or the joint inside the computer to which the power cord connects. If the former, I've got a new one coming in the mail soon; if the latter, I am a very sad panda. XD

One of the quotes from the poem by Megan below:

Her writings back again, better than ever.
For a while there is had begun to wither.
Happiness had taken hold.
But now her heart is black and cold.

--reminded me of something I was discussing with Myke in our last email volley. It is a common misconception among writers, especially poets, and especially when they are first learning their craft. Namely, the idea that one has to suffer or be depressed in order to get artistic inpiration. Myke and I had agreed that while suffering is sometimes a catalyst to inspiration, it is not exactly necessary. Last night I was talking the subject over with Dave, and his opinion was, as usual, succinct and to the point: You don't have to be suffering or depressed "right now" in order to be inspired. But you have to have had the experience, in order to contrast it with whatever you're writing, in order to have a wide enough perspective to write well.

On to the song I'm posting today. I wrote it oh, perhaps a week ago, and for the life of me I don't know why I haven't posted it up till now.

There's an episode of The Twilight Zone called "He's Alive!" which I highly recommend to anyone, anywhere, but especially people living in America right now. The story is of a disaffected and fearful young man whose only real friend is an elderly gentleman who witnessed the horrors of Hitler's Nazi regime. When the young man begins to believe he is being counseled in his quest for political power by a mysterious stranger, the elderly man warns him repeatedly that he is traveling down a road towards evil, and that he will not find happiness there. I won't spoil the whole plot, but there are some fantastic lines in it--and some eerie echoes of some of the madness that's happening in our own country today. Evil grows out of irrational fears. Or even rational ones which have been twisted by opportunistic villains into the shape of the Other, the Foreigner, the [insert person of opposing ideology].

Last night, watching BBC news, I saw a story on a European country which was about to pass a law making full-face-covering burqas illegal. They interviewed a Muslim woman who said, "There are Taliban who say that one woman without a burqa is a woman too many. These politicians are saying one woman with a burqa is a woman too many. I see them as two different kinds of dangerous extremism." Well said, ma'am, well said. Playing on people's fears to make ordinary citizens suspicious and distrustful of one another is NOT going to help any nation in the world pull itself together in this time of worldwide difficulty. Right now, though, I just hope no other states of America follow Arizona's bad example.

Poetry might not help much, but at least if it's good poetry it isn't going to hurt anything either!
Here is a song about mob rule.

[right-thinking individuals]

right-thinking individuals
they crowd around your door
the first round left them drooling, darling
now they're back for more
the war you feared is actual
but you just pour on the charm
they're right-thinking individuals
you don't care enough to arm

right-thinking individuals
they dance to your design
their wild excesses aren't yours
say you who drew no lines
it was you who turned their soggy
mediocrity to wine
they're right-thinking individuals
you don't trouble to define

past I agree with you
and you agree with me
so let's go after everyone
who sees things differently

right-thinking individuals
march out against your foes
you wave your hands and smile at them
like you're the one who knows
what they'll do when they drop those signs
and bare their vengeful souls
they're right-thinking individuals
that nobody controls
unthinking individuals
that nobody controls


Geds said...

You don't have to be suffering or depressed "right now" in order to be inspired. But you have to have had the experience, in order to contrast it with whatever you're writing, in order to have a wide enough perspective to write well.

That Dave...so eloquent.

My theory is that the greatest ideas come out of suffering and heartbreak, but the greatest art comes from resolving the heartbreak. The memory of pain creates the tension and conflict of the story. But it's the wholeness that comes from passing through the suffering that offers the necessary perspective on the story.

Wallowing doesn't get anyone anywhere. All you get is that terrible, stereotypical high school goth poetry about how everything is darkness. What people are looking for is the catharsis. So if you can't say, "All these terrible things happened, but look how it turned out in the end," you're not doing a very good job of things as an artist.

But that's just my humble opinion...

Fiat Lex said...

:-p Perhaps Dave's original eloquence was muted by my imperfect memory of the phone convo. Quotation from other than text is such an inexact art!

As for the remainder of your comment, yes! exactly! You have clearly (and recently, by your blog posts of late) been giving the matter serious and accurate thought. Also, the way you made the point is so far superior to the way I attempted to make the point above that it is my intention to let the matter rest. Otherwise I would simply be continuing to agree with something you already said better.

Though I will add that the last thing you said--that the catharsis embodied by the created work should at least point in the direction of a substantive improvement--was what pushed me into making the next post I made. Shallow yet enjoyable pop songs differ from nails-on-a-chalkboard terrible songs by exactly the abovementioned margin.