Randomly Blogged: Jimmy Fallon, Tom Petty, Hockey, NNC, Music & Technology
Jimmy Fallon covers "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" as Neil Young would (if he did cover Will Smith.) An uncanny channeling, to say the least.
UPDATE: Jimmy Fallon Impression of Neil Young Goes Viral
Thanks Roel @ ny.org, James M., mws192, fishman & Jacques-Eric @ Purple Words on a Grey Background!
The younger generation has no romantic attachments to records as physical objects. To them, music exists as a kind of omnipresent atmospheric resource.
And it’s not that I begrudge them their online treasure troves or bite-size iPods. But I still miss the way it used to be, in the old days, when fans had to invest serious time and money to track down the album or song they wanted.
What I’m getting at here is a deeper irony: technology has made the pursuit of our pleasures much easier. But in so doing, I often wonder if it has made them less sacred. My children will grow up in a world that makes every song they might desire instantly available to them. And yet I sort of pity them that they will never know the kind of yearning I did.
Parson Redheads, Leslie Stevens and the Dark Horse Band
@ Neil Young Tribute, Los Angeles, 11/20/09
Thank you to everyone who came out to the Neil Young Tribute + Benefit on Friday night. The event was a huge success thanks to the kind support of the Los Angeles music community and together we raised $1703 for The Children’s Music Fund! Check out more pictures, by Andrew White (AW) and India Brookover (IB), from the evening after the jump. We will be back in February with another tribute/ benefit. Stay tuned to When You Awake for details!
Steve Walt has a useful primer on why military occupations generate so much visceral hatred from those who live under them. It may be a bit basic to most readers, but elite foreign-affairs audiences may not think too closely about the issue, so it’s a positive contribution. But I think it goes wrong in at least one way.
Walt recounts how a friend who grew up in the American South during the 1960s was still taught an anti-union ditty (”Three hundred thousand Yankees lie stiff in Southern dust/ We got three hundred thousand, before they conquered us”) as a way of underscoring how deeply anti-occupation sentiment can persist. But then he draws a straight-line connection to Lynrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” using the verse that responds to Neil Young’s diss track “Southern Man.” Walt writes:
This is what defeat in war and prolonged occupation does to a society: it generates hatred and resentment that can last a century or more.
Yes! Yes that’s true. But “Sweet Home Alabama” is an example of something more subtle.
The crucial verse in “Sweet Home Alabama” is the third one, where Skynyrd sing, “In Birmingham they love the governor,” a reference to George Wallace, and then chant out, “Boo! Boo! Boo!” before asking if the conscience of Alabama is untroubled by Wallace’s racism. That’s as direct a confrontation of southern white racism as you could expect for a song glorifying the south, and it’s a credit to Skynyrd for taking the subject on.
But the reason why they went after Neil Young is simple: “Southern Man” treats all southerners as Wallace. As a result, it risked marginalizing anti-racist white southerners who needed all the authenticity-cred they could get it into Wallace supporters’ heads that they shouldn’t back the demagogue. Lyrnrd Skynyrd, in other words, represented an Alabama Awakening. But Neil, in his zeal, treated reconcilable elements as irreconcilable. Skynyrd took him on as a step of taking back the south for their mutual and admirable goal.
I’m not saying Walt is wrong and “Sweet Home Alabama” isn’t a reflection of “what defeat in war and prolonged occupation does to a society.” It reflects a distinctly southern perspective, forged in what Walt describes. But it’s much more subversive than Walt gives it credit. Anti-occupation sentiments can be claimed and reclaimed for all kinds of worthy goals. As much as occupation warps the perspectives of those who bear its force, we’re not locked in a hopeless dialectic between occupation and demagoguery.
We've got a lot of issues with the above, but we'll just link here as a response to the most misunderstood song of all time.
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